Hugh Neville James Cholmondeley, Guyanese broadcaster and international civil servant, passed away in a New York hospital on Friday, August 10, 2012 at age 73. His death, following a long battle with lung cancer, came peacefully and in the presence of his close family.
He was married to Marieanne. His children are Tracey, Cathy and Melina Deborah and Adrian.
HUGH AND I – A TALE OF TWO FRIENDS
My name is Rafiq Khan., and Hugh Neville James Cholmondeley is my friend – down to the last syllable of his name…heard and unheard.
It does not lie in me to share with you, here and now, the best remembrances of my friend. Such memories come forth from time, distance and separation, and our friendship of some 55 years is still too close, still too alive, for the most significant memories to crystallize.
When we are in the process of growing experiences and fostering affinities, can we ever know at what point we are making a memory?
Did I know, for instance, that Hugh and I were making a memory one day in 1958, when
a gangling youth, barely 18, sat before my desk? There he was, hunched like a runner
at the starting block, with little to recommend him for the announcer role he sought
but a huge voice and a gleam in his eyes. With a hope and a prayer, I took him on
but, truth to tell, he kept crashing into some early learning curves, and it did
not take long for the powers-
As to his very name, Hugh, how could I have known we were making another memory at
that first encounter when he introduced himself to me as Neville? Off-
Again, did I know we were making a memory when, in those formative years, Hugh was found fusing into one person (himself) the functions of announcer and control operator? This, in the face of the strict orthodoxies of the time, which prescribed that the announcer must keep to his booth announcing and the operator must keep to his booth operating, and ne’er the twain shall meet. But, I stayed my hand. Why? Because some inner voice told me to go first to my room and listen. What I heard was stunning – a new way of presenting music on radio, no longer stilted but spontaneous and flowing .Vindication for Hugh – and the onset of a new phenomenon, the radio disc jockey.
And so it went on, with Hugh adventuring on the outer edge of the straight and narrow
path, and me holding on to his shirt-
Such is the stuff of random memory, but surely the most enduring images of my relationship with this unforgettable man must lie, not in the blossoms of his beginnings, but in the blooms of his maturings?
Images such as those, ten years later, when our roles changed, and Mentor and protégé
became competitors. Hugh had gone off to remodel a Radio Service which my Company
had ceded to the Government. It was a curious kind of competition: Our agendas were
different, the battle at operational level was keen, and leading well-
The dwindling survivors of that audience still treasure their own memories of those halcyon days and the essential role played by Hugh Cholmondeley. May I only say to those who may bemoan the state of broadcasting today in this land of ours:
“Don’t let it be forgot
That once there was a spot
For one brief shining moment
That was Camelot.”
Fast forward by another ten years (it would seem that pivotal moments in the relationship between Hugh and me were always a decade apart). Having decided to leave the Guyana scene rather than become a creature of Government, I was torn between regional options, when UNESCO made me an offer I could not refuse. Hugh, who had gone ahead of me, was sent by UNESCO to Jamaica to establish its first Caribbean Office, and I was recruited, no doubt at Hugh’s urging, to join him as his Chief Technical Adviser.
So, there we were with another role change: In the beginning I was Hugh’s boss, then we were competitors, and now Hugh was my boss. And we were intrigued by the game that Destiny was playing with our lives.
But there was one more round of musical chairs to come. Hugh had moved on to higher
calling within the UN System, and in the fullness of time I retired from UNESCO and
began roving the Caribbean as a private consultant. That was when Hugh and I found
ourselves meeting up once again on high-
But finally it came time for me really, really to retire (Hugh never did, really), and I settled back into my Jamaica nook, where my wife and I now spend our remaining days contemplating the sunset… And so, the question asked about the hand of Fate in Hugh’s early days may now be asked about me: What would have become of Rafiq Khan in his later years, were it not for Hugh Cholmondeley?
Underlying and knitting our chameleon-
Compared to the intractable problems he confronted on the world stage, sad to say, none caused Hugh Cholmondeley more agony and heartbreak than the mission he took onto himself in his own homeland. His efforts over the years, behind the scenes, to detribalize, harmonize and uplift the Guyana society were met for the most part by a tonal deafness or, at best, equivocation from contentious forces. Frustration dogged his steps, yet he kept on trying.
As life waned, I visited with Hugh a few weeks ago in his New York apartment and spent a precious day by his bedside, while Marieanne, his rock and comforter, withdrew into the background, allowing these two codgers to commune about their times together and reflect on life and legacy. To see a resurgent Guyana was for Hugh an endless, aching desire but, since time was running out on him, he told me he would settle for just being able to close his eyes in his beloved country. In the end, even that, Fate denied him.
So now, the labourer’s task is o’er… Nunc dimittis… But, Hugh Neville James, where’er you walk in Elysian Fields, every now and then look around. Who knows? It may not be long now before you see a certain, ancient figure in his accustomed position – right behind you – watching your back!
7 September, 2012.
St. George’s Cathedral, Guyana.
Delivered at Dame Olga’s funeral on February 15, 2011
And there I was, expecting her to attend my funeral. Olga, Olga, quite contrary, once again getting ahead of me.
Most of you probably never heard of me before, nor do I deserve to be known by you – except perhaps hereafter as Olga’s old friend.
We go back 60 years or more – Olga and I – to the radio station in the country of our birth, British Guiana, as it was then called.
That’s when and where Olga first came in contact – or as she would have said – in collision with a callow upstart, by the name of Rafiq Khan, who had the gall to position himself as her superior in rank, although her inferior in years and breeding.
That, however, only served to ignite a certain chemistry between us as we together explored that strange jungle of radio, making our mistakes, sometimes losing our way, often falling out, then falling back in; in short, we annoyed the best out of each other.
In later years Olga was never backward in proclaiming how much she learnt from that early relationship. But let me tell you, it is a foolish teacher who does not in the process learn from his student, and Olga taught me manifold lessons on how to manage and not to manage people and, more importantly, on the supernal values that justify our lives on God’s good earth.
