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The Association of Masters and Mistresses has sponsored the publication of T. Anson Sancho’s latest book “Octave”. “Octave” is a selection of Mr. Sancho’s speeches, lectures, addresses and other writings to the number of eight pieces from which the book takes its name. Prominent among these eight selections are policy addresses by the author made during various terms when he served as President of the union.
Of these the present AMM president Gahase Singh writing in the forward to the book says: “In these passages called excerpts from three AMM Presidential addresses in keeping with the title of the book you have a case history of the union, its policies, and activities, and they feature some of the best addresses ever given by a president of the AMM. They also highlight the teacher’s dilemma and duty in Guyana today.”


In the series is an essay on Mexico and its independence movement. This goes into its rich detail of the Mexican experience revealing the colonialist nature of the Latin American experience, even in Mexico, the earliest to gain independence. Two contributions deal with the history of Guyana, one largely with Afro-Indian relations in a historical context. This worthy of most thoughtful perusal.
Mr. Sancho writes: “Immigration taught him (the African) the invaluable experience that he was a sitting duck to taxes which in no way would contribute to the improvement of his ilk or those of the second and third generation. This was a period of intense hatred of the African to the Indian and vice versa, a period where the Indian thought the black man was an ugly, crude demon and the African looked down upon the Indian as a nasty individual, “the coolie with his water rice”. The other Guyanese contribution gives a swift run down on Guyana’s history. Useful for a bird’s-eye view to the busy man.
Featured also are two of the author’s speeches as a parliamentarian in debate, one on Rhodesia and the other on a long impassioned and informative oration on the Guyana-Venezuela boundary dispute entitled, “Never in a Thousand Years.”


The book ends with an artistic and unusual assessment of the calypsos of the Mighty Sparrow. This is put against a background of the West Indian society and its history. Of sparrow the following is most charmingly, if penetratingly said: “the artist, the painter, the singer are all regarded as lazy people who don’t deserve to earn their keep. Sparrow is the first to make this spectacular breakthrough and to maintain it. And he has done it out of the sheer versatility and vitality with a capital ‘V’ which he displays, the West Indianism in excels is that is himself. He is defiance with a guffaw; imprudence with a smile; genius without clothes on; the hybrid between Sir Toby and Sir Galahad, between Falstaff and Houdini”. Sparrow the critique is a must for a reader.

There could have been a neater and more precise presentation of type in “Octave’s” 119 pages than appears before the eye; but this is offset by the meaningful conclusions and ornate style of the author as well as by the attractive cover of white, green and gold.

[Source: Weekend Post & Sunday Argosy – June 6, 1971: page 3]


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