Guyana’s first Amerindian Affairs Minister dies

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President David Granger has extended “heartfelt condolences” at the passing of former Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Mr. Francis Vibert DeSouza.

Mr. DeSouza, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 73, became Guyana’s first Minister of Amerindian Affairs in 1992.

According to the Department of Public Information (DPI), Mr. DeSouza died at this home in Eccles, East Bank Demerara on Saturday evening.

He was born on December 31, 1944, in Moruka, North West District, Guyana. He was the son of Silvano and Alexandrina Mary (Atkinson) diplôme d’Etudes Supérieures.

Prior to being appointed Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Mr DeSouza served as Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, an entrepreneur, a Sales Agent at the Hand in Hand Insurance Company, a Cultural Officer attached to the Agricultural & General Workers Union, a Technician and a Clerk, at the St. Joseph’s Mercy Hospital.

Mr Desouza was also a member of several organisations.

He was President of Catholic Youth, Guyana (1969-1970); Member Progressive Youth Organization (1972-1982); Vice-president Guyanese Organization of Indigenous People, Guyana (1991-1992) and a member of the Central Committee of the PPP.

In a farewell statement to the Former Minister, People’s Progressive Party Member of Parliament, Clement Rohee hailed Mr. DeSouza as “a People’s Cultural Icon.”

In the statement posted on his Facebook page, Mr. Rohee hailed the Former Amerindian Affairs Minister as a composer of revolutionary songs and guitar music, reflecting the struggles of the Guyanese people.

Mr Rohee noted that Mr. DeSouza composed the battle songs for the PYO ‘Forward with the PYO’ and for the WPO, ‘Women Unite, Stand Up and Fight.’

His other musical compositions are ‘Forward Ever Backward Never,’ ‘Get on Board’ and many other people-centered songs.

“He even revolutionized the battle song of the party ‘O Fighting Men.’ Vibert was instrumental in forming the ‘Workers’ Stage’ ‘ a cultural group of young actors and artistes who engaged in street theatre – and performed at penny concerts in schools and gymkhanas at villages in the countryside,” Mr Rohee pointed out.

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