June 12, 2010

Guyanese Online Blog and Newsletter

Posted in Guyana tagged , at 11:05 pm by randallbutisingh

Guyanese Online Blog and Newsletter

Visit: http://guyaneseonline.wordpress.com/Preview

for the latest Guyanese News and articles on Guyana and the Caribbean.

The Guyanese Online Newsletter is published monthly.  the first issue was published in March 2010.  All issues are available on the Blog.

Cyril Bryan, Editor and Publisher

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December 14, 2009

THE BIRTH OF A VILLAGE

Posted in Economics, Guyana tagged , , at 4:18 pm by randallbutisingh

THE BIRTH OF A VILLAGE

Annandale Today (Written in 1964)  by: Randall Butisingh.

About eleven miles from the City of Georgetown, journey East, one cannot fail to notice the compact Housing Area which extends for four hundred yards on both sides of the public road from Buxton on the East to Lusignan on the West.   The stranger will be surprised to learn that a little more than twenty years ago, this well-drained area was swampy rice fields and pasture for cattle and sheep.   He will not fail to notice the rectangular streets and macadamized roads which are kept in good state of repair and the piped water system which gets its supply from two deep artesian wells in the area.

Annandale was a grinding Sugar Estate many years ago.   It was said to be named after Ann and Dale, the daughters of the proprietor but its factory was dismantled because of its proximity to Lusignan whose factory had the capacity for grinding its sugar cane.   The workers were then removed to Lusignan where they were housed in Logies, or range houses.

How did these new houses at Annandale, which the middle class or urban dweller may envy, spring up in so short a time.   The older heads will remember that as recent as 1947, following discontent and restlessness among Sugar Workers, the Venn Commission was sent from England to investigate conditions on the Sugar Estates of British Guiana. and to make recommendations for improvement.   They found the most appalling conditions in the estates.  Apart for a small number of certain categories of workers, the majority of sugar workers live in ranges, called logies of five or six white washed, mud-floored rooms for as many families with no fences and not much privacy. These homes were also prone to flooding in the rainy season.

In 1948 the Lusignan Sugar Factory was dismantled and the canes were sent to a Central Factory at Enmore, a Sugar Estate about six miles east of Lusignan.   This too was a reason for getting the workers out of the Lusignan Estate and for speedily finding alternative accommodation for them in another area.  The Commission recommended that these ranges be pulled down and proper houses erected for the workers.

In 1949, the first interest free loans were given by The Enmore Estates Ltd to the first set of workers to be paid on the basis of a dollar a week and the logies in which they lived were sold to them for a pittance.   With the money and the materials, part of which was sound, they built the first houses on which is now called Annandale South.   These houses were to form the nucleus of a fast-growing community which now totals hundreds of houses and a population of around three thousand.   In 1950, the Sugar Industry Welfare Fund was introduced.   This fund which was raised by setting aside a small percentage of the sum collected for each ton of sugar provided the loans for the houses and also the infrastructure – proper streets, water supply and social amenities.

Within Annandale, where the land is leasehold, is an area with over a hundred and twenty houses.   This area was reserved for sale to the people of Lusignan Pasture so that they could remove from the present site which was not developed, and so leave the land vacant for the use of the estate.

However, residents of the pasture were reluctant to remove from an area with gardening and pasturing facilities and very few took the opportunity to purchase plots there.   Other workers too, who were safely accommodated in the Housing Scheme did not avail themselves of the opportunity to buy although they were given first preference.   Eventually the lands were sold to selected applicants and the section which is known as Courabane Park is made up of chiefly of residents from villages in the surrounding areas.

Courabane Park boasts the finest houses in Annandale, but it lacks the facilities of good roads, proper drainage and potable water supply.  These inadequacies however will be remedied soon within the framework of a Local Authority and Self help.

The population comprises the descendants of East Indians and Africans with Indians forming a large majority.   Most of the Indians are Hindus, a small number is Muslims and a smaller number of Christians.  Annandale also has a Government Primary and a Secondary School to serve the educational needs of the people, a Temple, an Arya Samaj Mandir, a Mosque and a Baptist Mission Church to serve their spiritual needs

A Community Centre, the best of its kind, a project of the S.I.LW.F., provides recreational facilities e.g. cricket, table tennis, volley ball, athletics and the like.  Here also can be found facilities for Adult Education, e.g. groups, films and a library.

With the availability of free Higher Education, children of the estate workers have become Graduates of the University of Guyana, or have attained certificates at the ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels of the G.C.E. Examinations.   Annandale has produced to date (1964) two medical doctors, a lawyer, two sanitary inspectors, and a number of teachers, nurses, accountants, mechanics, tailors, carpenters and other skilled workers.

Recently, Annandale has projected itself on the literary scene and during the past year works of three of its creative writers.  Among them is a young poet and story writer Rooplall Monar with a string of National prizes.  His work has appeared in local and Caribbean anthologies and magazines.  The others are Bramdeo Persaud, poet and short story writer and Guska, a brilliant student, poet and artist.

In the field of music Ramdhan is rated the best player of the dholak (Indian drum) in the Caribbean.   His son is following in his footsteps, and Sugrim  Samaroo, as player of the harmonium and mandolin.

In athletics, Annandale has produced three athletes of note – Sheik Hassan, Twahir Ali and R.D. Singh.  Sheik Hassan is at present in Neighbouring Surinam where he is imparting his skill and techniques to the youths over there.  Twahir, the veteran is active in the Athletic Group at the Community Centre.   R.D.Singh, the youngest of the three was the winner of the Caribbean long distance championship in Grenada.

For the physical needs of the area there are large groceries and parlours, hardware and dry goods stores, a furniture mart, and spirit shops. It also has two garment factories, two mechanic shops, a welding shop and two small printers.  Its market is one of the largest on the East Coast, but it is accommodated in makeshift tents on both sides of the Main road.   It operates for about four busy hours starting about 11 a.m. every day except Sundays.  After about two p.m. vendors and buyers clear the street and everything becomes quiet again.

Annandale as an Extra Nuclear Area has hitherto enjoyed freedom from rates and taxes and the help of the S.I.LW.F. (Sugar Estates Labour Welfare Fund),  in the maintenance of roads, internal drainage and water supply facilities, but these privileges will go under the system of Village Administration and the residents will have to be faced with the obligation of supplying the facilities for themselves through rates and taxes and by means of Self and Cooperation.