Indeed, of all of my protégés down the years, there was none more naturally gifted,
none more imbued with a sense of mission, none more complete a broadcaster than
I say complete because she served the true ends of Broadcasting by mobilizing talent
in the cause of mission. That talent overflowed in the euphony of her lush voice,
in her impeccable style and delivery, in the projection of her, in turn, ebullient
As to her sense of community and spirit of outreach, what more can I say that you already do not know? Mission foreseen. Mission accomplished.
Let me end with these snapshots of Olga and me.
Olga in her early radio days, too shy to use the first person singular pronoun, instead always referring to herself as “yours truly” – until it got so jarring on me that I decided to saddle her with an inspirational program and made her call it Yours Truly Olga. And the rest is history.
Olga, regardless of the programme she was assigned to do, always sneaking in appeals for some little boy or girl who needed a pair of shoes or a meal or a Christmas toy. All well and good, except she kept skewing the content and purpose of the programme – until we fixed her by starting a fund for needy children and put her in charge of it. And the rest is history.
In those two illustrations, as with her every project, it goes to the genius of Olga
Fast forward to an episode in the fullness of our years. Olga on the verge of 90,
sitting with me amidst a set of whipper-
That’s Olga – forever young.
That’s Olga – my forever friend.
Eulogy by Mr. Vic Fernandes, Chief Executive Officer, Starcom Network at the Funeral
of Dame Olga Lopes-
Your Excellency Sir Clifford Husbands, Governor General of Barbados, the Honourable Fruendel Stuart, Prime Minister, members of Cabinet of Barbados, members of Her Majesty’s Opposition members of the Diplomatic Corps, family and friends of our late and beloved Olga, distinguished ladies and gentlemen. This is the second occasion in as many weeks that I stand at this lectern here in this Cathedral to deliver an appreciation; I trust that circumstances will not require my presence in this role for a long time to come. And though today we are saddened both by the circumstances of and the passing of our beloved Dame Olga, today ought to be a celebration of a life lived to the fullest and one faithful to the teachings of almighty God. While there is no need to recite her many achievements and deeds, first in her native Guyana and then for the past almost 50 years here in Barbados, for these are well known and documented across both countries, it would be more than fitting to say that she shaped her life through the teachings of our Lord and faithfully adhered to them. Her work in ministering in a tangible and measureable way to the needs of the poor, deprived, neglected and marginalized stands out above all else.
She loved her neighbour as herself, she did unto others as she would have them do unto her and others, she did not covet another's property, she loved her God. Above all else, she was charitable and compassionate, understanding and caring, she inspired many and gave hope to the hopeless. Her integrity was beyond question. Some compare her to mother Teresa but our Dame's work stands on its own and needs no comparison for validation. She had an uncanny ability to mobilize critical forces to assist in her work and quietly traveled the length and breadth of this country in search of those in need and personally delivered the items to the appropriate recipients, she did not take chances lest some unscrupulous person or persons sought to exploit the marginalized. To the poor and forgotten in society she was Auntie Olga.
Frequently she was encountered late into the evening searching in some village in the country districts for a person in need, making that delivery personally. And even at 90 plus she was still driving around the Diahatsu SUV.
Olga was a middle-
I will confess that when I saw Olga coming I gave the same respect as I did to an ambulance or Police Vehicle with sirens on, pull to the side and let her pass. Noted Caribbean journalist and fellow Guyanese, Hubert Williams in paying tribute to Olga relates that two years ago at the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium following an event, he offered to wait with her till her ride arrived but she indicated that her ride was there in the car park and so he walked her through the rain, umbrella in hand, only to see Olga open a big SUV wave goodbye and drive off.
The Needy Children's Fund, started in Guyana, lives on today as testimony to her work and skills. The Redifussion Needy Children's Fund in Barbados was another monumental success and even after her retirement she and her band of dedicated helpers worked day and night to assist those in need. I once visited Olga at her home “Casa Blanca” in Stanmore Terrace to deliver some items which had been donated through a friend and was amazed that her house more resembled a warehouse than a home.
Harold Hoyte, Editor Emeritus of the Nation Publishing Co Ltd, tells me that it pained Olga when the press did not cover her Needy Children’s Party because she strongly felt that people who contributed should know how their money was spent. On occasions when it was not covered, she would cuss, but on one occasion she actually went down to the NATION and cried. Such was the passion she felt for what she did and the pain she felt when her efforts went unreported.
He says, “Olga got her way every time. It is impossible to get around, above or below her. She had the knack of plaintively begging, insisting, demanding what she wanted. Not for herself; but for others in need.”
Many people remember her for the excellent radio voice and she readily acknowledged that. But she once told Harold: “People may like my voice, but they don’t like my mouth!” (She said it as she saw it.)
Respected Journalist, Roxanne Gibbs tells of Olga’s great love of Coca Cola. When visiting Olga in hospital just before her last birthday, she confided in Roxanne that she would dearly love to have a Coke, but the hospital staff would not give it to her. Roxanne told her that she had one, but that the doctors thought Coke was not good for her at this stage. Olga retorted: “At 92, you really think I worrying about what good for me. I have lived a long, happy and satisfying life and I am at the age where I should be able to eat and drink whatever I want. Give me the damn Coke.”
My introduction to Olga came at an early age as she and my mum were friends who as
girls grew up together in Guyana where young Olga excelled as a songbird. But this
When she got her Knighthood she said: “I have the Barbados Service Star (BSS); the Gold Crown of Merit (GCM); an Order of the British Empire (OBE) and now Dame. The only letters I can now get are R.I.P.”
After she was knighted Olga always insisted: “Call me Dame Auntie Olga for sure. That is an order. Don’t you dare drop the “AUNTIE”.”
Her sense of humour was over the top; once while assisting her to a seat at a public event she reminded me with a little twinkle in the eye that everything was working from the knees up.
As a child she was ill a lot, n and out of hospital. She once said that she had from filaria to malaria.
Young Olga was a tom boy. When she was not sick she was skipping school and pitching marbles in the back yard of Funky Fung rum shop for buttons.
As she grew into Guyana’s blonde bombshell, the pride of Guyana would be conquered by a Bajan.
Olga Lopes swept Dick Seale off his feet, quite literally.
