First published January 8, 1992


National Archives are a disgrace

Imagine the shock I encountered when I entered the Main St archives and was told rather petulantly by a female attendant: “sorry, we don’t have any information about national monuments.”
NATIONAL MONUMENTS was the only phrase that had rolled off my tongue though I went in there to update information on a novel I am presently working on, and wanted to scan copies of the nineteenth century COLONIST paper.
I couldn’t believe my eyes as they darted across stacked shelves, overburdened with loose-leaf, badly faded pages of what appeared to be books, the covers half-eaten, some of which are strapped together with string.
This atrocious state of our archives, I must say, stung my pride as a Guyanese, thereby recalling professor Mishra’s words to me in the Park Hotel recently: “your archives are in a terrible condition. I wonder what the authority is doing about it…”
Authority! I wanted to know if our heritage, the repository of information on Guyana, is tottering on the brink of collapse while those hungry for local historical facts turned the other cheek, looking in no man’s land, save for one Stabroek columnist who had lamented on the dwindling state of the archives. But it seems, his hue-and-cry fell on deaf ears.
Then a greater shock awaited me as I entered the Museum-section of the archives and was told bluntly by a male attendant: “sorry, we are closed indefinitely.”
Which archives in a civilised country are closed to the public indefinitely without those in control making a prior statement, outlining the reasons for such a closure?
Are we becoming a nation of somnambulists, forfeiting our precious heritage which is the backbone of our pride, our unique outlook, churning us into a distinct people?
Irrespective of our current political infighting, the question of ethnicity, or ancestral preferences, it is the duty of every loyal Guyanese to exude some sort of pride in their historical institutions of which the archives is a major one.
Those in Authority should make haste and try and fix the archives in at least a tolerable state. Failing to do so will not only stifle our thirst for local historical facts, but will dwarf our image as a people after foreigners have visited the archives and walked out stunned, perhaps echoing professor Mishra’s words: “O God, is that your archives? I could smell the roaches from here…”


GNS promotes 49 members

THE Guyana National Service has announced the promotion of 49 members of staff with Substantive Warrant Officers 2, G Thompson and J Sargeant heading the list, after a period of
acting in the said position.
Among those promoted were 11 females, three to acting Staff Sergeants, three Substantive Sergeants and five to Substantive Lance Corporals.
The newly-formed Guyana National Service Association, based in Washington DC, USA, was yesterday scheduled to make a presentation of cash and office supplies to the Guyana National Ser­vice at the Middle Street headquarters.
This association was formed last August and is headed by former senior officer Rex A Lucas and aims to provide material support to needy organisa­tions in Guyana and “cre­ate stronger fraternal bonds” among former members of the GNS now residing in North America.
According to a GPCA press release, 200-odd former members of the GNS residing in North America came together last August and pledged their support to this new association. Presentations were made in absentia” to former Directors General, Norman Mc Lean, Desmond Roberts and Joe Singh, the release added.

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