Guyana Then And Now

Bauxite

I’m going to start with a little about how bauxite was mined and processed and then move to the history of the industry in Guyana.

To begin with I will regurgitate what I learned as a kid.

The bauxite mines had all manner of niffty names Three Friends, Montgomery, Arrowcane, Akyma, Maria Elizabeth, Ituni, Noitgetdacht and Warabaru (I wish I knew the full list).

I recollect there were three methods used to remove the overburden to get at the Bauxite ore. Dragline, Wheel Excavator and Water Blasting.

Dragline removing Overburden to get at the Bauxite ore, MacKenzie, British Guiana

Dragline removing Overburden to get at the Bauxite ore

These Draglines were so big that they did not run on tracks. Instead they had feet and moved in a walking fashion. Special roads had to be built to accommodate the size. We were all impressed by the fact that you could drive a land rover into the bucket. It wasn’t really the size of the bucket but rather the length of it’s boom that was the measuring stick for the Draglines. Long booms meant that you could move overburden further.

Wheel Excavator removing Overburden to get at the Bauxite ore, MacKenzie, British Guiana

Wheel Excavator removing Overburden to get at the Bauxite ore, photo Henry Hamilton

I was a boy in MacKenzie when the first Wheel excavator was built at the mines. It was the latest in mining technology and everyone was amazed.

Components of the Wheel Excavator, MacKenzie, British Guiana

Components of the Wheel Excavator used to move the sand onto the conveyor belts, photo Henry Hamilton

The Wheel Excavators made for great times for us kids playing in the mines. These things created great big piles of clean white sand that stood like miniature mountains in the middle of the jungle.

Wheel Excavator conveyor belts, MacKenzie, British Guiana

Wheel Excavator conveyor belts, photo Henry Hamilton

This next photo has the whole process. The Wheel Excavator is removing the easy stuff (Sand). The Dragline is taking care of the more difficult clay while a bulldozer prepares the mine for the railway extension. A small shovel is loading an ore bearing train.

It also looks like there is a drill taking test cores to establish the quality of the ore.

Dragline and Wheel Excavator removing Overburden to get at the Bauxite ore, MacKenzie, British Guiana

Dragline and Wheel Excavator with Shovel loading Bauxite ore (photo Margo Roza on Flickr)

When the mining was done mother nature was left to take over. The mines would fill up with water creating great swimming lakes. For some reason some of the lakes had clear water rather than the tea colored water of the Demerara. This apparent cleanliness and the fact that we knew there were no Pirai made for a swimmers paradise.

Lake created by Bauxite Mine, MacKenzie, British Guiana

Lake created by Bauxite Mine, photo Henry Hamilton

Tracked shovels were used to load the Bauxite ore onto trains for transport to the Bauxite plant.

Train moving Bauxite ore, MacKenzie, British Guiana

Train moving Bauxite ore (Photo Evan Wong)

The train tracks were also used to transport people, but I never knew when and where they were going.

Bauxite Plant, MacKenzie, British Guiana

Bauxite Plant (photo Phillip Llyn-Jones)

At the Bauixite plant the ore was crushed, dried and then loaded onto Ocean going ships for transport to Arvida via Chaguaramous, Trinidad and Port Alfred, Canada.

Sun Dora loading Alumina at MacKenzie British Guiana

Sun Dora loading Alumina at MacKenzie British Guiana

In 1961 Demba completed the construction of their Alumina plant in Mackenzie. Bauxite is chemically treated to produce Alumina (Aluminum Oxide). Alumina can then be smelted to produce Aluminum with lots of electricity and thus usually done in places where electricity is cheap.

Loading Bauxite at MacKenzie British Guiana

Loading Bauxite at MacKenzie British Guiana

Bauxite Plant from the deck of the MV Sunrana circa 1968 (photo Eirik Okland)

The first leg of the journey was the Demerara river which was not deep enough to accommodate fully loaded ships.

Empty ship the Feggen proceeding up the Demerara River, British Guiana

Empty ship the Feggen proceeding up the Demerara River, British Guiana (Photo Evan Wong)

Empty ship the Sun Dial proceeding up the Demerara River, British Guiana

Empty ship the Sun Dial proceeding up the Demerara River, British Guiana (Photo Evan Wong)

At MacKenzie the ships were only partially loaded for the run down the shallow Demerara river to Georgetown. At Georgetown they would have to wait for high tide to clear the sand bars at the mouth of the river. It was then on to Chaguaramous, a deep water port in Trinidad where the ships were topped up with Bauxite for the transit of the Atlantic Ocean to Canada.

Bauxite Ship leaving MacKenzie, Guyana

Bauxite Ship (Baron Belhaven) leaving MacKenzie partialy loaded with Bauxite (photo Charlie Mccurdy Flickr)

From the photos you can tell the Demerara River is at high tide and good for heavy laden boats. When the tide was low you could often see them at anchor waiting for the next high tide.

Before ships like the Baron Belhaven, the Bauxite was transported by a company called Saguenay Terminals of Montreal. I suspect Alcan chartered these ships. Many of the Bauxite ships names started with Sun as in SunVictor or SunBrayton.

Bauxite Ship (Baron Belhaven) making her way north on the Demerara river towards Georgetown, Guyana

Bauxite Ship (Baron Belhaven) making her way north on the Demerara river towards Georgetown (photo Charlie Mccurdy Flickr)

It looks to me that the crew is cleaning the Bauxite dust from the ship and that is why we can deduce she is moving north to Georgetown after loading in Mackenzie.

At Chaguaramous, Trinidad the Bauxite ships get topped up with Bauxite ore.

