So my people, it is with a heavy heart that I learnt that the National Library on Monday canceled its permission to the Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham Foundation to host the Foundation’s Commemorative Exhibition celebrating the life of Forbes Burnham and in particular his contributions to our independence struggle and securing our independence.
I understand that permission was sought from the Library and granted virtually a month ago. I understand as well that the Library has indicated that it needs the space previously committed to this venture for its own use and for the duration of time the Exhibition was scheduled. The Library, as far as I am aware, did not offer an alternative space for the Foundation’s use.
It seems rather curious that the Library, organized as it usually is and diligent as it ought to be, only discovered its need for the space at the time of the Exhibition.
It is unfortunate that we as a Guyanese people continue to treat our leaders and foremost contributors to our national fabric with such scant regard. If we do not take ourselves and our contributors seriously, whom do we think would? And this is precisely why we have for decades attracted little more than international scorn.
My people, unless this attitude of ours changes, the fabric of our society will not change in any meaningful way.
I am minded that we are in that season that we are bedazzled by the international attention we are attracting, the spectacles of forums, the inking of financially pregnant contracts, etc.
Lest we be carried away, our international seduction is only because we have something the world wants and not because we are a people the world needs (a people who stand in solidarity…a people with a strong sense of national purpose and community).
Think about where we would be tomorrow if by some strange magic every drop of oil is sapped from our soil today.
The Library and those behind its decision have assaulted in the most brutal and vulgar way the legacy of Forbes Burnham by this move.
Regardless of whom we fancy Burnham to be, he deserves to be celebrated, especially at Independence. And you don’t need to be a Burnhamite to recognise this; you simply need to be Guyanese.
To the Foundation, the struggle continues. Do not be daunted.
Ronald J. Daniels
26th of May, 2022