Leonora makes history once again

Dear Editor,
The attentive and attractive village of Leonora is once again making the headline news, as the rippling effect of “isms” manifests itself in a crevice at the just completed PPP 32nd Congress.
Seated in the heart of Region 3, Leonora’s PPP branch represents not only an artery, but also a vein to an essential organ, which is a composite of a powerful organism. As a living entity, the People’s Progress Party may be classified as a growing plant, sprouting huge branches of meaningful support to provide sweet fruits of needy nutrients, glued with green leaves of aspirations, shooting a big and strong trunk towards the sky for a promising future, and nurtured from the roots of a rich and fertile soil mixed with the sacrifice of blood, sweat and tears of laborious supporters.
A historical community that has evolved with an estate from the sugar industry from since 1821, Plantation Leonora was productive until its demise by the treacherous PNC hands in 1986. With the damning damage of deviousness, the disheartening danger of destruction nor depression did not dawn on the PNC. Hundreds were sidelined without work, and the closure manufactured severe consequences in the village.
The PNC always had revengeful eyes for Leonorians since LFSB was ousted from the village in the early 60s, when he attempted to hold a political meeting! This village sprouted without a school, thanks to the ingeniousness of the colonial masters, who were determined to deliberately keep the mass uneducated. Its train station was demolished through the kind courtesy of the PNC’s hindsight.
It wasn’t until the riot days that makeshift schools were housed on the religious premises owned by the Muslim and Hindu communities, and the sugar estate’s Welfare Centre. As the logies were dislodged, housing schemes blossomed and a new lifestyle metamorphosed with the advent of a better standard of living. Only recently, Leonora birthed its first banking institution, boasted its first shopping mall, and bragged of its first private, modern hospital. With a ‘D’ Division Police Station, the village has a magistrate’s court, a fire station, a post office, an NIS office, an upgraded Cottage Smart Hospital; nursery, primary and secondary schools, a technical institute, a mosque, two churches and four mandirs, the track and field facility, and soon a new cricket ground and modern market; and, of course, a host of business entities. It is envisaged that the next potential town will be Leonora.
Leonora, as a midway point between the Prince of Wales gas-to-shore integrated facility and the Parika point with neighbouring islands of Leguan and Wakenaam, is the hometown for the President of Guyana. Dr. Irfaan Ali’s well-known patrimonial grandmother, his ajee, the late and great Mrs. Sakina Ali, was a founding member of the women’s arm of the PPP, along with former President Mrs. Janet Jagan. His rich, political background is engrained in his grandmother’s dedication and devotion directed towards the building of the PPP party from the struggling days of fighting the PNC’s racism and violence since the 50s.
This is the same village which witnessed Kowsilla, aka Alice, being slaughtered when she was run over by a tractor driven by a scab during the March 1964 strike. The sacrifices of those women were not in vain, as, eventually, the indefatigable GAWU was ultimately recognized as the bargaining agent for sugar workers in the mid-70s.
Gaining its Dutch name from the combination of Leo and Nora, Leonora sugar estate changed ownership several times. It was once owned by the famous and popular Sandbach Parker, and then by the Jessels Group of Companies, until infamously nationalized by the greedy PNC led by dictator Burnham in 1975. His reverse Midas touch ultimately commenced the stifling of a once growing industry, but then shrunk due to gross mismanagement due to a porous PNC administration.
The stained hands of the colonial masters persisted in the early 19th century as industrial actions escalated when poorly paid workers sought redress for their grievances. Leonora Estate was the tragic scene of bloodshed when 4 sugar workers were shot and killed and 4 were seriously injured in February 1939.
Always a focal point for the PPP, Leonora evolved as a strong and persuasive group of residents who were always prepared to defend Dr. Cheddi Jagan and the PPP. This village remained a key playground for many meetings, especially during the riot days. The familiar old market square opposite the one-time Roxy Cinema was the famous congregation location to accommodate thousands of supporters from all over the country. They came to listen to Cheddi talk, dressed in his white outfit and surrounded by thousands of placards waving feverishly in the air. Such were the glorious days when the inglorious PNC cajoled the UF, conspired with the British and the US, and sold their souls to the Devil to begin the terrible reign of 28 years of a disingenuous era, filled, famished and featured with poverty, nakedness and corruption.
Leonora is in the history books as the place where the first East Indian labourers resisted indentureship and revolted, in August 1869, against an arbitrary reduction in wage rates. Again, in 1909, Leonora was the place where another demonstration over wage disputes took place.
No wonder President Ali is so caring and concerned over wages and salaries for workers in this country. His methodological approach is entrenched in justified fairness and practical reality, and is guided by financial possibility. It is therefore not surprising that it is the PPP Leonora Group, led by the true son of the soil, which has revolutionized the future of the Party with the Marxism/ Leninism proposal, and that Congress accepted the resolution.
Once again, Leonora goes down in the annals of the history of the PPP with another indelible mark. President Ali is all for applicable changes, not contrary for production or development, but which are significantly relevant in principle and policy towards the best interest of the party, people and politics.

Yours respectfully,
Jai Lall