Alcan Sign at Chaguaramous, Trinidad

Chaguaramous, Trinidad (photo Charlie Mccurdy Flickr)

Once upon a time my family went north to Canada on the Bauxite ship Sun Victor. It was completely covered in Bauxite dust from the time it left Mackenzie until it had cleared Chauaramous, when the crew were put to work hosing her down. It was the time of year for storms in the Atlantic and I suspect the crew really didn’t need to go to all that work. There were times when the entire hull of the Sun Victor was below the waves. If I had been older I would have been scared silly (I always thought that ships weren’t meant to emulate submarines).

Port of Chaguaramous, Trinidad

Bauxite Ships loading more ore at Chaguaramous, Trinidad (photo Charlie Mccurdy Flickr)

This photo appears to me to be taken from the St. Laurence River looking at the mouth of the Sageunay River. The Sageunay River flows through mountainous territory and to some resembles a fjord due to the steep sides. For me, the strangest thing about the Sageunay River is not the steep sides, but that on many of the mountain peeks, people have erected religious statues in the middle of the Canadian wilderness.

It is the presence of these mountains in conjunction with the Sageunay River that brings the Bauxite to Canada (Read on for the reason).

Bauxite Ship (Baron Belhaven) making her way north to Canada

Bauxite Ship (Baron Belhaven) making her way north to Canada (photo Charlie Mccurdy Flickr)

Upon reaching Canada the Bauxite ships had to navigate up the St, Laurence River and then the Saguenay River to Port Alfred where they were unloaded. The Bauxite ore was then moved to Arvida where it was processed into aluminum.

The big question that leaps to mind is why move the Bauxite to Canada for conversion into aluminum. Current techniques of refining Bauxite into Aluminum require large amounts of electricity. The refining is done in places where electricity is cheap (Traditionaly this means Hydro Electricity). Several large hydro electric power dams have been constructed on the Saguenay River providing this cheap electricity to Arvida.

Ah ha but why Arvida. The acronym Arvida gives us a clue. Arthur Vining Davis. Mr. Arvida was the man behind Alcoa. Alcoa sent George Bain Mackenzie to secretly acquire mining rights to Bauxite land in British Guiana starting in 1914 at about the time the First World War began. The Brits put a halt to Alcoa’s plans as the bauxite was reserved for British exploitation. Mr Arvida and Alcoa got around these legal objections by setting up the Demerara Bauxite Company (Demba) owned by their Canadian subsidiary that eventually became Alcan. {1) Mining commenced at the Three Friends mine in 1917 with the bauxite presumably being sent to the USA for refining. It wasn’t until 1927 that the Arvida refinery came on stream. Then in 1928 Alcan with Demba sort of separated from Alcoa (primarily owned by the same people). In 1971 DEMBA was nationalized from Alcan and renamed the Guyana Bauxite Company (GUYBAU).

Since 1971 I’ve had a hard time keeping track of what entity owned and operated the Bauxite mines and plant in the Mackenzie (Linden) area.

Bauxite Ship at Port Alfred, Saguenay River, Quebec, Canada

Bauxite Ship at Port Alfred, Saguenay River, Quebec, Canada (photo Charlie Mccurdy Flickr)

I find it interesting to view the contrast of this ship in the Demerara River of Guyana and then Ice covered in Canada.

Excerpt from: Guyana Guide

1914 Demerara Bauxite Company, Limited (DEMBA), owned by Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa), secured leases around the Mackenzie area where bauxite deposits were identified.
1917 DEMBA commenced mining of bauxite at Three Friends mine and later at Akyma mine (now known as Maria Elizabeth) south of Mackenzie.
1929 The Aluminum Company of Canada (Alcan) took over control of DEMBA.
1930 – 40 A drilling programme was undertaken by DEMBA in the Ituni area south of Mackenzie.
1937 – 44 A small number of bauxite deposits were located by DEMBA near the Essequibo River.
1938 The first shipment of refractory A-grade super calcined bauxite (RASC) by DEMBA.

The Berbice Company Limited began exploration in the Kwakwani area.
1942 The Berbice Bauxite Company, a subsidiary of American Cyanamid, commenced production of chemical grade bauxite (CGB) at Kwakwani.
1943 DEMBA expanded its mining operations to Ituni, south of Mackenzie.
1952 The Berbice Bauxite Company was acquired by Reynolds Metals Company and began production of metallurgical grade bauxite (MAZ) at Kwakwani.
1955 – 56 Drilling was carried out by Harvey Aluminum Incorporated in the Groete Creek and Blue Mountains areas west of the Essequibo River.
1956 DEMBA commenced construction of an alumina refinery plant at Mackenzie.
1957 Barima Minerals Limited drilled selected targets in the Pomeroon area.
1970 The town of Linden, which incorporates the mining town Mackenzie and two former village districts, Wismar and Christianburg, was established.
1971 DEMBA was nationalized and renamed Guyana Bauxite Company (GUYBAU).
1975 The Berbice Bauxite Company was nationalized and renamed Berbice Mining Enterprise (BERMINE).
1976 The Berbice Industry Development Company (BIDCO) was established as the holding company for GUYBAU and BERMINE.
1980s During the early part of the decade, the Guyana Bauxite Company (GUYBAU) was succeeded by the Guyana Mining Enterprise (GUYMINE).
1982 The alumina refinery plant at Linden ceased operations.
1989 Aroaima Mining Company a subsidary of Aroaima Bauxite Company which was formed as a joint venture between the Government of Guyana and Reynolds International began operations.
1992 The debt-ridden Guyana Mining Enterprise (GUYMINE) was dissolved and divided into the Linden Mining Enterprise Limited (LINMINE) and the Berbice Mining Enterprise Limited (BERMINE).
1992 – 94 The management of LINMINE overseen by Minproc Engineers Limited of Australia as part of the restructuring arrangement with the World Bank.
1998 The Government of Guyana announced privitization plans for the state-owned bauxite companies, Berbice Mining Enterprise Limited (BERMIBE) and Linden Mining Enterprise Limited (LINMINE). The companies will each be restructured into new private companies that will be capitalized, majority-owned (sixty percent under the Government’s preferred structure), and operated by a private investor.
1999

Aroaima Mining Company (AMC) and Green Construction and Mining Company (GCMC) merged, and the stripping of overburden at Aroaima is now being done by AMC.