November 18, 2009

Buxton-Friendship

Posted in Buxton, Economics, Friendship, Guyana, Lusignan, Politics tagged , at 6:32 pm by randallbutisingh

 

Buxton-Friendship

By Harry Hergash

Harry Hergash, a graduate of the University of Guyana, taught at the Annandale Government Secondary from 1964 to 1969. He immigrated to Canada in 1974.

In this column I would like to share my recollections of the village of Buxton-Friendship, East Coast Demerara. Historically, after starting out as separate villages that were purchased and built by freed African slaves, they were amalgamated into one around 1841.  By the beginning of the nineteen sixties, Buxton-Friendship was possibly the most progressive and prosperous village in Guyana. It was known for its highly educated sons and daughters, civic minded citizens, hard working farmers and fisherman, skilled tradesmen, and prosperous business people, where citizens of African and Indian origins lived together peacefully.

Indians, who started arriving in the village in the 1890s, emulated the Africans in striving for education and social betterment in the country. By the 1950s they were scattered throughout the village with concentrated enclaves in the area along the seashore, referred to as Buxton Front, where there were some of the most renowned sea-fishermen in the country; on both sides of the railway embankment around the railway station where they worked as pawnbrokers and jewellers, and operated clothing and hardware stores; and in the area along Brush dam where they raised cattle and grew rice in adjoining estate lands. Most if not all of them adhered to Indian cultural traditions, and Buxton could boast of having some of the most educated and finest Indian musicians and singers of Chowtaals, Ramayan and Bhajans.

I remember Saturdays and Mondays as prime market days at the municipal market next to the Post Office, just off Company Road, a stone’s throw from the railway station. The interaction and relationships between Africans and Indians were based on mutual respect and trust, befitting two peoples who depended on the fruits of each other’s labour. Indians from the estate areas of Lusignan Pasture and Annandale Sand Reef to the West and Vigilance to the East would bring their produce of garden vegetables (ochro, bora, calaloo, etc.) to sell to the African villagers who would sell them fruits, plantains and ground provisions (cassava, eddoes, sweet potatoes, etc.). Both groups would then patronise the fishermen and the butchers who operated their stalls in a corner of the market where the odour was quite distinct. Before noon, the efficient Mr. Brown would have already completed his rounds and collected from vendors all market fees.

During my childhood in the 1950s, I traversed every street and cross street in the combined village in the company of my grandparents and uncles who sold feed to the many self-employed villagers who farmed the back-lands and raised chicken and pigs in their yards. Every Sunday morning we travelled around the village in a dray cart hauled by three donkeys laden with paddy, broken rice and bhoosi (pulverized rice shells produced during milling) which was sold to customers to be used as chicken and pig feed. By midday, with our task completed after serving the last customer along Friendship Middle Walk, we would stop at the Esso station, the first petrol station to be built on the East Coast of Demerara, where I would get a treat of Brown Betty ice-cream or Fudgsicle while the elders collected the “wet-cell” battery that had been left the week before for recharging.. In those days, radio sets of that period with names such as KB, Grundig, Phillips and Pye, were operated in the rural areas with current from a battery similar to a motor-car’s battery that had to be recharged periodically at a gas station.

Regrettably, the madness of racial discord and intolerance raised its ugly head in the country in 1963 and by 1964 Buxton-Friendship, like other parts of the country, was consumed. As Indians hurriedly relocated from the predominantly African villages to the safety of predominantly Indian areas, Africans did the same in the reverse. Even then, many good people on both sides risked their lives and property to help those on the other side, but it was not enough to stem the mass migration from villages and the formation of segregated communities. This was the beginning of squatting areas or shantytowns in Guyana. Overnight pastures and swamplands were cramped with makeshift houses and places like Lusignan East and West, Haslington, Logwood, etc. came into being.

Sadly, Buxton-Friendship never recovered from this restructuring. With independence coming shortly thereafter and government jobs becoming readily available, many African villagers deserted the self- sufficiency of independent occupations – carpentry, cabinet making, blacksmith, guttersmith, farming and the raising of livestock, opting instead for the apparent security of salaried occupations.  As the village tax base deteriorated, critical infrastructural work on roads, drainage and irrigation was neglected, and by the time the oil crisis and world-wide economic downturn hit us, both citizens and the village as a whole found it difficult to cope which resulted in the serious political repercussions of later years.

Buxton-Friendship’s loss of Indian fishermen and business people was the gain of Annandale and Lusignan. Almost overnight, in the midst of the turmoil and agony of 1964, a market developed in Annandale North’s Centre Street, rechristened “Market Street”. It quickly replaced Buxton’s municipal market as the commercial centre for the surrounding areas, and by 1965, African Buxtonians were also patronizing the vendors in Annandale. Likewise many of the hardware and clothing stores relocated to Annandale.  And the fishermen formerly of Buxton Front became the enterprising fishermen of Lusignan East where the fishing industry was taken to new heights as the importation of salted cod and canned fish was banned during the period of economic hardship of the 1980s.

Now more than four decades later, as I reflect on the deaths and destruction of 1964 and the havoc wreaked on the communities of Buxton and Annandale, I cannot help but recall that it was the ordinary citizens, not the external forces that combined to destabilise the country, and certainly not those individual politicians of both major parties in whose names the so many horrendous acts were perpetrated, who were the victims and losers in all the madness and mayhem. It was these ordinary folks who became homeless, and it was their children who became motherless, fatherless or orphans. And when it came to healing and restoring some semblance of peace and harmony, it was community leaders who had to pick up the pieces. It was Eusi Kwayana as the respected leader of Buxton, and Pandit Ramsahai Doobay as the respected leader of Annandale, who met with then British Colonial Secretary, Duncan Sandys, on the Annandale Side-line dam (then referred to as the Maginot line, a term used by the French in the Second World War) to discuss and work out arrangements that played their own part in establishing an uneasy peace in the villages.

I am now an emigrant from the land of my birth. As I follow developments of recent years in the communities of Buxton-Friendship and neighbouring areas, I am saddened that lessons of the past seem to have been forgotten. Ordinary citizens of these communities have once again been the victims and they are the ones who once again have to start rebuilding the good inter-personal relationships and trust, sorely damaged by needless strife and violence. The time has surely come for people to realize that while politicians remain unscathed and continue to enjoy the perquisites of office, it is they the poor folks who will always have to bear the consequences of actions by their “representatives”. It is they who have to live side by side as neighbours and interact with each other. As we look to the future, let us be guided by the actions and teachings of the elders of our communities. Let us remember a time not so very long ago, when an African grandmother would give a special bath of blue water to an Indian child to protect that child from the mythical “old-higue”, and an Indian mother would pay a penny to nominally “buy” an African child so that child could grow up to be healthy and strong. Let us remember our history.

