Hailed as fighter for social justice, democratic reforms
Late Bishop Randolph George
Former Anglican Bishop Randolph George is hailed as a true champion of democracy and a fighter for social
justice as local politicians, social activists, his family and the Anglican community continue to mourn his passing.
Bishop George passed away peacefully about 01:45h on Monday, at his Republic Park, East Bank Demerara home.
President David Granger in a statement described Bishop George as a distinguished son of our soil, who he remembered as a towering figure in the life of the Anglican Church, having served the episcopate for 28 years.
Bishop George, who was bestowed with the Cacique Crown of Honour in 1994, was described by the President as a “sagacious, soft-spoken and amicable leader of the Diocese.”
“Randolph George will be recorded as a person of quiet and unassuming dignity, whose respect and stature amongst the faithful never diminished, even after his retirement. He will be remembered, also, for his steadfast commitment to social justice, his advocacy of democratic reforms and for his service to the Integrity Commission of Guyana, the President’s office said.
Meanwhile, the Opposition, People’s Progressive Party (PPP) in a statement said Guyana has lost a true son, a spiritual leader and a patriot.
“Bishop George’s contribution to Guyana goes beyond that of just a spiritual leader. As a spiritual leader, he was dedicated to his flock and sought to promote both their spiritual and physical well-being. His work among the indigenous peoples and persons living in the hinterlands of Guyana are well known. As a patriot, he was a fearless supporter of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. He assumed leadership of the church during a difficult period in Guyana’s history but his outspoken honesty and integrity assisted in ensuring that Guyana returned to the path of democracy,” the PPP said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) also extended condolences on the passing of Bishop George.
The GHRA said that although he spent almost the last two decades of his long life in relative privacy, his leadership of civic resistance to oppression in Guyana from the late 1970s to the early 1990s was pivotal and historic.
“As one of the first trio of Co-Presidents of the GHRA, Bishop George’s astuteness and wisdom lent dignity and a sense of purpose in challenging the widespread repression of the late ‘70s and ‘80s. His courageous and unflappable spirit was re-assuring to human rights and political activists in times of tension. Bishop George’s willingness to be the voice of the voiceless was unwavering in an era of rationed newsprint, seized publications, disabled gestofax machines, raided printing enterprises and non-existent private radio or television,” the GHRA stated.
It said that three notable contributions made by Bishop George to defend human rights violations were rooted in freedom of expression, the independence of the courts and countering abuses generated by the paramountcy of the ruling party defend trade union demonstrations and denounce Police actions against them during the severe economic austerity of the late 1980s and the pursuit of a more civilised and dignified, public life was the leadership he provided in the struggle for free and fair elections.
“His role in the Guyanese Action for Reform and Democracy (GUARD) consolidated his stature as a trusted national figure whose influence reached well beyond the religious and civil community, without the slightest inclination on his part to seek leadership or the limelight. His influence as a unifying figure across the ethnic divide derived from inclination and instinct for what was right and decent and a genuine interest in everyone he came into contact with. Moreover, as a result of constant trekking across the interior visiting Anglican communities over the years, the number of Amerindians he knew by name was extra-ordinary,” the GHRA stated
It continued that it was predictable after the restoration of democratic space in 1992, for a man for whom social justice was a dimension of his larger religious calling, rather than a political inclination, that Bishop George would have no difficulty slipping away from a prominent role in public life.
Bishop George also served as the first Chair of the Integrity Commission.