As usual, the second week of the month is when Culture Box takes you down ‘Memory Lane’. Now I have learned a lot! In my opinion, November is a month that is usually overlooked when it comes to Guyana’s history.
Nov 20, 1815 – Berbice and Essequibo were ceded from the Dutch to the United Kingdom. After years of fighting over the lands between the two European crowns, the colonies of Berbice and Essequibo were officially given to the British, soon after the neighbouring colonies were joined to Demerara to be British Guiana.
Nov 3 1848 – The very first railway system in South America and the British West Indies was completed! From Georgetown to Plaisance it was the first section of a railway system up to the Berbice county. Sadly on the day’s festivities one of the railway’s directors of the system was run over by the locomotive (My God! What a way to inaugurate the lines).
This is one thing I would never forgive President Burnham for; we had the first train line – but it was taken away from us. I can say the same for this government’s dismantling of the New Amsterdam Town Hall. Obviously City Hall is next on the agenda.
November 1, 1880: Stabroek Market’s foundation was set and would be completed in a year’s time. The massive structure has soared the skies of Georgetown for 131 years now, the city is approximately 200 years old so you can see that the market has stood the test of time and overlooked the struggles we bore before we even became an independent nation. That is how I look at the market. So a year ago, I had asked Dr Frank Anthony (Minister of Culture) on his Facebook page, if there would be anything to commemorate the structure on its 130th anniversary. He said he would look into it… but nothing.
November 21, 1889 and 8, 1894: The St George’s Anglican Cathedral had its Greenheart foundation laid and on the latter date the building was consecrated. Now one of the tallest wooden structures in the world, even this building is struggling to be kept alive.
It is one of the faces of Georgetown. There are times I ask myself why the Cathedral would be featured on the hundred dollar bill and not Stabroek Market. Wouldn’t it seem fit to put a market (a place of produce, business and wealth) on a bill before a church?
Every city has its icon and face: In Toronto, it is the CN Tower; in New York it is the Statue of Liberty; in Paris it is the Eiffel Tower; in Georgetown it is…? Who can battle it out? Neither. Both the market and the cathedral are struggling for attention and money to cure their dilapidation.
There is a reason Historical Georgetown was never granted a UNESCO World Heritage Site Status, the government placed it as a proposition and I am pretty sure UNESCO laughed at the pictures of garbage and modern day neglect of a place once known to be the most beautiful and scenic town in the Caribbean.
November 11, 1923 – First Armistice Day observance is held at the fresh, recently completed Cenotaph. From then on, every year the Sunday closest to November 11, Remembrance Day, is observed in the memory of the brave British Guianese soldiers who fought for their mother country in both Great Wars. May their souls rest in peace and we thank them for their service.
November 10, 1969 – Governor Sir David Rose dies. Rest in Peace, great Guyanese leader
November 10, 1969 – The seating of the Last Governor General of British Guiana, Sir Edward Luckhoo – This is something I’m sure most of you don’t know! But He was also Guyana’s first President… unofficially of course, he was appointed by the Crown before Guyana selected Arthur Chung as our President, so Luckhoo is not officially counted as a true Guyanese leader.
November 21, 1986 – The birth of the best newspaper in Guyana – Stabroek News! Celebrating 26 years and still going strong.
Nov 30 1987 – After being in Guyana for over 150 years, Barclays Bank packed up and ceded all its assets to the Guyana Government, who in a few weeks opened the doors to the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI).
November is also Road Safety Month – Drivers and pedestrians, please make a pledge to be more careful on the road, educate yourselves and the young ones; too many careless driving mishaps have occurred over the years. Drinking, talking on the phone and texting while driving are a definite NO! (Jairo Rodrigues)