August 31, 2016

Queenstown: Essequibo’s oldest community

A Methodist church in the area

A Methodist church in the area

The Queenstown Nursery School

The Queenstown Nursery School

Now 176 years old, Queenstown is quite possibly the largest and oldest community on the Essequibo Coast, and is home to many historic buildings which still mark the village today.

The beautiful, well-populated and family-oriented village of Queenstown can be found nestled between the villages of Little Alliance to the east and La Union to the south in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam).

Christened so on September 25, 1841 after Queen Victoria, Queenstown is also bordered to the west by the picturesque Lake Capoey and Garvey Bush.

What adds to the village’s popularity is the famous St Bartholomew’s Anglican Church which was constructed in 1849s, and which was originally a coffee logie before it became a place of worship. Located in the centre of the village, the historic building was said to have been constructed by the blessed hands of slaves. History shows that St Bartholomew’s was once a Primary School. Today, the church walls still stand firm, testimony to the lives which have been saved.

St Bartholomew's Anglican Church

St Bartholomew’s Anglican Church

Queenstown Health Centre

Queenstown Health Centre

Apart from this famous landmark, there are other places of worship in Queenstown including Seventh Day Adventist, Anglican, Roman Catholic, Brethren and Full Gospel churches. Although the village is densely populated by Afro-Guyanese, today’s residents reflect a diverse cultural mix. A Mosque and Mandir also call Queenstown home and here, residents engage in congregational worship on the weekends.

The village is currently divided into three sections, Mocha, West Field and Dageraad, where three individual estates or plantations existed. These were owned by Mr Carberry, the first individual slave owner to purchase a plantation in then British Guiana. At the end of the apprenticeship period, after 1838, salves pooled their resources and purchased lands in the three areas. In 1847 the Queenstown Village Council was formed and worked tediously to build a strong economic base through Agriculture.

In 1849, through the efforts of the Anglicans, children in the village began to receive formal education. By 1892 Queenstown boasted a fully elected Local Government with overseers and in 1961 the normal educational institute was established by Edwin Burnett.

Today, the community is fully equipped with a community centre, health centre, post office, village office, play field, both primary and nursery schools, the popular Oasis Hotel and lots of pubs.

Shondell Mentis, a young entrepreneur selling produce from her kitchen garden

Shondell Mentis, a young entrepreneur selling produce from her kitchen garden

The St Bartholomew's Church Hall

The St Bartholomew’s Church Hall

Travelling from Supenaam one is sure to be amazed by the extent of development which has transformed Queenstown since the days of slavery. Today, residents are fortunate to have access to modern utilities such as potable water, electricity, phone services, and paved roads.

Many children from Queenstown attend leading secondary schools while many doctors, nurses, mechanics, businessmen, engineers, beauticians and religious leaders are products of that community.

The Queenstown Development Association was formed to coordinate the celebration of the community’s rich history; and residents usually gather on an annual basis to celebrate the successes of the village.

Reflecting the changes that have swept through the village over time, residents explained that in the early years, there was only mud dams and only ‘rich persons’ used gas lamps. Back then, Saturday nights were highly anticipated. It was a time when families came out in their numbers to shop, socialise and play a game of cards or dominoes. The weekends were said to be a “selling day” when persons would peddle the produce harvested from their kitchen gardens.

A few of the popular families residing in the areas are the Walcotts, Hubbards, McKenzies, Slowes, Daintys, Mentis’, Baboolalls, and the Alves’.

The oldest female in the village is Ursella Corbin, 95, while the oldest male is Keneth Walcott, 78.

The charming village of Queenstown is cloaked in simplicity, serenity and peace, and welcomes all with the cool breeze from the mighty Atlantic.

 

Christianburg: Touted as being Linden’s first community

The ancient community of Christianburg is prided as being the first settlement in Linden, situated in the captivating Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) area, with a rich history dating back to the early 1800s.
Even before Linden, which now incorporates Wismar and Mackenzie got its name, there was Christianburg, and earlier settlers were said to be Dutch who initially settled down the Demerara River in a little community which they referred to as Arague.