She had gone to a birthday party and saw him sitting “like a sore thumb” in a corner
by himself, she went up to him, introduced herself, and asked him to dance. He was
reluctant. She insisted and he got up and danced. However, upon realizing “he could
only do a one-
She said “Dick was a Barbadian who had come to Guyana to work as a sugar overseer. He turned up at my house, reminded me who he was, and started sending me love letters and proposals. He was in love with me, but I did not love him then.”
That was to change as this Bajan would not be denied, so when Olga was bedridden with Filaria, Dick would ride from Berbice about 75 kilometres away, to sit at her bedside, waiting patiently for his beloved to open her eyes, even while she pretended to be asleep.
To hear Olga tell it, after a while she got used to him, discovered he was a nice, kind, and might I add determined person and friendship blossomed into love.
And when his umpteenth marriage proposal was finally accepted, even the wedding night had its challenges as our blond bombshell had food poisoning and a night of romance became, instead, a night of running to and fro to the bathroom. There was to be no romance that night.
They had many adjustments to make, as a sugar man Dick rose early and consequently went to bed early too, while his wife became the social butterfly.
Of Dick Seale she said, “I am glad he was my husband and father of my children. He was a good man, quietly determined and patient.” That union lasted 50 years till Dick’s passing.
As a child she loved riding her bicycle and would sometimes have six or seven children on her bike at the same time. Even as an adult, she would ride her green Rally bike to Barbados Rediffusion during the oil crisis in the 70s.
Susan, one of her granddaughters tells a favourite story of her Granny.
One morning Susan wanted boiled egg for breakfast but once she got it, did not want it anymore and threw it away on the lawn. Olga asked Susan if she ate the egg and Susan replied “yes.” Olga decided she would check Susan’s mouth for traces of egg and found none. She went outside, recovered the egg, washed it off and made Susan eat it.
She was meticulous with her charity work. One morning Aunty Olga visited an old lady who had written to her and told her how hard things were and that she had nothing in the house. Olga visited at the old lady’s house and was amazed to see TV, telephone, stereo and all the things that a modern day home would have. A day or two later the old lady called back Aunty Olga and asked if she was going to get help. She told her no because she lived in a comfortable home and the old lady said, “but I borrowed that house because I did not want you to come to my real house and see how I live”.
She always kept parcels of food in her car and gave them out randomly to people that were in need.
Aunty Olga got a traffic ticket once for doing a rolling stop in Black Rock. The Police Officer told her “I know you are Auntie Olga but you have to obey the traffic laws and you are always telling people to do the right thing”.
Another time Aunty Olga argued with Police Officers because she wanted to park in front of Cave Shepherd for 5 minutes to run in to purchase toys.
She did not like people speaking softly or saying “ammm” when they were speaking.
Before she did an outside broadcast she would visit the area to familiarize herself with the neighborhood. She made sure to do the research.
She did not like or have committees, she did most of the work herself.
She once had a children’s party on the Drill Hall beach for 1500 children and was able to pack gift bags to give to each child.
People would call her at 5:00 in the morning to say that their children did not have anything to eat before going to school and she would get out of her bed, have a cup of tea and take food for the needy mother. This was Dame Olga.
As a young boy I sat on the wall outside what is now STARCOM Network Inc waiting for the school bus to take me to Presentation College in St John and would be mesmerized by the occasional passing of the giants of broadcasting, Olga among them. Never did I dream that one day I would sit in the CEO's chair and still have Olga's wisdom to call on. She once told me that she enjoyed reading obituaries, “why?” I enquired with some puzzlement, to which she responded that she took great care in doing justice to those announcements as in many cases it would have been the only time the deceased would be featured on a public medium.
Children’s Party with Joe Tudor, Keith Campbell, Carson, Auntie Doris and others was a “must listen to” on Saturday mornings and there is hardly a Barbadian entertainer of worth who did not cut their teeth in studio 3.
Few Broadcasters also work in the print medium; Olga was one of those rare species. It was Carl Moore, Editor of the NATION at the time who said that instead of carrying the internationally syndicated Dear Abby love column, we should create our own; and he thought that Olga had all the qualities to do the job; hence “Dear Christine”.
Her first column appeared on December 9, 1973, after being promoted in advance. That first letter was from a single man who was having an affair with a married woman and he was afraid the husband would find out, so he asked Christine what he should do.
Her reply: “Nothing. Just beat it.” (Not in the colloquial sense, but in the sense of walking away from the affair.)
She continued to write the column for the next 34 years, only giving way to Roxanne Gibbs in 2008.
Her ‘Column to Cherish’ came much later and was a result of inspirational poems which she would submit from time to time until they became a fixture in the Sunday paper. The last one appeared the week before her passing.
To have been asked to deliver an appreciation of this towering human being was an honour. Never could I have imagined as I sat on that wall outside Barbados Rediffusion, that one day I would be asked to say a few words on her passing.
Had I the foresight, I would have been better prepared.
It has been suggested that we ought to erect a permanent monument to the memory of this amazing humanitarian and there is no doubt that she deserves it.
A fitting tribute to her, however, would be for us to ensure that those who find themselves in strained circumstances would be assisted until they are able to again stand on their own two feet and regain some human dignity.
On behalf of our Group Chairman, Sir Fred Gollop, the Directors of One Caribbean Media, the Group CEO of OCM, Dawn Thomas, Olga’s colleagues at STARCOM Network Inc, the Board of Directors, Harold Hoyte Chairman of the Nation Publishing Corporation and the Directors of the Nation Group of Companies and the wider fraternity of Broadcasters of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union as well as on behalf of my family, I extend to her children Marcia Bancroft, John Seale, her grand children, Susan, Ann and Alan and her great grands, our sincere condolences on the passing of this unique human being.
I am sure that our God will grant unto her rest eternal and that she will one day rise in Glory.
better known as
Pat loved people and people loved her. This carried over into her work as broadcaster and showed in her broadcast programs and in her interactions with colleagues in the workplace.
Among the programs she produced and presented were women’s programs, talk shows,
Pat did research into Guyanese folklore and recorded a series of programs featuring Guyanese proverbs told in dialect.
She was the recipient of many awards. She was awarded the Golden Arrow of Achievement, one of Guyana’s highest national awards, for “broadcasting of an exceptionally high standard.” She was also voted Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress for dramatic performances at the Theatre Guild of Guyana and the National Culture Centre of Guyana.
