Work has started on the rebuilding of Buxton’s historic Tipperary Hall with President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday turning the sod to signal his administration making good on a promise he made to the community during a visit in August.
Addressing residents and a raft of ministers and other officials at the Church of God Road site, Jagdeo said he had come to learn how important the project was to the psyche of generations of Buxtonians given the historic significance of the building and its role in the evolution of the community.
“We are not launching the process of reconstructing a building, we are restoring part of our proud history, and not Buxtonian history but the history of Guyana, because Tipperary Hall is not just about Buxton, it’s about the nation.
“And the more that we do that, the more that we learn of our history and we respect our history and we restore institutions that are associated with our history, the more we will learn what went wrong in the past and the more enlightened we become as a people on the pathway to fixing these problems,” he stated.
The land has already been cleared and Stabroek News learnt that the machinery is expected to be brought in today to begin work.
At yesterday’s event, coordinator of the restoration committee Charles Booker outlined how the idea to have the building restored was voiced since 1998, when then President Janet Jagan met his mother on her centennial birth anniversary. He added that years later he was prompted by a dream to do something to fulfil her wish and subsequently established the committee.
However, realising the magnitude of the project, Booker said, he then approached fellow Buxtonian and Presidential Advisor on Empowerment Odinga Lumumba.
“I asked Mr Lumumba to see if he can do something to help us to build Tipperary and I’m very happy for Mr Lumumba for the part he played so that we can have a Tipperary today,” he added. Booker said he was sure the new hall would be successful and the youths who benefit will care it and pass it on to the generations still to come.
Also addressing the event was overseas-based Buxtonian Mboya Wood, who was part of the group lobbying the government and had invited the President to the community in August.
Following that visit, Wood and his colleagues who had organised activities to commemorate the 170th anniversary of the purchase of the village, were criticised for having Jagdeo there.
“I will never live to regret what I have done so far. I have advocated on behalf of you,” he declared. Wood related his encounters with President Jagdeo and Lumumba that led up to his August visit and several benefits for women, teachers and members of the community. “I have received the most vicious cut tail …me could eva get, wuh meh neva get from meh parents dem but look at me, me strong, me shoulder can tek any weight, so dem can talk wuh eva dem like. The results … is wuh yuh see hay today,” Wood said to applause.
Tipperary Hall was once the headquarters of the Buxton/ Friendship Burial Society and a famous centre meeting place with a history dating back more than 80 years catering to community meetings, church services, parties, receptions and other cultural events and was also available to other communities. The new structure will house a library, an office, classrooms for computer training, a lavatory block and auditorium with stage, changing room and bar.