Allan Fenty Remembered as ‘Principled’ and Larger than Life

Allan Fenty (Photo courtesy of Stabroek News online)

GEORGETOWN, GUYANA — Late folklorist and columnist Allan Arthur Fenty, who died on February 7, was on Saturday, February 18, remembered as a larger than life individual who was always principled.

The Stabroek News reported that at a celebration of his life on the tarmac of the National Cultural Centre, his friend Franklin (Bobby) Vieira said Fenty’s command of the English language made people respect him “in every facet of pronouncing words, understanding the daily challenges of life, and even the way he made fun of persons with whom he interacted”.

Vieira, according to the Stabroek News report, recounted that Fenty, who diedt at 78, was always mentally prepared to face death and the actual program of service to celebrate his home going had been prepared by Fenty and left with several close friends two years ago.

“Allan was an extremely good friend of mine. He called me every morning during my morning programme to either chat about a particular song and who the original singer was. Our long going bet which has now come to an end was my arguing that Johnny Nash never came to Guyana. The bet was a case of beer. However, we consumed much more than that in times gone by,” Vieira was quoted by the Stabroek News as saying.

Another friend, broadcaster and advertising executive, Vic Insanally spoke of his 25-year friendship with Fenty. “He was fearless and funny, prolific and professional, and always principled,” Insanally was reported as saying of Fenty.

Insanally, according to the Stabroek News report, added that Guyenterprise celebrated Fenty’s “immense contribution” with his face on the cover of the 2020 Guyana Annual which was a folklore edition with nearly all of the articles written by him.

Insanally said that Fenty labelled himself “Guyana’s grassroots cultural enthusiast, old story-teller, columnist and amateur folklorist” and for the first time in history the annual sold out and a reprint was done.

Insanally said that the young editor that Fenty had mentored said the following about him “who better to honour than the man who teaches you something about Guyana every time you speak to him; a walking library colourfully dispensing nuggets of information”.

Insanally added that Fenty had an infectious love of life and all things Guyanese.
Another longstanding friend, Lloyd Conway was reported by the Stabroek News as saying that Fenty would constantly regale his friends with stories and photos of his daughters and grandchildren. He added that Fenty was never sad or angry no matter what life had thrown him but was always optimistic and generous. He related how one day the diabetic Fenty bought a tray of sweets from a young vendor as he said the seller looked tired and needed to go home. He then distributed the sweets.

In a tribute to Fenty, the Guyana Cultural Association of New York described him as a “cultural giant, a sage in the field of Folklore, Communications and Public Relations”.
It said that over the years Fenty’s pioneering spirit and writings fully embraced the association’s mission to document and celebrate the multiple roots of Guyana’s cultural heritage.

“His service as Chief Information Officer of Guyana’s Information Services reflects the role he played as an opinion leader in the transition of Guyana from a colony to an independent nation on the international stage,” it was reported as saying.

The funeral program featured scriptural readings by family and friends, hymns and stirring musical tributes by Eze Rockliff, Singing Lurline and Russell Lancaster. Reverend Raymond Coxall delivered the sermon. A cremation followed at Good Hope on the East Coast of Demerara.

Fenty authored the Frankly Speaking column in Stabroek News on Fridays for 30 years.