Craig Sylvester is the type of leader Guyana needs

Dear Editor,

Please allow me the opportunity of extending my endorsement to Mr. Craig Sylvester of the newly established Democratic National Congress (DNC).

A friend of mine shared with me a video of the party launching. Sadly it was poorly attended.

I have known Craig from my days at university. Before I went into medical school I did about 6 months of economics. You may be wondering why only 6 months. Let me provide the background to the story. We had this lecturer who was absolutely obnoxious and arrogant. My fellow students, grown men and women with kids, were scared of him. Then I arrived, a teenager just out of Queen’s College. The arrogant lecturer crossed my red line. I told him off in front of a class of about 300 students in the lecture hall. I was summoned to the Dean’s office, told to apologise or be expelled. I said ok. Went back into the lecture hall, stood in front of the 300 students in the presence of the lecturer, told him off again! This time with a few choice words. Left the lecture hall, went to admissions department, withdrew from economics then picked up an application form for medical school. In those days I had many loose screws. Be reassured that most of them are now sorted. Now only a few are loose.

Anyway, Craig was a year ahead of me in economics. I looked up to him. Many did. In his first year he got 7A’s and a B. Unheard of in those days. Brilliant!

Then the university student body had issues with the student fees and condition of the university classrooms and toilets. We started a peaceful protest led by Craig. The police were summoned, the tactical squad. They came with their batons and huge guns. We got a beating. All of us. Craig stood in front. Took the most of it. The newspapers next day had a front page picture of Craig, bespectacled and bloodied with AK-47s aimed at him. Dramatic pictures. Peaceful university students protesting. We did not give up. We walked from UG to State House in Main Street singing joyfully. Dr Jagan, RIP, was the President. A very humble man. He met a party from the university students including Craig and the rest is now history.

Craig is brilliant, articulate, brave and prepared to die for the Guyanese people. He is the type of leader we need.

My assessment of this government. Useless. Of  PPP. Racist. I will never forget. Not a black ambassador in 23 years I will never forget. Distribution of contracts based on race I will never forget. Replacing blacks with Indians at the foreign office I will never forget. Having only Indian senior managers at GPHC I will never forget. The PNC and the PPP are the worst thing that happened to post- independent Guyana. I supported AFC for the last election. Made a donation to the APNU+AFC coalition. Left London and went to New York to celebrate with the APNU+AFC after the last election. A big celebration. A carnival atmosphere. Now I am disappointed. Very disappointed in the AFC leadership. Many are.

It is time we move away from this race-based voting. It’s been destroying our country. Vote on issues. What can this party do for you should be the question. Not who leads the party. Definitely not on stories of uncle Cheddi. Ridiculous. Not on stories of that dictator Burnham. He was instrumental in destroying Guyana. Mass games I will never forget. Those youth marches in the hot sun I will never forget. Those rice flower buns I will never forget. Riding on a horse dressed in purple like a king I will never forget. Those long lines for basic commodities I will never forget. Let’s banish PNC, PPP and AFC. WPA is on its way out. On political life support.

Establish that electoral contract with the party that will best serve you.

Craig I have great admiration for you. I know you are a humble man. You would have preferred if I had just left out all your great attributes and your leadership skills. My apologies. I know you would not have done it. Someone had to.

I believe people like Freddie Kissoon, Lincoln Lewis and David Hinds should come on board. Scrutinise the DNC. Critically scrutinise. Craig we need young leaders. Canvass our young professionals. Avoid James Bond. In my opinion he is too egotistic and indisciplined. Avoid Sherod Duncan. In my opinion he is opportunistic. The others should be ok.

I would be glad to extend my support in whatever small way. Guyana needs new blood. Young leaders. We have had enough of those demented old men and women. Best of luck my friend.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Mark Devonish

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