With a contented look on her face Enterprise, East Coast Demerara (ECD) resident Lakhraji (only name given) recalls “the long way the community come through“ since she moved to the area more than three decades ago. Enterprise, a traditionally East Indian community, has seen considerable development over the years, mainly in the form of housing.
The community started in the late 1940s when the residents of nearby Non Pareil were granted plots of land to start a community north-east of their village. The plots were an upgrade on the logies of the old village, a resident noted during a recent visit.
In the mid-1950s the development of Enterprise was moving at a steady pace, and by the end of the 1960s the population had grown. Some time in the mid 1970s the government constructed a primary and secondary school in the community while the community centre was built when the sugar industry was still owned by Bookers.
According to one man, in the 1960s Enterprise experienced “some difficult times“ as the country was at the time reeling from the riots, and the community saw its two largest ethnic groups, African and Indian-Guyanese segregating themselves in their separate groups.
After that time, he said, the community gradually grew to where it is today, noting that the roads there were paved, and the primary school had seen some of its students being numbered among the country’s top performers. Today, the population of Enterprise is mixed, although Indo-Guyanese outnumber the other ethnic groups there.
Enterprise is home to more than a dozen religious buildings, and according Lakheraji, the community has seen its religious adherence grow over the years.
A 71-year-old mother of three, Lakheraji moved to the community in the year 1959 with her husband who was a cane-cutter. Her husband worked with the Guyana Sugar Corporation for a number of years until he passed away some 8 years ago.
She said that “at first when me come here, it only had few family here and me and meh husband and we children use to be far at the back here with couple neighbour.“ While she was selling at the small confectionary stall which she has operated since her husband died, Lakheraji explained that Enterprise was laid out in such a way that persons lived far from their neighbours in the early days.
The government then worked towards developing the community, and as time progressed there was the construction of the schools and a market, as well as private dwellings.
At School Street, this newspaper caught up with Bibi Jameela Mohammed, her mother and brother; the trio were relaxing and having a midday gaff about their everyday struggles. Bibi recalled the early days of her life growing up at Enterprise and noted that life has changed significantly for the children in the community when compared to her childhood days.
She said that over the years, new families from other parts of the ECD have moved into the area, and that at the eastern end of the community, a new housing scheme was being erected. She had been told, she said, that persons from areas along the ECD and from Georgetown were going to moving into the homes.
She said that the situation has its “positives and negatives,“ since persons would “bring their bad ways here, but at the same time other people does be nice to you and all and they want to contribute to the community in some way or the other.“
Other residents related that the area has seen a few incidents of crime, most notably an attempt to burn down the primary school on New Year‘s Day this year. He said that while the police have never found out who the perpetrators were, he believes that its “youngsters who got nothing to do.“
He said that ‘this area peaceful man, but you know sometimes we does have we lil party here and there, so people come and try and get into mischief.“
Enterprise is home to more than 10,000 residents, according to the most recent census, and the community is located approximately 14 miles east of the capital. It is bordered by Enmore to the east while Strathspey is at its western periphery. The community is accessible by road although public transportation has been a major bugbear for many residents.