Volume 1. Issue 2. July 2002

MONUMENT WATCH

THE  CENOTAPH

A Cenotaph is a funerary monument raised to the memory of the deceased. Unlike a mausoleum it never holds the ashes or remains of the dead.
Located opposite the Bank of Guyana at the southern end of Main Street, Georgetown, our Cenotaph  is a memorial  to all Guyanese soldiers who died in service during the two World Wars 1914 – 1918 and 1939 – 1945.

On 14 August 1923, the ninth anniversary of the declaration of war with Germany, British Colonial Governor, Graeme Thompson, unveiled this war memorial, which was funded through government subscription.

At the unveiling ceremony the hope was expressed that ‘the Cenotaph would be the most honoured of memorials in the city, one which will be regarded by posterity with reverence and respect and which will keep green the memories of  the valuable lives this colony sacrificed for a just and righteous cause.’

Built of marble the Cenotaph stands 4.5m high. Inscribed on the four faces of the monument are the words: Devotion, Humanity, Fortitude and Sacrifice.  State officials and other dignitaries  honour  our fallen heroes by holding  annual memorial ceremonies with the laying of wreaths.

OUR ACTIVITIES

They Came in Ships The National Trust of Guyana, in collaboration with the National Archives of Guyana and the National Museum of Guyana, launched an exhibition to commemorate the contributions of indentured immigrants on 3 May 2002 at the National Museum of Guyana. Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport , the Honourable Gail Teixiera, delivered the opening speech and declared the exhibition open. On display were a number of exhibits depicting Guyana’s diverse cultural heritage. The exhibition culminated on 17 May 2002.

From Colony to Nation

The National Trust of Guyana in collaboration with the National Archives of Guyana launched ‘ From Colony to Nation’ an exhibition commemorating Guyana’s 36th Independence anniversary  at the National Museum on 22 May 2002. Historian, Mrs. Hazel Woolford, delivered the main address.

The exhibition was viewed by a number of individuals and students from various secondary schools. On display were a number of  independence photographs,  26 May 1966, including the famous hug between Prime Minister Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham and Dr.  Cheddi Jagan  at the National Park when The Golden Arrowhead was hoisted signaling the birth of Guyana.

Fort Zeelandia and The Court of Policy

On 8 July 2002 The National Trust of Guyana handed over a cheque for three million dollars, to the Regional Democratic Council of Region 3 for the execution of rehabilitation works at Fort Zeelandia and The Court of Policy, both  National Monuments. Mr. Esau Dookie, the Chairman of the R.D.C. received the cheque on behalf of the Region. A further sum of 2.5 million  will soon be disbursed.

The Trust also  handed over a brush cutter  to Mr.Philip Matthews, caretaker of  the Fort Zeelandia complex  to facilitate the maintenance of one of Guyana’s pristine historical sites.


Conservation  Officer Allyson Stoll handing the cheque for
the restoration of Fort Zeelandia and The Court of Policy to
Mr. Dookie, the Chairman of The Regional Democratic  Council of Region 3

CARIMOS

The first phase of the data base registry; a Caribbean’s Cultural Heritage Inventory project has been completed. The objective was the listing, identification and description of different  aspects of  the Caribbean’s cultural heritage.

The web page www.caribbeanmonuments.com includes one thousand monuments and sites of the fifteen African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. The site is available in three languages. Forty of Guyana’s monuments are showcased on the website which was  financed by the European Union, through CARIFORUM .

Fort- Kyk -Over- Al

The environs of the Fort, Kyk- Over -Al, were thoroughly cleaned of  undergrowth by Mr. Ian Fraser, gardener, of  the National Trust   on 21 June 2002.

Mr. Ernest Peters was recently appointed  a caretaker to maintain the site regarded as one of the most historic  in Guyana.

The National Trust of Guyana Brochure

Safeguarding and Promoting Our Cultural Heritage’, a brochure aimed at sensitizing the populace of the mission and work of The  Trust  was launched  in June. 1000 copies were printed and are available free of cost at the Trust.

Heritage Minute

The National Trust of Guyana launched Heritage Minute a weekly broadcast highlighting aspects of our national patrimony. Dr. James Rose delivered the inaugural broadcast on 11 May 2002.

Guyana’s Heritage

The National Trust of Guyana commenced publication of a series of articles twice per month, in the Sunday Chronicle as part of a public awareness campaign to sensitize Guyanese to aspects of our collective heritage

Safeguarding and Promoting our Heritage

This programme is aired onG.T.V. Channel 11 in a segment of ‘Homestretch Magazine’ . The Programme documents the role of the National Trust of Guyana in the preservation of the nation’s patrimony

HERITAGE MILESTONES

On 28 June 2002, The Canadian High Commission celebrated their 25th anniversary at the  High and Young  Street premises, with a publication of a special booklet,    ’25 Years at High and Young Street’ . The building, out of  which the Roman Catholic Sisters of Mercy operated for more than 25 years, was purchased by the Canadian Government in 1977, some 13 years after Canada first  established  her diplomatic mission in Guyana.

The Botanical Gardens celebrated its 125th anniversary on 1 April 2002. The grandeur of Guyana’s flora is showcased on 185 acres in the back lands of the former sugar estate, Plantation Vlissingen, which was purchased by the colonial government for $72,000.00 in 1879.

HERITAGE TRAIL

THE OLD RAILWAY STATION,
LAMAHA STREET, CUMMINGSBURG.

Located on what was originally  Company Path between Eve Leary and La Bourgade in the 18th century, the Lamaha Railway Headquarters is a site of great historical importance in the foundation of the city of Georgetown.

It is believed that the East Coast Demerara Railway is the oldest railway in South America. The idea of building a railway was strongly supported by the Royal Agricultural and Commercial Society.  In July 1846 a bill proposing the construction of the railway was passed. The line was first constructed from Georgetown to Plaisance and was opened on 3 November 1848.   The second section of the railway which ended at Mahaica was constructed in 1864.

The Berbice Extension, which measured 39 miles was constructed during 1897-1900 at a cost of £265,000 while the 15-mile West Coast line to Greenwich Park was also opened during this period and further extended by 3 ½ miles to Parika, in 1914.  In the end, the railway measuring 61 1/2   miles, had taken eighteen years to build and, in 1865, the cost of construction was given at £313,890. The extension lines are said to have been uneconomical, and the Committee of the Combined Court of British Guiana subsequently recommended its acquisition by the Colonial Government. As a result of this prompting, the colony bought the railway and the Colonial Transport Department assumed control on 1 January 1922.
In the 1970s the railway was closed in stages, the line between Georgetown and Mahaica was terminated in July 1972.

The architect of the Lamaha stationhouse, Mr. John Bradshaw Sharples, was contracted by  the British Guiana Railway Co. to erect this and other stations along the Georgetown – Rosignol route, for the sum of $85,000. The  station in Lamaha Street  was converted into a bus terminal subsequent to the closing of the railway.

In 1975, the original inspection pit for the locomotives and  the original brickwork foundation of  1848, on which the Booking Office and the Public Platform stood, were still visible from Lamaha Street.