Pat loved writing poetry for her own enjoyment. In the year 2000, however, she issued a limited publication of selected poems, titled "This is My Song", which she shared with others.
Pat was married to Henry Cameron (deceased) in 1952. She was the mother of Dianne
Aaron, Capt. Christopher Cameron, and Gail Cameron-
Read one of Pat's poems: "."
The following tribute from Rafiq Khan, former General Manager of Radio Demerara, was read at the funeral of Pat Cameron.
PAT CAMERON – A REMEMBRANCE
Pat belonged to the glory years of Radio in Guyana – the mid-
If any of you at some time or other suspected I had a soft spot for you, you were
absolutely right. But no spot was softer than the one I had for her who never needed
How well I remember the circumstances of her recruitment. It followed days of fruitless auditioning of candidates …until I grew tired and frustrated. Then came the final day with a huge batch of hopefuls, and I looked upon the multitude and in a tremulous voice, prayed: God, I don’t have the energy anymore. Please give me today the announcer of my dreams”… And the Good Lord, answering my prayer, gave me Pat Cameron. She was the first candidate to be auditioned that day and, after her, I had no ears for the rest.
Here was this seemingly shy and diffident young lady who instinctively took to the medium of radio and sailed full speed ahead, fueled by her own talent and inborn sense of quality. There was no need for me to chart maps for Pat. A word here – a smile there – a gentle nudge elsewhere – was enough.
Yet, she would tell of how hard I made life for her by always shifting her designated port of call a little beyond her grasp. Nevertheless, she could not resist those stretching exercises, because I held steadfastly before her the mirror of her own infinite possibilities, and she saw reflected therein the seas still to be sailed, the worlds yet to be conquered. And how could she deny her own imperatives? Indeed, nudged and prodded, she reconciled herself to the truth that the pursuit of excellence is long and hard and brooks no compromise….And Pat stayed the course.
OK, she might have suffered at my hands, but she knew alright how to get her own back at me. And she did it every December, in full public hearing, when the time came for the staff show, Christmas at Radio Demerara.
From those halcyon days, I still relish the memory of Pat unsheathing her double-
And so, Pat Cameron strode down the years expressing and fulfilling herself in the medium of radio and, in the process, entrenching herself in the hearts of her colleagues and her audience. But let the credit for what she accomplished rest securely where it belongs – with herself. I may have provided a little course correction here and there, but all the heavy navigating was her own.
Then came those arid latter years – after I had departed the scene. As other people’s standards rotted and collapsed around her, Pat held firm and true to her innate values and became an unwavering beacon to those who knew how once it was and who wanted it to be so again.
In these days of mediocrity born of an all-
With a full heart, it now only remains for this old friend and scourge to bow his
“shining head” in tribute to Pat, recognizing that no more does she belong to only
the glory days of Radio -
So, as we in Jamaica would say: Walk good, my friend…..To which I would add: And where’er you walk, may Angels attend you.
Rafiq Khan, Kingston, Jamaica. 7/6/09
Pat Cameron was an outstanding woman and professional. We shared an office at GBC and became supportive colleagues! She was dignified, had a fantastic sense of humor and was a vision for a better Guyana.
Owmigoy! She’s an inspiration. What a wonderful human being. Lovely person! Beautiful
Am with you in the celebration of her living.
Marc & Kamal. U.K
I will always remember fondly the years we worked together at Radio Demerara. She
was an inspiration to us all.
I would like to express my sentiments as follows:
When I started on radio in 1965 Pat was already established as not only Guyana's best female broadcaster but the Caribbean's number one. What a wonderful ability at expressing herself, both on and off air. She was articulate and yet not verbose; she was the queen of radio and yet humble. As Rudyard Kipling wrote "If you could move with kings and not lose the common touch" ...... Pat did just that.
The proof of her total acceptance by her listeners was evidenced by the name by which she was called by everyone, even those much older than she was -
"Visit with Patricia" and "Woman, Home and Family" are indelibly imprinted in my mind and that of thousands who were fortunate to have been radio listeners during her tenure.
I also consider myself much greater for the experience of working alongside Pat for many years, for it was from her that my foundation in radio was developed and it was from her that I learnt so much about good broadcasting practices. She was firm and yet gentle in correcting and, because of the respect we had for her, such corrections were readily accepted.
Pat even provided us with laughter with her then famous bloopers. In fact, we all considered her our "top blooperist". She once read a commercial for Bookers Universal and referred to the store as "Yookers Buniversal". It was Pat who had her operator (Haydn Cashmir) sitting on the floor when she referred to men's bowties as BOW (as in 'how') tees. It was Pat who would look frantically for her spectacles, which were perched on her head. But it was also Pat who inspired us all to be the best, for when you worked in a team that included her you were motivated to be nothing but the best.
I say to Gail, Dianne, Christopher and the other members of the family -
“For Pat Cameron, the decision to embark on a career in broadcasting was not an easy
one. Dedicated to always doing the best that she could in everything, Pat wasn’t
sure she could combine the duty to bring up three young kids with the responsibilities
of service to the public. She was overcome with joy when the redoubtable Rafiq Khan
informed her that her audition was a success. After several disturbing days, she
took the decision and became a natural member of a distinguished team that included
stalwarts like Olga Lopes-
She brought to her new vocation an inquisitive interest in everything around her,
always reaching for the highest standards and completely dedicated to hard work and
The rest is history. Pat’s success in broadcasting was assured because of her four great passions. She was passionate about communicating in plain language. She was passionate about exciting young minds with stories of past glories. She was passionate about recounting folk traditions that teach the lessons of life. And finally, she was passionate about imparting knowledge that made the duties of mothers less burdensome. The true expressions of her art were demonstrated by the skills she developed in transforming her passions into programmes that touched, fulfilled and enriched the lives of young and old alike. That is her enduring legacy.”
Pat was a broadcast professional, who brought artistry to everything she did. She loved people in general and was supportive and inspiring to colleagues. How can we not miss her?
Although I never had the pleasure of working with her (at Radio Demerara), I did
have the task of devising programmes (at GBS) to compete against her. It was not
an easy undertaking, and I know that we never succeeded in luring her faithful and
admiring audience. She was an accomplished broadcaster, but beyond that a lovely
and charming lady.
