Former President Among Guyana Cultural Honorees
CaribWorldNews, BROOKLYN, NY, Tues. June 17, 2008: Former President of
Guyana, L.F.S. Burnham, is set to receive the Guyana Cultural Association
Caribbean Award posthumously for his contribution to Caribbean arts.
The 2008 Guyana Cultural Association's Wordsworth McAndrew Awards will
recognize the achievements of individuals and contributions by social and
business entities in cultural development, at its seventh awards ceremony
scheduled to take place on June 22, Brooklyn, New York.
In keeping with the GCA 2008 theme 'Caribbean People in Harmony through
Culture', the organization will present its first Caribbean Award
posthumously to the late President of Guyana for facilitating the first
Caribbean Festival of the Arts (CARIFESTA) in 1972. The award comes as
CARIFESTA is set to take place in August in Guyana.
Ronald Lammy, chair of the awards committee of the GCA said the Caribbean
award is being given because ‘he gave unparalleled stature to the
presentation of indigenous arts and spawned a wide range of shared cultural
and related economic activity.’
'Mr. Burnham fostered an affiliative atmosphere through the thrust of
Carifesta. It built new bonds and reinforced existing ones thus creating and
enhancing regional harmony through the arts,' said Lammy. 'His leadership
left an indisputable legacy. The social investment worked; people received
tangible, real benefits. Guyanese were prepared for the future as evident by
the scores, if not hundreds, of professionals in the arts and academia
today. The next leap forward is to come.'
Lammy also noted the leadership perspective of Burnham’s impact in a
general context: 'Astute leaders recognize precursors to change and manage
them effectively for long lasting positive impact. A critical leadership
skill is to discern opportunity for substantive transformation from the
current state. Superior strategic thinking can guide a leader to challenge
colleagues and associates to attain a new condition that is close to the
He quoted Warren Bennis, a distinguished research fellow at the Harvard
Business School: 'Vision is the commodity of leaders, and power is their
'This view can be applied to the man whose vision and actions set the
unshakable foundation for the development and celebration of art forms of
his native and regional heritage', said the Boston resident. "Carifesta 1972"
came into being through the articulation of a vision that was a response to
a state of unhappiness expressed by regional artistes. Two years before that
event, they had presented their concerns to the Prime Minister of Guyana.
Forbes Burnham heard the voices of the artistes and he responded eloquently
in word and deed.`
Other honorees this year will include
Rohlehr and Roy Brummell, who will receive a Lifetime Achievement and an
Exemplary award, respectively.
Rohlehr is being honored for pioneering 'the academic and the
intellectual study of calypso and the calypsonian, tracing its history over
several centuries, and surveying the enormous material produced by
generations of West Indians from one territory to the other'. The Exemplary
Award will be presented to Brummell, who award officials say brought culture
to the people in his radio programs 'Ganga Time' and 'Heroes.'
'Like his friend Wordsworth McAndrew, Brummell traveled the countryside
of Guyana interviewing pork-knockers and farmers, and documenting sightings
of Baccoos and attending Kalaimai Pooja and Kwe Kwe ceremonies. He continues
to document the culture of Guyana in his writings,' added the statement.
Other 2008 honorees will include singer Sammy Baksh; Tangerine Clarke,
journalist; Impressions Dance Theatre Inc., youth; Dr. Evelyn R. John,
singer; Avis Joseph, musicologist; Laparkan Trading Ltd., business; Bill
'Crooner' Newman, calypsonian; Dr. Cicely Rodway, poet; Ivor Thom, sculptor
and Ian Valz, playwright.
All honorees were selected through an open process of call for
nominations from the Guyanese Diaspora. A selection committee, chaired by
Lammy, evaluated each nomination considering seven criteria: originality,
scope, impact / influence, integration, pioneering spirit, challenges and
achievements. More information is available at