CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE

Guyana has one of the most rich and varied heritage in the region. Beginning with the arrival of the Amerindians and  developed and consolidated with the arrival of Europeans, (Dutch, French, English and even Spanish) along with the Africans, Indians, Chinese and Maderians the legacy became increasingly cosmopolitan and polyglot. Each group  brought to Guyana, its cultural traditions and made its imprint on the Guyanese historical landscape.

The variety of these contributions provided us with the plural tapestry, material of which, we are so very proud. I am happy to be associated therefore with  this bulletin which seeks to sensitize the Guyanese public to our rich heritage and to the work of The National Trust of Guyana in the preservation and propagation of that legacy.

On the behalf of the Board of Directors of The National Trust of Guyana and on my own behalf I wish you every success in the future.
James G. Rose

THE NATIONAL TRUST OF GUYANA

OUR HISTORY
In 1972, the office  of  the   National Trust  of  Guyana    was
established by an act of  Parliament .Prior to the  office  of the   National Trust, the preservation of Guyana’s historic sites was    the vested task  of  the National  History  and  Arts  Council, which was founded on  1  January  1963,  and  the  Standing Committee   for   the   Preservation   and   Protection   of Archaeological,  Monuments and  Historic Sites, which was established in 1963.

Main Objectives of the
National Trust

  • The preservation of buildings of national or architectural,   historic or artistic interest and the augmentation of the    amenities and of those buildings and places and their surroundings.
  • The preservation of the  furniture and pictures and    chattels of any description having national or historic or    artistic value.
  • The access to and enjoyment by the public of such       buildings, places and chattels.
  • The promotion of the permanent preservation for the benefit of the nation, of    property of beauty or historic interest.

The Trust is also obliged to propagate the awareness and a wholesome understanding and appreciation of the relevance and significance of these   aspects of the nation’s      heritage to the national      psyche.

MEMBERS

The Trust  consists of     members who are appointed by the Cabinet. These members meet once per month  and render their      advice for the execution of the tasks of the National Trust of Guyana

OUR ACTIVITIES

OAS INTERPRETIVE MARKERS

The   National   Trust   of    Guyana,   in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Industry   and    Commerce  and    The Organization   of   American States has erected ten interpretive signs at heritage sites nationwide for  the  promotion  of heritage tourism.  These  oval – shaped signs have been erected at the following locations: Mission Chapel    Congregational Church,   Independence   Park,   1763 Monument, Fort Nassau, Fort Kyk-Over- Al,   Fort   Zeelandia,   The   Botanical Gardens, the British Military  Cemetery, Christiansburg   Waterwheel  and    the Damon  Monument.

CARIMOS DATABASE PROJECT

CARIMOS: The Programme of the Wider Caribbean on Monuments and Sites was created in 1982 to make known the cultural heritage of the Caribbean region. Based in the Dominican Republic a project for the establishment of  a Caribbean Heritage Database has been implemented throughout the region.

The National Trust of Guyana has been actively involved with CARIMOS assisting    with    the identification in a data base aimed at promoting the Caribbean’s database.

1763 FIRST BLOW FOR  FREEDOM

In collaboration with the National Archives of Guyana an exhibition commemorating the events of the 1763 Slave Rebellion was launched  on 20 February 2002  at the National Archives, Company Path. The exhibition   was viewed by a number of individuals and students from various secondary schools.

Several   old   maps  of  the  colony of Berbice,   illustrations    of   slaves   and photographs of the ruins of Fort Nassau,

a model of the Fort Nassau, publications on loan from the University    of Guyana’s Caribbean Research Library and a model of   the   1763   monument   were also on display.
The exhibition examined the development and history of the colony  of  Berbice, the causes, course and   consequence  of  the  rebellion and the various leaders  involved during various stages of the ‘First Blow for Freedom’. the exhibition  culminated    on 5 March 2002.

EDUCATIONAL:  The Sapodila Learning Centre

On 7 December  2001 a visit was made to this institution. The students displayed a variety of talents with the use of role-play and mime with  an historical slant.

Stories of the First Peoples, the  enslaved Africans and the indentured immigrants were  well presented and accompanied by a noteworthy display of items pertaining to the material culture of Guyanese.

The centre has a good collection of photographic  prints, which were   obtained from the Public Record Office in London, with the assistance of  the British High Commission.

The Conservation Officer Miss   Allyson Stoll presented a slide show on the Built Heritage of Guyana.

