One cannot help wondering about the underlying objective(s) of Mr E B John’s letter in Wednesday’s edition of Stabroek News titled: `Harold Davis commissioned heritage projects for the sugar industry’.
One tempting, rather inescapable interpretation of this lamentable missive is its palpable attempt to detract from the foresight and successful action being taken by the current administration of the Estate. The projects already installed and others in the process of actual implementation are ‘models’ of action speaking much louder than nice words written and/or spoken but which remain in the realm of dreams or “well-intentioned projects” without the necessary follow-up (with apologies and due respect to the memory of the late, great, foresighted Harold Davis Snr. whose lieutenants and team-members, including Mr E B John have obviously let him down!)
But the most heart-warming, soul-soothing and encouraging aspects of the projects underway at Skeldon Estate are the ones that go way beyond opening-up the erstwhile expatriate facilities in the Senior Staff Compound to “the few city-based foreigners (diplomats)…..who sought to spend holiday week-ends at far Skeldon”. The current administration at Skeldon Estate has effectively broken the mimicry of the “Senior staff Compound” by opening up all the compound facilities to the immediate Corriverton and wider Guyanese communities; the rank & file present & past sugar workers et al.
Individuals, families, school groups, churches and other social organizations are allowed, of course with appropriate controls in place, to use the tennis club, swimming pool, staff club, and whatever other recreational facilities are available or soon-to-be made available, example: hard- and soft-ball cricket, volleyball, archery, pond fishing etc; Cost-controls and financial self-sufficiency while maintaining civility, security and behavioural standards are primary considerations. A major income-generating initiative is the economic rental of the vacant staff houses to respectable, established family-oriented individuals and transient professionals attached to banks and institutions in the vicinity.
Furthermore, the temptation to ‘cannibalize’ the old factory in response to intense requests for ‘parts’ for currently operational factories is a constant battle between current corporate economic needs and what even the ‘principals’ at Head Office often regard as esoteric, non-economic considerations. The balancing act cannot be under-estimated. Preservation of the old Skeldon Factory is not just ‘talk’, but, as in the case of the Senior Staff Compound, action has been and is being taken in as pragmatic, cost-effective and sustainable ways as possible. The estate management must be complimented for ‘walking the talk’!
(Name and address supplied)