98th birthday of Mr Horatio Benn, CCH – Guyana Times
HomeLetters98th Birthday of Mr Horatio Benn, CCH
Dear Editor, Kindly let me have a place in your newspaper to inform the nation that January 24, 2021, was the eighth anniversary of the birth of the ninety-eight great patriot of Guyana, Mr. Brindley Horatio Benn, CCH. Minister Benn was Deputy Premier of Premier Dr Cheddi B Jagan and held ministerial portfolios in Community Development and Education, and Agriculture and Natural Resources. He founded the Guyana School of Agriculture in 1963 demanding a “scientific agriculture” practice and initiated major projects including the Black Bush Polder Scheme and Boerasirie Conservancy in the early 1960s. This was during the last campaign in the struggle for independence, and Mr Benn not only participated in the London Conferences and demanded that his country become a sovereign nation, but he traveled widely, carrying the flame of self-determination all colonies of the world. at the time. In this effort, he met many leaders, including Nehru of India, Nkrumah of Ghana, Selassie of Ethiopia, Ben Bella of Algeria, Zhou Enlai of China, and others, gaining unity for the cause of British Guiana, and controlling what would then become the Non-Alignment Movement. Three years under “restriction of movement”, and only further strengthening his determination to help liberate his nation from British colonialism, he was later imprisoned at Her Majesty’s Punishment Colony at Sibley Hall. He formed his own Vanguard Working Peoples Party in 1968, unquestionably deepening this commitment, now against the Burnham dictatorship, and the new colonialism represented by the IMF. In remarks dripping with contempt and mixed with sadness, he described to his children one day how “third world” nations had to “hang on to a mouth where the soup is leaking” to get a little help from the giving nations. In his small handwritten mimeographed bulletins, (when not confiscated by the police) he was one of the first to sound the alarm about regime blindness with the Jonestown “experiment”. When the PPP was returned to office in 1992, Brindley Benn was appointed High Commissioner to Canada, where he served with distinction, and helped rekindle love for their native land in exile Guyanese. He was awarded the Cacique Crown of Honor by President Jagan for his fight for democracy, and his outstanding service to his country. Editor, I especially want to point out that it was Benn, the Minister of Education and Community Development, who in his feature speech at the October 1957 celebration of National History and Culture Week, who famously urged: “British Guiana can make a unique contribution to history only if we weld ourselves into one people, one nation, and pursue one destiny ”. His words were later co-opted as the national motto, and they must stand out as a signpost for Guyana’s present and future. Brindley Horatio Benn’s courage and patriotism will always inspire his countrymen. A book detailing this rich legacy will be published in a month’s time.