Heritage is our legacy from the past
what we live with today, and what we pass on to the future

Monument Watch

Kyk -Over – Al

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION

Kyk – over –  Al: the historical name of a small island, approximately 1.5 acres in size is located   at  the junction of the Mazaruni and Cuyuni rivers. The island has   a rich and colourful history.

HISTORY

In the late 16th century Europeans began to     trade in the West Indies for salt, which was at that    time   a ‘luxury’ precious  in Europe.    Some   traders established a system of barter. European trade goods    were    exchanged         for indigenous products such as annatto, which        was used as a dye in Europe.

However, the quantities of items supplied by the indigenous peoples was insufficient  and the      trade was not economically viable. Thus depots were built to collect and store produce until the arrival  of  the ships.

By this time two depots had been  established:   one at Nibie a small village on the Abary Creek  and one on the Pomeroon  River. The latter       was soon removed during  the early part of         the 17th century to a small island   at the      junction of the  three rivers, Essequibo,         Cuyuni and Mazaruni.

Here a more substantial post was built. A small   fort armed with a few guns was constructed. It    was named Fort Ter Hoogen’ in honour of an influential Dutchman’. However, this appellation soon gave way to the descriptive name. Until        the appointment of a Commandeur in 1657, the    island seems to have had a precarious existence.

DEVELOPMENT & DECLINE
In 1666, the island was captured by the English,     it was recaptured and fortified by the Dutch.  Activities reached a peak in 1670, when a great deal of trading was done with the local tribes.

By 1716, the  island became overcrowded and  this  resulted in the decision to  construct  a new house for the Commandeur at Cartabo Point. Dutch administration was relocated to   Fort  Island closer to the mouth of the       Essequibo river. In 1748, most of the buildings were
demolished and  the materials were used to construct a sugar mill at Plantation Duyenenburg which was located along the Essequibo River.

EXCAVATIONS

During the boundary arbitration of 1897 between Venezuela and British Guiana, excavations of the foundations of the remaining ruins and the bricks of the lower course were undertaken to clarify the builders of the fort.  The samples taken, were analysed in England. These examinations  revealed that the bricks used in the construction of the fort were of Dutch origin. This knowledge was used to    substantiate the claim  that the British had inherited territories formerly occupied by the Dutch.

In June 1910, the island was thoroughly cleared of its undergrowth by an order of Governor Sir Frederick Hodgson. Many parts of the fort including the stone ramparts and brick pavements complete with relics of Dutch occupation such as canon balls, glass bottles and several clay     tobacco pipes  were unearthed.

The ruins revealed that the ground floor was used as a storehouse  for food and goods received from the Indigenous and  a magazine. There were three rooms on the top floor, one for the soldiers, one for the Commandeur and the other for the Secretary of the colony of Essequibo.

Today all that remains of the fort is a brick arch. This fort was probably the  smallest ever built by the Dutch overseas.

A NATIONAL MONUMENT

On  20 July 1999, the island was declared a National monument. This site is maintained and managed by the National  Trust of Guyana.

Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life.

THE BOARD

Dr. James Rose: Chairman

Dr. Patrick Williams

Major General [ret’d] Joseph Singh

Mr. Orin Hinds

Mr. Andrew Bishop

Mr. Rawle Edinboro

Ms. June Dubisette

Professor Rory Westmaas

Mr. Egbert Carter

Ms. Joan Elvis

Representatives of Tourism and Hospitality Association, Environmental Protection Agency and The Ministry of Amerindian Affairs.

GUYANA
Our Cultural Heritage

Culture is a concept that encompasses the totality of the way of life of a group of people.  Key components of culture are manifest in the shared customs, habits, traditions  and beliefs that, in combination, impart distinctiveness to any group of people.  Heritage is the legacy; that which has accumulated over  a period of time – a society’s inheritance. Heritage includes the natural as well as the cultural environment. Historic sites, naturally occurring landscapes, built environments (those that have been set up, put together or constructed by man), biodiversity and historical collections all form part of a nation’s heritage.

UPCOMING EVENTS

The National Trust of Guyana remains committed to the preservation of Guyana’s heritage.

To commemorate  Guyana’s 48th  Independence anniversary the Trust will be collaborating with other sister agencies the National Archives of Guyana and the National Museum to mount an exhibition in May 2002.

Preparations are underway for a television documentary of the history and development  of the National Trust of Guyana.