What can I say on this sad day, the day Pakuri buries one of it's proudest sons, the soldier, the artist, the diplomat, the Village Councillor,
the son, the brother, the husband, the father, the uncle, the grandfather, the cousin - Telford Taylor.
Telo as we lovingly called him, was the FIRST Lokono to proudly call this beautiful Tribal Territory of ours by it's RIGHT Arawak name of PAKURI, we all remember the sign he had erected near his house behind the ballfield that said 'Welcome to Pakuri Village'....and I can tell anyone that Telo ALWAYS made me feel welcome in his home.
Telo was also the most famous Amerindian Soldier Guyana ever produced for being the ONLY one to be sent to North Korea to be trained by one of the fiercest Armies that exist in the world....and Telo was always ready and willing to use his military skill for the defense of his Lokono people...and that includes all of you here today, you younger ones do not know of the incident many years ago on Pakuri where Telo rushed to the Mission Yard ready to do battle to protect his people from an outsider (more specifically a POLICEMAN whom we disarmed and gave a sound beating) who was behaving threateningly with a gun in this village...but I was there, I was with Telo, and I will never forget it.
Many of our youth should know that Telo was one of the greatest diplomats that this tribe ever produced, he was well known to the American and other embassies...and he secured many donations of sporting gear and other items for various Pakuri sports teams over the decades, please remember that when you represent our people as a Pakuri athlete....hold your head up high - and make your people proud by always doing your best!
Negative people only talk about negative things, but positive people only talk about positive things, before you decide to gossip about this man - this famous artist who helped to put Pakuri and indeed the Arawak tribe and the entire Amerindian race of Guyana - on the world map...when he created the biggest woodcarving in the history of Guyana, remember that none of us are perfect, but none of us have done what Telo has done...respect is due to him, and as his neighbor Jolly (Paul Daniels) once said....let us remember that Telo was a Mighty Man in this tribe.
As I write these few words of tribute to my friend and ally, I shed tears of my own....tears of sorrow because I will miss my friend and uncle to our children, and tears of joy because Telo has been reunited with father and all his ancestors, OUR ancestors...because we should never forget the words of Telford Taylor when he reminded us that EVERYONE in Pakuri is family...indeed that is what a tribe is - a big family, if you check back into your grandparents and great grandparents - you will see that everyone standing here today is related to each other through some ancestor...I invite you to ponder those words, keep them close to your heart, stop pulling down each other - and begin to push UP each other, as our grandparents did in their time....do not let the selfish ways of the outside world come into this beautiful community and make it ugly. Long live the Lokono people, and long live the name of one of our heroes - Telford Taylor!
It is with great pleasure I feel the need to share my dad's favorite quote with you my dearest friends:
Telford with my eldest brother-in-law 'Brook' (himself an ex-Jaguar Battalion commando)