Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham was born in Kitty, British
Guiana on the 20th of February, 1923. He was the son of Methodist parents,
James Ethelbert Burnham and Rachel Abigail Sampson. Burnham had two marriages in his life,
which produced five daughters. The first was to Sheila Bernice Lataste, in 1951. Roxane,
Annabelle, and Francesca were the fruits of that union. The second, in 1967, was to Viola
Victorine Harper who bore him Melanie and Ulele.
||had many distinguishing honors in his life including the
Order of Excellence of Guyana.
Burnham played a major role in establishing both major
political parties in Guyana. In 1950, he and Dr. Cheddi Jagan co-founded the Peoples
Progressive Party (PPP). Five years later, he split from the PPP to form a more
"moderate" party called the Peoples National Congress (PNC). He was the
Prime Minister of Guyana from 1964 until he became President in 1980. He held the office
of the presidency until his death in 1985.
Until 1970, the country was ruled in moderation, looking to foreign investors and
staying away from socialism. However, from 1970, his government declared the country a
"Cooperative Republic", established relations with communist countries, and
nationalized foreign owned bauxite mines and sugar plantations. These policies eventually
led to Guyanas economic stagnation in the 80s.
Burnham, the first president of Guyana, led his country for twenty-one years. He died
on August 6, 1985, at the age of 62. He was undergoing a throat operation in a hospital in
Georgetown. He was a major player in Guyana's political arena.