A June 27, 1974 US diplomatic cable on the Guyana National Service (GNS) gave an assessment of now President David Granger and the man who became the first head of the organisation, Norman McLean.
The cable from the US Embassy here to the State Department and other American missions said that McLean was a career policeman who had experienced “ups and downs” while serving with the force. At the time of his appointment McLean was Assistant Commissioner of Police and he would later go on to become Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force after the national service stint.
The cable said that McLean was generally considered to be a competent policeman and good administrator.
“While McLean is loyal to Prime Minister Forbes Burnham and (the) ruling People’s National Congress (PNC), his appointment and apparent removal of (Elvin) McDavid and Granger may represent (a) degree of de-politicization of national service”, the cable said. It noted that McDavid and then GDF Major Granger had played leading roles in organizing the beginning of the National Service. The cable added that McDavid was reportedly to remain at the National Service Secretariat for several weeks to ensure a smooth transition while Granger was to return to his post at the GDF.
The cable also said that McDavid and Granger “have reputations as ideologues and anti-East Indian racists. McLean, also Afro-Guyanese, is less well known, less identified with PNC, and less controversial. He seems favourably disposed towards (the) U.S.”
The cable also noted that the appointments of McLean and Assistant Director Major Desmond Roberts came at a time when final preparations were being made for the initial intake of volunteers at the GNS.