A view of the Katapulli creek

A view of the Katapulli creek

The church

The church

The old courthouse that was destroyed by fire

The old courthouse that was destroyed by fire

The waterwheel

The waterwheel

The area now known as Christianburg was also said to be a vast sugar plantation nestled on the left bank of the Demerara River, now also referred to as the West Side. The picturesque area of Christianburg is officially known as the community’s first village, which was established during the Dutch inhabitancy.
But the area was first referred to as Stabroek, until then Governor Christian Finnette settled there along with his wife, Burg. The area was actually renamed ‘Christianburg’ by Finnette who coined his first name along with that of his wife’s.
There is much history and earlier beginnings in Christianburg, known by many today as the home of the famous waterwheel. In fact, Scottish Engineer John Dagleish Patterson, who had been invited to Guyana to establish and develop living quarters by the English, also settled at Christianburg back in 1803.
Tasked with providing lumber for the construction of the huts and buildings, Patterson is said to have acquired the services of the earlier Dutch settlers, Amerindians and even slaves to work alongside his logging establishment.
The difficulty of transporting logs in those days eventually led to Patterson’s establishment of the first sawmill at Christianburg, with the powerhouse being the waterwheel which generated hydro power from the nearby Katapulli Creek.
These new developments had followed in the year 1855. In addition to generating power for the sawmill, the waterwheel was also a useful means of generating much needed electricity to the nearby huts and buildings under Patterson’s close-knit establishment.
Patterson’s large house had also been constructed in proximity to the Demerara River, on that section of the river bank which would later be called Wismar. Years later the house which had become a popular landmark had also served as the Christianburg Magistrate,s Court, which was destroyed only a few years ago by fire.
Being the first community to develop in the area, Christianburg was later referred to as a Seat of Government, containing a Police Headquarters, district emissary and dispensary. The Wismar area was later developed alongside Christianburg, followed by Mackenzie on the opposite shore.
Christianburg today
The Christianburg community today is very much alive with its rich history and remains a close-knit family-oriented area.
A visit to the area would reveal that names of earlier settlers such as DeClou, Allicock and D’Anjou are still in existence. It is reportedly home to numerous centenarians, one such being Agatha Campbell, also known as “Mother Gathie” who lives at Stewart Path, Christianburg. Today, Mother Gathie stands strong at 104 years.
Also to date, the famous waterwheel, although no longer in operation, remains one of the earliest landmarks in the Linden community. The Katapulli Creek is also one of the most pristine sites in the Christianburg community. As a matter of fact, as any Lindener would know, it is hard to talk about Christianburg without mentioning or sparing a thought of the Katapulli Creek.
D’Anjou Alley, an area named after one of the earlier settlers, also to date remains. The quiet community now sports a recreational ground, health centre, cemetery, nursery and primary schools, with a few scattered family-oriented businesses. It also has an active Community Development Council (CDC). Gully like alleys are also a prominent feature of the community.
On a sunny day, Christianburg with a majestic view of the Demerara River is the perfect spot for bird watching or quiet relaxation.
As other communities later came on stream, including Mackenzie on the eastern shore of the Demerara River, Christianburg is known as the one which initially set the pace for numerous others to follow.

Christianburg: Touted as being Linden’s First Community

The ancient community of Christianburg is prided as being the first settlement in Linden, situated in the captivating Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) area, with a rich history dating back to the early 1800s.
Even before Linden, which now incorporates Wismar and Mackenzie got its name, there was Christianburg, and earlier settlers were said to be Dutch who initially settled down the Demerara River in a little community which they referred to as Arague.

A view of the Katapulli creek

A view of the Katapulli creek

The area now known as Christianburg was also said to be a vast sugar plantation nestled on the left bank of the Demerara River, now also referred to as the West Side. The picturesque area of Christianburg is officially known as the community’s first village, which was established during the Dutch inhabitancy.