On August 5, the Government of Guyana hosted a privatization seminar for the five companies shortlisted to bid for 60 per cent controlling interests the Linden Mining Enterprise (LINMINE) and Berbice Mining Enterprise (BERMINE), in Georgetown.

Alcoa World Alumina, Billiton, and the consortium of Texas-Ohio Incorporated, Harbisson Walker, Possehl and Morrison Knudsen have bid for control of both BERMINE and LINMINE.

Aroaima Mining Company bid for BERMINE, and a consortium of Guyanese and overseas investors, RASC 2000, for LINMINE alone.

Alcoa was involved in a takeover of Reynolds. It is not clear how the takeover will affect Aroaima Mining Company’s bid for BERMINE or their mining operations at Aroaima.
2000 During April 2000, Head of the Privatisation Unit, Winston Brassington, reported that the bid put forward by Aroaima Bauxite Company for the Berbice Mining Enterprise is not acceptable based on the government’s bid evaluation criteria, and the privatization process for the local industry will have to go back to the bidding table. He also stated that there was one proposal for Linmine and Bermine which was rejected.

144 Comments »

  1. WoW!!! great pics. Really brings back memories. Started my Elect. Eng career in the Primary Stripping Dept of the Mines Division in 1978. By that time they were two additional Wheelers, namely Bau 1197, Bau 1168 and Bau 1310. Working in three different mining locations. Worked along with Jimmy Kranenburg and Dereck Fung also the late Rudolph “Dappy” Lee-Ting among others.
    Really great stuff this is keep it up.

    By the way the rail tracks went all the way up to Ituni another mining location further south of Mackenzie/watooka area.

    Comment by John Cush — September 8, 2009 @ 9:56 pm | Reply

  2. The Bauxite (not Berbice) Industry Development Company (BIDCO) was established in 1976, in Georgetown, as the holding Company.

    This is great stuff.

    Thanks
    ______________________

    BobW (Roy, Good info. I’ve never been able to piece together all of the history of Bauxite industry in Guyana. I suspect it played an important role in the Guyanese economy)

    Comment by Roy Fraser — September 17, 2009 @ 11:35 pm | Reply

  3. I was trilled by what i have seen, it bring tears to my eyes, i lived in Linden as a child into my teenage years.
    Those pictures brought back sweet memories of the Linden i Knew once. My father was employed at the Bauxite Company, in th ewashing and crushing department.

    Those were good times, The lake(blue Lake)one of my friends drown there, o ur school was just near by.

    Thank you for bringing back my Mackenzie memories back.

    Loretta.
    ____________________________

    BobW (Loretta, You’re very welcome, I’d like to put up more pictures, if I can find them)

    Comment by Loretta Alexander — September 20, 2009 @ 9:25 pm | Reply

    • Loretta, From what I have been told, my father also worked at the Bauxite company inthe 1950s. I don’t have much memory of him but his name was William O’Dowd or Dow. I think he may have been called Bill. Is it possible that you might know how I might find out anything about him and his family? Or anyone else out there, please help.
      Wendy Golding – UK

      Comment by razzielle — July 7, 2012 @ 11:30 am | Reply

  4. [...] 24, 2009 by rvewong I’ve put together a photo essay of the life of Bauxite, click photo to jump to the page. Dragline removing Overburden to get at the Bauxite [...]

    Pingback by The Life of Bauxite « Watookacoffeeshop's Weblog — September 24, 2009 @ 7:23 pm | Reply

    • Hello, I am trying to find realtives of William (Bill) O’Dowd (Dow) who worked at the Bauxite company inthe 1950s. If you or someone you know can remember anything about him, please let me know. Thanks

      Comment by razzielle — July 7, 2012 @ 11:32 am | Reply

  5. Bob, you are doing wonderful stuff. As you know, we lived in “MacKenzie” for 12 years (1960-72). I will pass on this link to my Dad who worked for Demba as an engineer for those years. Keep it up, mon!
    __________________________________

    BobW (John, Sure appreciate your family photos.)

    Comment by John den Hartog — October 3, 2009 @ 2:39 am | Reply

  6. to rvewong. hi the ship i was on loaded out of there round about 1959, the ship was called essex a norwegian . i remember coming back on board just after midnight when there was a lot of shouting going on in the strong current the stern ropes snapped and the ship started to go sideways across the river. do you know of any information on this maybe somebody has some pictures. from what i remember the engineers had there own club and swimming pool i was at sea for about 8 years then took up truck driving for 42 years now retired left the uk and now living in spain. enjoying the good life cheers to you all mike
    ________________________

    BobW (Mike, The incident with your ship going sideways in the Demerara River is well remembered, I have some photographs of the incident that need to be dug out from were ever they are hidden.)

