I refer to the letter in SN on January 13 by Kella and Pamela Ramsaroop titled: ‘Dharm Shala Berbice has a very pleasant and welcoming appearance’.
This letter was in response to the one I wrote on the 12th indicating that the actual living conditions at the Dharm Shala were far from pleasant, mainly because of its location. As an alternative to resiting it (which the Ramsaroops are resolutely against), I invited the Government of Guyana to consider erecting a ‘Palms’ in Berbice (to be located on the site of the old New Amsterdam Hospital or the Mental Hospital compound) and using the same funds being allocated to install a less urgent elevator system in the Georgetown Palms.
It is unfortunate that the Ramsaroop sisters have found it necessary to censure me, despite me openly acknowledging the sterling contribution made by them and their patriarch. They take umbrage at my suggestion to the government, which I emphasize, is not conditional upon the closure of the Berbice Dharm Shala, although I maintain that the reality of the actual living conditions belies the appearance of a “pleasant and welcoming appearance”. From the outside the Dharm Shala does in fact appear pleasant, because it is overshadowed by the beautiful mandir which also houses what the Ramsaroops refer to as an “Anglican Chapel”. But the residents do not live in the latter, nor do they live in the recently refurbished Caretaker’s residence; similarly, the walkway and the fence mentioned by the ladies are not at issue.
I did in fact meet recently with the Ramsaroop sisters to discuss the possibility of re-siting the Berbice Dharm Shala. The current site might have been OK before the Canje Bridge was built virtually over it and the drainage/flooding problems were not acute. However, having been convinced that re-siting was a “no no,” to quote their assertion to me, I did not, nor do I intend to, pursue that approach any further. However, that is not to say that I cannot pursue the establishment of a ‘Palms’ in another location which was the thrust of my letter in SN of January 12.
I take this opportunity to debunk the allegation made by the Ramsaroops that I “was interested in the land of the Berbice Dharm Shala” and their suggestion that I owned land at Palmyra-Canefield for re-siting it. I do not see any conflict in the Ramsaroops retaining the Berbice Dharm Shala as is, while the government and/or others consider building a Palms as well; after all there is co-existence between the Dharm Shala and the Palms in Georgetown.