The church

The church

The old courthouse that was destroyed by fire

The old courthouse that was destroyed by fire

The waterwheel

The waterwheel

But the area was first referred to as Stabroek, until then Governor Christian Finnette settled there along with his wife, Burg. The area was actually renamed ‘Christianburg’ by Finnette who coined his first name along with that of his wife’s.
There is much history and earlier beginnings in Christianburg, known by many today as the home of the famous waterwheel. In fact, Scottish Engineer John Dagleish Patterson, who had been invited to Guyana to establish and develop living quarters by the English, also settled at Christianburg back in 1803.
Tasked with providing lumber for the construction of the huts and buildings, Patterson is said to have acquired the services of the earlier Dutch settlers, Amerindians and even slaves to work alongside his logging establishment.
The difficulty of transporting logs in those days eventually led to Patterson’s establishment of the first sawmill at Christianburg, with the powerhouse being the waterwheel which generated hydro power from the nearby Katapulli Creek.
These new developments had followed in the year 1855. In addition to generating power for the sawmill, the waterwheel was also a useful means of generating much needed electricity to the nearby huts and buildings under Patterson’s close-knit establishment.
Patterson’s large house had also been constructed in proximity to the Demerara River, on that section of the river bank which would later be called Wismar. Years later the house which had become a popular landmark had also served as the Christianburg Magistrate,s Court, which was destroyed only a few years ago by fire.
Being the first community to develop in the area, Christianburg was later referred to as a Seat of Government, containing a Police Headquarters, district emissary and dispensary. The Wismar area was later developed alongside Christianburg, followed by Mackenzie on the opposite shore.
Christianburg today
The Christianburg community today is very much alive with its rich history and remains a close-knit family-oriented area.
A visit to the area would reveal that names of earlier settlers such as DeClou, Allicock and D’Anjou are still in existence. It is reportedly home to numerous centenarians, one such being Agatha Campbell, also known as “Mother Gathie” who lives at Stewart Path, Christianburg. Today, Mother Gathie stands strong at 104 years.
Also to date, the famous waterwheel, although no longer in operation, remains one of the earliest landmarks in the Linden community. The Katapulli Creek is also one of the most pristine sites in the Christianburg community. As a matter of fact, as any Lindener would know, it is hard to talk about Christianburg without mentioning or sparing a thought of the Katapulli Creek.
D’Anjou Alley, an area named after one of the earlier settlers, also to date remains. The quiet community now sports a recreational ground, health centre, cemetery, nursery and primary schools, with a few scattered family-oriented businesses. It also has an active Community Development Council (CDC). Gully like alleys are also a prominent feature of the community.
On a sunny day, Christianburg with a majestic view of the Demerara River is the perfect spot for bird watching or quiet relaxation.
As other communities later came on stream, including Mackenzie on the eastern shore of the Demerara River, Christianburg is known as the one which initially set the pace for numerous others to follow.

Lethem, a land of discovery

Rennella Bourne

The nature-oriented and breathtaking town located in the Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo River, Region Nine, Lethem is the destination for nature lovers who are looking to have sun baths while being surrounded by hospitable people.

