8. David Dabydeen
David Dabydeen (born 9 December 1955) is a Guyanese-born broadcaster, novelist, poet and academic. He was formerly Guyana’s Ambassador to UNESCO( United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organisation ) from 1997 to 2010 and the youngest Member of the UNESCO Executive Board (1993-1997), elected by the General Council of all Member States of UNESCO. He was appointed Guyana’s Ambassador Plenipotentiary and Extraordinaire to China, from 2010 to 2015. He is one of the longest-serving diplomats in the history of Guyana, most of his work done in a voluntary unpaid capacity.
Dabydeen was born in Berbice, Guyana, his birth registered at New Amsterdam Registrar of Births as David Horace Clarence Harilal Sookram. His Indo-Guyanese family trace their heritage back to East Indian indentured workers who had been brought to Guyana between 1838 and 1917. His parents divorced while he was young and he grew up with his mother, Veronica Dabydeen, and his maternal grandparents.
At the age of 10 he won a scholarship to Queen’s College in Georgetown. When he was 13 years old, he moved to London, England, to rejoin his father, a teacher then attorney David Harilal Sookram, who had migrated to Britain.
At the age of 18 he took up a place at Selwyn College, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, to read English, and he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with honours and with the English Prize for Creative Writing ( the first time the Sir Arthur Quiller Couch Prize was awarded, in 1978). He then gained a PhD in 18th-century literature and art at University College London in 1982, and was awarded a research fellowship at Wolfson College, Oxford.
7. Rupert Roopnaraine
Rupert Roopnaraine (born 31 January 1943) is a Guyanese cricketer, writer, and politician.Roopnaraine was born in Kitty, Georgetown, Guyana. In 1954, he won a scholarship to Queen’s College, where he excelled in cricket; he captained the team and represented Demerara in the Inter-county Cricket Finals. In 1962 he was awarded a Guyana scholarship to attend St John’s College, Cambridge, where he studied Romance languages.
He played first-class cricket for the Cambridge University team from 1964 to 1966 and was awarded a Blue for representing the university in the annual University Match against Oxford in 1965 and 1966. As a cricketer, he was a lower order right-handed batsman and a right-arm off-break bowler.
In 1970 he was awarded a scholarship to Cornell University, New York, where he obtained an MA and PhD in Comparative Literature. From 1976 to 1996, he has worked as a university lecturer in the UK, Canada, the US and at the University of Guyana.
He joined the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) in 1977 and became one of the leaders of the party, along with Walter Rodney, Clive Thomas and Eusi Kwayana. He was an activist politician and at the height of the years of People’s National Congress (PNC) repression was arrested on charges of burning down the PNC headquarters.
He also narrowly escaped death when he was attacked by PNC party thugs, only reaching safety with the help of sugarcane workers who led him through the cane fields to escape. After the assassination of Walter Rodney, Roopnaraine became leader of the WPA.