(This is one of a series of weekly columns from Guyanese in the diaspora and others with an interest in issues related to Guyana and the Caribbean)

 

November 8, 2009

Xmas Festivities at Buxton -1948

Posted in Buxton, Guyana tagged at 9:27 pm by randallbutisingh

Xmas Festivities at Buxton -1948

Vivid Recollections of the Xmas Festivities at Buxton –

By “BUXTONIAN” –  December 30, 1948

PEACE and quietness can truly be said to have reigned all through the festive season so far as Buxton was concerned but there was not an absence of jollity, mirth and pleasure among the populace, but whenever manifestation they made of them was very much tempered and modified.  A walk around on Christmas day revealed that there was not made that kind of elaborate preparation which was a marked feature of old time Christmases. In times gone by there was always something to greet the eye, for even the humblest cottager did not neglect to show by his drapery over her cottage door and new or fancy blinds on the windows,  if balloons could not have been procured to give taste to the kind of decoration made, that it was Christmas – a season that must be given a kind of special welcome.

NO DRUM BEATING

There was no drum beating, nor was there any street singing of wild songs with the usual accompanying gesticulations to disturb the stillness which prevailed throughout the day.  It was Christmas Eve night that merriment made itself felt. As soon as the evening shades appeared the singing of Christmas Carols by various groups of young men and young women began; and they continued all through the night.  This particular feature was unprecedented and the zest and excellence with which it was all done were commendable.

CHOIR IN GOOD FORM

The Catholics as has been the age long custom had their Midnight Mass and the little church of St. Anthony was as usual, brilliantly illuminated.  There was the accustomed procession to the manger, but there was no profusion of gifts. The invitation to visit the Crib was given in the usual way by the singing of “Come! Come! Come to the Manger, children! Come to the children’s king”, which the choir beautifully rendered.  The midnight Mass was followed by two others masses at daybreak.  The Anglican, the Methodist, the Congregationalist, the Church of God, each had its own service after daybreak to celebrate the Christmas, and each congregation joined heartily in the singing of some of the hymns specially written to tell of the birth of the Saviour of Mankind.

CHRISTMAS SUNDAY

On this day which in former years was always the grayest of the season when the young folks of both sexes endeavour to vie one with the other in their Christmas Sunday Garb, there was, not in evidence much to attract attention of the observer.

There was much sobering down of any display in apparel as there was in public festivities. the usual crop of christenings followed by “Candles” was there and there were several unions of hearts and hands of young man and maidens; and one clergy man was heard to remark at marriage feast that he had his hands full and was kept busy nearly all day long baptizing, preaching giving communion, and marrying; and it was his good fortune not to be called upon to do any burying.

SACRED CONCERT

At Arundel Church a sacred Concert was staged in the afternoon, but the many attractions in other directions robbed it of the attendance it deserved.  The items on the programme were all splendidly rendered and told of the energy and time that must have been expended in its preparation.

ON WITH THE DANCE

MONDAY was officially observed as Boxing Day and the sport-loving and holiday-merrymaking homesters and friends and acquaintances from abroad had a day all to themselves to indulge in their particular tastes and fancies at the picnics and dances that were promoted.  These were held at the Tipperary Hall, the Congregational Schoolroom, and the ideal Recreation Club Bungalow.  During the day as well as the night there was a jam session and patrons just let themselves go in the latest in jiving.  Oh! how their hearts were light; how they danced and jived, though moon and stars were not shining bright, the while the bells of the orchestra went tinkle-ting.

Source: Covering the Country Districts – the Daily Chronicle – Thursday, December 30, 1948: Page 6.

October 7, 2009

Canon William Granville Burgan

Posted in Buxton, Education, Guyana, History, Lusignan, Philosophy, Religion tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:03 am by randallbutisingh

Persons who were of great significance in my life – 01

Canon William Granville Burgan,  B.A., M.A.

I will name Canon William Granville Burgan as one of the most significant people in my life.  This was because I had the longest relationship with him than any one else in my teaching career, when he was incumbent at Saint Augustine’s Anglican Church, located at Buxton, East Coast Demerara, British Guiana (now Guyana), and manager of the schools in which he served for a little over twenty- one years.   He jestingly referred to his twenty one year incumbency as his coming of age.  When he celebrated it in 1946, I had the pleasure of reporting it in one of the media of the day.

Rev. Canon W.G. Burgan 1886-1958

Rev. Canon W.G. Burgan 1886-1958

When he came to Buxton in 1925, I was thirteen years of age studying for the School Leaving Examination.  To me a small boy, he was tall by my standard in those days, five feet, ten inches, the same as I am now, good looking and elegant.   I admired him from the day he came.  He was a family man with three sons and two daughters.   He was the only African, in British Guiana, at a time when University degrees were rare to procure both the Bachelor and Master of Arts degree in a British University.   He was a good writer and his articles submitted to the newspapers and the monthly Diocesan Magazine stood out as gems of the English language.

For a man of his ability, he was easily fitted for the highest post in the Anglican Church, but in those days of colonialism, he could only reach as far as Canon.  The highest offices, like the Arch-Bishops and Bishops went to the white British, regardless of their attitude or aptitude – an area of discrimination, even in the Church.

Rev. Father Burgan carried out his duties as a priest and manager of the Anglican schools he controlled with dedication and commitment, though at times in conversation with him, I sensed a sign of frustration, which happens to a mind that is at a disadvantage to function to its full potential.  However, his tasks at Church were not a one-day affair, as some may think.   Apart from the regular services every Sunday and  children service every month, he held a weekday service for the school children when he would teach them new songs.   He was a good singer – a tenor, and a musician, and he also played the organ.   One of the songs he taught, I can remember word for word, even to this day.  He also helped the choirmaster to train the choir and held Confirmation classes, which were regular for long periods every year.

He loved children.  I remember once he took us on an excursion to Fort Wellington, Berbice to meet with children of the parish from which he was transferred.  At that time we had the railway running then from Georgetown to Rosignol.  I remember him taking off his clerical collar and joining with the boys in a game of cricket.

