The Final Farewell…
On the morning of December 11, Prime Minister Sam Hinds paid a courtesy call to Betty Naraine and the immediate family of Steve Naraine at their home in Lamaha Street, Georgetown, and personally presented a copy of the tribute he made in the National Assembly (Parliament) of Guyana on November 21, 2013 titled “Remembering Shiv Sahai Naraine.”
Later on that same day, the Minister of Public Works provided a pilot boat and an escort boat to take the ashes to the point of immersion, and small group of invited engineers accompanied the family.
‘From dust to dust’ took on very deep significance on Wednesday, December 11, 2013. The ashes of Steve (Shiv Sahai) Naraine were brought back to Guyana for immersion at the confluence of the Demerara River and the Atlantic Ocean. Embodied in this meeting point is a transition of currents — moving from calm to turbulent. And standing on the coastline, directly facing this confluence on the Georgetown skyline, is the Public Works Department building, where Steve Naraine started his career as an Engineering Apprentice in 1944. And not too far behind this building is the towering Lighthouse.
Ravi and Krishna Naraine together offered the ashes back to the waters as the sun glistened its diamond-like sparkles on the strong waves and the boat rocking to the movement of the waves. It felt like completion of one life span!
The captain then steered the boat toward the Demerara Harbour Bridge, which is a ten minutes ride in the Demerara River. The boat was anchored in such a way that the Bridge became the backdrop, an appropriate and moving setting for the engineers to pay their tributes.
Mr. Walter Willis, Technical Adviser to the Minister of Public Works read ‘An Appreciation of Shiv Sahai Naraine’ written by Engineer Philip Allsopp, a childhood friend, and longstanding professional colleague of Steve Naraine.
“When he (Steve) was Technical Specialist and I, at the same time was Chief Works and Hydraulics Officer in the Ministry of Public Works, there was an amusing incident worthy of note. Quite often we were both sent to negotiate loans at the World Bank for sea defences and roads and soon developed a technique in negotiation to get as much as possible in concessions to Guyana. We were soon recognized for this ability and on one occasion when we were about to enter a meeting for negotiation, as we both entered, the Loan Officer who was the Chairman, said, ‘Here come the spin twins, Ramadin and Valentine!’ There was general laughter which opened the opportunity for our submission. Our nicknames were stuck in the Bank.
“Steve and I were the only Guyanese engineers to have presented technical papers at the Institution of Civil Engineers in London, on the engineering works we had designed in Guyana. Both of us were appointed Fellows of the Institution for life.” (Read full text of An Appreciation — Shiv Sahai Naraine)
Joe Holder, project manager for the Demerara Harbour Bridge, constructed during the tenure of Steve Naraine as Minister of Public Works and Hydraulics paid tribute to Steve Naraine’s personal intervention in redefining the face of engineering in Guyana. During the construction of the Demerara Harbour Bridge, as the Minister he would personally show up and spend hours observing the engineers at work.
Mr Joel Trotman, current President of Guyana Association of Professional Engineers (GAPE), spoke of the various ‘first’s’ of Steve Naraine which include: He was first President of Gape and subsequently became a lifetime member of the Association. He was the first Guyanese Indian Civil Engineer to graduate from the University of London, UK in 1951. He was the first Guyanese to be appointed to the Professional Interview as Executive Engineer in 1956.
Mr. Stuart Hughes, currently the Projects Director of SRKNgineering, a consulting company started by Steve Naraine spoke of his commitment to continue the legacy of GAPE that Steve Naraine was instrumental in forming as one of the founding members.
Tributes were also made by Frederick Flatts, Hydraulics Engineer, Ministry of Agriculture and Mr. George Howard, Hydraulics Engineer, EGIS Int.
In closing Joe Holder quoted Henry Wordsworth Longfellow:
LIVES OF GREAT MEN all remind us,
WE CAN make our lives sublime;
AND DEPARTING, leave behind us;
FOOTPRINTS ON THE SANDS OF TIME …
Steve Naraine has made a big footprint in the development and growth of Guyana. And he has left 2 footprints in his sons Ravi and Krishna Naraine.
December 11, 2013