Former Minister within the Agriculture Ministry and Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) Chairman, Alli Baksh passed away on Thursday around 13:00h at his Cotton Field, Essequibo home after losing a year-long battle to illness.Alli had undergone heart bypass surgery several years ago.Former Minister Alli Baksh died on ThursdayAt the time of his death, Baksh was 70 years old, and was surrounded by his wife and children. According to one of his daughters, after he was diagnosed about a year ago, his children had been making extra efforts to ensure that sufficient time was spent with him.“That’s one thing we will be grateful for – that we were able to spend a lot of time with him before his death,” the grieving daughter told Guyana Times on Thursday.The father of four became the Chairman of Region Two in 1992 – a position he held until the end of 2011 and during his tenure, achieved many things for the Region. Under his stewardship, Baksh managed to open a branch of the Guyana School of Agriculture in the Region, establish the Essequibo Technical Institute (ETI) as well as provide a place for Amerindians, whenever they visit the Essequibo Coast.Baksh also served as an executive member of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) as well as a Member of Parliament and a Junior Minister under the former administration.Baksh had said, in repeated interviews, that one of his greatest achievements was to see young agriculturists being trained within Region Two. He had always advocated for changes and his favourite quote was, “You only live once and only once you are given the same feature and outlook, as such you should use same to do good for others.”Other relatives who spoke with this newspaper said that Baksh always had the country’s welfare at heart and would stay updated with current events. They noted that he was a true believer in Islam and as such, used the teachings to serve others.His brother-in-law, Shankar Persaud, described Baksh as a very understanding and courageous individual. Several PPP supporters from different districts along the Essequibo Coast also extended condolences to relatives. Many of them still remember some of his teachings and said memories of him will forever live on.Meanwhile, reflecting on Baksh’s life achievements, former President Donald Ramotar, under whose administration the stalwart served as Minister, told Guyana Times that he was saddened by the death of not only a colleague but a comrade and a very dear, personal friend.“Alli’s whole adult life was dedicated to fighting for the downtrodden people of our country.From a very young age, he caught the vision of Cheddi Jagan and has fought to end colonialism in the latter stage. He was also a staunch fighter for the return of democracy to our society and rose through the ranks of the party to serve in top leadership positions,” Ramotar recalled fondly.He noted that during Baksh’s 20-year tenure as Regional Chairman, he managed to distinguish himself as not only an able political leader but as a good administrator, adding that during his leadership, Essequibo was transformed from being ‘Cinderella in rags’ to ‘Cinderella: the princess’.The former President also highlighted that as Junior Agriculture Minister, Baksh focused a lot of energy on developing the farming industry in Guyana. “His work stood out wherever he was assigned and today, they remain a monument of his life achievements.Alli Baksh will always be remembered as a determined political fighter who dedicated his energies towards uplifting the lives of the poor and oppressed,” Ramotar stated.Baksh, who was also a Justice of Peace and counsellor, is survived by his wife, four children, grandchildren and other relatives and friends. His funeral has been set for Saturday.