Located some 5 kilometres from the capital City lies the peaceful, small village of Bagotstown, which is said to be one of the oldest village settlements developed on the East Bank Demerara.
It is bordered by Eccles on one end and Peter’s Hall on the other. The Demerara Harbour Bridge and the famous M&M Snackette are nearby landmarks which villagers often claim as their own.
Guyana Times took some time to visit the community and was greeted by a few villagers who reflected on life in the area. A 70-year-old great-grandmother from Norton Street told this publication that she spent all her life so far in the area.
She recalled when the Eccles Old Road formed part of the main roadway but that was all changed around 40 years ago when new—less curvy, winding—routes were developed along the East Bank Highway. Today some residents say that heavy trucks which traverse the Eccles Old Road cause some vibration to houses in the nearby area.
Residents in the area reminisced about the school vacation period when the dawn’s early light would fall upon the children who play games such as Sal Out and Hop Scotch, all the way to sun down, where they anticipated the next day’s activities.
The ethnic composition of Bagotstown is mixed with Afro-Guyanese being the predominant group, with those of Indo-Guyanese ranking second. There is also a small group of Amerindians in the area. At Bagotstown koker, there is a small squatting area where many persons are without electricity but are soothed by the cool breeze from the Demerara River, the village’s western extremity.
One man recalled a major overtopping in 1994 which caused major devastation to many persons in the village. However, over time revetment works at the river dam have prevented further occurrences.
Residents told Guyana Times that in the past, many persons were employed with the Houston Sugar Estate, but after that entity closed persons had to turn to other forms of employment. Today, many residents are employed at the Gafoors Houston Complex and others at the Fisheries.
The major religions that residents follow are Christianity and Islam. Many Christians attend the Eccles Assembly, while Muslims attend the Mosque in Peter’s Hall.
The Harbour Bridge Mall is one of the key places that stand out in Bagotstown. The Double ‘D’ Place bar attracts a large contingent of mostly males who sit and have a laugh over cold beverages. It has been announced that a fly-over roadway will be built to divert traffic from the Harbour Bridge. One can only wonder how the outlook of this community will change in the coming years.