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.