Thomas Anson Sancho, AA
Sunday, September 5th 2004
Thomas Anson Sancho, AA, Member of the Georgetown City Council, former Member of Parliament and Principal of the Critchlow Labour College, died on August 14, aged 72.
Thomas Anson Sancho was one of the best placed men to attain high office when the People's National Congress (PNC) formed a coalition administration with the United Force in December 1964. Entering the National Assembly on the PNC list after the general elections, Sancho was thought to wield some influence in trade union circles, the teaching profession and literary circles.
His trade union credentials were derived from his membership of the Association of Masters and Mistresses (AMM), something of a cardboard union seemingly designed to secure a position in the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) rather than to represent any significant number of educators. However, some members of staff of private secondary schools - such as Central High and Tutorial High - did belong to the association.
In any event, he became President of the AMM at age 29 and this position gave Sancho a permanent foothold in the GTUC and, in due course, a new profession as a 'trade unionist.' It was with good reason, therefore, that he fought to keep the AMM alive even after the government took control of private schools in 1976 and the association had lost its raison d'etre. He refused to join the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) but remained Chairman of the GTUC Education Committee from the 1960s to 2001.
As an educator, Anson Sancho taught at Tutorial High School in 1952-53, and at Central High School from 1953 to 1976, eventually becoming headmaster. Perhaps, owing to his trade union connections, he was appointed Principal of the Critchlow Labour College (CLC) which was administered by the GTUC. Started with high hopes as an institution to empower workers through education, the CLC was eventually unable to fully deliver on those expectations. Sancho was the CLC's longest-serving principal.
As a writer, Sancho may be best remembered for the booklet, The Green Way, a biography of Hamilton Green, his close colleague from the PNC whom he followed into the For a Good and Green Guyana (GGG) party, and membership of which enabled him to be elected to the Georgetown City Council.
Sancho was a prolific writer, however, publishing numerous other small books such as Viewpoint; Highlights of Guyana's History; Supermen of History; To England and Back; Anatomy of Labour; The Nature of Politics; The Politics of Iguana; The Guyana-Venezuela Boundary Dispute; CLR: The Man and His Work; Emancipation 150; The Ballad of 1763; Spectacles for Drama; Lines and Rhymes; a Critique of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, and others.
He traced his love of writing to his days at QC when he would write for the college magazine and, later, for the London Observer and local newspapers. He was also once sub-editor of The Sentinel, the newspaper of the League of Coloured People (LCP).
He served as a member of the National Assembly from 1964 to 1968, and was elected to the city council in 1994 on a GGG ticket. Sancho was Chairman of the council's Personnel and Training Committee established to encourage and promote training for the council's workers, where he was regarded as "a strong advocate for training and education."
Through political patronage, he once served as chairman of the state-owned Guyana Electricity Corporation (GEC). But, by the mid-1970s, Sancho's star had pitched. He was never elected to a second term in the National Assembly, never gained a ministry in any administration despite his long service, and lost his positions of prominence in the PNC and the state corporations.
He finally broke with the PNC after the 1992 general elections when, according to him, it split between the 'Burnhamites' led by Hamilton Green and the 'Hoyties,' led by Desmond Hoyte. The 'Hoyties' won the power struggle and Anson Sancho followed Hamilton Green into the GGG.
Born on August 30, 1932 at Nabaclis Village on the East Coast Demerara, Sancho was educated at the St Mark's Primary School at Paradise Village and at Queen's College in Georgetown. He was awarded the Golden Arrow of Achievement (AA) in 1983 for his work in education and culture.