It is with profound sorrow that I learnt of the passing of Dr Josh Ramsammy. I have been travelling in India for almost two weeks and read of Josh’s demise only on Feb 21. So I send my belated condolences to the family of this outstanding intellect and great son of Guyana. Josh was a brilliant academician, a renowned scientist, and an all-round intellect. He was a role model to be emulated.
Josh was an honourable man, among the last few of his era. He was among a few scholars (including Dr Walter Rodney) who committed themselves to struggle for a better Guyana. It was an honour and privilege to know this great man. He was a compassionate human being who was also simple and down to earth and grounded with the poor. He always had time for a discussion and never turned away people even when he was quite busy. He played his different roles in his eventful career with great distinction.
No amount of harassment or intimidation or violence cowed Josh. He was passionate about his commitment to free and fair elections in Guyana and he was the kind of revolutionary who was willing to give his life to end the tenure of the Guyanese dictatorship. It was through his courageous act that I first knew of him after he was shot and nearly lost his life some four decades ago. The mystery of that shooting has never been solved and the culprit has not been brought to book.
I met Josh during the student protests against injustice on the Corentyne in 1976 and 1977 when I was one of the student leaders. Josh came by with Dr Walter Rodney, Bro Eusi Kwayana, Dr Omowale, and others to render moral support to protesting students; they sat in our discussions and offered guidance.
I met Josh again at UG and at the WPA office on Croal Street during the 1980s during my annual visits to Guyana with Dr Baytoram Ramharack, Vassan Ramracha, and Ravi Dev. That was the message he communicated with me during talks. After he retired from politics, we met a few times by sheer coincidence. My last contact with him was at a Main Street restaurant which he apparently frequented. I graciously declined his offer to join him for beer but in our brief chat he talked about his new environmental project.
I did not realize Josh had achieved a score of 80. He certainly did not look it and I wish he could have gone on to a 100. You batted well for us doctor!
I shall miss him enormously.