Renowned sculptor Phillip Moore’s body will be brought to Georgetown for a viewing today at the Square of the Revolution after several cultural groups intervened on behalf of his family.
The viewing will be held at 8 am in the backdrop of Moore’s most famous creation – the towering 1763 monument – prior to the funeral service later in the day at the Liverpool Community Centre, Corentyne. Moore passed away two Sundays ago and his family had been pressing for a viewing of his body in Georgetown and burial at Seven Ponds Place of Heroes in the Botanical Gardens. However, this had not been agreed to by the Ministry of Culture and historian Tom Dalgetty last evening said that several cultural groups had come together to fulfil the wishes of his family for the Georgetown viewing.
Shortly before seven last evening, Dalgetty informed Stabroek News that Moore’s body was being brought to the city for embalming and that there would be a viewing for the public at the Square of the Revolution commencing at 8 am sharp today.
“I am pleased to say that through a collective effort by cultural groups and a concerned overseas following that Phillip Moore’s body can be viewed (today) at 8 am at the Square.
Although calls for him being buried at Seven Ponds were rejected by government we are pleased to let the public know that they can come and pay tribute to this true Guyanese brother and National Hero,” he said.
The Alliance For Change (AFC) yesterday voiced its dismay that Moore would not be buried at Seven Ponds.
Opposition coalition, A partnership for National Unity (APNU) also expressed concern that Moore would not be buried at Seven Ponds as requested by his family. The group said that it is in full support of the family’s call for him to be buried there and will make this known even at the funeral in Berbice today.
Further, the coalition is calling for the immediate crafting of guidelines so that in the future if persons of distinction die, the funeral protocol would have already been set out.
In Sunday’s edition of Stabroek News, Moore’s two children had expressed disappointment that he would not be brought to Georgetown for a viewing and yesterday they were relieved at the news from Dalgetty.
They had said on Saturday that Georgetown was not only the city where he lived most of his life but that most of his friends, students and most of his work was there.
Yesterday a distraught Phillip Jr told Stabroek News that even as he prepared, for the last night of wakes, he was hurt and frustrated that his father would not be given his due.
He blamed the Ministry of Culture for not exercising patience with him and his sister and dismissing requests that they should wait a few days for the arrival of close relatives before funeral plans were finalized.
“They forced us to call a funeral date. The representative from the ministry said that we must make a proposal… nothing was discussed properly or officially. We asked for more time and were told we have to make a date. We can’t make demands for a state funeral or say where he must be buried; if he deserved to be buried at Seven Ponds or at Cuffy then it was them to tell us,” he had said.
“All this confusion could have been avoided if they had heeded our request for my aunt and other close relatives to come in… It’s only me and my sister here and we were forced to give a date so to ease worries we said we’ll bury him where we know because we ain’t know about Georgetown funeral arrangements. My father would want his due because he believed in equality however we don’t want all this pulling and nagging. We will bury the best way we know how, let whoever conscience be their judge,” he added.
Last evening he was joyful as he confirmed that his father’s body could be viewed at the Square of the Revolution. He said while he will still not be buried at Seven Ponds at least a part of their wishes was granted. He thanked the persons responsible for making the Georgetown viewing possible.
Opposition Leader and Leader of APNU, David Granger last evening told Stabroek News that he had been awaiting the final verdict on funeral arrangements.
“Our position is based on the principle that the wishes of the immediate family be respected. We had asked that from the onset and stand by that.
We feel that Moore’s outstanding contribution to the arts and culture of Guyana is deserving of an official funeral. Amidst all this I say that government should step forward and we craft some guidelines immediately so that persons of distinction can be given their due and we don’t have to go through this again,” he said.
“Philip Moore satisfies any criteria for consideration for burial at the Seven Ponds. The AFC urges the government to urgently reconsider their decision to refuse this son of the soil a fitting final farewell,” the AFC yesterday said in a statement. It added, “The AFC is appalled that a national treasure of the standing of Phillip Moore would be denied the appropriate tribute and honour that is due to a fallen hero.”
In Moore’s honour Georgetown Mayor Hamilton Green yesterday said that a street will be named after him.
The Guyana Government, through the Culture Ministry, has said that it is standing part of the expenses for a “big funeral” after discussions with Moore’s family. It informed that five 30-seater buses will be available, at the Square of the Revolution and the Ministry of Culture’s Main Street office tomorrow from 8.30 am and will depart at 9 am sharp for the funeral ceremony at the Liverpool Community Centre, which begins at 1 pm.