I was honoured several years ago to join other Guyanese broadcasters in New York in paying tribute to her work. She will long be remembered for her personal qualities of good grace and good humour, and for her professional high standards in broadcasting.
I send to her relatives my sincere sympathy, and remind them that no ill befalls the good in life or death.
Sir Ronald Michael Sanders KCMG
Aunty Pat (that is what I called her as a kid) was always a great person to me. Every
Friday afternoon at 3:00 p,m in Studio 'B' was the recordings of On Show Young Guyana. I
still remember the song we (the kids) had to sing :' On Show Young Guyana /It's a
show for you and for me/ It's on Radio Demerara /7:60 on your dial /So get set-
Aunty Pat -
See you in heaven Aunty Pat.
One of the most important things I learned from Pat is to love with all your heart.
Another one is to believe the best of people. She was the most gracious, kind and
beautiful person I've ever known. Talented too-
To say that Pat inspired me is an understatement. She took me under her wing when I was a gawky, 15-
I wish if every young person today could be so blessed to have someone like Pat in their lives to believe in them and just take the time to care.
I know Pat is watching and smiling today. I wish I could be there in person to talk about how special she was to me. But I know that there's a roomfull of people who are expressing many of the same feelings.
I will miss her so much, but I'll never forget her faith in me and the wonderful gifts that she brought to my life. Thank you Pat -
Love to everyone.
Ann De Freitas
Ayube Ahmad Khan, known on radio as Ayube Hamid, passed away, after a long career in radio broadcasting, on Wednesday, January 21, 2009. He died at his home on Hadfield Street, Werkenrust, Georgetown and was buried at Le Repentir Cemetery the same afternoon after a ceremony at the Muslim Youth Organizanation. Ayube was 82 years old.
His distinctive voice, which remained clear, strong and authoritative to the end, will be remembered by all. He was a professional who took his job seriously.
To the large listening audience who for over five decades heard him on the radio, it was obvious that Indian Memory Album and the Ayube Hamid show, two of his most durable programs, were important to him. So were the many other programs he presented. He also took especial pride in encouraging new entrants into the field.
But dear to him also were his family and his Muslim faith.
Apart from his on-
Ayube leaves to mourn his loss his daughter Safiyya Khan and his grandson Rasheed
I left Guyana for the States twenty five years ago but in my head I still hear Ayube announcing his programmes as if it was yesterday. I enjoyed him very much and was very sorry to hear about his death. My sincere sympathy goes out to his family.
A few years ago I noted that the only information on Ayube Hamid on this site was his involvement with two programmes, "Indian Memory Album" and "In Search of a Star". As a result, I submitted additional information on the outstanding contribution of Mr. Hamid to radio in Guyana. Regretfully, this information was never added and the entries for Mr. Hamid remain woefully incomplete.
With the passing of this outstanding Guyanese and a cultural icon in the Indo-
I recall too that he was a news announcer for a long time and later became the advertising
(Sorry about your previous communication, Harry. I don't know what happened to it.
Ayube Hamid was an outstanding and much sought after MC. Actually, the first time I saw him in person, he was an MC at a fair in the college ground to raise funds to complete the building for the Indian Educational Trust College.
Ayube Hamid Khan was a true radio icon. His wonderful melodic voice will long be remembered on mainly the Indian Shows, on the then Radio Demerara. However, we must never forget that Ayube was also a knowledgeable cricket commentator. He did a splendid job in announcing cricket from the famous Bourda Green Cricket Ground.
Born Chanderpaul Persaud at Buxton, East Coast Demerara, he was educated at St Augustine Anglican School and then St Anthony's Roman Catholic School in Buxton.
He began his long career in news reporting, filing local stories at an early age. Later he reported for several foreign news agencies.
Although most of his work was done for the print media, he was greatly attracted to radio and television. He contributed to the broadcast of radio news in the early days of radio in Guyana and later to news broadcasts on television.
Paul O'Hara, the name by which he was best known, was the presenter of the radio program, "Believe It or Leave It." On television, he presented the Channel Six program, `Top Story.'"
He is survived by his wife Shirley and daughter, Sandra.
A distinguished son of Guyana, Gavin Kennard served well in several capacities, mostly related to agriculture, including that of Minister of Agriculture from September 1974 to January 1981, but also as Guyana’s High Commissioner to Canada in Ottawa.
He was awarded Guyana’s Cacique Crown of Honor and earlier, in colonial times, Commander of the British Empire.
Fittingly, he became Guyana-
His father was white, a Scottish medical doctor who made Guyana his home. His mother was black. Gavin Kennard, a man of mixed heritage, was notably gracious and accessible to everyone. He married Indrani Singh in 1940.
He is remembered as a man of decency, good taste, simplicity and devotion to family and country.
In Canada, where he spent the last days of his life, he retired to Markham after
leaving Ottawa. Gavin Kennard is survived by his wife Indrani, his daughters Greta
Sad news -
Sure is sad. there must be something significant in CG's death almost one year to the day of Ulita. CG will always be remembered not only for the journalist he was but also the smart and tasteful dresser. Rest in peace CG.
I hope all concerned understand how great a loss to Guyana and Caribbean media is
the passing of Cecil Griffith. Definitely one of the greats who never abandoned journalism
and who had so much to offer even in the last days and years.
How old was he, by the way? I always thought he was close to 80 (he had an 'old' face), even when I met him about 18 years ago and failed the socialist test at a workshop in Jamaica. "One Trini capitalist," I understand were the words used. I muttered something in return about his association with VOA.
I think he must have really enjoyed the way people like Bert and Denis and Enrico and Michelle and other younger Turks drew from his vast experience and wisdom. A pity the new, rising stars appeared not to recognise his value as a professional and as a good man ... a good, good man who never found time between Burnham and the new bunch to grow bitter ... maybe sad ... but never disenchanted or lacking hope. His large, brown eyes textured as a child's fixed upon a giant
ice cream cone.
Denis' post has reached me at close to 11 at night. How dare I sleep when there is so much to remember about Cecil?
