Following an outcry over the monument site for the 1823 slave rebellion, the Coalition of the 1823 Parade Ground Monument will raise funds to construct their own memorial.
This was confirmed by attorney Nigel Hughes today and he said that the group will shortly outline their plans, publish their criteria for the design and establish a trust fund. The group today participated in ‘An afternoon of reflection and knowledge-sharing’ at the Parade Ground.
Currently, the base for a government-funded monument is being developed at a cost of $26M opposite Camp Ayanganna in the vicinity of Carifesta Avenue and Vlissengen Road. However, its construction has sparked opposition as Afro-Guyanese groups expected the monument to be erected at Parade Ground, which was the location where some of slaves who participated in the uprising were hanged.
The protesting groups, including the African Cultural and Development Association (ACDA), which have led picketing exercises against the Culture Ministry as a result of the situation, have said that former President Bharrat Jagdeo had made a commitment to erect the monument at Parade Ground during a sod turning exercise held there in 2000. Other civic-minded groups and persons have also written letters to the media in protest.
However, the Government Information Agency (GINA) reported that sculptor Ivor Thom, who designed the 1823 slave rebellion monument, said at a news conference on Thursday that the site being developed by government for its mounting meets the selection criteria. Thom was reported as saying that an inquiry at the archives revealed that former President Jagdeo did turn the sod at Parade Ground for an “Emancipation Monument,” not for the 1823 monument.
On August 2, 2000, Stabroek News had reported that Jagdeo had turned the sod for an “Emancipation Monument,” although it was also reported around the same time that the monument was being erected in memory of those who died in the 1823 uprising.
Culture Minister Dr Frank Anthony has defended the decision to erect the monument along Carifesta Avenue, saying that the “prominent” site was chosen after an invitation for the public’s input yielded no responses.
Last week, ACDA, the All African Guyanese Council, the Pan-African Movement, the African Welfare Council, the Guyana Institute of Historical Research, and the People’s Parliament announced the formation of a coalition to establish the 1823 monument in its rightful place, dubbing the planned location disrespectful to African ancestors.
They said that the monument is being disconnected from the site of insurrection without realistic consultation from the Guyanese society and the African groups.