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Date: May 15, 2017 05:27AM

By Jarryl Bryan ?I was admitted first as a solicitor?as a solicitor you could have conducted cases in the high court. So from the time of my admission in 1952 I was practicing in the high court and the magistrates? court.?Clifton Mortimer Llewellyn John, C.C.H., is someone who is a part of the very fabric of Guyana?s history,Clifton Mortimer Llewellyn John, C.C.H.as much as any of the stalwarts who have called this their motherland. He has walked beside the likes of Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow and Dr. Ptolemy Reid. We are fortunate to still have such a personality in our midst.A lawyer for much of his life – in fact still in active practice ? C.M. Llewellyn John is a former Minister of Agriculture, Local Government and Home Affairs. In those portfolios spanning 1964 to 1969, he held positions of power in Guyana?s early and formative years. He thus played his part in building modern-day Guyana.This legal paragon was born on January 25, 1925 to Joseph Nathaniel and Georgiana Antoinetta. His father was a Barrister-at-Law, so the law profession was already in his genes. He attended the West Demerara Secondary School.John recalled the arrival of the royal commissioners in 1929. Just a child, his father had taken him to see them. At the time,[url=http://www.cheapjerseysauthenticonline.us@#$%&/]Cheap Jerseys NFL China[/url], what would become known throughout the world as the ?great depression? was just getting started.During the ?great depression?, economies around the world went into recession and were hit by food shortages. As the Royal commissioners toured the country, John recalled that the people cried out for food, to their perceived rescuers.ATTRACTION TO LAW AND POLITICSLeaving school in the 1940s, John set out to pursue law. He did private studies with a correspondence course, where he read for the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree.He noted that his attraction to law and politics came from his father who made a mark in both fields.?My father was a politician.? John said. ?And he was an ardent supporter of the politicians of the day.?John noted that in those days there were two branches of lawyers -solicitor and barrister – until they were merged.?I was admitted first as a solicitor. But as a solicitor you could have conducted cases in the high court. So from the time of my admission in 1952 I was practicing in the high court and the magistrate?s court.?A photo op with Mr. John on one of the city?s busiest thoroughfares, Regent StreetAs a Solicitor,[url=http://www.nfljerseyscheaponline.us@#$%&/]Cheap Jerseys From China Online[/url], John became a leading member of the League of Coloured Peoples, under the auspices of Dr. Denbow, from 1950-1954. The league was founded in London in 1931 by Dr. Harold Moody, a Jamaican. It dealt with issues affecting coloured people worldwide. At first based in England,[url=http://www.nfljerseyscheaponline.us@#$%&/]Wholesale NFL Jerseys Online[/url], the league built branches in several countries.Among other things, the league advocated human rights and progressive changes to constitutions.John also became a member of the Lincoln?s Inn, one of four associations in London that legal practitioners must belong to in order to be called to the British bar. At first, he was told that he would have to take and pass the examination.After painstaking research, however,[url=http://www.cheapestnfljerseys.us@#$%&/]Cheap NFL Jerseys China[/url], he submitted his findings to the bar council in the United Kingdom. His submissions were accepted and he was admitted, based on his qualifications and his legal experience, as a Barrister.This went down in the records as the first occasion that a Solicitor from the British Commonwealth was accepted as a Barrister-at-law without having to write and pass an examination.During that time, he also married the love of his life, Evelyn Rose Arthur, on July 21st, 1956 and had five children; Helen, Richard, Dina, Marie and Hannah. Marie has followed in her father?s footsteps as a lawyer and currently holds public office in New York, USA.STEPPING INTO THE WORLD OF POLITICSIn 1958, John became the editor of the Torch, Sentinel and New Nation newspapers. This was during the period that Guyana?s two foremost politicians – Dr. Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnham – would split ideologically, with Burnham going on to form the People?s National Congress (PNC).In London, before Independence. From left; Neville Bissember, Winifred Gaskin, C.M. Llewellyn John, L.F.S. Burnham, Eugene F. Correia and Hugh M.E. Cholmondeley.John stepped firmly into the world of politics with the formation of the new party, as he became the Assistant General Secretary of the PNC.He was made Chairman of the Lodge Village Council from 1958-1963. Also in the 1964 elections, the PNC formed a coalition with The United Force (TUF) and won a collective 53 percent of the votes, sweeping to victory against Jagan?s People?s Progressive Party (PPP).MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE 1964-66In the new dispensation, John became a Member of Parliament and Minister of Agriculture under Burnham?s premiership.?I helped to set up the Guyana School of Agriculture,? John recalled. ?There was the development of the (agricultural) areas between Soesdyke and Linden. Also the fisheries sector, the Mahaica-Maichony- Abary (MMA) and the candy basin schemes.?He recalled the works executed in the MMA area in order to keep back flood waters. Those areas were especially flood-prone. His portfolio also had control of sea defence.He briefly touched on his handling of the sugar and rice industries, which were and still remain two of Guyana?s most important foreign currency earners.?You had to deal with the sugar estates. They were not as developed as they are now. You had to grapple with the question of what to do with the sugar industry. Are you going to mechanize it and bring it in line with modern methods?? John said, vocalizing one of the prevailing questions of his day. ?