    Comment by mike kelly — October 22, 2009 @ 4:11 pm | Reply

    • hi bob have you dug up any info about my ship essex cheers mike

      Comment by mike kelly — September 10, 2010 @ 3:58 am | Reply

  7. Wow..these pictures take me back to being a kid in Silvertown..Love it and keep up the great work. This is where I intend to retire.
    Thanks a million

    Comment by lindener for life — October 28, 2009 @ 9:37 am | Reply

  8. hi bob mike kelly here have you managed to dig up any info on my ship the essex which broke her moorings about 1959 and started to go sideways across the river regards mike

    Comment by to BobW — November 8, 2009 @ 5:01 pm | Reply

  9. Good Morning.
    First let me introduce myself I am a guyanese and I used to be a merchant marine I also sailed on saguenay ships british ships and a Ameerican ships left Guyana 1968 . Believe me this is a memory lane of a website ti is very good gives the history of bauxite mining in Guyana, I was real happy to stumble on to this site If there are any up dates please feel free to e-mail me
    thank you again
    Earl Vigilance

    Comment by Earl Vigilance — November 10, 2009 @ 1:30 pm | Reply

    • Earl, I live in the UK but in the 1980s I met a man named Sam Vigilance in New York with some other Guyanese people. Is he a realtive of yours and if so, what has happened to him.

      Comment by razzielle — July 7, 2012 @ 11:37 am | Reply

  10. I live in kwakwani and linden the year 1984 it use to be a place to talk about the people need for those company up running to live a happy life style and let it be a town as it use to be like the pass for a nice futher this is a message for the company who have the money and willing to make it work for guyana peoples.

    Comment by RAFIUDIN — November 24, 2009 @ 10:41 pm | Reply

  11. I never lived at Mc Kenzie, but had the opportunity to visit there mostly at year end.
    To get there we had to take the MV R H Carr, a vessel owned by Messers Sprostons Ltd. I had memories of Arvida Rd,Rainbow City, the Movie house and the Alumina plant. The saguenay bauxite ships were awesome: Sun Walker, Sun Henderson etc.
    These pictures bring back alot of fond memories. Best wishes to all of the contributors and the people of Linden.

    Comment by Courtney B — November 25, 2009 @ 6:59 pm | Reply

  12. Reading the news about the strike make I feel a little happy but as a friend to the people please do not take the law in your hands use the system to make it work for the people let the outside company pay the value for bauxite and the people will get pay for there labor and live a happy life style wish you all the best.

    Comment by RAFIUDIN — November 27, 2009 @ 1:04 am | Reply

  13. Those pictures bring back very fond memories of the town I once lived in , the place I called home for earlier part of my life, I surely miss it.

    Comment by Mertland Glen — August 4, 2010 @ 6:20 pm | Reply

  14. rvewong. hi the ship i was on loaded out of there round about 1959, the ship was called essex a norwegian . i remember coming back on board just after midnight when there was a lot of shouting going on in the strong current the stern ropes snapped and the ship started to go sideways across the river. do you know of any information on this maybe somebody has some pictures. from what i remember the engineers had there own club and swimming pool i was at sea for about 8 years then took up truck driving for 42 years now retired left the uk and now living in spain. enjoying the good life cheers to you all mike. have you dug up any photos yet mike

    Comment by mike kelly — September 12, 2010 @ 2:14 pm | Reply

  15. i love the information about bauxite mining in guyana it help u a great lit when it comes to your kids assignment and other things when it comes to pork knocker week or day whatever u may want to call it

    Comment by Abina VanCooten — November 3, 2010 @ 2:36 pm | Reply

  16. Bob

    Extremely interesting website.

    I am researching a person who was born in Georgetown, British Guiana in 1913 but adopted by a family some years later.

    The biological parents were from Toronto.

    I noticed your paragraph starting with “Ah Ha but why Arvida”.

    The family story is that a person named Mackenzie was involved.

    Do you have any research references on this Mr Mackenzie who seems to have been there about the same time?

    Comment by Ed Short — November 5, 2010 @ 9:39 pm | Reply

    • Message for Ed Short:
      In a history of Alcan by Duncan C. Campbell (“Global Mission – The Story of Alcan”),you will find a lot of information about the beginnings of Alcan in British Guiana. Vol. 1 to 1950, pages 306 to 308, might be useful for the family in Toronto.

      Comment by Pat Hunte-Cusack — November 12, 2010 @ 1:48 pm | Reply

      • Pat

        Thank you very much

        I will follow up on that book

        Comment by Ed Short — November 12, 2010 @ 3:07 pm

  17. Do you have any info on a guy name Ivan Swamy……he worked at the berbice bauxite company…thanks

    Comment by eve — November 11, 2010 @ 11:29 pm | Reply

  18. My pleasure Ed. Good luck with your research.
    Pat

    Comment by Pat Hunte-Cusack — November 13, 2010 @ 1:55 pm | Reply

  19. Seeing these photos was fantastic. My dad Captain Ronald Meldrum was a marine superintendent for Saguenay Terminals at Chaguaramous in Trinidad. We were transferred to Trinidad in 1948 when I was 6 years old and the memories that I have of Trinidad are ever so sweet.During summer vacations my mother and brother and myself would board a vessel bound for Port Alfred and spent some time with our family in Montreal. It suer is great to see the photos you have on this site. Thanks for the memories.

    Comment by claude meldrum — November 16, 2010 @ 1:55 am | Reply

    • Alcan was the parent company of Sprostons and Demba, any item that Demba needed for their production was bought throught Sprostons. Sprostons was also the agent for the Saguenay Shipping co in Guiana.

