We buried our beloved friend and mentor Clarence Frederick Ellis in his hometown of Queenstown, Essequibo on Saturday May 1. It was a fitting day, Labour Day, for his burial as Clarence toiled hard and long for Guyana’s future development. On Thursday, April 28, ACDA had a wonderful ancestral sending off for him with drums, song and acknowledgement of his wonderful and indomitable spirit. On Friday there was a very emotional service at St James-the-Less Anglican Church followed on Saturday with a service at St Bartholomew’s Anglican Church in Queenstown and burial. These sets of events, following a service in the USA were a fitting last journey for this very distinguished son of the soil. We thank all of Clarence’s friends who attended any of these events.
ACDA’s tribute to this great man is provided below:
“It was President Andrew Jackson who said, ‘One man with courage makes a majority.’
Clarence Frederick Ellis was a man of courage and therefore, a single majority.
“Clarence was a true son of Damon. A true son of Essequibo where African slaves were first brought to in Guyana.
“Clarence was born in Queenstown, the first African village in Essequibo bought by freed slaves. Like Damon, Clarence Ellis resisted wrongdoing, and he resisted non-violently and his eloquent pen exposed his patriotic soul.
“Damon was hanged in 1834 in front of Guyana’s Parliament Building where the Emancipation Proclamation was read on August 1, 1834. Fighting for his people’s freedom and dignity, Damon made the ultimate sacrifice. He refused to give into other’s ideals, for instead of retracting his statements and losing his dignity, he replied, ‘Me don do what me don do.’
“Clarence Frederick Ellis also fought for his people’s freedom and dignity. Like Damon, Clarence paid a severe price for saying no to an economic strategy he felt was wrong for the country. He stood up for all races in Guyana in that defiant act of goodness and righteousness.
“Clarence’s personal integrity in this act of courage gave full life to the words of Confucius who centuries ago said ‘To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice.’
“When victimized for this patriotic act and provided with sour grapes as a punishment, Clarence squeezed these grapes into a beautifully tasting sweet wine of dignity, integrity and professionalism.
“In African circles, your name often helps to define your character and destiny.
Clarence Frederick Ellis lived out his name. In checking Wikipedia, the following interpretations were found of his name.
“Clarence, meaning ‘One who lives by the river.’
“We all know Clarence’s philosophy of racial equality was founded in a deep ‘river’ of justice.
“Frederick, meaning ‘Peaceful ruler.’
“Clarence lived for peace. A peace for all Guyanese of all races.
“Ellis, meaning, ‘My God is the Lord.’
“We all know Clarence was a deeply spiritual man who saw nature as an integral part of God and we know Clarence has left us to be near his Lord.
“Anyone knowing Clarence Frederick Ellis could see him relating to the words of the great Frederick Douglass who in 1857 said: ‘If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favour freedom and yet depreciate agitation… want crops without ploughing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.’
“Clarence Frederick Ellis was and is a warrior for equality, economic development and racial peace. He was an African warrior while fighting for the equality of all races in Guyana. His Afro-centredness helped him to let people understand ‘It takes a village to bring up a child.’
Father, husband, son, brother, friend, fearless warrior, scholar, intellect, author, leader, mentor, motivator, proud African, tireless champion, compassionate human being.
“Clarence Frederick Ellis is a beautiful African elder and a beautiful Guyanese statesman.
He is grace personified, intelligent, warm, compassionate and fiercely aggressive in his fight against poverty, inequality, inequity and subjugation. A relentless supporter of the African Cultural & Development Association (ACDA), he will forever be in our hearts, in our minds, in our souls and in our struggles.
“His tireless fight for shared governance and his commitment to fostering unconditional pride in being African will remain his lasting legacy for us. He is our modern-day Damon. ‘He don do what he don do.’
“So rest in peace dear Balozi Ellis. You have fought a great fight but we know your work is not done.
“Thank you, dear beloved brother, for empowering us with your heart and your intellect and most of all with your African grace.
“The African Cultural & Development Association.”
Clarence was a soldier in the war for shared governance. For this is what it has become. A war for a just Guyana. The PPP will never agree to shared governance because of greed, fear of charges and the massive corruption and racism that prevails in Guyana. In 1857, Frederick Douglass predicted that they would not as shown above in Clarence’s tribute.
Currently, we have another Trojan horse called the Big Tent that wants to continue the domination of African people in Guyana. They remind us of a group of ‘old bullfrog’ that is sitting in boiling water. Oblivious but comfortable, they are unaware that the water will soon finish them in the glass cup in which they sit.
Clarence was a patriot who wanted equality through shared governance. He was committed to it and ACDA has recommitted its pledge to him on this irreconcilable issue of economic, political, cultural and social life and death in Guyana.