Hundreds bid farewell to Ashton Chase, the ‘Bengal Tiger’
Hundreds of people gathered in the compound of the Parliament Buildings as they bid their final farewell to the last founding member of the governing People’s Progressive Party/Civic, Senior Counsel, Ashton Chase, O.E, on Friday.
As tributes and reflections poured in, Chase was remembered not only for his grace and elegance but most importantly, his rich history of service to the nation.
He was a fighter for the rights of workers, a ‘legal’ lion, a pallbearer of democracy, and one who played a vital role in the liberalisation of Guyana.
In the eulogy, his son, Dr Ronald Chase said his presence was a gift.
“Ashton Chase was a family man, he was a simple man. He didn’t need material things to make him happy; just his family and friends. He was always the life of the party and he can make anyone laugh. We shall cherish those memories forever,” the younger Chase shared.
He added, “Dad was hard-working, compassionate towards everyone, and deserved the rich success and rich life that he enjoyed. Dad’s love was unconditional and that is something we shall cherish from his character and take with us forever. His kindness and generosity will be remembered by all.”
And with his vast knowledge and experience in various fields, President Dr Irfaan Ali described Chase as the “Bengal Tiger.”
“We are celebrating the life of a man who had all the attributes of integrity. A man who has contributed to the social, political, economic development of our country…Today, we celebrate free and fair elections, we celebrate democracy but we must never, ever forget the pallbearers of democracy and Comrade Chase was one of those,” President Ali said.
“All workers of Guyana own eternal depth of gratitude to Ashton Chase for legal victories he and others secured on their behalf. Today, as we say goodbye to Comrade Ashton Chase, we do so fully aware of his selfless service to our country. We do so with pride in our hearts that he walked and worked among us. His life reminds us that our sole purpose in this human existence is service to humanity,” he added.
Chase played a vital role in the lives of many people, most of whom today hold key positions.
“Ashton Chase accomplished so much to uphold the working people, both in the urban and in the rural areas of Guyana,” Prime Minister of the St Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves said in a virtual tribute.
“He was highly skilled. He was a scholar, an author…of trade unionism in Guyana…He has been an example to me, a mentor, a man who loved humanity,” Gonsalves added.
Chase passed away on July 10; he was 96. He was one of the four founder members of the Political Affairs Committee, which was formed in 1946 in British Guiana.
The People’s Progressive Party was eventually formed out of the Political Affairs Committee. Chase started his political career in the 1950s and was present throughout the entire modern political history of the country.
He was the last surviving founder member of the Political Affairs Committee. The other members were: Cheddi Jagan, Janet Jagan and Jocelyn Hubbard.
Other roles he held included Minister of Labour, a trade unionist and President of the Guyana Bar Association.
Chase started his legal profession in the 1940s and during his career, he had a prominent role in a series of important cases.
In honour of his service and dedication, he was bestowed with the Order of Excellence, the country’s highest national award.