EUSI KWAYANA

“There are many unsung heroes in Guyana. These are the individuals who in their own quiet way
have had a healthy and positive impact on the tone and texture of the society. By their integrity and
commitment to principle they stand out as shining examples to other members of the society. Eusi
Kwayana is such a man….Do you consider Eusi Kwayana an unsung hero?
While the Great One has been some what overshadowed by such  rabble-rousers and charismatic
oratory as performed by  Jagan, Burnham and Rodney, I do not consider the uncompromising
champion of the Guyanese underprivileged Working class people an unsung hero. Eusi Kwayana’s
dignified stand is perhaps, the flaw in his armor. He is neither selfish nor deceitful as most
politicians are. Those are perhaps his most endearing qualities. Eusi Kwayana is the national figure
of the last sixty years whom the vast majority of Guyanese; the masses trust and would boast would
never betray the wishes of the people. An elder statesman who quiet dignity will forever resided in
the hearts of minds of all whoever shared space and or conversations with him.

If our champion is considered an unsung hero by any stretch of imagination – then my simple mind
informs me such a sad statement is an indictment against the people and the state of Guyana. It is
high time Eusi Kwayana be declared a national treasure – and works be produced and made
available to the Guyanese public thereby enlightening all, concerning the times and the
contributions this elder statesman has made and continues to make to the development of
his and our dear land of Guyana. It is high time the Government and people of Guyana enshrine
Eusi Kwayana as a living national hero. It is high time; the works of Eusi Kwayana be collected and
made available to all. It is high time institutions be named in his honor. I believe it is most fitting that
a library a research institution be constructed in his beloved community Buxton-Friendship and
declared the Eusi Kwayana research center with all the equipment of this modern age. I believe
such is a most fitting tribute to the man and his community. “

Sancho of Nabaclis

Biographical Sketch: EUSI KWAYANA

Educator, Author, Playwright, Lyricist, Poet, Politician, Member of Parliament, Government Minister

Born on 4th April, 1925 at Plantation Lusignan, ECD and named Sydney Evanson King by his
parents, the “Sage of Buxton” is, above all, a statesman.

Eusi obtained his primary education from Lusignan Primary, St. Anthony’s RC (Buxton), St. Mary-
ye-Virgin (BV)  and Cumberland Methodist (Berbice) schools, and studied privately to obtain a
degree in Economics.

In 1940, at the young age of 15, he began teaching at the LBI branch of St.Mary-Virgin Anglican
School. He founded a secondary school-County High School-in Buxton, in 1956. This institution was
renamed Republic Co-operative High School in 1970, in keeping with Guyana’s new thrust upon
becoming a Co-operative Republic that year.

As a young man, he joined with Martin Stephenson and John Abrams to organize the Buxton Rate
Payers’ Association in 1949. Other prominent members of the group included SIA Glasgow, an
athlete at the time and its Secretary; George Younge of the older brigade; and women like Mrs.
Alberta Harry and Mrs. Vera Griffith.   The group successfully represented villagers on issues that
undermined development of the village. Eusi later became a member of the Buxton-Friendship
Village Council, and rose to become chairman of the local authority.

Eusi Kwayana features prominently in Guyana’s political history. He was a key member of the
Political Action Committee, founded by Cheddi and Janet Jagan and forerunner to the People’s
Progressive Party, which Eusi helped establish in 1950. He won a seat at the April 1953 general
elections and became a member of the PPP cabinet, serving as Minister of Communication and
Works.

Upon the split within the PPP in 1955, Eusi chose to not join with Messrs. Forbes Burnham and
Lachmansigh Rai on the grounds of ideology.  He, however, left that party in 1957, after
disagreements on whether Guyana should join the West Indian Federation, which he strongly
favoured.

In 1967, he accepted an invitation to become the non-executive Chairperson of the Guyana
Marketing Corporation, and resigned in 1971. During the same year, he was expelled from the PNC
after, as a member of the African Society for Racial Equality, he publicly called for a new political
system of joint ruling between the leaders of the two major ethnic groups, with partition as a last
resort if such negotiations failed. His proposal was labeled ‘racist’ by the expelling party.

Kwayana founded the African Society for Cultural Relations with Independent Africa (ASCRIA), a
pan-Africanist organisation.

In 1974, he joined forces with Moses Bhagwan, Brindley Benn and Clive Thomas to form the
pressure group-the Working People’s Alliance, which later attracted the iconic political activist and
scholar, Walter Rodney. The WPA became a full-fledged political party in 1979.

Perhaps least known to many of today’s young generation is Brother Eusi’s accomplishment as a
lyricist. Among his works are the anthems for the PPP, “Oh Fighting Men”; the PNC, “The Battle
Song”; and the WPA, “People’s Power”. He also penned the lyrics for the Demerara Youth Rally’s
song.

As a playwright, his first play was “Prodigal Daughter”. He wrote the script and lyrics for “Christus
the Messiah”, the music for which was composed by the late and distinguished musician, Cecilene
Baird of BV. He is also credited with the script for “Promised Land”, a dramatization of the Birth of
Buxton in the village movement. This play was presented by students of County High School, and it
was awarded the 1965 national prize at the Theatre Guild in Georgetown. It also won three other
prizes, adjudged by notable Caribbean playwright, Derek Walcott.

Eusi Kwayana resides in San Diego, California with his wife, Tchaiko. They are parents to three
children

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