Besides his duty as priest,  he was also Justice of the Peace.  Policemen would go every week with bundles of summonses for him to sign.  In those days defendants were issued summonses at their homes to appear in court.  I believe that was the reason why he never tried to settle a case between two parishioners, but would let them go to court.    However, that was one area I did not feel agreement with him.   But now, I can see his reason; “if you could be so stupid as to make trouble, I have no patience with you; go and let the court settle it; that’s what they are there for”.   Even when one of his sons got into trouble, he did not try to resolve the matter outside of court.   Poor “Mistress” (Burgan), as we were taught to call his spouse, went to plead on the boy’s behalf.   Once I had a case with one of my young fellow teachers who hurt me.   His father refused to pay for the doctor’s expenses;   the matter was settled when his father was summoned to appear in court.

As I grew up in the school and church, I sensed a bond between us, an affinity.  I was always at ease with him although he was strict.  He was interested in my knowledge of Hindi and told me that he wished he had learnt it.   He, however was knowledgeable in Latin, Greek and Hebrew.  I knew of a candidate for the Bachelor’s degree who would visit him often to get help in learning  Greek.   He gave me the books left by his predecesor, Rev. James Persaud, who was proficient in both Hindi and Urdu, and who kept Hindi services for the old Indian Christians, back around the late 1920’s.   His books included the Missal in Urdu, an Urdu grammar and the Six Schools of Hindu Philosophy.  He also allowed me to continue the Hindi services which his predecessor kept.

Canon Burgan, though erudite, knew that he could not know everything.   He would ask me to explain certain points in grammar as if I was his teacher.   I did not realize then that maybe, he was really testing me.   He was not prejudicial; he spoke well of those of his calling who were well educated e.g. the Metropolitan (Bishop) of India.   In 1940, he appointed me Lay Reader along with another colleague.  We did the reading of the two lessons at evensong and matins, and also held the burial services when he was absent.  He made it plain that he hated the Old Testament lessons.

When I got married, he gave me a choral wedding and returned the fee I gave him for the ceremony.  He also baptized my eldest two children before he was transferred to the Plaisance Village Church in the mid 1950’s.

When India gained her independence in 1947, he held a service for the Indians of Buxton and neighbouring Vigilance.  I attended dressed in my Indian garb and was asked to read the lesson in Hindi. When the wife of the Indian catechist died, throngs from the neighbouring villages and sugar estates attended.  He made me sing a Bhajan (hymn in Hindi) with them and also read the sermon for the dead in Hindi.

With all his effort and dedication, I sensed a frustration.  This is a dog’s job, he once told us.  He had to raise a certain sum of money every year to give to the Diocese, also to maintain the material fabric of the Church.  This could not have been done by contributions from the parishioners, as they were poor.   The takings from collections were small and some could hardly have paid the six shillings ($1.44) for their yearly membership, so he had to resort to entertainments to raise the required sum.   His yearly Tea and Dance had always been a success.  In the 1950’s the young Bishop Allan John Knight was transferred as Bishop, to British Guiana from Africa to help raise money for the Church, which was in a parlous situation, and which he said could not run without money, but he had not to do it himself, the parish priests had to do it.

After 1949,  Canon Burgan was transferred to Plaisance, a parish church closer to Georgetown, we still kept our good relationship.  I used to visit him in the vicarage where he and his wife lived alone.  By then, the children were all grown, married or abroad.  After retiring, he moved to his residence in Georgetown, where he passed his last days before his call to eternity.

When he was called to higher service, I went to the funeral home where his body lay for viewing. He looked peaceful in his casket.     His daughter Dolly kissed him on the forehead.   There was a funeral service held for him at the parlour;  a man in a  high pitched voice sang solo the hymn “Lord, I would own Thy tender care and all Thy Love to me” .   After the service I  followed his cortege when it was moved to St. George’s Cathedral.  There he laid in state for final viewing and funeral service which was attended by hundreds from various parishes, dignitaries and people from all walks of life.  He was later entombed at St.  Sidwell’s churchyard in Lodge Village.

To sum up his life, with the failings, errors and limitations which are inevitable to humans in this mortal life,  Canon  Burgan performed to his fullest in the state of life into which God had called him.   As he lived, so did he die and so will he gain eternal rest in the kingdom prepared for all those who “ran the race and endured to the end.”   I close this tribute with a  quote from one of my poems:

Now he is gone, no more for us his work;

Death’s icy fingers shut the heavy tome;

But in some fairer realm where waits his Lord.

A soul will rise effulgent and at peace.

Rest in peace, my pastor, my teacher and my friend!

Randall Butisingh

——————————————————————————————–

SHORT BIOGRAPHY

Canon William Granville Burgan, B.A., M.A.

Canon William Granville Burgan (1886-1958) was born in British Guiana.  His father’s parents were one of the founders of the village of Beterverwagting, on the East Coast of Demerara.  His father, Mr. William Garnett Barnett Burgan, who died in 1938, was a well-respected Head Master of various schools in British Guiana.

Canon Burgan was born at Beterverwagting on June 16, 1886 and entered Codrington College, Barbados in 1907, holding a Diocesan Scholarship.  After three years’ residence he took and passed the B. A., degree of Durham University and also won the Wilson prize in Reading and Education competed for annually at the College Commemoration.

On his return to the colony he was ordained Deacon in December 1910 and was attached to Cathedral Staff.  In the following year he was appointed Curate of the All Saints, New Amsterdam.  On December 28, 1912, he and the Late Rev. W. G. Kimber, then Curate of St. George’s Cathedral, were advanced to the Priesthood by Bishop E. A. Parry.

Late in 1913 he was transferred to St. Michael’s Parish as Curate in Charge and later became First Vicar on the separation of these districts from the main parish. In 1914 he proceeded to his M. A., degree from Durhan University.   In 1938 he was made Canon (St Alban’s) at St. George’s Cathedral.

During his many years at Belladrum, in addition to his ministerial duties he interested himself in the general welfare of the villagers.   He was Chairman of the Local Authority of Eldorado and as President of the Farmers’ Association and First Secretary of the Belladrum and Lichfield Co-operative Credit Banks.   He was instrumental in getting the farmers to increase the area under rice cultivation.

For his services in connection with the Credit Banks he was made a Justice of the Peace of the Colony and in order that the operation of the Banks could be effectively controlled a considerable area of undivided lands was brought under the provisions of the District Lands Partitions Ordinance.  For this purpose Government appointed him Settlement Officer for the partitioning, and the issuing of titles of the villages of Belladrum, Eldorado, Paradise and Golden Fleece.

On the death of the Rev. James Persaud, incumbent of St. Augustine’s Buxton, in 1927,  Mr. Burgan was preferred as his successor and here, too, he has interested himself in the farmers.  He has been President of their Association and Vice-Patron of the Farmers’ League.  At Buxton he was manager of a number of Anglican schools in the area.