      Comment by C L Barrow — November 23, 2011 @ 2:46 am | Reply

  20. Hi, do you have any information about bauxite ships from suriname (Alcoa) to Trinidad.
    Transfer station was Templadora port in 1963-1964. there were a lot of chartered bauxite carriers from Norway.
    Do you know someone with the name Pete (nickname?). He met a women in the Havanna bar in Suriname in 1963. Her name is Christina. He must be now at the age of 69-70.
    Thanks

    Comment by irine — December 3, 2010 @ 12:18 am | Reply

  21. Those were the days when we had school tours to the bauxite mines and plants, good pictures, keep up the good works

    Comment by Colvin j — April 3, 2011 @ 3:34 pm | Reply

    • My father (R.I.P) was a structural engineer who after having worked for “British Rail” returned to Guyana in 1972 and worked for GUYBAU….amongst other projects he was involved in the Trans amazon highway……he is buried at a place called “clear water”…
      if you have the time…..pay your respects

      Comment by Stephen Andrew Persaud — June 19, 2013 @ 11:36 am | Reply

      • Correction….. my father (Kennard Astil Persaud) was buried on his own piece of land which he called “Little England”…There is a tale which my grandmother (who lived in coomaaka) told my mother…..Apparently a wealthy “British-man” came to Guyana a long time ago and stayed there… eventually passing away…. he was buried at “Clear Water” and his name was William Wilson….my grand mother was Georgina (georgiana?) Fiedtkou…….do you know anything about this history..??

        Comment by stephen andrew persaud — June 20, 2013 @ 8:43 am

  22. these info on the bauxite really did refresh my memories ,in addition it all came handy for my history project
    tanks a gr8 lot for this memorial information.

    Comment by sweetkathy ann — April 24, 2011 @ 1:44 am | Reply

  23. On this day, Easter Sunday, over a half century ago, the kids would have been having an Easter egg hunt and other fun things around the pool.
    So, Happy Easter one and all!
    Pat

    Comment by Pat Hunte-Cusack — April 24, 2011 @ 12:08 pm | Reply

  24. Spent some time on the bauxite service to port Alfred ,during the winter we used to do the shuttle Linden to Trinidad where the vesels going north used to top off

    Comment by janbonde — May 29, 2011 @ 5:01 pm | Reply

  25. Hi I was born in linden but grew up in the states for most of my life. My father Ulric worked in the mines and would tell me stores about the linden area but I never really felt a connection until my grand mother violet blair passed away in February 2011. She wanted to be buried in guyana so I had to go reluctantly back to guyana and i am glad my aunt talked me in to taking the long trip from The USA to SouthAmerica.

    Guyana was nicer beyond my expectations. I even got a chance to take a hurried trip to lindens ward area. Hopefully the next time i return it will be under a more relaxed atmospher.

    Thank you for posting these old photos. MY parents thought these kind of photos didn’t exist but now i can show them how to use a computer so they can find your site.

    I am sure you might of even meet them before.

    Thank you from the McAlmont Family.

    Comment by AdrianMcAlmont — May 29, 2011 @ 5:41 pm | Reply

  26. Thoroughly enjoyed looking at the photos on your site. I was on the British bulk carrier “Holmside” of Burnett Shipping Company, Newcastle. We loaded bauxite at Mackenzie for Weehawken, New Jersey in January 1961. Your site brought back many happy memories.

    Dick Tennet UK

    Comment by Richard Tennet — June 23, 2011 @ 3:26 pm | Reply

  27. My grandfather was a manager with Renyolds and worked in Canada, Newamsterdam and Kakawani with them. I was not aware of some of the history you so accurately have documented, thanks so much. My father D.C King opperated a sawmill at Kakawani and I have fond memories of the people. For a treat we would go to the club house and play pool, go swimming in the pool as well. I always remembered the gentleman who seemed to run the club bringing us the best egg salad sandwiches ever!
    I am crying when I see what has become of the whale area.

    Comment by Kevin King — August 11, 2011 @ 4:43 am | Reply

  28. Subject: Future Linden Blue Lake Park and Resort

    The mined out area of the Kara Kara mine has filled up with water and has formed a very large lake of sky blue water. This lake presents a breath taking scene and like the concept pictures below presents a development opportunity for the Linden area.

    The major draw back is that the water in the lake is slightly acidic. Nothing lives in the lake to my understanding and if you swim , your skin peels after a while. Fortunately for us Joe Bakker, who has been the head of the Bureau of Land Reclamation for the state of Florida for many years, has the expertise for cleanups of this sort and would be willing to take the lead in preparing the required project document. My brother Sam could be the point man on the ground in Linden. Of course the major hurdle is the funding of such a project. Fortune smiles on us again in the form of a Canadian organization called CIDA.
    CIDA’s Partners for Development Program aims to leverage the development expertise and initiative of Canadians by funding the most meritorious proposals put forward by Canadian organizations to deliver development results on the ground and contribute to poverty reduction. This program creates enhanced opportunities for small and large development organizations to undertake focused and results-oriented development programming.
    Please check the following website for additional information: http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/acdi-cida/ACDI-CIDA.nsf/eng/FRA-325122215-M7Y

    CIDA requires that a Canadian organization with the requisite expertise be involved in the development and management of the project.
    I am hoping that with your knowledge of the Canadian organizations, you may be able to identify an entity who may be able to assist with this potential project formulation.
    Demba never did any reclamation of the lands mined out during their tenure in the Linden area. This project presents an opportunity to compensate for that oversight while assisting with the poverty reduction goals of CIDA. In addition to recreation and tourism enhancement, fish farming activities in the lake could provide addition opportunity for employment.

