The Village Politician
The Bauxite Struggle and Old Politics
Silence is not a choice
No Guilty Race
Jagan and Burnham
The Masterminds that made Buxton-Friendship a Human Wasteland
The New Buxton Movers and Shakers
African Religious Survivals in Guyana
Letter to Brazil
Guyana Cultural Association of New York
Walter Rodney Discussion
The Seven Hermitic Principles
Haiti and the Caribbean
Walter Rodney: His Last Days and Campaigns
Buxton honours Eusi Kwayana
Interview (23rd Sept. 2012)
EUSI KWAYANA – Brief Bio: by Michael Parris
Kwayana was born in April 4, 1925 at Lusignan, Guyana and his family moved to Buxton when he was quite young. He became one of Guyana’s most popular, and controversial, political activists, making his entry into the field at the village level during the 1940′s. He joined George Younge, Martin Stephenson, John Abrams, Sam Persaud, Sultan Khan and Jules Perreira in the Ratepayers’ Association in marshaling the fight against Bookers Estates Limited over a canal at back of the village, called “the right of away”, through which the estates transported cane.
The status of Buxton/Friendship as one of Guyana’s premier villages was enhanced by this conflict as it fed into the wider struggle which estate labourers were embroiled with Bookers.
Around 1947, then Sydney King, he became a member of a small group of politicians, led by Dr.Cheddie Jagan. who formed The People’s Progressive Party (PPP), which remains one of the largest two political parties in Guyana. Dr. Jagan had won the Central Demerara seat of which Buxton/Friendship was part. In 1953, the PPP won a landslide victory in Guyana’s first election under universal adult suffrage, and Kwayana left his job as a school teacher to assume the position of Minister of Communication and Works.
Unfortunately, the British government suspended the constitution and threw the PPP out of office, after 133 days, in October, 1953. Thereafter Kwayana featured in several and varied roles among which: as a political detainee for fear that he and others would cause civil unrest; holding vigil outside the governor’s residence protesting against his biased action against some of the citizens; executive membership of both major political parties, the PPP and the People’s National Congress (PNC); composer of the anthems of both parties. During all of this, Kwayana, a most dedicated teacher, found time to provide lessons for hundreds of students, most of them indigent.
Perhaps one of the most outstanding aspects of his political activism was his proposal that, because of the widening racial divide among Guyanese, thought should be given to the adoption of a constitution not dissimilar to that of Cyprus. Both leaders of the main political parties, Jagan and Burnham, perceiving this as being inimical to his chances of winning the elections, vigorously opposed the proposal and instead emphasised what Kwayana warned could be the outcome of the growing ethnic conflict i.e. the possibility of partition. As a consequence, many persons who have never read what Kwayana wrote or said on the issue, repeat this distorted report.
Kwayana co-founded The African Society for Racial Equality (ASRE), and later, The African Society for Cultural Relations with Independent Africa (ASCRIA) which became part of The Working People’s Alliance in 1974. Here, he worked closely with the late Walter Rodney and was a member of WPA’s collective leadership. As a WPA member, he played a pivotal role in the struggle for democratic restoration and free and fair elections.
Kwayana has authored several books, booklets, monographs and articles. His best known works are Next Witness, Scars of Bondage, Guyana: No Guilty Race, Buxton in Print and Memory, Morning After, and Genesis of a Nation: The Indo-Guyanese Contribution to Social Change (in Guyana). He also wrote the lyrics of the party songs of the PPP, PNC and WPA.
Kwayana’s retired from parliament in 2002 and migrated in June of that year San Diego, California. He last visited Toronto in 2001 to attend the funeral of his niece’s husband.
This visit then presents a unique opportunity for Guyanese and all others in the Diaspora. COTAB, the Caribbean Studies Program of the University of Toronto, and the Canada – Guyana Forum urge you to attend.
Please call COTAB at 416-431-0273 or, 416-820-9200, or, the Caribbean Studies Program of U of T & the Canada-Guyana Forum at 416-978-8286 or 416-439-8617 for event details.
Executive Committee Member, COTAB