He spent over 22 years at Buxton and in 1949 was transferred to a larger village parish at Plaisance Village from where he retired in 1956. He passed on December 15, 1958.

As a Diocesan official he has held the post as Secretary of the Board of Missions for many years.  On his visits to England he has given good service in advertising the claims of the Church and in making the colony better known. His services were much in demand by the Society for the propagation of the Gospel.  He was detailed on special duty to the Channel Islands and in the Diocese of Cork in Ireland and the work and claims of the missions in this Diocese was made known to those with no knowledge of conditions prevailing in British Guiana.

He was an intellectual, well read, and versed in Latin,  Hebrew and Greek literature.  He was keenly interested in folklore and historical research. He published many articles in the newspapers and magazines.  For instance, in 1942 he published in the Diocesan Magazine “A Short History of the Guiana Diocese”, which outlined the history of the Anglican Church in British Guiana.  Mr. Burgan also contributed  for many years, to a Daily Argosy column under the non-de-plume “Rusticus”. – L. E. M., which were vivid writings of country life in rural villages of British Guiana.

– Source: the Daily Argosy

September 27, 2009

Historic New Amsterdam, Guyana

Posted in Guyana, History tagged at 11:22 am by randallbutisingh


Mission Chapel Congregational Church in the 1950s


A panoramic view of Strand, New Amsterdam in the 1920s

New Amsterdam Public Hospital in  1950


A view of  a Dry Goods & Provision Store in New Amsterdam



The New Amsterdam Postal Service in the 1940s


New Amsterdam Cycle Course



The Governor’s House


A Dry Goods Store in New Amsterdam



A panoramic view of Queenstown, New Amsterdam


A view of Strand, New Amsterdam in the 1950s


A day in the Town of New Amsterdam

in the 1950s


New Amsterdam Waterworks in the 1950s


A view of Peter Chung Tiam Fook’s Dry
Goods & Provision Store in
New Amsterdam


The New Amsterdam Prison



Government Quarters, New Amsterdam (1950)


New Amsterdam Town Hall (1950)

Historic New Amsterdam

The town of New Amsterdam developed as a settlement  beside Fort Nassau some 55 miles up the Berbice River.  Around 1784,  as a result of the fluctuating fortunes of Fort Nassau, the Dutch relocated  the town to its present site at the confluence of the Berbice and Canje Rivers.
The name New Amsterdam was chosen because most of the colonists originated  from the province of Amsterdam in Holland. Between 1785 – 1790,  New Amsterdam was established as the seat of Government for Berbice. at that time the town was little more than a forest settlemnt, with a house there and a house there, no roads, no drains.
By the resolutions of an Ordinance dated 11 January 1791, plots of land were awarded to settlers along the river front. In 1776  George Pinkhard described the town as that of a wild country, only just opening into cultivation. It comprised an extent of wood and water, with small patches of land breaking into incipient tillage.
In May 1825 an Ordinance to establish a Board of Management for the town  was passed. Subsequent ordinances in October 1825 and September 1838 resulted  in the establishment of a ‘Board of Policy’ to be responsible  for the affairs of the Town. In 1844 a Board of Superintendence was established  for this purpose.
Under their guidance the town grew.  The Board of Superintendence lasted until 1 September 1891, when legislation was enacted to incorporate the Town into a Municipality. The membership of this council consisted of members who had served on the Board of Superintendents and Mr. Neil Ross McKinnon, K.C., who was president of that Board, was appointed as the Town’s first Mayor


The New Amsterdam Public Hospital: designed by Ceasar  Castellani, a Maltese architect, employed by the Public  Works Department of British Guiana during the 19th century, this edifice is one of the most beautiful structures in Guyana.  Arranged like a  Pavillion Hospital, with the wards placed end to end this edifice was constructed in 1878.

Mission Chapel Congregational Church:

this edifice was constructed after the first Mission Chapel which was founded by Reverend John Wray was destroyed  by the order of the planters who blamed the missionaries for the 1823 slave insurrection. Under the ministry of Ebenezer Davies, the foundation stone of this structure was laid in 1841.

All Saints Scots Church was founded circa 1820 through the assistance of the Public Teasury. In 1838 the present structure was built when the Scots aquired a plot of  land to erect a church and later a school to cater for the population of New Amsterdam.

Ituni Temple:

this elegant wooden building was constructed in the late 19th century. It is home to one of Guyana’s oldest  fraternity the Freemasons Lodge. Timber louvres and stained glass windows in the small tower with intricately designed fretwork are noteworthy features of this  edifice.

The New Amsterdam Town Hall :

This imposing structure was erected in 1868 after the establishment of the Board of Superintendants in 1844. The tower encircled by a ‘widow’s walk is one of the main architectural features of this edifice.

Submitted by Cyril Bryan – Guest Contributor

September 15, 2009

Anything is possible

Posted in Art : Beauty, Guyana, Poetry tagged , , at 2:45 am by randallbutisingh

“Anything is Possible ” is a poem written by 14 year old Ananta Doodnath, eldest of two daughters of Guyanese Dave and Shani Doodnath,  who had to leave their homeland and come to domicile in a foreign country where they will have an opportunity to bloom and grow.  The poem is taken from her book  “Moments of My Life” which can be purchased at Book Stores in the USA.

Ananta spends her time writing short stories and poems and dreams of one day writing a best seller.  Her poems are about different events in her life about family and friends and baseball.  They will fill you with wonder and touch you.  Ananta is known for her kindness among her family and friends.  Here is her poem:

When I race out on that field, dreams come true.

When my feet touch the bases, I know what I am supposed to do

When people said I wouldn’t make it; when people said I couldn’t win’

It made my guts stronger, I knew I could anything.

I’d never forget what I went through to be here.

I’d never forget when I walked through town and the people

would stare.

I’ll never forget those times.

Now I realize

What has happened to me;

I made it and I wanted  everyone to see;

I want the whole world to know

That anything is possible.

I overcame those challenges, I worked my way through,

And now I can live my life saying my dreams come true;

And now when I am running those bases, I know I can fly,

And now I know anything can happen if you really try.

I’m amazing, I’m fun

And now I believe I’m number one. 

I’ll never forget those times,

Years later when I realize

What has happened to me.

I made it and I want everyone to see;

I want the whole world to know

That anything is possible!

Comment;

Another  daughter of  Guyanese achiever.  I am friend of the family.  Ananta must have inherited her talent from her grandfather who was a pupil of mine at Non Pareil dual controlled School.  He dropped out in the middle division of the primary school.  He is now a successful business man in Florida, an ardent gardener and a prolific writter of poetry.  He has produced a book,  Inspirational Poems and has another large collection, yet unpublished.