    Let me know what you think.
    Regards,
    Victor Wright

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    Comment by Victor Wright — October 29, 2011 @ 12:33 am | Reply

  29. Could it be that the representatives of Canada in Georgetown if there are any, would take an interest? Failing that, the only other suggestion I have is for the people who bought Alcan – Rio Tinto – to take the initiative.
    (I’m not one for “farm” fishing.)
    Pat

    Comment by Pat Hunte-Cusack — October 29, 2011 @ 1:11 pm | Reply

  30. My wife and I enjoyed the pictures and history. We also read all the comments. We are missionaries in Linden Guyana as I write this. We arrived in August of 2011. The Linden we see is one of past glory. We can see the skeletons of a thriving area, but it clearly is not enjoying prosperity today. There are few jobs and unemployment is high. Most of the buildings in town appear to have been built by the bauxite companies. We pay our light bill in an old “company” building. The bridge over the Demerara is the same one in the picture and the rail road tracks still run down the middle, although the train is long gone. There are some remnants of some rail cars and locomotives in Watooka. Our understanding is that a Chinese company is taking the ore. We see one to two ships in a week. The roads are all in poor condition. It seems that the new industry for Linden is outfitting the gold miners and loggers who work in the bush. Linden needs something more to help curb the poverty.

    Comment by Brad Summers — November 13, 2011 @ 11:00 pm | Reply

  31. THE SOUNDING OF THE HORN

    When Bauxite was king, the horn was a part of your natural neurological response. The blowing of the horn at the power house occurred at 5.30 am to wake the mines workers. Buses and train ran trips in every direction taking workers. The 6.50am horn was to alert you to be at the North or South gate. Then the 7am horn would let you know that workers should be at their stations in the plant. There was the 1100 am horn for lunch or breakfast which is a confusing mixed up of meals that have historical past. The 1220 pm horn was to alert the workers that they should be close to their stations before the 1230 pm horn announced the back to work rhythm. The wonderful 4.30 pm horn was that the day shift was heading home. Thousands of workers would flow out of the plants immediately on foot and bicycles heading home to their families or in the case of some to wash away dust and fatigue with a cold beer or so.

    The Company ran 24hrs a day and the other shifts did their thing also. The bulk of the work was on the day shift. The blowing of horn had other important functions also. Old year’s parties stopped their music for the New Year to be announced by the 10mins horn blowing along with the horns of all bauxite ships in port.

    The ½ hour fireworks display was also a very welcome treat. This old year’s tradition was a part of every resident in town and miles up or down river .The horn was not disliked. They life of the town literally depended on it. School, businesses, Cinema, transportation, ferry and the likes, all revolved around this tradition. Demba found a very important pulse of the people with this horn.
    When I heard the horn a few years ago on a trip home, I stood still for a while to listen. It had a welcoming feeling that you were finally home. The last horn blew in 2007 and fell silent since. The trumpet fit for a great king name Bauxite was no more! There is a siren used today but nothing it seems can replace the magical sounds of the horn that told the wonderful story of the reign of Bauxite.

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — December 14, 2011 @ 12:05 am | Reply

    • Dmitri, We used to call that horn the Hooter, it could be heard for miles.

      Comment by Admin — January 2, 2012 @ 4:28 pm | Reply

  32. THE 100 YEAR OLD FERRY BOAT AT LINDEN

    The Town of Linden is split down the middle by the Demerara River. Over the years the town grew and expanded unevenly as Bauxite dominated. The notable eastern bank development was the Amelias Ward housing scheme that follow the Linden/Soesdyke Highway opening at the end of the 1960s. On the Western bank the population was always more numerous. The population has increased significantly from West Watooka to Christianburg and westward to included Wismar hill, half mile, one mile and The Rockstone housing Scheme.
    The ferry boat system which was born with the bauxite industry had the enormous responsibility of connecting the daily lives of the people. At its peak, over a dozen privately own ferry owners existed from Cakatara to Speightland. Some of the owners in 1972 were, from the Cakatara end, Quamina, Kennedy, and Obermuller. More centrally located were Rigby, Major and Dutchie boat landing, at Speightland, Adams and a few others. Except for the period before Major owned that particular very well built landing that once belonged to Demba in 1939, very little oversight and central control occurred. There were laws and rules on the books but few paid much attention and little enforcement practiced.
    The early ferry boats were without engine or roof in the 1920s and early 1930. All able body passengers were given a large paddle and had to assist with rowing the small boat across the river. Many might still remember the old diesel engine that filled most of the back of the boat which had to be hand cranked many times before the put-put and gushing thick black smoke assured that the engine had started.
    For the most part the ferry system worked but there were serious problems. No training of the boat operators was done. You had untrained and at times lewd characters that couldn’t work elsewhere operating unsafe boats. On regular occasions there loud, foul half naked operators with a bottle of liquor in one hand playing cat and mouse with the passing bauxite ships that blew their horn endlessly to clear the river. Many engines failed and boats drift up and down the river. Little or no life jackets were on the boats. Some boats had to be bail out to stay afloat. There were many countless mishaps and drowning. Three bauxite workers had drowned while crossing the river in the early 70’s that I remembered well. A bearded tall man name Churchill with a large hook and rope would usually lead the body recovery effort. The ghastly site of Churchill with his hook and coil of rope fishing the river bottom for the unfortunate victim to an audience of hundreds of onlookers at the side of the river was a haunting sight.
    I respect the kind and decent Mr. Quamina and was good friends with all his children whom I admired and often think of. He had a boat that stood out from the rest. This small, shallow and greenheart made boat had a round bottom. The ominous bow of the boat pointed downwards. It sank many times. After it was recovered it was moored for months before it was again back in service. By then I guessed many would have forgotten the last tragedy. One morning on my way to school, Mr. Quamina repeatedly begged the passengers who were mainly bauxite workers, “please reduce the load guys! There are too much people in the boat!” The boat operator and Mr. Quamina stood helplessly with hands on hips. Not a single passenger disembarked. Most of the passengers were either late or in a hurry to cross the river. Then the frustrated Mr. Quamina said these magical words, “it’s alright, take the load across, it is long overdue since I sold another boat load to the fair maid {water spirit}”. The boat then safely crossed the river mostly empty as the appeal to the fears of the spooks worked very well. Mr. Quamina quietly smiled in relief.
    The substandard ferry boats did successfully transport the many thousands of residence including our family members. The current boat service has less landings and owners but provided a vastly improved service. Massive and very well built boats which are fully equipped with life jackets and working engines are now operated by what appears to be more professional individuals. That was very gratifying to see.