St. Ignatius Sports Complex

St. Ignatius Sports Complex

partial aerial view of lethem

partial aerial view of lethem

The town that is located next to Brazil the powerhouse of South America provides a range of options to visitors. One can gear their taste buds to the local cuisine of Lethem, in addition to sampling the exquisite meats and other delicacies from neighbouring Brazil.
The road trip to the town takes approximately 11 hours, while an aircraft will take just around an hour.
An aerial view of any place is always awesome, which Lethem poses no exception. The road trip to Lethem may be bumpy and long but, if you are travelling with the right crew, you never feel a minute of the long hours travelling.
The roads of Lethem are not tarred and painted as the City’s roads but the feeling of being on the mud road and being surrounded by the lush green forest is liberating and can strike a sudden interest of discovery into anyone.
The people of Lethem are mainly indigenous (First Peoples) who are warm and hospitable to each other and their visitors. Their disposition is vastly different from the folk in Georgetown and their humbleness and contentment with life is something that should truly be emulated.
Clearly, their pride and joy are not in the things they hang in their houses or the garments they place on their bodies but the peace they exude, seemingly, from within. It is amazing to see so much unity within a town; one can only gather that the encouragement and upliftment they provide to each other are subliminal.
Only recently, at a Digicel’s school football tournament in Lethem, the St Ignatius Sports Complex came alive with residents, far more than the facility could have accommodated, who were there to watch Chase Academy play the home team Annai Secondary School.
Baby, child, woman, father, grandmother, grandfather, mother, were all there at the ground cheering for their beloved team, whether they were hopping with a stick or pushing their babies in a stroller, not one of them appeared to enjoy the game less.
Each time the Annai Team looked as they were headed to goal, the Sports Complex became silent with cumulative willpower as if they were all playing, while their faces became effulgent with pride every time their home team scored goal.
Lethem, with its surprisingly modern amenities, also offers many services for tourists to partake in, such as the well known and much talked about Rodeo. There are also a host of commercial establishments to cater to the needs of the locals and tourists alike.
The Takatu River that runs through Lethem separates Guyana from Brazil. Visitors to this region are able to enjoy a taste of the savannahs and Brazil since there is a bridge (established in 2013) that links the two countries.
The neighbouring Brazil provides another way of life for the people/tourists who travel to that country; even for those who return within minutes.
Visitors are able to visit Bon Fin from Lethem without travel restrictions but if you are interested in venturing deeper into Brazil, you will need your passport and a card to show that you have been vaccinated against yellow fever.
A few hours by taxi from the Guyana/Brazil border is Boa Vista, is a more upscale town than both Lethem and Bon Fin. Visitors go there for shopping and dining.
Just as any other town, Lethem possesses nursery, primary and secondary schools. The region has one hospital that was commissioned in 2009. Religious sanctuaries are also present within the town.
The region was named after Sir Gordon James Lethem, who was the Governor of British Guiana from 1941 to 1947.
Lethem is the capital of Region 9 and is a hub linking many surrounding villages. The main activity in this region is farming and mineral extraction.
There are a number of luxurious hotels located there that are geared to make your stay enjoyable with arranged tour to the captivating savannahs and neighbouring Brazil.

Ryan Harry – a contractor with a difference

Imposing columns; soaring ceilings; smoothly plastered walls; glossy hardwood floors; elegant entries. Ryan Harry of Creative Designs Construction is no ordinary contractor, a fact he himself points out.

Contractor Ryan Harry

Contractor Ryan Harry

house 6 house 5 house 3
“I do not consider myself a contractor: I’m more of a builder/developer…..A contractor is just someone who’s contracted to follow plans and build according to specifications……I do my own designs, plans, consultations, research, land development and construction!!”
The quality of his work is evident in the homes he has built. Harry spent most of his working years constructing homes in Barbados and that experience is evident in his exquisite concrete structures that make you say ‘wow, that’s nice’.

One of the many houses designed and constructed by Ryan Harry

One of the many houses designed and constructed by Ryan Harry

The 35-year-old, who was raised in Albouystown, left Guyana after graduating from the North Georgetown Secondary School to pursue studies at the University of West Indies Cave Hill Campus in the sister Caricom country. He has always been fascinated by the process of turning architectural drawings into reality and, as such, got into the construction business.
“I love and enjoy being creative with buildings, designs and construction…it drives and motivates me to be imaginative and creative…I can’t see myself doing any other job in this lifetime.”
The seasoned builder was prompted to start his own business when he returned home and realised the local construction industry was for the most part stuck in the past, with the familiar old designs and technologies and materials.
“The construction market in Guyana is very primitive…..the drive to introduce new building designs and creativity can be successful,” he forthrightly noted.
His lofty goal is “to introduce Guyana to a standard code of building and modern designs; our landscape is of old and one-dimensional houses and designs”.
“Guyana is very much a developing country with an ever-changing landscape and infrastructure, builders with creative imagination and new ideas will be very much in demand during this period!!” the married father of one emphatically stated when questioned about his business’s future given the state of Guyana’s economy.
To those thinking of following in his footsteps, he advised: “Construction is a very competitive industry, where clients are very impatient …you have to be on time, on schedule and on budget. Clients want value for their money.”
He said would-be entrepreneurs generally should believe in themselves and work hard to achieve their goals – “baby steps!!”— highlighting that dedication and patience were absolutely vital qualities of business owners.
Asked about some of the hurdles he has overcome on his journey to owning and managing his own company of 16 employees, he rattled off: “Xenophobia working in foreign countries, having to learn to adapt to building methods in Guyana and the attitudes of local construction workers not being punctual and their carefree lifestyles, trying to instil better building codes and safety in Guyana.”
“Most small entrepreneurs’ biggest challenge is starting capital or access to starting capital and the opportunities for young and inexperienced companies are limited,” the Campbellville resident added, “Clients mostly trust and give jobs to the more recognised and established companies.” Measures that address those issues, and help small businesses get started and be able to compete with larger companies are necessary to develop the sector.
But Harry, who counts among his influences, Roberto Hardie, former Project Manager/Civil Engineer at the Barbados-based GH Construction and Sir Charles Williams, a land developer and construction magnate in Barbados, is determined to grow his business in spite of the hurdles. “I’m inspired by success….Success is defined by your accomplishments, both tangible and intangible.”
Contact: 36 Garnett St Campbellville, Georgetown; email: ryan69gy@yahoo.com; cell: 680-6517

