Rupert Roopnaraine

Rupert Roopnaraine (born 31 January 1943) is a Guyanese cricketer, writer, and politician. Roopnaraine served as Minister of Education of Guyana between 2015[1] and 2017.[2]

Rupert Roopnaraine
Minister of Education
In office
PresidentDavid A. Granger
Preceded byShaik K.Z. Baksh
Succeeded byNicolette Henry
Personal details
Born (1943-01-31) 31 January 1943 (age 79)
Georgetown, Guyana
NationalityGuyana Guyanese
Political partyWorking People's Alliance
OccupationAuthor, politician, cricket player
Rupert Roopnaraine
Cricket information
BowlingRight-arm off-break
Domestic team information
1964–66Cambridge University
Career statistics
Competition First-class
Matches 29
Runs scored 302
Batting average 7.94
100s/50s 0/1
Top score 50*
Balls bowled 5,974
Wickets 58
Bowling average 36.53
5 wickets in innings 2
10 wickets in match 0
Best bowling 8/88
Catches/stumpings 7/–


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.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5] From 1976 to 1996, he has worked as a university lecturer in the UK, Canada, the US and at the University of Guyana.[5]


He joined the Working People's Alliance (WPA) in Guyana in 1977 and became one of the leaders of the party, along with Walter Rodney, Clive Y. 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.[5] After the assassination of Walter Rodney, Roopnaraine became leader of the WPA.[5]

In 2015, Roopnaraine was appointed Minister of Education of Guyana.[1] In 2017, he was reassigned to Ministry of the Presidency, and Nicolette Henry replaced him as Minister of Education.[2]


Roopnaraine is one of the leading Caribbean intellectuals of his generation,[5] though political activism has restricted his output. Nevertheless, he is an art critic (champion of the work of Stanley Greaves), literary critic (author of a pioneering essay on Martin Carter), film-maker (The Terror and the Time) and poet.[5] He is the author of The Web of October: Rereading Martin Carter (1986), a suite of love poems entitled Suite for Supriya (1993), and Primacy of the Eye: The Art of Stanley Greaves was published in 2003. Roopnaraine also contributed a substantial "Introduction" to the Peepal Tree Press 2010 edition of Edgar Mittelholzer's Shadows Move Among Them.[5]

Roopnaraine's collection of essays, The Sky’s Wild Noise, won the non-fiction category of the 2013 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.[6] The judges commentated that "in the corpus of non-fiction prose in the Caribbean intellectual tradition, only José Martí and George Lamming rival the range of Roopnaraine’s capacities of response, depth of analysis and subtle and mordant style."[7]

Selected worksEdit

  • The Web of October: Rereading Martin Carter (Peepal Tree Press, 1986)
  • Suite for Supriya (love poems; Peepal Tree Press, 1993)
  • Primacy of the Eye: The Art of Stanley Greaves (Peepal Tree Press, 2003)
  • The Sky’s Wild Noise: Selected Essays (Peepal Tree Press, 2012)


  1. ^ a b "Nicolette Henry, Minister of Education". Guyana Chronicle. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Roopnaraine no longer Education Minister; Nicolette Henry to take full control of Ministry". Demerara Waves. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  3. ^ Benson, Eugene; Conolly, L.W., eds. (2004). Encyclopedia of Post-Colonial Literatures in English. Routledge. p. 1368. ISBN 9781134468485.
  4. ^ "Rupert Roopnaraine". Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Rupert Roopnaraine". Peepal Tree Press. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  6. ^ "Roopnaraine wins Bocas non-fiction literary prize", Guyana Times, 30 April 2013.
  7. ^ "Rupert Roopnaraine wins major literary award", Kaieteur News, 30 April 2013.