Wesley (Association of Caribbean Media Workers)
I join the media in mourning the passing of Cecil. He and I worked at Radio Demerara and then the GBC for several years. I succeeded him as Editor in Chief of the GBC and I can say without successful contradition that he was one of those with whom it was not easy to strike up a friendship, but when this was achieved, he would go all the way to work closely with you and offer as much advice as possible. Cecil was always a 'lone wolf' so to speak but he was always available to his colleagues. Sometimes he would fool others with his loud voice but he always had a soft heart especially for those who worked with him. Those who would certainly remember him include Ave Brewster, Charles McKenzie (now deceased) Julian Mendes, (now deceased) Hugh Hamilton, Hugh Cholmondeley, Rafiq Khan, Richad de Corum (deceased) Bertie Chancellor (deceased) Pete Ninvalle, Edgar Moonsammy (deceased) Pat Cameron, Prince Maison, Rickey Singh, Charles Chichester, Rovin Deodat and others . Do not know if he left any relatives. Take care and do not forget "Jerusalem, Peace not Apartheid.
Condolence Message from H.E. Edwin. W. Carrington, Secretary-
(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)
It is with deep regret that I have learnt of the passing of veteran Guyanese journalist, Mr. Cecil Griffith, A.A.
As a journalist with the then Guyana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), and later, the Voice of America, Mr. Griffith, in his heyday, was one of the tenacious regional journalists who covered the CARICOM ‘beat’. His relinquishing of the beat years ago left a void in the coverage of CARICOM issues, and his unmistakable dry wit and candour were noticeably absent, particularly at fora held at the Secretariat.
The Region has lost a stalwart in both print and broadcast journalism.
On behalf of the staff of the CARICOM Secretariat, and on my own behalf, I wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to his relatives.
Born at Triumph Village, ECD, Makepeace Richmond was, to those who knew him well,
Dr. Richmond practiced dentistry for over 50 years at his Brickdam, Georgetown and
had a large clientele. He was also a senior official of the Liberator Party. "He
was drawn into politics not to pursue the prize of high office but to relentlessly
attack public wrongdoing," one commentator wrote. A keen sportsman, he played cricket,
hockey and tennis. He also served as President of the Guyana Lawn Tennis Association.
After Queen’s College in Guyana, Makepeace attended Columbia University in the United States, graduating as a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS). He opened a practice on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, New York and lectured part-
At his death, Dr. Richmond was survived by Megan, his sister and Quintin and Angus, two brothers living overseas.
“He was a pleasant soul and jovial person who was always there to give advice.”
Dr. Clive Jagan
I join Guyana in mourning the passing of Dr.Makepeace Richmond. Guyana has lost an
ideal citizen. A patriot, whose practical life and discipline were founded on his
devout religious beliefs and godliness. A man of wisdom and moral conviction, who
honoured the ethical codes of social service covering many areas in society. His
political life was one of simple truth and justice for all. His uprightness and fortitude
have won the admiration of the intelligentsia and the public at large. May the Lord
grant his soul eternal peace.
Pt. Birbal Singh.
With the passing of Dr. Makepeace Richmond, Guyana has lost one of its noblest sons.
Makepeace was a giant among men who helped to mould our nation’s [Guyana's] conscience.
To most people, the term 'an honest politician' is an oxymoron. However, Makepeace was an exception. He said what he meant and always meant what he said. ........
I consider it an honour and rare privilege to have known Dr. Makepeace Richmond.......... As we join to say farewell, may Horatio’s last wish to Hamlet be ours as well. “Now cracks a noble heart / Good night sweet prince / And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”
Ganraj Kumar, Ontario, Canada.
Died in hospital on April 25, 2003 in Georgetown, Guyana. He was Senior Counsel, Judge Advocate and a sports administrator.
He was the husband of Elaine and father of Rhonda, Kirk, and Gareth.
Donald Robinson served as president of the cycling federation and on the Olympic Association.
Mahadai Das, poet and activist, died on Thursday, April 3 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown, Barbados. Born Oct. 22, 1954 at Eccles Village, East Bank Demerara, her father was Tilokee Das and her mother, Beatrice Das (nee Matadin). Siblings: Patrick, Deodat, Chandradai, Sandra, Susan, Esther, Pamela, Charles, and Tina.
Mahadai studied at University of Guyana and University of the West Indies. She obtained a BA in Philosophy (Columbia), MA in Philosophy (U. of Chicago).
I Want to be a Poetess of My People (1977) was her first major collection of poetry. Her poem “I Came to India” was selected by George Lamming as one of three pieces exploring ethnicity and identity in the Caribbean for his presentation at the fourth annual Cheddi Jagan Lecture in York, Canada.
“Bones” her last book of poetry was published by Peepal Press in 1988). It deals
with her experiences as an Indo-
Mahadai was the 1971 Miss Diwali beauty queen.
Art Brooms, well-
He was the brother of Norma Clarke, Arlene Harris, Daphney Jackman, Loraine Scott
and Lilieth Clemonds.
Father of Ingrid Broomes (London) Diane Broomes (Trinidad) Abdul Salim (New York) Christine Broomes and Recardo Broomes (Guyana) and Clarence Broomes (deceased).
Uncle of Tangerine Clarke, Patricia, Marilyn, Peggy, Joy, Ann, Myrtle, Kim, Petal, Dale Deborah (deceased), Raphel, Kenrick, Anthony, Dexter, and Mark.
Tributes and Reflections
The Guyana Cultural Assocciation would like to extend our condolences to the family of well known Guyanese musician Art Brooms, who passed away on Saturday March 8, 2003 in Georgetown Guyana. Our thoughts and prayers are with his son Abdul Salim (Master Drummer); his nieces Tangerine Clarke and sisters, Tangerine's Mom and the other members of the family.
CONDOLENCES CAN BE SENT TO TANGERINE AT
From Vibert Cambridge
Please accept my sincerest condolences for the passing of your relative Art Brooms. He was a dear friend. I remember him fondly. Art must be remembered not only for his contribution to jazz and popular music he must be remembered for his role in the promotion of the creative and performing arts.
