Sandwiched between Annandale and Good Hope on the East Coast of Demerara, Lusignan, is a predomi-nantly Indian Guyanese community where most residents earn their livelihood in the farming and fishing industries, and some are employed by the public and private sectors. Several small-scale shops are scattered throughout the village and there is also a health facility to cater to the health needs of residents.
This community was brought to international attention following what has become known as the Lusignan Massacre, which left 11 persons, including 5 children, dead after a group of heavily armed gunmen led by Rondell ‘Fineman’ Rawlins stormed the village in 2008.
Lusignan has a population of approximately 2000 residents, and most of those who did not suffer a loss of family members or close personal friends, say that although the massacre left them all shaken up, they are moving on.
The community is home to a golf course, one of Guyana’s five maximum security prisons, a market square, supermarket and a community centre which also houses a cricket club.
There is a nursery and primary school for the children, most of whom upon completion of their primary education attend the nearby Annandale Secondary, or one of the many private schools on the East Coast.
Hinduism is the dominant religion in the village, followed by Christianity and Islam.
Sunday Stabroek caught up with Indira Kissonlall and her daughter who were taking a swing in their hammock. Born and raised in Lusignan, she said that she is disturbed by the young people in the community who frequent the rum shops on a daily basis. She said that the policing group in the community is not doing anything to address it and this concerns most of the residents.
She told this newspaper that the community doesn’t have a playground for them and that the children have to go to the community centre. The roads, water and electricity are okay she said.
While heading out of the street, this publication saw two youngsters who were clearly still in the Easter mood and happily posed with their kite that they were attempting to put up. A little further on, this newspaper saw two lads who were busy fishing in a nearby trench.
Navin Khanai, a soft spoken technician told this publication that he wishes there was a lot of business in the community. Most young people are employed in the shirt factory which is in the community he said. His family operates a small workshop in the village and he was busy tending to some equipment when Sunday Stabroek caught up with him. The area is really nice he said and he told this publication that he has been living here all his life and doesn’t think he will be leaving any time soon.
It seemed as though cricket was the dominant sport on that day, since in almost every street the game was being played by groups of children. A man heading out of the sugar estate stopped to show us some of the antelope grass on his donkey cart. Another man plying his trade by selling music on a mobile cart also seemed to be a village favourite since nearly every house supported his business by purchasing a CD or two.
Sunday Stabroek was fortunate to run into Pamela Mohan and her family on Lusignan main road who were taking some fresh air on their bridge. Mohan was a little shy to talk, but quickly opened up about the area she has been living in all her life. The massacre really affected the village she said, but now most persons have tried to move on. She bemoaned the state of the road a while back but said the relevant authorities have repaired it. The area long ago was very different and less populated: “We didn’t have all these houses here. We have a lot of development now. The only thing we really need is a playground for the children,” she said. She referred to the new housing scheme which was opened three years ago and commented again that the village was really developing.
One businessman who has been operating in the area for 37 years said that his business was normal, but that theft was too much in the area. “Long ago they used to say when you want man come to Lusignan, but now they say when you want thief man come to Lusignan.” He also called for the relevant authorities to investigate other businesses in the area which were operating with fake licences.