History

ON THE morning of Friday July 17, 1964, the Premier of British Guiana, Dr. Cheddi Jagan and the leaders of the two main opposition parties, Mr. L.F.S Burnham and Mr. Peter D’Aguiar, were locked in a peace bid conference at the Premier’s office when a highly lethal bomb exploded at PPP headquarters, Freedom House.

The explosion which rocked the heart of Georgetown occurred at about 10:45 a.m. The force of the explosion dismembered Michael Forde, sent an old house crashing to the ground and smashed glass windows at the nearby Metropole Cinema. The eastern portion of Freedom House and furniture in the building were also damaged. The windscreens of cars parked in the area were also shattered. The force of the explosion dismembered Michael Forde, sent an old house crashing to the ground and smashed glass windows at the nearby Metropole Cinema. The eastern portion of Freedom House and furniture in the building were also damaged. The windscreens of cars parked in the area were also shattered.

Michael Forde was a 22-year-old Progressive Youth Organisation (PYO) activist and was one of the leaders of the historic Freedom Marches in February of 1964. Michael Forde was one of the most gentle among our comrades of the PYO, almost reclusive, but nevertheless ready to assist whenever his services were needed. His short and disciplined life was modeled on the belief that patience is indeed virtue and man lives by the rules of honour and decency. When Michael Forde walked in that historic freedom march from Springlands to the Rifle Ranges on Thomas Lands, his desire then was to show the people of his country and world that there is dignity in being human and Guianese.

Michael Forde lived a clean honest and good life. And therefore his death must not be forgotten. He must be remembered as he lived and died thinking of others and himself. Today, Michael Forde is dead, but his image is still with us. We must preserve this image in trying to emulate his way of life, not only in the PYO of which he was an active and militant member, but for all the youth of Guyana who strive for the betterment of their country and the ultimate eradication of the forces of evil who have claimed his life.

The following is an extract of the corresponding police report: “I, Emanuel Fairbain, wish to make a statement I want you Superintendent Britton to write down what I say. I have been told that I need to not say anything unless I wish to do so and that whatever I say may be given in evidence.”  Sgd. Emanuel Fairbain 10/08/64

On Friday the 17th Penitence Housing Scheme at Congress Place, Camp Street, Georgetown. He told me to carry it to Freedom House at Robb Street, Georgetown. One George Roberts was with me when Clive Wilson gave me the bomb. This George Roberts belongs to Anns Grove. I carried the parcel bomb on a bicycle and went into the book shop at Freedom House Robb Street. I met some people in the book shop and I took down some books and looked at them. I had the parcel bomb with me and I put it on the counter in the book shop I bought a book for five cents and paid a woman therewith a dollar note. I went away with July, 1964, at 10.30 am I received a parcel bomb from one Clive Wilson of East La the book and my change. I rode away to Camp Street and when I was opposite Congress Place the bomb go off. “I have read the above statement and I have been told that I can correct, alter or add anything I wish. The statement is true. I have made it of my own free will.” Sgd. Emanuel Fairbain 10/08/64

FREEDOM HOUSE – 41 ROBB STREET, GEORGETOWN:

21. The Progressive Book shop is housed at the bottom flat of a three-storied building known as ‘Freedom House’ at Lot 41 Robb Street, Georgetown. The building is owned by the People’s Progressive Party.

22. On 17th Mary Nunes and Hilda Gouveia were in the book shop, at that time a man of African descent entered the book shop with a parcel. He enquired about books and was shown a book entitles New Cuba” by Hilda Gouveia who asked him to buy it. He did so by paying her the money to the deceased, Michael Forde, who was then the cashier. She was given ninety five cents to give to the purchaser of the book but the man had left the shop leaving a parcel which he had taken there.

23. Hilda Gouveia drew Michael Forde’s attention to the parcel and she went out of the shop advertising books on the pavement. Michael Forde reported to Una Mulsac what happened and Mulsac told him to take the parcel outside. He took the parcel outside followed by Mary Nunes and Patricia Christian. While he was outside the building on the eastern side, he attempted to open the parcel which exploded killing himself instantly and injuring the following persons who were on the premises

Una Mulsac

Mary Nunes

Patricia Christian

Kamal Brespat

Harry Singh

Rambharose Singh

David Michael

Felix Baptiste

Allan Hackett

Steven Andrews

Shirley Chester

Yvonne Bobb

Rajkumar Bharat

Mrs. Janet Jagan and some other persons who were on the centre floor were unhurt.

24. Freedom House was extensively damaged and a building immediately east of it was demolished.

25. The deceased was removed to Georgetown Hospital mortuary where a Post Mortem examination was performed by Dr. Balwant Singh and the body was later buried. The Doctor found that the cause of death was due to hemorrhage and shock due to explosive device.

The PPP will never forget the sacrifice of Michael Forde and to this day the bookshop carries his name in honour of a fallen comrade.