Dear Editor,

I was very honoured to be part of a small panel on Sunday at Guyana Speaks in London on the role/legacy of the British in Guyana. It was fascinating, especially some genuinely new (to me) research by David Alston of Cromarty in the far north east of Scotland on the links between that small area- ‘the Black Isle’ – and Berbice. They sent their sons to British Guiana to manage plantations and repatriate the sugar and capital. They named the towns and villages there after their Scottish homeland. Twinning is nothing new. In essence, the Black Isle colonised Berbice for good and for bad in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Their legacy is still there.

David’s website is well worth a visit for more (

I did a short presentation on my great great grandfather The Hon Henry Clementson Member of the Court of Policy, Planter and owner of Cummings Lodge and before that a stationers/bookshop in Water Street. He was a man of his time -curmudgeonly, with an ‘outside family’, firm of opinion, and rich on the backs of others and his own enterprise. Probably racist too.

In the desire  to rightly acknowledge the horrors of slavery and its legacy, let us as modern Guyanese not forget those from the Old World (Holland and Great Britain) who carved a country out of very little with forced labour at their call.

Their/our legacy is as important as any other. Six races!

Yours faithfully,

John ‘Bill Cotton/Reform’ Mair 

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