The captivating mining town of Linden

In the mining town of Linden that is bursting with activities and resources, one can always be assured of being mesmerised by the countless ideal locations to match every individual preference.
Upon entering the town of Linden from the Linden/Soesdyke Highway, one can brace oneself to be wowed by the sceneries on each side of the road. If you are a nature lover, you will be blown away immediately as you descend the hilly road viewing the hills of clay and the

Christianburg Water Wheel

Christianburg Water Wheel

alluring beautiful lakes below. Visitors to the town can witness the largest community, Amelia’s Ward, in the Caribbean as they make their way into the heart of the town.
Over the years Linden has developed significantly, garnering another Bank among other developments. A place of interest with the town’s rich history is its very own museum, located just a stone’s throw from the Demerara River.
The Demerara River divides Wismar and Mackenzie which allows residents to use the water taxis to access either shore. The

Wisroc Library

Wisroc Library

Wismar/Mackenzie Bridge is another mode of transportation for residents that is frequently used instead of the water taxis.
The best aspect of the mining town is its people. They are known for their resilience, unity and zeal. Lindeners are known to be their brother’s keepers. Their hospitality can be sensed from miles away. Lindeners are also known for their profound talents that many times outshines other performers.
In the past GTT jingle competitions, Linden became known as the town that would cart away the top positions.

Christianburg Water Wheel
As one passes the historic industrial Christianburg Waterwheel monument, a sense of pride arises to witness the evidence of what made the mining town into what it is today. One can also be saddened by this site since many are able to visualise the potential of this masterpiece in today’s economy.

Mackenzie Sports Club Ground

Mackenzie Sports Club Ground

Linden Museum

Linden Museum

The Christianburg Waterwheel was materialised in 1855 by a Scottish engineer, John Patterson who saw the need for this industrial mechanism to boost his timber production.
In 1803, after the English invasion, the Scottish engineer was selected to prepare housing for governmental officials. It is documented that following the preparation of housing, Patterson obtained a small number of vessels from the indigenous community and began the production of logging.
The Christianburg Waterwheel came in light of Patterson’s struggle of manual labour to tie logs together, followed by placing the logs on a punt. The manual labour proved to be time consuming and expensive on a long-term basis.
The Katabuli creek was later identified as the place of operation since the dynamic force of the flowing water from the creek was able to sustain the hydro-powered sawmill. The sawmill ceased operations in 1950 and has now become a relic.
Recreation
The mining town of Linden is not only known for its minerals but also for its captivating and luring beautiful lakes. These picturesque

Wismar Mackenzie Bridge

Wismar Mackenzie Bridge

lakes are located in Region 10 only and speak volumes to the tourism sector, with many Lindeners vocal on the topic of transforming these lakes into “top tourist destinations in Guyana”
Some time back, persons were trying to develop these appealing lakes into tourist sites.
These lakes were formed after bauxite mining was discontinued in the areas. The lakes are craters that were dug to access the precious ore – bauxite.

Blue lake

Blue lake

While it is not advised, many persons find it refreshing to swim in the blue lakes. Additionally, tasty “fat pork” or Coco plum (local fruit, scientifically named Chrysobalonas Icaco) are always to the avail of swimmers. “Fat pork” commonly grows around the lakes that everyone seems to enjoy after becoming familiar with it. It is a small pink fruit that is cushioned in white internally, also bearing a nut inside.
Linden presents options when it comes to recreation, mainly swimming. Buck Town creek that is located some distances from the community and Blueberry Hill are always filed on Sundays.
Motorists can always see families and friends enjoying the water or playing on the beach. The creek also possesses a small hotwater pond that anyone can go and soak in.