I want to take this moment to reflect on a period early in the 1970s. It was late 1971/early 1972 and Guyanese were beginning to create private creative spaces and to express their poetic juices publicly. One such space was the Green Shrimp.The owners, Victor Green and Conrad "Shrimpy" Meertins opened that space to a group of experimental poets/writers /performers known as the "Commune"-
Art gave unselfishly to that group. For almost 1 year, the group produced a new show every Sunday at the Green Shrimp...a marvellous fusion of music and the spoken word -
That group clearly was one of the most influential groups in Guyana's cultural life in the last three decades of the 20th century. The impact of that group is still evident. Like so many things in Guyana, the contribution of this group to Guyanese arts and culture seems be forgotten.
It is with the passing of an artist such as Art Brooms that we recognize the imperative to document and celebrate them. Let us celebrate Art Brooms!
Tangerine, please extend my sincerest condolences to the family and relatives of Art Brooms. May we all remember him as an unselfish contributor to Guyana's quest for its voice and rhythm.
The Guyana Tri-
Our thoughts and prayers are with you, remembering a Guyanese whose creative brush helped to craft the beautiful landscape and his contribution to the
wonderful memories of our magnificent Guyana. May his light shine on, and on.....
From Hugh Sam
Hello Tangerine and Abdul,
I was indeed sorry to hear of Art's passing. We shared some good musical moments together, and our last performance was about four or five years ago in Guyana, when Edith Pieters put on a choral work which needed a jazz drummer and pianist. It was a reunion for us since the last played time we played together was on "A Saxful of Harry". When he worked at Doria's Record Store, he would always inform me when a shipment of the record came, so that we could get our royalties from Harry Whittaker, who tended not to want to inform us. He was a pleasure to work with and his soft voice and gentlemanly behaviour were always a welcome sound and sight. he was, of course a very good drummer who was always listening to what was going on around him. Thank goodness, I can still hear him on "Saxful" where I think "Softly in the morning sunhine" really shows him off. It seems that I am now the only surving member of the 560 quartet
My deepest sympathy to all.
Art Broomes is not dead. My good friend Martin Carter wrote, 'Death must not find
find us thinking that we die......'. So with Art should it be. My friendship with
Art with warm and true. We enjoyed each other's company...each other's art. I would
visit his Bent Street home and we would talk for hours at a time. At Trevor Roger's
club we would jam, Art, Maxie
and Peggy Gouivea, Trevor and my cousin TJ providing Jazz accompaniment to my poetry. When tired of being framed by corrupt politicians, haunted by bounty hunting police and burgled by those would like to silence my pen, I stayed over here in this cold wet and most times friendless 'United States
of Hypocrisy'. I sought refuge in my friend Wancy's club at Nostrand and Clarkson in Brooklyn. Enduring for the first time the shivering cold and concrete indifference of New York city. Many nights I prayed for a way to make a quick raise that would ensure my return to my warm and more familiar
Georgetown. Many times after being lied to tricked of due wages by greedy editors I felt sorry for staying. Then one day a man came to see me. He had heard of my plight. He was a Guyanese. He told me to pack my bags and go with him. Into his home he took me and made me for the first time comfortable without obligation. He provided forums for me to perform my poetry. My spirit, my body and my mind he gave opportunity to heal. He was the son of Art Broomes. We had never met before. He had not known I was his father's friend. He had not known me just heard of me and yet that spirit of
love flowed way across the oceans from our sunlit 83,000 square miles of tropical green to this concrete prison of dreams and ambitions. How can I then believe that Art is dead. His memory, his love, his strong feeling of being his brother's keeper was still alive.
I know Art is not dead for I can never forget and once he lives in my memories as he lives in the memories of so many of us, he lives on. Like Martin said, 'Death must not find us thinking that we die....'
Veteran trade unionist, Joseph Henry Pollydore, O.R., C.C.H, died around 2:30 p.m. on February 26, 2003 at the Medical Arts Center, Georgetown, after serving the trade union movement for 61 years.
Pollydore was born at Calcutta, Mahaicony, on November 8, 1908. His skill in negotiating
led the then Prime Minister, Forbes Burnham to call him the "Caribbean Fox." He preferred
to negotiate rather than agitate. When he retired in February 1999 he was General
Secretary of the Trades Union Council.
Kester Alves, Communications Specialist and journalist, died yesterday at the St Joseph Mercy Hospital after a brief illness.
Alves, 57, attended St Stanislaus College. He earned his Master’s Degree in Political Science at Columbia University and was very active in the media and in the political life of Guyana.
He served as chairman of the Guyana Public Communications Agency (GPCA), member of the board of directors of the Guyana National Newspapers Ltd., public relations consultant to the Guyana Football Federation and member of the marketing committee of the Guyana Cricket Board.
His devotion to professionalism was widely respected.
He leaves to mourn his wife June and a son, Adam.
Roland was the husband of Andrea; father of Justin Brandon; son of the late Patricia
Phillips, organist of Kingston Methodist Church; nephew of the late Cicely Phillips
of Carnegie School of Home Economics, and Robert Phillips of Kingston Methodist Church;
Cousin of Hazel Griffith, Billy Phillips, Leila Phillips, Andrea Phillips-
The funeral service was held on Thursday, February 28, 2002 at Calvary-
Burial took place on Friday, March 1, 2002 at the Heavenly Rest Memorial Park, 268 Ridgedale Avenue, East Hanover, New Jersey.
Grew up in Kingston, Georgetown, Guyana
Attended Kingston Methodist School, Dolphin Government School, Queen's College
Was active in youth affairs at Kingston Methodist Church
Obtained Diploma in Mass Communication, University of Guyana, 1978
Obtained Diploma in Public Relations, Frank Jefkins School of Public Relations, England, 1981
Obtained Diploma in British Commonwealth Studies, University of Lethbridge, Canada, 1987
Was member of singing group, Friends Incorporated, with Alan Khan and Andrew Dos Santos
Was member of Stainless Steel with Mike Semple and Joslyn Small
Composed many songs, including Ode to Kamarang, Waramadong, The Land Where I was Born and Viva Nelson Mandela.
