THE late PPP activist, Majeed Hussein

THE late PPP activist, Majeed Hussein and I were not friends, but I had several helpful encounters with him on the streets, on the campaign trail in recent elections, and during visits to Freedom House to gather data for my research. He was very simple. I found him to be a gentleman. He was very simple and ordinary and very compassionate towards the poor.
I happen to be in Guyana to conduct an opinion survey, and I used my presence in the country to attend Majeed’s funeral. Everyone I met lauded his role in the PPP, and in helping people. He was a people’s person; everyone praised his activism and honesty. His kindness and volunteerism would be missed.
Majeed was extremely resourceful. He was also a dedicated activist and loyalist to his party. He played an extremely critical role in the protection of the containers that held the ballot boxes during the five-month ordeal to get the right count as the incumbent government tried to steal the March 2 election.

Although I saw Majeed at Freedom House over the last several years during visits, we never conversed there And I did not know who he was, in terms of office, position, or title. I visited Freedom House to meet long-time friends who I knew from my decades of struggle for the restoration of democracy in Guyana. I would see Majeed there, without any interaction; just a ‘hi’ or ‘hello’. We did not know each other by name; I never told him who I was. He must have found out who I was from colleagues.
One day, some years ago, I visited a parlour on Robb Street to buy a soft drink. I was chatting with the proprietor about the politics of the country, as I normally did with people across the country during my countless visits to conduct surveys. Majeed came to the shop minutes after to buy an energy drink. He and the proprietor had a chat and I was introduced. I said I saw him around Freedom House and on campaign trails doing party work, but I never knew his name or role in the PPP. Surprisingly, Majeed announced he knew me through my polling and writings. I normally don’t tell people who I am, as I am bashful on that front; others would introduce me. Before the proprietor could introduce me, Majeed stated: “I know of Mr. Bisram; and I know of his work. I look forward to his polls, and I read his many letters in the press. I don’t always agree with his views, but I admire his courage.”

Majeed showered accolades on my polling and activism to help protect democracy and free and fair elections in Guyana.  We would have several brief encounters, thereafter, talking politics. He was always busy with running errands or engaging in some kind of activity for his party, or for the public good.
After he left the shop, the proprietor praised his down-to-earth character and demeanor. I learnt of his generosity and kindness, and of his activities to help the downtrodden and poor. I learnt that he would seek assistance to help others; not himself. In fact, he neglected his own health to take care of others. He would help people to repair or build their homes.
Just a couple days before the last elections, we talked about the expected outcome. He was very passionate about his party; he was confident the PPP would win a landslide; not less than 55 per cent. He asked for my view. I responded that PPP would get about 52 per cent; he said I would be proven wrong. The PPP actually got 51 per cent.
Our encounters would be missed, and I am sure his party would miss his activism.

Yours truly,

Vishnu Bisram

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It is estimated that over one million Guyanese, when counting their dependents, live outside of Guyana.  This exceeds the population of Guyana, which is now about 750,000.  Many left early in the 50’s and 60’s while others went with the next wave in the 70’s and 80’s.  The latest wave left over the last 20 years. This outflow of Guyanese, therefore, covers some three generations. This outflow still continues today, where over 80 % of U.G. graduates now leave after graduating.  We hope this changes, and soon.

Guyanese, like most others, try to keep their culture and pass it on to their children and grandchildren.  The problem has been that many Guyanese have not looked back, or if they did it was only fleetingly.  This means that the younger generations and those who left at an early age know very little about Guyana since many have not visited the country.  Also, if they do get information about Guyana, it is usually negative and thus the cycle of non-interest is cultivated.

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