– Randall Butisingh 

September 12, 2009

The first-timer’s guide to Guyana

Posted in Guyana, History, Politics tagged , at 11:52 pm by randallbutisingh

The first-timer’s guide to Guyana

By John Gimlette (from UK travel magazine (Wanderlust)

From cowboys to conservationists, cricket-mad Indians to shy Amerindians, Guyana is a country of survivors

When I arrived in Georgetown I found it in the grip of a good murder trial, and so I went along to watch. In one sense it was like a courtroom drama circa 1790. The accused, Blacksam and Buggins, were old felons who drank in taverns and ate saltfish and souse. Then, one day, they picked a Georgian quarrel with their neighbour and despatched him with a cutlass. In every other sense, the trial was like a snapshot of modern life in Guyana. Defence counsel was, like every third Guyanese, Indian (and spoke a rich Creole, well-larded with Dickens and Donne). Another third of the populace, the Africans, were represented by the judge and the constables; the remainder, the mixed races, by the jury. In their 12 furrowed faces was the story of Guyana: slaves, Amerindians, ‘Chineymen’, Irish adventurers, Scottish cattlemen, pirates, pioneers and Pathans.

Equally intriguing was the backdrop, which was all so lumpishly British. With its arches, wrought iron and corrugated gables, the Victoria Law Courts were a lingering fantasy of tropical gothic. There was even a statue of Victoria herself. She’d recovered her head, I noticed, after losing it in the squabbles over independence in 1961. “Ask not for whom the bell tolls…” thundered the Indian, but the jury didn’t hear. The rains had come early and sounded like horses thundering on the tin. But somehow mercy survived and the verdict was manslaughter. Off went the prisoners, grinning through their chains. “Yeah, man,” said the constable, “they been spared the noose…” From the court, a beautiful city, as light as feathers, flutters off down the coast.
Perhaps – like its people – Georgetown doesn’t truly believe that it belongs here, and so it hovers over the water. It’s all built on canals and breezes, a city of stilts and clapboard, brilliant whites, fretwork, spindles and louvres. The streets are as wide as fields, and the cathedral seems to drift endlessly upwards, reputedly the tallest wooden building in the world.

One area of the city is even called Lacytown as if, at any moment, it might simply take off and drift away – home, perhaps. Water is a constant feature of the Townies’ lives. At high tide, the sea looms 2m above the city, held back by a wall. Concrete rots here, and even cars seem to moulder. By day, the canals are velvety and green, and by night they’re operatic with frogs. “Why? Why?” they sing, which makes the dogs all howl. Nature, it seems, is gradually reclaiming its inheritance. Among this riot of parrots and flamboyants, the Townies can still be fleetingly British. Even now, you can buy a bottle of Nerve Tonic or a sausage roll at Fogarty’s department store.

Other survivors include Hackney carriages, EIIR letterboxes and a pair of Sebastopol cannons.  Once I even saw a large building site called Buckingham Palace, although – sadly – financing had failed before any resemblance took shape.
Despite these trappings, however, the Guyanese are neither British nor truly South American but live in a world of their own. Sometimes it seems that being foreign comes so naturally to them that they don’t even understand themselves. Originally, each race had its own political party. With a population of only 770,000, this often makes Guyana feel like several dozen countries all stuffed into one. I even felt this as

I walked across Georgetown; one moment I’d be passing Chinatown, then a mosque, and then a Mexican circus (‘With real tigers!’) before finally ending up in a festival of extreme chutney.

All this might not be so odd in a big city, yet Georgetown is tiny. There’s only one escalator in the whole town (it still draws a crowd), and the beautiful National Art Gallery receives just 20 visitors a month. Everyone knows everyone, even the men who sell horse dung from their carts. Almost all the old buildings are famous, sometimes for several things at once. My hotel, Cara Lodge – apart from being a masterpiece of Victorian carpentry – was once the home of the colony’s orchestra, the basketball squad and the communist party. During the rule of Forbes Burnham (1964-85), it was even used by the resistance movement as a base for making bombs. “Go west across the Demerara,” people said, “and you’ll soon see who built this country.”

It was not, I realised, the British. The clue was in the names, thickly clustered along the shore: Vreed-en-Hoop, Harlem, Uitvlugt and Tuschen. For well over half Guyana’s colonial history (from the late 16th to early 19th centuries), the Dutch were in command. Here, on the coast, they stripped out the mangroves, drained the mudflats and walled off the sea. It was a Pharaonic achievement, costing thousands of African lives. Even now, looking inland, the horizon is just a bold green curve of sugar cane; the coastal strip remains the home of almost 90% of Guyanese.

After an hour’s bus ride from Georgetown I came to the main artery of the Dutch colonisers’ operation. The Essequibo is the largest of Guyana’s four great rivers (the Demerara, Berbice and Corentyne run parallel, progressively further east), with a mouth big enough to swallow Barbados. It looks like a vast, rum-coloured sea, lavishly spotted with islands and spills of squeaky clean white sand. As each rocky outcrop blurred past, my boatman would sing out its story. “This was a leper colony…” he’d say, “and this one’s Eddy Grant’s…”

At the Dutch islands a few kilometres upstream we stopped and clambered into the jungle. At Fort Kyk-over-al there was nothing but an arch but, on Fort Island, a huge star fort, dated 1739, still loomed up out of the forest. Next to it was a large brick hall. This had been the seat of government for a wild land, only 4% of which the Dutch had ever seen. Although the Zeelanders called this the Court of Policy, it was really no more than a parliament of ants.
It was easy to see why the Dutch had loved the Essequibo. Everything seemed abundant, and even the birds – tanagers and tyrants – seemed to jangle like fresh-minted money.

I stayed on a luxurious silvery river beach, once a Dutch camp and now a resort called Baganara. At first it seemed I was the only person who’d ever stayed there – except Mick Jagger (who’d left his picture over the bar).

Later, I moved further upstream and stayed in a Benedictine monastery. Every few hours the brothers’ euphonious chanting would lift out of the rubber trees and carry across the water. On the opposite bank was another Dutch institution: probably the most beautiful prison in the world.

On the way back downriver I stopped at an old sugar estate called Wales. It employed 2,000 souls, including rat catchers and lady weeders. Meanwhile, the cane is harvested exactly as it had been three centuries before: charred first, cut by hand and then heaved into barges. It often felt as though the Dutch had never left, especially near their graves. “They’re haunted,” said my guide. “We never urinate here.”