Was a founding member of Guyana Broadcasters of North America (GBNA) in New York City
Presented feature programs for GBNA on radio
The following are a few of the reflections on Roland's life:
From Alan Cooper
This has totally shocked and devastated me. I am still inconsolably in tears. Roland has been the best friend in my life, my brother. He has been the kindest, most caring, funniest, brightest, most talented but extremely humble and sometimes inordinately introvert and annoyingly modest man I knew. To me he was an angel on earth.
I guess the thing that hurts me most and fills me with remorse is the fact that I did not get to visit him as promised when I was in New York last. More than that, I was not in touch as much as a friendship like we had, deserved. I feel as if I have been extremely careless with this friendship and I have been condemned to suffer the painful consequences of this neglect.
From Errol Hazlewood
Producer at CBS News,
and former reporter and newswriter at the Guyana Broadcasting Service
Roland Phillips was a natural broadcaster and a true gentleman. A confirmed member
of that select group of broadcasters in the golden era of radio in Guyana and the
Caribbean, his fairness as a journalist and decency as a human being always shone
through in his work. These talents were no more evident recently than in his role
as moderator of a New York originated live coverage of the very controversial Guyana
elections. His deft handling of very controversial Guyana elections. His deft handling
of very opinionated panelists and often antagonistic call-
From Alan Khan
Much has been or shall be said about my beloved friend Roland. What can I say that
hasn't been said, or shall be said about him? That he was talented, gifted, cheerful,
gentle, caring, loving, respectful and without arrogance? No!. We all knew him to
be all of that and much more.
Roland and I grew up together in the mid-
It has been said: "Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality." I know this wasn't his goal when he showed us how to hold complex chords on the guitar or sing perfect harmonies. For as long as many of us make music, we'll be indebted to Roland. Our ability to make music has been given wings to soar to great heights through the efforts of this man.
Roland's mind was forever churning out witticisms. However, he preferred to amuse and not abuse with this rare talent.
If it's true that the quality of one's life is determined by the quality of people in our lives, then we couldn't have done better than be touched for such a brief interval by the life of my beloved friend Roland.
"Roland, someone was always looking at you as an example of how to behave. My friend, you never let me down. Thanks!
"Farewell, Roland! You were a true Prince of your people. We'll meet again someday. Your friend always...."
From Queen's College, Entering class of 1961
We entered Queen's College in September 1961; we were as it evolved, a "rag tag"
bunch thrown together by the fortitude of one day's academic excellence. There we
met Roland -
From Rev. Geo N. Frederick
My dear brother was a gentle-
Here is a poem which Roland loved saying on his broadcasts:
Whether the weather be fine, or
Whether the weather be not
Whether the weather be cold, or
Whether the weather be hot
We'll weather the weather
Whatever the weather
Whether we like it or not
From: Calvin Brutus
Dear Andrea and Justin,
I have been traveling a bit in northern Wisconsin, but am now back in Madison. Let me say that the word about Roland, my dear friend, has been spreading far and wide. His friends and others are in shock. The reality is really taking a toll on me, and work is going only so far in taking my mind away from what you must be going through. My thoughts, best wishes, and spiritual tidings are with you at this time.
Calvin D. Brutus
Assistant Professor & Community Development Specialist
Department of Life Sciences Communication
University of Wisconsin-
From Michael Archer
Roland was a warm and caring friend. We met 30 years ago in the studios of Radio
Demerara. Our kinship was immediate, long lasting and genuine. We were young and
vital and engaged by the excesses of our time.
Roland was sound, accessible, fitfully hilarious, vulnerable and full of imagination. When you spent any time with him, all these facets of his being would play before your very eyes in an unfolding tapestry of human emotion. He was a kaleidoscope of talent loved by many and embraced by all who knew him..
Aah! how he loved music. And that ever present guitar. His was a voice for song and a passion for broadcasting. Everywhere I went people would ask after him repeatedly.
Roland, " salute ol' pal". I take solace in your passing, that it was not the culmination of a long and painful illness. You will not be forgotten.
Vibert C. Cambridge, Ph.D.
School of Telecommunication and African American Studies
Among the many benefits I derived from being a member of the Guyana National Service
during the mid 1970s to the mid 1980s was a solid appreciation for Guyana's multicultural
heritage. That love is enduring and it inspires and guides much of the work that
I do today as the Chairman of the Department of African American Studies at Ohio
University. Central to the development of my appreciation for Guyana's multiculturalism
is Lakshmi Kallicharran.
I first met Lakshmi at the Kimbia Training Center in 1976. I remember the meeting vividly. I was the Education Officer at the center and she had come to evaluate the collection of books we had in the library. She wanted to see if our collection was representative of Guyana's heritage and was supportive of the nation's ambitions for the future. We passed her scrutiny.
During that visit Lakshmi and I talked about the things that Guyanese literature should be exploring, especially the common themes that run through the history and lives of Guyanese people. I remember vividly to this day, her explanation of the ideas and principles behind Deewali. To this day, on Deewali, I think not only of dias and lights, but of justice and renewal.
I continued to work with Lakshmi after I left GNS and joined the Guyana Broadcasting Corporation as Program Director, Culture. Lakshmi helped me with my mission of giving Guyanese expression a place on the radio waves. As an independent producer, she had innovative production ideas. She was not anchored to the studio. She brought the voices of the people to airwaves. Lakshmi was there when we organized the first Folk Festival to celebrate all of Guyana's folk traditions.
I found Lakshmi to be an unselfish colleague when I served as the Secretary of the Guyana Commemoration Commission. She played an important role in the development of the Heritage Days program. At every step, she was there, participating in the discourse on how to find and celebrate the things that connected us as a creole people. My last conversations with her were about the popularity of Kali Mai Poojas among Guyanese of African ancestry. We never finished that conversation.
With the passing of Lakshmi, Guyana has lost another stalwart. Lakshmi now joins Joel Benjamin another one of those unselfish Guyanese who understood that as creole people we have rich particular stories to tell. I hope the passing of Lakshmi and the earlier passing of Joel Benjamin will cause our political leadership to focus attention on the importance of collecting and preserving our heritage. From what I am told and what I have read, the Guyana Archives and other collections of our history, are in shambles, in a very poor state.
VK, I will miss you and thanks for talking with me that Saturday in 1976 at the GNS, Kimbia.
GUYANA OBITUARIES B