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — December 14, 2011 @ 12:11 am | Reply

  33. A TRIBUTE TO THE LEGENDS OF MACKENZIE HOSPITAL

    Guyanese born Doctor Roza was a legend of the Mackenzie hospital. He was the first Guyanese staff member at Demba. In 1924 he worked at the first smaller Mackenzie Hospital that was located where the Power house was built.
    His excellent work was responsible for saving my Uncle Vivian Allicock life when as a child of 8yrs old he fell unto a cutlass and was stabbed in his abdomen. When the much larger Mackenzie Hospital of 1925 was opened he continued his great work there.
    Many called him Uncle Charlie since he was almost a family member to all the people of upper Demerara for so many years. He was loved; respected and held is the highest of regards by all. Doctor Roza the chief medical officer of this hospital was probable the single most representative fact to reflect on the healthiness time for the Bauxite Industry. His exemplary service included difficult surgeries, Medical practitioner, and obstetrician at times. He delivered Guyana’s high commissioner to India. He ran the Mackenzie hospital for decades.
    Most of the former and some of my generation were seen at one time or the other by Doctor Roza and so many owe their lives to his superb skills and kind heart.
    He correctly diagnosed and saved the life of my younger brother Yuri, when his appendix had ruptured in 1968. Dr. Roza founded and opened the current Charles Roza School of Nursing where all the Mackenzie Hospital Nurses are trained. One of the most outstanding act and supreme compassion of Dr. Roza was the case of a little baby girl found abandoned in an ants nest on Wismar hill in 1961. He cared for this unfortunate and badly bitten baby in the hospital until she was fully better. He legally adopted this beautiful baby and raised her as his very own. Her name is Debbie Roza.
    The well dressed Dr. Roza in his white shark skin suite, tunic neck and white leather polished shoes holding his stethoscope, briskly approaching you was a welcoming site to so many. His comforting words and touch was a full guaranty that you would was receiving the best of care. This remarkable man would work into his eighties at the Mackenzie Hospital and retired to England soon after the Nationalization.
    This reflection on Dr Roza of the Mackenzie Hospital is just a small way of saying a big thank you to his family that we are very grateful to.
    There were others well remembered Doctors that served like Dr. Caruthers. Dr Cambon once treated my grandfather James when he very ill. After he recovered and returned home to Old England, Dr. Cambon and his wife would take his speed boat on occasion and travel up the Demerara to my Grandfather to take medicines and enjoy the outdoors.
    One world famous Doctor Gigioli would raise to fame from this Hospital. Born in 1897, Italian born Dr. Gigioli was the medical officer for Demba in 1922. He would pushed for the building of the 60 bed 1925 Hospital fully equipped with X-ray, laboratory facilities, sterile operation theater and a trained staff.
    His fame was in the fight against Malaria in Guyana but his first calling was in the treatment of hookworms. 80% of the population was affected by this disease. He provided the workers with boots and proper sewage disposal and the infection dropped significantly.
    Malaria was rampant and Doctor Gigioli was called into action. 50-75% of people treated at the Mackenzie Hospital were suffering from this disease. The mosquito that carried this disease bred profusely following the rainy season in the large number of ponds found in the mining areas. At that time the only way to control of the disease was through a prolong course of quinine, an unpopular and bitter tasting drug. The Country’s first permanent Research Scientist discovered that mosquitoes could not breed successfully in acid water. This finding would lay the foundation for his work in fighting this disease. He would visit my Grandfather James Allicock and family at Old England and use his property as his base in the river for many years even when he was attached to the Sugar Industry. He also hunted and fished from his Old England retreat.
    He was able to identify the anopheles darlingi mosquito as the main carrier in Guyana. He obtained the newest weapon DDT which the allies successful used in the Second World War. Results saw the overall heath situation improve dramatically in the 50’s and 60’s throughout Guyana. The World Health Organization and the Pan American Health organization sought his assistance for anti-Malaria fight conducted throughout The Caribbean, South America, later Africa and the Middle East. Doctor Gigioli died in 1975.

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — December 14, 2011 @ 12:40 am | Reply

    • Dmitri – As usual your postings are most interesting! I remember the horn well.
      One of Dr. Roza’s children, Margot, lives not too far from my mother now and they will be getting together before Christmas I am told. Her father is responsible for my mother being alive today at age 92. My mother is in remarkable good health and still living on her own, with lots of good help around her. Dr. Roza was given an award by the Queen some time back before he so sadly passed away. And now, another matriarch has left us – Mrs. Sheila Hiscocks who, with her late husband, used to run the Mackenzie Hotel. And so it goes.

