One of the positive things that took place in Retrieve in the Linden community during the month of September, was two-days of Retrieve activities in celebration of when it came into being approximately 57-58 years ago – research is still being done to ascertain the exact date. This event was organized by the Retrieve Restoration Committee that was formed some 10 months ago in January by residents including Lavern Parris, Lenny Arthur, Sonia McKinnon, Gloria McKinnon, Ken Haynes, Juliet Arthur, Marlyn Bascom, Judy Williams, Ava Chapman, Claude Beckles. It was a very welcome initiative with the primary objective being the physical enhancement of the entire area that encompasses Retrieve. Thus, after a number of meetings, as well as planning and sensitizing residents on the way forward, small projects were undertaken which saw residents in a cooperative effort removing garbage from areas that had become unsightly; the clearing of dense bush by the overhead tank near Telecoms which is still ongoing and requires much work; and the grading and filling of the oval at 606 Retrieve on Purpleheart Street in front of the Day Care Centre, the site where the celebration was held and which is slated to be upgraded/beautified and made into a recreational park – a process which has already started. Fortunately for this particular task the Restoration Committee sought and got the gracious assistance of ‘Youths for Guyana in Collaboration with US Cadets’ who took part in the clearing of the oval.
Of note was the presence of US Ambassador Brent Hardt who travelled with them to Linden and gave his blessings to the project.
He commended the committee for the step taken and offered assistance if needs be. Also of great help was Jagmohan Construction Service, presently working in Linden, that graded the site and transported a few truckloads of dirt for filling. Raj Tractor Service was also very helpful in taking the garbage away and dumping loads of sand on site.
But this two-day activity – starting with a breakfast morning on Friday 27 in front of the former Bata Shoe Store building, and a walk and church service on the morning of Saturday 28 before getting into full action at 2pm on the very Saturday, was most encouraging and certainly augurs well for the future as was expressed with quite a bit of satisfaction by most committee members.
The photographic exhibition that was mounted told pleasant stories of former and present residents and those residing abroad, and brought back much nostalgia along with some refreshing feelings and a sense of pride. The photographs captured Retrieve almost in its entirety through the various disciplines: sport, education, medicine, music, drama/ theatre and other professional careers those personalities have been acclaimed for and in which some are still active as true ambassadors of Retrieve.
A very important part of the celebration was the honouring of elders and students who held high the flag of Retrieve; they were Mr Patrick Haynes, the lone surviving Mayor of Linden – Retrieve produced three of them; Mr Egbert Benjamin and Mr Ashton Allen being the other two; Mr Hamilton – the oldest resident; Susan Hamilton who topped the Caribbean at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) exam; Toshanna Fraser the top CXC student; Gabarrel Fraser of Regma Primary the top Retrieve Grade Six student; and Kukia Henry for his excellent performance at CAPE.
A simple cultural presentation was also staged where an acrostic on Retrieve was done by a young bunch; there was a weight-lifting exhibition by Retrieve Upper Demerara Bar-Bell Club; poetry and a ball game. And what a splendid performance from the Police Steel Band from Georgetown which provided very lively upbeat and wonderful entertainment for the occasion. In addition the varied menu and non-alcoholic beverages along with meeting and mixing with old acquaintances made the Retrieve birthday celebration which is intended to be a yearly event a lovely experience. Residents will now be looking forward to it with greater expectations come next year.