Story and photos by Joanna Dhanraj
Success, East Coast Demerara, has a population of just about 2,000 people, many of whom work at the La Bonne Intention Estate will soon be shifted to the Enmore Estate.
Success existed the early 1900s. Why is it called Success? No one seems to know. According to a number of the villagers, it was also nicknamed ‘Little Cuba’ in the early sixties during the riots. They said persons from neighbouring villages, who wanted to raid Success at that time were prevented from entering the village because the people of Success remained united. Those who were able to invade Success, would have received a sound beating from villagers.
Princess Margaret Road in Success was given that name after the Countess of Snowdon’s visit to British Guiana in 1958. According to villagers, Queen Elizabeth’s sister had walked the length of the road until she got to the railway, which is now called the Railway Embankment. Thus it was thereafter called Princess Margaret Road.
Along Sideline Dam, a cricket game was in progress. Now a street, Sideline Dam was just a dam before. The Chateau Margot Nursery School is situated at the end of this street although the village of Chateau Margot is at the other end of Success. The school was built in the compound of what was once a market, but which closed down eighteen years ago owing to lack of business.
The street is littered with garbage and old pieces of metal. Two of the heavier pieces of metal look like old machinery and the weeds overrunning them indicate that they had been there for a long time. Nearby, water sprayed from a recently broken pipe.
Deonarine Sukhdeo has been a resident of Success since 1987. “The place was kind of rundown when I moved here,” he said. “The road was bad. The water situation has much improved since then. We used to have to go down about three feet to the pipe level and set our bucket since the water pressure was low.”
According to him, the market closed down because it did not have the support required. “Then another thing, the location wasn’t convenient for persons…. Either in the late 1990s or the early 2000s, the school went up. Children from Success, Chateau Margot and Le Ressouvenir attend the school,” he said.
Cricket is frequently played at the community centre ground and in recent years it has accommodated melas for Phagwah and Arrival Day and political meetings, he said.
Sukhdeo said living in Success offers an advantage when it comes to getting public transportation. “In fifteen minutes’ time you should reach any hospital in Georgetown in case of an emergency,” he stated.
But there are some things he does not like. The dumping of garbage through the Sideline Dam, is one such. “It is a health hazard to the small children using the road every day. A lot of heavy machinery is parked along the road also. Another thing; the NDC cleans the drains in front of their houses but neglects the four foot drain by the Sideline Dam. They would come like once a month to collect garbage. They can come like every two weeks,” Sukhdeo said.
Rajesh Persaud, who was sitting on a bench with other relatives, was born in Success. His great-great-grandfather-in-law came from India and settled in Success.
As a boy he attended the Chateau Margot Primary School. Persaud said the people are either family or live like family. “The people here always friendly, cooperative and peaceful,” he said.
Persaud, as well as a few other persons, complained about a resident who dumps garbage and old iron at the side of Sideline Dam. This hinders the hymacs from cleaning the drain. “This is the main drain to go out to the road but a whole set of old iron blocking it up,” he said.
According to the man, the chairman of the NDC tried to prevent the businessman from dumping stuff there but was cursed. The burst pipe, he said, was the result of a hymac trying to press down whatever stuff was thrown there. The pipe was damaged last week Friday and had not been fixed up to when the World Beyond Georgetown visited, owing to the long weekend. The man said many persons are scared of saying anything to the man since he has often made threats. He hopes though that things can improve and Success can be a healthier and cleaner environment to live in.
Persaud wishes for street lights and a better drainage system. “Drainage is the only problem here; we don’t have any other problem,” he said.
Fifty-five-year-old Hardat Budhram was also born at Success. “Everybody here okay. Everybody live here as one but two of the biggest problems here is the drainage and cattle,” the man said.
Budhram is a truck operator who works at Enmore Estate; he formerly worked at the LBI Estate, but due to plans for closure was relocated to Enmore. “I have to leave an hour earlier now to get to the estate and sometimes when we turn up there they tell us they have no work for us,” he said.
He lives opposite the community centre ground. “Success has its own team and won the first softball cricket game played in Guyana,” he boasted. Over at the ground, boys trying to play a game of cricket slid and slipped on the wet turf as they bowled and fielded.
The community, Budhram said, is prone to flooding once there is heavy rainfall. “We raise the place but it still floods about three to four inches,” he said. “The neighbours next door; water reaches in their kitchen.”
Budhram said he wants to see better drainage and roads. He also hopes cattle farmers can be granted a pasture to prevent their animals roaming the road all day.
Along Princess Margaret Road, boys rode bicycles, some towing others, some performing stunts.
At the junction of two streets, an elderly lady sat at a table selling tamarind balls, pickled mango, plantain chips, cassava chips and sweet potato chips which turned out to be a tasty delight. Sitting on a culvert next to her was Sharmilla Surojpaul.
“I born and grow here. You see that street? That is where I live,” she said pointing to a muddy street with numerous water-filled potholes.
“Right now we don’t have drainage. When the rain fall and the yards flood it can’t even drain off because the drains need cleaning. The road is another issue. When rain fall you can’t walk on the road and you got to walk at the side of people paal off,” Surojpaul said.
But she said life is peaceful and in the afternoons she comes out to sit at the culvert where she enjoys “gaffing” with some of the other ladies in Success.