But the Dutch have left more than ghosts. Here, a sluice is still a koker and a wharf a stelling. Even better is their litter that still bubbles up out of the mud. In Meten-Meer-Zorg, back on the coast, I stayed with Gary Serao, who rents out beds in his extraordinary museum. Among his ephemera I spotted manacles, 17th-century wine jars, cannonballs and heaps of flasks for Zeeland gin. By 1800 the Dutch had become spectacularly debauched. Their planters carried ivory whistles, and every day began with gin and ended with a slave-girl, all painted up like an Amsterdam whore.

Naturally, the early Guyanese had often risen in revolt. Even now their descendants have a healthy suspicion of authority. The slaves’ big moment came further south-east and 160km inland. Today it’s called Dubulay, a pretty ranch overlooking the Berbice River. Back in March 1763 this was Peerboom (Pear Tree), a plantation house besieged by 2,000 machete-wielding slaves. As the Dutch fled for the river, the rebels butchered them. The remains of this struggle are still scattered along the foreshore: broken bricks, tiles, and shards of pottery and glass.

I followed the revolt all the way back to the sea. It was a sad and beautiful voyage. My boatman Bob Kertzious, descended from both the slaves and the slavers, knew all the landmarks of this bloody revolt: Juliana, Vigilantie and Dageraad (Daybreak). The region had never recovered. Even after the uprising was crushed, this, one of the richest settlements in the world, had simply reverted to jungle. We stopped only twice. Once was to visit Bob’s parents, who lived in a hut decorated with rag mats, ships’ paint and an old Dutch bottle. The other stop was Fort Nassau. It looked almost exactly the same as it did the day the rebels sacked it, except now it’s being slowly prised apart by macaws and strangler figs.

Things looked very different on the Berbice coast. The walls of vegetation parted, and India appeared: I could see prayer flags and minarets. In New Amsterdam (which was like a mini Georgetown), I even found a curry shop, although the choice was bush hog, chicken or iguana. Unsurprisingly, it was the British who were responsible for this eerie infusion of Asia. With slavery abolished, from 1838 they began to import Indian labour. Over the next 80 years some 250,000 Indians arrived, becoming the predominant race.

The introduction of Indians to this, the old wild coast, has created a curious new culture. Eastern Guyana is now a hotbed of cricket (not to mention communists, giant pink elephants and grand sari pageants). But it’s also a place that’s not quite like anywhere else in the world. Here there are Hindus in cowboy hats, halal snackettes (snack shops) and beggars with green parrots. Once I even spotted a petrol station called Vishaul & his Three Adorable Sisters. This was India, alright – but with a South American swagger.
For the rest of my Guyanese encounters I needed a plane. Beyond the coastal strip a vast forest begins, covering 80% of the country. For hundreds of kilometres it sprawls inland before spreading out among some of the oldest mountains in the world. Somewhere in it, or beyond it, live the remaining 10% of the Guyanese people.

I loved flying over this forest. The canopy itself was so dark and dense that it felt like a journey through a long green night. The foliage seems to swallow everything – even waterfalls like Kaieteur, at 228m, loftier than the BT Tower (and undiscovered until 1870). Until the aeroplane age, Guyana’s interior was accessible only by river. Small wonder that it became the literary refuge of lost worlds (Conan Doyle), lost minds (Evelyn Waugh) and cities made of gold (Raleigh).

I had my first encounter with the people hidden in here at Iwokrama. For the Amerindians, it’s always been a special place. Now it’s a 4,000 sq km forest with a research centre. There are little riverside huts for tourists and a village, Fair View, for the Makushi, an Amerindian tribe whose ancestors have lived in this forest for perhaps 10,000 years.

It seems an idyllic life. By day, we pottered round the forest, identifying cures for everything from ringworm (aromata) to diabetes (wild mango). The Makushi could be alternately shy and uninhibited, and every mealtime was a gathering of clans. It was like taking our own lives and stripping them of clutter: no chairs, no floors, no cash and no concept of time. “We like it here,” one man told me. “We got canes for our arrows, and plenty of monkeys.”

Later, as I moved further south to the edge of the forest, a more complex picture emerged. Although the Makushi village of Surama has its own breezy ecolodge with a view across the unknown, I opted to stay with a family. Paula has a tattooed face; Daniel is a hunter. They live on a beautiful hill in a house made of leaves. There was no water, no electricity, and nine of us slept in the hut. We washed out in the long grass and ate whatever Daniel caught. “Life’s become harder,” he said, “since the jaguars killed all our horses.”

But if the temporal world seemed tough, the spiritual world was tougher. Makushi life is deeply infested with magic. There are supernatural boulders and trees that turn you grey. Later, in Yupukari, I met a man who thought his brother had been drowned by a ghost – this in a village with a new American library and an exquisite boutique hotel for alligator lovers, Caiman House.

Daniel was unsure about the modern world and whether he wanted to join it. On my last day he gave me a 2m bow with five arrows. “Take them back to London,” he said, “and then you’ll remember us whenever you use them.”
Beyond Surama the trees gave way to a vast, golden plain about the size of Scotland. The Rupununi savannahs are home to the world’s biggest ants, biggest otters, biggest anteaters and most ferocious fish. Few Europeans have ever settled here. However, some remained, and now they often take in guests. One was Colin Edwards, who’d built the road through the forest. (“Until then, Guyana leaned towards the Caribbean,” he told me. “I linked it to South America.”) He’d never stopped building, and now runs Rockview, an oasis of orchards and cottages, with a bar that sells bras and machetes.

Another of the great Rupununi hosts is Diane McTurk. Her ranch, Karanambu, is on a riverbank, deep in the thorns. “I was born here in 1932,” she told me: “a wild child.” Although she’d been away (with a stint at London’s Savoy Hotel), Karanambu still feels like a wild childhood.

There are thatched huts, fruit trees, a collection of war clubs, a tiny beach and a pet racoon. Diane has also raised more than 40 orphaned giant otters, two still in residence. Every day a bowman padded off down to the river, to shoot them a bucket of fish.

For the final leg of my journey I drove south for another two days to find wildness of a different kind. Dadanawa is like the Wild West, yet even more remote. At 4,400 sq km it’s the biggest ranch in Guyana, tucked away behind a massive ridge of jungle (the Kanuku Mountains) and a river the width of the Thames (and three times as long). For the last bit of this journey my driver had to put our truck on a raft of oil drums and float it through the torrents.