Mackenzie Sports Club ground
This ground holds a host of memories for every Lindener, whether it is flag-raising ceremonies, national games, Mahramani school competitions, National sports finals, massive parties or funerals, every Lindener can at least attest to one fond memory of this ground.
In 1916, the Mackenzie Sports Club Ground that is commonly known as MSC was built by the Demerara Bauxite Company which started mining in the town that same year.
The MSC ground is located in the heart of the town on Greenheart Street, which caters for cricket, football, basketball, volleyball, tennis, track and field, cycling, field hockey and various cultural and social activities.

Boat stelling

Boat stelling

The ground is familiar with the popular Linden Town Week activities. Apart from the outdoor activities, MSC caters for indoor events such as dominoes, billiards, table tennis, darts and many others.

Library
On Saturday mornings, the public buses can be seen filled with children and their haversacks, all heading to the library. The library is a sanctuary for the children to meet and compete to borrow the best books. The library serves as a research and study zone for secondary school students that often need to be notified when the library is closing.
The library helps a number of students who cannot afford to purchase every book, an opportunity to have those books at their own convenience.
Almost 10 years ago, in July 2015, The Stacey Walters Library opened its doors to the public. The Library caters to for all ages of people. It was built by an overseas-based Guyanese Ingrid Walters.
The project was orchestrated through the loss of her daughter, Stacey Walters which the library was named after. The Library was built to serve the residents of the Wismar shore, mainly.

Leonora, a village on the rise…

By: Kizzy Coleman

A village transcending expectations in terms of development, Leonora, West Coast Demerara, formerly called Plantation Leonora is situated in Region 3 (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara).

Leonora Police Station

Leonora Police Station

Leonora Secondary School

Leonora Secondary School

A now thriving village with modern establishments, Leonora can be described as one of the most exciting villages in Guyana.
Neighboured by Anna Catherina and Stewartville, Leonora is a clear standout.
There are a number of villages in Guyana with great historical significance, and Leonora is among them.
The name Leonora is derived from the Dutch who were once occupants of this country.

Leonora Synthetic Race Track

Leonora Synthetic Race Track

It originated from the names of two Dutch children, a boy named Leon and girl, Nora.
Leonora encompasses an area of five square miles, and was once part of the Parish of St Luke.
Being a close-knit community, the three leading religions (Christianity, Hinduism and Islamism) are practiced without prejudice.
History
Visiting Leonora, the older folks were eager to delve into the history of their now modernised village.
Tales were told of the old estate, the workers, and the logies.
The Leonora estate which was closed down in December 1986, was ran by various proprietors, attorneys and administrators.
The labour force on the estate was supplied by indentured labourers brought to then British Guiana by various countries, including India.
These workers were all housed in logies that were divided into two rooms. These logies were poorly made insanitary houses built close to the estate so the workers could have easy access to plantations and for the owners to have easy access to the workers.
The majority of the workers laboured in the cane fields from early morning till night—every day.
Apart from the estate location in those days, Leonora was comprised of Groenveldt and pasture lands. These two areas stretched mainly along the public road, and away from the sugar estate. The rest of land that made up the area of Leonora was used for pasture, rice plots and limited farmlands. As time went by, the estate allowed some of the labourers to cultivate rice on the plots and to do limited farming.
With development in the community today, those rice plots have been turned into thriving housing schemes.
Leonora today
Entering Leonora today oh, how things have changed. The village has been made into one of the most developed on the WCD.
Leonora is home to one of the leading hospitals in the country, the Leonora Cottage Hospital. It also houses many schools, a Magistrate Court, Fire Station, Police Station, Market and now the newly built Synthetic Race Track, the first ever in Guyana.
Costing $1.084 billion, Guyana’s first Synthetic Track and Field facility was officially opened in April of 2015.
Since the opening there have been major activities hosted in Leonora. It is the hope that one day Olympians will excel on the track as Guyana hopes to host the Olympics in the future.
Walking around the community, excited and smiling faces could be seen as the people of the community are ready and waiting to welcome all who visit.