Letter was intended to advise who E F Correia was

Dear Editor,

The letter ‘Let Ogle remain Ogle’ (SN, November 23) refers. My letter had nothing to do with the renaming of Ogle, it was a response to Mr K Ramkarran’s which seemed to ask who E F Correia was. At least that is what it appeared to me. The controversy seems to be between participants as to the style of management and responsibilities of those involved at the airport.

Please note E F Correia has never been a part of the Correia Group of Companies. That group is owned by the descendants of Mr M C Correia, E F Correia’s brother. They were competitors, as both were in the diamond and gold business, never partners.

As regards the democratic norms of naming an airport, it would appear there are none. The only precedents I can think of are Grantley Adams, J F Kennedy and Cheddi Jagan; I’m told there are others.

The precedent it seems is the politically democratically elected elite name of the airport. The name Ogle is mentioned centuries ago. Also there are 31 ‘Ogles’ in the phone book. That to me is remarkable; they are a really old Guyanese family.

There was never any doubt that E F Correia was part of the governor’s interim legislature, but why did the governor do this? I don’t know, but to suggest that this was a “special clique” may be seen by around fifty per cent of Guyana as incorrect. The governor, one presumes, acted within his constitutional right. One has to remember the political fears of over half a century ago, the fear of communism. Things have changed a lot since then. Russia has changed but may revert, Cuba looks to be changing. China is said to be communist, yet I’m told, has numerous billionaires. I am told that the democratically elected government led by Jagan and Burnham in 1953 was responsible for internal government. Foreign policy remained in the hands of the colonial power, ie, the governor. Our internal government got involved in a foreign matter, hence the government acted. There was no secret clique advising the governor. This is my opinion to which, right or wrong, I adhere until someone can give another plausible set of facts.

Just as the writer is well informed, I am totally ignorant of the Wynn-Parry Report. I never heard of it. But such reports are, as one noted private sector personality has suggested, all influenced by which hotel the group happened to stay at. Why is there no mention of the UDP or the NDP?

Can anyone tell me of a single achievement by any minister of government in any field for doing anything for which the individual stands out? Of course the two ‘dishes’ on the seawall area, between Camp Street and Kitty may answer the question. As I remember E F was very proud of them. Did this occur during his term? I don’t know.

I was once a member of a protest group of private pilots, but the minister was firm in defence of the government’s position, protecting the government owned Guyana Airways and the army. I never spoke with him on this matter.

The posthumous award has already been done. Mr E F Correia was awarded an AA presented by President Arthur Chung and received by E F Correia’s son-in-law on his behalf.

As regards “things done”, he was the first minister in charge of aviation of a fully independent Guyana. Whether this is true or not is the question. Any other claimers?

The writer claims Ogle is the second biggest airport in Guyana. This is not correct, if you go by the democratic norm of length of airstrip. (It is the second largest in the Georgetown area according to the 20 miles deep syndrome.)

I have not mentioned that E F was once assaulted as he tried to calm a riotous crowd at night.

I have not mentioned E F and another were believed to be the first Guyanese born private pilots, having gone together in the thirties to get their PPL in the UK. I cannot prove it, but I have in the past seen the second person’s licence, which has since been mislaid.

The whole letter of 23rd November seems to assume my letter was written to hide something; it was written to advise who E F Correia was. Mr Ramkarran writes: “Mr Willems does Eugene Correia even less favour… “ Nonsense, I tell it as it happened. Some may see it as detrimental, others as a good thing. The 50/50 rule applies.

Mr E F Correia’s direct descendants are honoured by the suggestion to name the airport after him, but can understand the confusion, as this is Guyana. The outcome will not matter to them. Peace and law and order are the aims that matter.

I have had my say, right or wrong.


Yours faithfully,

John Willems


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