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 in visits at Freedom House to gather data for my research. He was very simple; I found him to be a gentleman.
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 peoples’ person. Everyone praised his activism and honesty.
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 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 longtime friends whom I knew from my decades of struggle for the restoration of democracy in Guyana. I would see Majeed there, but would not interact with him more than 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 on the politics of the country, as I normally do 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 the campaign trail and 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 for 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 had 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 demeanour. I learnt of his generosity and kindness, and of his activities to help the downtrodden and poor. I learned 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 of days before the last elections, we talked about the expected outcome. He was very passionate about his party. He was confident PPP would win by a landslide, not less than 55%. He asked for my view. I responded PPP would get about 52%. He said I would be proven wrong. The PPP actually got 51%.
Our encounters would be missed, and I am sure his party would miss his activism.