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Dr. David Hinds hosted a panel discussion last Tuesday on the life and time of Forbes Burnham with some who knew him intimately. They shared with the public the vision he sought to fashion for a young nation, forging a common culture that respected the diversity of the nation’s six peoples, and how he succeeded in keeping a nation whole in a Cold War era with a border controversy on Guyana’s west (Venezuela) and border dispute on the east (Suriname).
His was the task to lead the nation at a time of internal ethnic strife, political upheaval, trade union militancy, and the country reeling from a global economic crisis that resulted from sharp increase in oil price. His was the choice as Leader of Guyana to survive sensibly as he navigated the complex path to build a nation that would be great and for all to see. He was Prime Minister from 1964-1980 and President from 1980-1985. Burnham was born in Kitty on 20 February 1923 to James Ethelbert Burnham and his wife Rachel Abigail (nee Sampson), who were both teachers. He died on 6 August 1985.
Take time to listen to this discussion about a man (Burnham) whom Hinds calls a “political giant.”