Rajendra Rampersaud’s letter in the Kaieteur News of February 23, 2009 titled ‘Boysie Ramkarran had more impact on parliamentary proceedings than Burnham did,’ is inaccurate and rather unfortunate. It cannot be supported by facts, the records of Hansard or by those who attended Parliament during that time.
First, let me make it clear; Boysie Ramkarran was a great raconteur, always ready with witty and incisive repartee. The only time he did not seem to have a ready response was when Burnham turned to the Speaker and quipped that we had two douglas in Parliament, Boysie Ramkarran and Shirley Field-Ridley.
Oft times, I have recalled some of his gems, both at home and abroad. At his passing, I paid glowing tribute to this aspect of a man I liked, and even though in different political camps, we shared a cordial and respectful relationship from the time I met him when he was a minister. By any measure he was a good gentleman and a solid patriot.
However, Mr Rampersaud’s reference to Burnham as an orator “because he quoted a few Latin phrases” seem to be part of a studied campaign to diminish the stature of Forbes Burnham and trivialize his contribution to the making of Guyana. Intellectuals and scholars regarded Burnham as a great orator and statesman.
The first West Indian to win the coveted Speaker’s Cup from a university in London, the home of our language, was LFS Burnham. I have heard British and European legislators extol Burnham’s delivery, command and use of English. Let us give Jack his jacket.
Mr Rampersaud’s talk about elections is not germane to the burden of his letter, but to suggest that anyone else could have made a greater impact in parliament than Burnham is truly a non sequitur. Beyond that, Burnham did not take part in parliamentary debates after 1970, so we could not make a judgment after that period.
Allow me this caveat: one can appreciate Mr Rampersaud’s anxiety to make small, certain others. Nevertheless, I urge him and others to seek the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth; end this relentless assault on LFS Burnham’s name.
Hamilton Green, JP