In memory of Roger Luncheon
From Dr Tulsi Singh
Although he was from New Amsterdam
and he was a doctor too
we didn’t know each other
until we met in ‘ninety-five
when he came to thank me
for a donation, I had made.
We chatted for more than an hour
nearly all the talking done by him.
He was an avowed Marxist
so in the end we both agreed
that his government’s primary role
was to level, then raise, the playing field
and to provide security for all.
Roger was a trusted man,
ahead of all others in the party,
by both Janet and Cheddi,
a congruence of political ideology
grudgingly tempered by pragmatism
was the glue that buckled them together.
Our longest meeting though, by far,
was at State House in February 97
when I was the Jagans’ house guest
and Cheddi wanted a candid analysis
with Janet, Hughley, Roger and me
of his deteriorating health condition:
that was when I saw Roger’s brain
working through the muddled options
and I hope that he too has kept his notes.
Once we shared some raucous laughter
standing beside each other
at a campaign rally in Stewartville
sometime in early two thousand and one
when a speaker tantalized the crowd
about poor people planting rice and cane
while a named competitor was planting hair.
He called me out of the blue in 2006
that he was calling for his boss
and started with the admonition
and this might be an awkward call.
I relieved him of all concerns
then told him where the answer was
and he ended the conversation
with the generosity of a humble heart:
“Man, I should have called you first.”
Some years afterwards, I read
that Roger had cancer of the liver
but before I could call him
to offer services from my friends
I heard that the diagnosis ran deeper.
The arrogance of power, even before
the arrogance of wealth seeped in
never touched nor tainted Roger.
The “feral blast”, the term he coined,
comprehensively describes the infamy
from which I hope he disavowed.
Roger has moved up on the ladder
where he will meet Janet and Cheddi
and I hope that Janet reveals to him
how he was filtered from the presidency.
So raise your voices in a toast
in a farewell blast for Roger.
May his soul rest in eternal peace.
Tulsi Dyal Singh, MD.