Thursday, December 14, 2017

Real Caribbean man

 We join the other contributors to the memory of Norman Girvan, a special Caribbean man, by relating personal encounters with him beginning almost 50 years ago. 

Our interactions with Norman were as teacher, mentor, and unrepentant Caribbean icon dating from the mid-60s—Haven as his student of Caribbean economics and cricket (unknown to many Norman played some cricket at Mona and was a dedicated supporter of West Indies cricket). 

Further, interaction continued over the past 15 years as members of the Caribbean Studies Association (Anton and Samuel) and our encounters with Norman in Cuba. Anton reminds us of Norman’s very deep sense of humanity and his dedication as a tireless warrior for the underdog any and everywhere in the age of imperialist globalisation where the harsh reality of dependency and underdevelopment persists. Norman carried out the underdog fight as a founding member of CRIES, a Latin American and Caribbean network of 70 NGOs and university research centres. 

As a Caribbean man Norman was an integrationist and a sovereignist and saw the region as a continuous whole and was always ready to challenge those who sought to minimise its tortured sovereignty. In this regard, Norman was intimately involved in the modern Cuban struggle and we rejoiced when he joined Anton as a recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of La Habana with Cuban associates such as Prof Samuel Furé-Davis in attendance. 

We recognised with Norman the unpayable debt all Caribbean citizens owe to “el pueblo heróico”. Norman taught Caribbean economics, we taught him how to enjoy Trinidad Carnival. 

Anton Allahar

Samuel Furé-Davis

Haven Allahar

via e-mail