Prospect, a small village located approximately 5 miles from Georgetown on the East Bank of Demerara, is home to nearly 800 residents. On the one side of the village lies Covent Garden and on the other, Little Diamond, with trenches marking the boundary, and there is a total of six parallel streets in all.
When Sunday Stabroek caught up with the second oldest resident of the village, Archibald Dazzell, 83, who was about to take his routine afternoon nap, he said that Prospect was one of the villages between Herstelling and Diamond that were built by the Diamond Sugar estate.
He made it a point of interest to talk about the significant development the village has seen over the years from the time it was initially established. He said that Prospect is one of the earlier schemes built and that when he was a boy growing up there, the infrastructure was very poor and the village was sparsely populated. However, he admires the willpower of the village residents, who worked hard and saved their earnings to build the life they now enjoy.
Although residents complained of flooding during the rainy season, Prospect has seen worse days Dazzell said; poverty was inevitable in the past but at present, everyone living in the village enjoys either a lower or middle class standard of living.
Prospect is a multi-cultural and ethnically diverse community, including not just Indians and Africans, but also a small percentage of Amerindians and mixed raced residents.
The Indians appear to mostly occupy the front of the village as well as the last two streets, while the Africans are concentrated in the two centre streets. In terms of social interactions, however, there is no divide.
The geography of the village does not allow land space for a recreational centre and villagers seek recreation in the neighbouring village of Diamond or the city. While this newspaper was there, however, children could be seen making the most of their yard space by playing cricket and hide and seek. After the sun goes down, young adults would also sit and chat outside the small village shops that sell groceries and alcoholic beverages.
There is no place of worship in the community and for their spiritual needs residents have recourse to neighbouring villages.
Children growing up in Prospect, attend the Prospect Nursery School and the Covent Garden Primary and Secondary Schools. However, they also attend Saturday lessons at the homes of teachers living in the village.
Many male residents earn their living as labourers and construction workers on the current four lane road project on the East Bank Highway. Others travel to Diamond and Georgetown on a daily basis to work, while there are some teachers living in Prospect.
Health issues are attended to at the Herstelling and Golden Grove clinics, or in more severe cases at the Diamond Hospital.
Although agriculture and poultry farming is not a major source of income in Prospect, villagers do rear chickens on a small-scale basis in their backyards, especially as the Christmas season approaches. Small kitchen gardens can also been seen in the yards of many residents.
Colleen Terrence said that Prospect is a quiet and peaceful village and that everyone lives in harmony. However, she went on to say, “The village was very bad back in the 1970s to ’80s. There were a lot of thieves. But now it ease up; dem boys that does smoke and hang out by the bridge, does only tief a lil duck or fowl, although the other night dem been tief a boy car mirror.”
The nearest police outpost is the one at Golden Grove, she said.
Terrence strongly felt that there was need for the youths of Prospect to be led in the right direction and said that a recreational and training centre for young people needed to be established in the neighbourhood.
Villager Adam Lall said that he has been living the Prospect for the past 15 years. He too described it as a peaceful and quiet village.
Lall and others discussing the issues affecting them, felt that the drainage system has been neglected by the Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC). He said that as soon as the rain falls, the village is inundated, and the drains need to be cleaned in order to help solve the flooding problem.
He recalled during the 2005 floods when there was at least 5ft of water covering his yard, he said that persons who live in one flat houses had to sleep in the schools since their homes were taken over with flood waters.
Lall said that since the roadworks have commenced and the trenches have been filled to facilitate the new infrastructure project, the flooding has got worse. He referred as well to a concrete structure which prevented water from the cane fields from entering the village, and which collapsed and was not rebuilt. The issue of garbage collection was also raised; residents said that the NDC since last year has discontinued the collection of garbage in the village for reasons unknown. They said that they are forced to pay private companies to collect their refuse, which is very costly.
Lall said that in spite of all the odds, he loves Prospect and was very happy with the potable water and electricity supply in the village. While some villagers have their own transportation, public transportation is easily available to travel to Georgetown.