Local politicians and academics from across the region on Wednesday paid tribute to economics professor and political activist Dr Clive Thomas, who is going into retirement after 50 years in academia.
The occasion was a dinner at the Georgetown Club, held in honour of Dr Thomas’ academic accomplishments throughout the years in the Caribbean and in Guyana. He was praised for his willingness to share his knowledge with young students and professionals and also for his voice in the fight against political oppression.
Dr. Compton Bourne, former University of Guyana Chancellor, recalled his adventures with Thomas in fighting against political oppression, while hailing him as a man with a drive for social change. He stated that not everyone was an ally of Thomas because he was always passionately engaged in social change.
Dr Thomas, a long-standing member of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), retired a few months ago from the University of Guyana. He was one of many who fought for political change in the early 1980s. Many WPA members were present at his retirement dinner to pay tribute to his writings.
Senior lecturer at the University of the West Indies Roger Hosein hailed him as a man with a “great mind” bent on improving the social standing of Guyana and the region.
Dr. Hosein said he admired Thomas’ works and considered him a great mentor for students and people. He stated that even though Thomas has advanced in age, “his beautiful mind remains intact.” He also stated that he admired Thomas’ hardcore stance against poverty. “I personally think I have met a great person,” he said.
Michael Scott, a senior lecturer in the Social Sciences faculty of the University of Guyana, said Thomas’ mentoring style was one that was always “user-friendly” and he was grateful for being associated with him. He added that like Martin Luther King Jr., Thomas believed in equality and freedom.
Thomas’ contribution to society reflected a life-long struggle for “bread and justice” and his penetrating columns in the Stabroek News were always “hard-hitting,” Dr. Maurice Odle stated, as he read a tribute from Professor Havelock Brewster.
Brewster had co-authored a book with Thomas, called the Dynamics of West Indian Economic Integration. In his tribute, he praised Thomas as a man with an “unswerving will to improve the political situation of the people.”
Other well-wishers hailed him as a person of visionary intelligence and said his critical writings can guide the region and third world countries. They also saluted him for his contribution toward the development of Guyanese people.