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Posted October 26th. 2006 - Stabroek News
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says political advocate and professor Dr Festus L Brotherson Jr has died after suffering a massive stroke.
In a press release the ministry said Brotherson died on Tuesday at the age of 58. He was Professor of Political Science and Senior Research Associate at the University of Miami, Florida and tenured professor at Baldwin-Wallace College in Ohio.
A senior member, political commentator and columnist under the Burnham-led People's National Congress, Brotherson was moderator of the Guyana Broadcasting Corporation's Action Line, Music of Struggle and Night Ride programmes and editor of the party's New Nation newspaper. He also served as senior political analyst, Consulate of Guyana in Los Angeles and is a former Honorary Consul of Guyana in Ohio. A graduate of Tutorial High School, Brotherson also lectured at the University of Guyana and other academic institutions before migrating.
In addition to his academic and political career Brotherson also founded the Festus Brotherson Asthma Trust Foundation which served hundreds or people, mainly children, free of cost for a number of years. He is survived by his wife Lurlene, son Leonard, mother Doris and brother George.
The late Dr. Festus Brotherson - Noted Guyanese-Born HBN Columnist Passes On
Hardbeat News - October 26th. 2006
Hardbeatnews, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Oct. 24, 2006: Guyanese-born political scientist and popular HBN columnist, Dr. Festus L. Brotherson Jr., is set to be eulogized this Saturday in Cleveland, Ohio after passing away from a massive stroke on Tuesday night, October 24th. He was 57.
According to his wife Lurlene Brotherson, Dr. Brotherson had been ailing for a while with asthma that sent him in and out of hospitals. But his breathing became labored over the weekend and she rushed him to an area hospital where he was put on a respirator. But he later succumbed to a stroke.
Yesterday there was shock and sadness among several noted Guyanese as the news filtered around on emails of the passing of the former Honary Consul, Consulate of Guyana to Ohio and senior political analyst of the Consulate of Guyana to Los Angeles, California.
A stunned HBN publisher Felicia Persaud said the soft-spoken Brotherson had only contacted her over the weekend via email vowing to write a defense of Peoples National Congress Reform leader, Robert Corbin, whom he felt had been unfairly attacked in a recent newspaper column in Guyana.
“’I’ll have it for you in two weeks,’” Persaud quoted Brotherson as stating in the email. She reminisced on several recent conversations where Brotherson, despite his illness, always was upbeat and positive, sharing humorous, intellectual observations and stories while consistently proffering words of support and encouragement for the growth of Hardbeatnews.
“I always knew the name Festus Brotherson growing up in Guyana because of his political affiliations and his writings,” said Persaud. “But it was not until we founded HBN two years ago, did I become closely acquainted with this intellectual giant of a man, who wielded a fierce pen but whose personality I found to be largely gentle.”
“Guyana lost a major intellectual and a walking historian on Tuesday night,” Persaud added. “He will be sorely missed.”
Guyana’s Ambassador to Venezuela, Dr. Odeen Ishmael, said the two had been in close touch by e-mail and by telephone in the past few months and they discussed and debated many ideas he had for future essays. “I knew Festus was very ill, but he displayed great courage to rise above this limitation to put his thoughts together in many of his essays which were published in the media,” Dr. Ishmael, also a regular columnist with Hardbeat, told HBN yesterday. “In our last conversation about two weeks ago, he told me he was planning to do a critique on the Guyanese post-election scenario. It was obvious that, despite his knowledge that his time was running out, he always had the welfare of Guyana on his mind.” Guyanese political scientist, Dr. David Hinds, was also stunned at news of the passing, when informed yesterday. “Festus Brotherson was a very erudite scholar and perceptive public political commentator. Even when you disagreed with his views, you had to admire his intellectual ability,” said Hinds. “That he continued to write even though he was very ill, speaks volume of his sense of duty. His last commentaries on Guyana's recent election bore the usual mark of intellectual clarity, but there was atone of reconciliation that the Guyanese community can draw on.”
Hinds added that while he has had public disagreements with Brotherson and they have sparred in the Guyanese media, they established an extremely civil relationship. “Just a few weeks ago he enquired about the progress of my tenure process and offered his assistance in any way possible,” said the Working Peoples Alliance executive member. “He was optimistic to the very end. He will be sorely missed. To his wife and family, I offer my condolences.”
Top Guyanese-born journalist, Rickey Singh, also only learnt of Dr. Brotherson’s passing when contacted by HBN yesterday. Singh remembered the retired professor and senior research associate as someone who “… was passionately in love with Guyana and deeply distressed by its divisive politics.”
“He kept monitoring developments even during the period he was seriously ill and never hesitated to make his interventions in the media or to share his views, at times in lengthy telephone conversations on how he felt the country should proceed for a better future of all its people,” added Singh. “ He will be missed by all who knew him well, though not necessarily sharing some of his perspectives on the way forward for Guyana. His ideas on the sociology and party politics of Guyana have been variously documented.”
Guyana’s Ambassador Bayney Karran was traveling yesterday and did not respond to a HBN request for a reaction to Brotherson’s passing and either did the Office of President Bharrat Jagdeo or the Peoples National Congress Reform.
Brotherson may best be remembered recently for his through-provoking analysis of the recent Guyana elections on HBN. And he also appeared on Radio Jamaica as an analyst during the August election.
Brotherson was a broadcaster in his native Guyana, moderating programs like ‘Action Line,’ ‘Music of Struggle’ and ‘Night Ride.’ He was also the editor of the New Nation newspaper and a senior member of the ruling political party, the Peoples National Congress. He broke away from the PNC in the late 1980s and gave his political support to the PPP and became closely associated with Dr. Cheddi Jagan. He continued that support of the PPP/Civic government and published numerous articles and critiques, which in the main gave support to the government's programs and policies.
Brotherson also worked as a research associate at the University of Miami Florida, as a tenured professor at Baldwin-Wallace College in Ohio and at the University of Guyana and other academic institutions. He was a graduate of Tutorial High School in Guyana. Brotherson is survived by his wife Lurlene, son Leonard, brother George, sister Felicity and mother Doris. Funeral arrangements are currently being made but it is likely he will be cremated on Saturday. Stay tuned.