Kwayana looks at managing racial tensions

Stabroek News
October 5, 1999

Two books, one dealing with the historical nature of the racial problem in Guyana as seen by renowned Guyanese educator and political activist Eusi Kwayana, were last Thursday launched at the Hotel Tower.

Next Witness: An Appeal to World Opinion, first published in 1962 as a rebuke to the Perry Commission which investigated disturbances in the wake of the elections in the previous year, and Guyana: No Guilty Race, which seeks to question the accuracy of a Ravi Dev article presented at the launching of the Guyanese Indian Foundation Trust (GIFT), were the works inaugurated.

The launching was attended by a cross-section of Guyanese from the political, educational, legal and social sectors, including members of the private sector.

The author, in his synopsis of the books, remarked that their production was as a consequence of the need to expose the facts to those who cared to notice and absorb.

Co-leader of the Working People's Alliance, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine, in his feature presentation, paid tribute to "Brother Eusi's" exploits as one of the country's great thinkers who despite his many distractions still managed to get tremendous amounts of literary work done.

Kwayana, who has been writing for over 50 years, Roopnaraine stated, was as careful and detailed now as had been the case in some of his earlier works. He said that he displayed in his writing a strong sense of humanism which demonstrated his passion for social justice. These, coupled with an elegant style which made it simple for readership were traits of a master at work.

Roopnaraine opined that Kwayana, through his chronicles, imagined he could bring about change to the world and in this respect could be compared to renowned Guyanese poet, the late Martin Carter. His writings, Roopnaraine stated, were in general done out of necessity as was the case here and not due to the fact that he had to say something.

The programme was chaired by publisher, Brigadier (Rtd) David Granger, whose agency Free Press was responsible for publication. Granger stated in his closing remarks that it was as a tribute to Kwayana's longevity in the literary field that he was being honoured with the presence of a large gathering.

In a comment to Stabroek News on the publications, Kwayana said that his first reason was to have his work, originally done in 1962, available as a guide to assist in the managing of the present racial tensions. His second had to do specifically with a paper by Indian rights activist Dev which he contended was a misrepresentation of the facts.

Buxton/Friendship in Memory, an historical work tracing the founding and development of the village and the key personalities involved, will be launched by the same author next week in New York.

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