The ranch was an unforgettable adventure. Pretty soon even the Wild West seemed fluffy in comparison. Of course, there were the same big rivers, mountains and stampedes, but Guyana can also be brutally exotic. Almost every night jaguars attacked the cattle. Meanwhile, watching a round-up was like witnessing an extraordinarily violent sport in which no one – miraculously – gets hurt.
Everyone here lives an extraordinary life. My hosts, the de Freitas family, slept (like me) in a sort of cricket pavilion on stilts overlooking the Kanukus.

They are descended from Portuguese immigrants who fled the great famine of Madeira in 1834. Guyana had suited them well; now they manage 5,000 cattle, 34 staff and two bright-red macaws known as the ‘Terrorists’. Not that there is money. The family lives in a delightful cemetery of Land Rovers, surviving on home-grown vegetables and the BBC World Service. Each of their children they’d delivered by themselves.

The cowboys, on the other hand, are Wapishana Indians and sleep in barracks. They all carried long knives like swords and rode brilliantly, barefoot and often bareback. The youngest, I discovered, was 12, and sang as he rode. One, a saddle-maker called Uncle Cyril, was descended from the long-extinct Atorad tribe.

With their hawkish faces and taut, athletic frames, it’s  hard to believe they were from the same country as the coastlanders. When my favourite, Orvin, was bitten by a snake, he simply tied a tourniquet round his arm and rode off to join his friends.

Perhaps none of this should surprise me. This, after all,is Guyana: a garden built by God, inhabited by survivors and lived to the full.

September 9, 2009

Buxton’s Tipperary Hall restoration kick-started

Posted in Buxton, Education, Guyana, History tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 12:35 am by randallbutisingh

Buxton’s Tipperary Hall restoration kick-started

September 6, 2009 | By KaieteurNews | Filed Under News

The name Tipperary Hall is synonymous with Buxton and the village’s much talked about social events, at least to the elderly and not so young.

It was a name that rang out on the airwaves during ‘party time’ segments on Radio Demerara and the Guyana Broadcasting Service, and adorned billboards advertising the much anticipated excursions and other such events when all roads led to the village.

It was the place where many recall meeting their life mates; a place where the jury decided who had the best waltz and of course, who was the best dressed.

TiperaryHall-280x300

An artist’s sketch of the old Tipperary Hall in Buxton.

Over the years the hall had fallen apart and other venues took up the mantle.
Once the headquarters of the Buxton/Friendship Burial Society, the deterioration began with the advent of accessible banking institutions, as instead of persons pooling their resources in the village through the society, they were more inclined to put their money into the banks.

Hence funds to maintain the building had to be sourced from its rental for dances and other social activities. But then when the big string bands went out of orbit, the nature of dancing changed, rendering lesser use of Tipperary Hall.

Built more than 80 years ago, today, all that remains of Tipperary Hall are a few stumps which are really no reminder of what used to take place at the Middle Walk, Buxton site.
But there is a desperate effort to resconstruct the hall and this is all being done to honour the legacy of those early Buxton residents, as well as to provide a centre that the new generation could cherish.

A group of Buxtonians, some of whom are domiciled overseas, has committed to the rebuilding of the edifice, which was named after a county in the Republic of Ireland in the United Kingdom, and already several processes have been initiated towards this end.

Buxtonian Malcolm Parris, a former Government Minister, is one of those involved in the restoration project.
“There’s a Chinese proverb which says, ‘the longest distance starts with the first step’ and we are making the first step this afternoon by rededicating ourselves…to the restoration of a modern Tipperary Hall,” Parris told a gathering at a special service last Sunday to kick-start the project.
The service was chaired by Dion Abrams, the nephew of one of the most famous dancers on the Tipperary Hall dancing floor.

Apart from the famous ‘dances’ Tipperary Hall was managed by the Buxton/Friendship Burial Society.
According to Malcolm Parris, the descendants of African slaves were very ‘fussy’ about the way their loved ones were buried. And for this many persons were associated with the society.
“This benevolent and burial society ensured that you had a proper burial. They wanted to be absolutely certain that you received a good burial that they used to make their own coffins,” Parris explained.

In the earlier days, in the absence of electricity many persons gathered at Tipperary Hall to listen to political speakers from the city.
“There was Burnham, John Carter and Jagan. They all spoke at Tipperary Hall.”
According to Parris, the restoration of Tipperary Hall is seen as part and parcel of the restoration of the entire village.
He said that this is all happening when the village is currently being blessed with some positive vibes as against what was transpiring a few years ago.

Within recent times, Buxton has returned significant successes in the academic field, with many of its young residents excelling at the various local and regional examinations.
“Now we’ve got to go for the spirit of the people, and Tipperary has to do with the spirit of the people,” Parris told this newspaper.

The new Tipperary Hall will not only be a dance hall. It will encompass a community centre complete with a library.
There will be a series of fund-raising activities to assist in the restoration project and this will be supplemented by the contributions from Buxtonians overseas.
According to Parris, the coordinators are hoping to complete the project by 2012.

August 11, 2009

A 1924 History of British Guiana

Posted in Economics, Education, Guyana, History, Politics tagged , , , at 1:40 am by randallbutisingh

A 1924 History of British Guiana

. The St. Stanislaus College was a Jesuit-run High School in British Guiana, which became a Government high School after Independence in 1966, when British Guiana became Guyana.

St Stanislaus has a very vibrant Alumni Association in Toronto. The group has managed to get a copy of a book (126 pages) on the history of British Guiana, written in 1924 for the British Empire Exhibition, Wembley, and printed in London by Sanders Phillips & Co., Ltd., at the Baynard Press, Chryssell Road, London SW9.
It makes for very interesting reading and gives the history, geography, economic statistics and social information like population etc. One may note from the contents that the colony at the time was under-appreciated by the its colonial masters. Now with Independence the same under- appreciation continues as the current masters have done little to take full advantage of the abundant natural resources of the country.
Thanks to alumnus John Sparrock, we have digitized this book it and placed it on a web-site so as to be accessible for all those who are interested in the history of British Guiana, before Independence.
.
To read it online or save it for future reading, go to :
 The whole document (126 pages) can be downloaded  from the Guyanese Online Blog as it is no longer on the St. Stanislaus website.  Go to:-
http://guyaneseonline.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/british-guiana-british-empire-exhibition-wembley-1924/
.
There are also photographs in the book but, to conserve space, these were separated and placed in :
http://picasaweb.google.com/blog4saints/BritishGuiana1924History?feat=directlink#

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