(As well as) methods of harvesting, draining and planting of sugar cane in the beds.??Mind you, you still have to compete with other sugar-producing countries,? he continued. ?So the challenge was what will you do with the sugar industry, and that challenge still remains today.?Mr. John being duly recognized for his work in the legal field, at an anniversary dinner of the Guyana Bar Association.He recalled that while diversification was always a priority, it was not so simple. It was a major industry, effective operation of which required money. He also stated that the sugar industry had a huge workforce that had to be kept working.In that regard, he opined that managing the industry was more challenging than it is now. However the necessity of keeping the industry going was recognized because of the many Guyanese that would have been on the breadline without it.Observing the downward trend of the sugar industry within recent years, John noted that the market viability has always been determined by preferential prices.?I always knew that the day would come when those preferential prices would be cut down. Because those persons who were responsible for those prices (would be exposed) to other sugar-producing countries.?John also offered his view on the rice industry, noting that both he and his family were personally involved in rice planting.  He reflected that the way rice planting was once done has changed drastically.?There were challenges in my time as Minister of Agriculture. There were different varieties. We had to produce to compete with those other countries. It was a question of competition.?MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS 1967-68As Minister of Home Affairs, John had responsibility for the police and fire protection,[url=http://www.cheapjerseysfan.us@#$%&/]China Jerseys Cheap[/url], National elections,[url=http://www.nfljerseyscheaponline.us@#$%&/]China Jerseys Online[/url], prisons, internal security, probation and welfare services. He recalled the infamous Ankoko island incursion, which occurred in his time and involved Venezuelan troop occupation.Back in February of 1966, the Governments of Venezuela and the United Kingdom signed the Geneva Agreement which aimed at resolving the controversy over Venezuela?s claim that the 1899 arbitral award, which dealt with the border dispute, was null and void.The agreement had stated that ?no new claim or enlargement of an existing claim to territorial sovereignty in these territories (of Venezuela and Guyana) shall be asserted while this agreement is in force, nor shall any claim whatsoever be asserted otherwise than in the mixed commission while the commission is in being.?However, John recalled waking up to the news that an armed group of Venezuelan soldiers and civilians had encroached and occupied the half of Ankoko Island being claimed as Guyana?s side of the boundary (the Guyana/Venezuela boundary passes through Ankoko island).The Venezuelans reportedly introduced military, civilians, an airstrip and other installations and structures. They even reportedly introduced a post office, school and military and police outposts.Reports of the incursion galvanized strong responses from Guyanese politicians and street protests by the locals.John recalled that at the Independence conference in 1966 it was still being debated how far Guyana?s boundary should go.?The Venezuelan question is not a question of today,? John stated. ?Looking at the current Venezuelan situation, the problems arising have long transcended domestic proportions and are international.?MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT 1969When John was appointed as Minister of Local Government in 1969, his responsibilities included Municipalities, administration of the interior and administration of Amerindian affairs. It was also in 1969 that the first Amerindian conference was held.?Amerindians came from as far as Konashen in the ?Wai-Wai (community)?; and they were there in Parliament building for the conference,? he said. ?I was there as Minister of Local Government.?He noted that while the Amerindians had their own form of democratic governance, by the nomination of Toshaos, they still had problems with mining and agriculture.?The Amerindian is no longer a child of the forest. He is integrated into society. He has to go to University. He is entitled to the same education (as Indigenous people worldwide and coast-landers).?In his capacity as a Government Minister, he has traveled extensively,. He also became Chairman of the World Peace through Law Centre in 1974. This organization, he related, devoted its efforts to worldwide conflict resolution through the law.In addition,[url=http://www.wholesalenfljerseyssale.us@#$%&/]Wholesale Jerseys[/url], he was made the Secretary of the Association of Legal Practitioners in 1970.The Cacique Crown of Honour, C.C.H. was conferred upon him by President David Granger on October 6th, 2015. And today, Kaieteur News confers its ?special person? status on one of Guyana?s more enduring personalities and nation builders.



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