      Merry Christmas everyone and a happy, healthy 2012.
      Pat

      Comment by Pat Hunte-Cusack — December 14, 2011 @ 2:43 pm | Reply

  34. Thank you most kindly Pat,
    The Demerara Bauxite Company served the people of Upper Demerara and Guyana extremely well. The trumpet fit for a great king named bauxite is on target and attempts to tell the story in a small way.
    No other Government or foreign owned enterprises have since come anywhere close to what Demba provided for the community of Upper Demerara and Guyana. The remnants and shanties of once a thriving area is the sad aftermath. It however my wish that life will hopefully improve in the future.
    It is amazing that you are in contact with Doctor Roza’s daughter Margot. Please convey my deepest appreciation for all that wonderful Doctor Roza provided. He is dearly remembered by all my family and older friends. Do you know what kind of award Doctor Roza received from the Queen of England?
    I was at a family reception of Sir Dexter Hutt just a few years ago after he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth. Sir Dexter is the oldest child of Walter Hutt of Demba. Walter Hutt has passed since. Doctor Roza and Sir Dexter Hutt are shining examples of what Guyana once was capable of producing.
    Merry Christmas and a very Happy New year to you and all the viewers of Guyana Then and Now including our dearest Bob Wong who made this site possible.
    Best regards,
    Dmitri

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — December 15, 2011 @ 2:20 am | Reply

    • I will ask Margot to reply to this, Dmitri. I remember the Hutts well too. What you said about Demba is so true.
      Take care,
      Pat

      Comment by Pat Hunte-Cusack — December 15, 2011 @ 1:09 pm | Reply

  35. I cannot begin to thank you for the fond memories which come pouring through my mind as I peruse the beautiful photos of a time and place I knew during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Oh the power of memories!
    Thank you! Thank you!
    Among the physicians who made such sterling contributions to the health of Lindeners, there is also Dr Gordon M. Baird shose surgical skills were second to none. Dr Baird is now an oncologist practicing in the state of New York.

    Comment by stevinski — December 15, 2011 @ 7:30 am | Reply

  36. I cannot begin to thank you for the fond memories which come pouring through my mind as I peruse the beautiful photos of a time and place I knew during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Oh the power of memories!
    Thank you! Thank you!
    Among the physicians who made such sterling contributions to the health of Lindeners, there is also Dr Gordon M. Baird whose surgical skills were second to none. Dr Baird is now an oncologist practicing in the state of New York.

    Comment by stevinski — December 15, 2011 @ 7:36 am | Reply

  37. Oh yes Stevinski,Doctor Gordon Baird is remembered quite well. The prior posting on Doctor Roza had mentioned by Brother Yuri and his ruptured appendix which occurred when he was only seven years old in 1968. Well, in 1971 he needed an appendectomy and by then Doctor Roza had retired.
    The young and new Doctor Baird was the consulting Surgeon. Something occurred then that was the ‘funniest thing that I could remember!’
    10 years old Yuri wanted no part of hospitals, needles or anything that reminded him of his childhood that was plagued with sickness. He was taken to the hospital operating room as preparation got on the way for surgery. There must have been a moment that permitted Brother Yuri to jump off the operating table, pulling out his intravenous access then bolting through the exits of the building!
    He was outfitted with a surgical cap and backless white hospital gown. Barefoot he ran through the open gates of the Mackenzie Hospital Compound onto the road that led to the Mackenzie/ Wismar Bridge. Giving chase was his doctor, nurses and other hospital staff. My poor mother was in the waiting room and saw the commotion but was not sure what was happening.
    Yuri was caught on the Mackenzie/ Wismar Bridge by the St. John’s Ambulance and their emergency staff as he attempted to run to his home at Wismar. He was taken back kicking and biting for a very successful surgery by Doctor Baird. Yuri is now a healthy 50 year old building contractor in Ohio and a father of three beautiful daughters. My family still have a good laugh over the site of Yuri running with the panicking staff chasing.
    Best wishes to Doctor Baird.
    Dmitri

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — December 15, 2011 @ 10:49 pm | Reply

  38. LINDEN TOWN WEEK

    This is brand new tradition that appears to have caught on rather well. Started only in 1996, member of the Linden Tourism Committee, Mark Allicock and others must be proud to see this event take root and have grown to what it is today.
    All visitors are welcome to join the residents as they enjoy a week of fun, folk music and color. The Linden Town Week is held annually during the last week of April in Linden.
    Residents showcase their achievements, make known the Town’s history and give recognition to its famous and respected residents. There are displays, exhibitions and competitions of various kinds like agricultural and local art and craft exhibitions and chainsaw competitions.
    The highlight of this festival is the crowning of the Linden Town Queen. I will proudly add that three beautiful Allicock’s family members were Town Queens. The outstanding talent and beauty of the family has dominated this recent tradition. It is with amazing pride that after over two hundred years of the Allicock’s presence in this community that the linage is still so strong despite massive immigration.
    Rufina Allicock was crowned Miss Linden in 2007 at 20years of age and represented the area of Dalawala. She was also the Guyana’s Amerindian Heritage Queen in 2004 at 16 years old. She was sashed by the honorable President of Guyana Bharrat Jagdeo who among the thousands thrilled by the evening events. She was presented with a bouquet by Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Carolyn Rodrigues. Rufina is my dearest first cousin and second daughter of my uncle Irvin and Isha Allicock. Born under the Zodiac sign of Pisces is beautiful Ms Rufina Allicock, who is 125 lbs. and is 52cm in height and fair in complexion, with brown eyes and hair.
    Sweet Rufina said,” I love swimming, modeling and dancing. When I am bored I go chatting on the internet with my friends. Reading, doing research and meeting people are just a few of the things that interest me. It is my desire to become someone whom people would admire and look up to as an example and respect.
    I view life as struggle where one has to work very hard to achieve ones goals; sometimes there will be ups and downs and setbacks, but it is the will to succeed in you that should keep you fighting and pushing towards what it is that you really want to gain in life. As the saying goes, it’s not the situation, but rather it’s how you deal with it.
    My major goal is to complete my studies as a student of the University of Guyana, where I am a first year student studying Public Communications. Apart from that, I grab every opportunity that arises to educate me in life, and which would help me to gain experience in diverse areas which I could share and be able to relate to others, or which may allow me to offer advice to someone on making important and positive decisions in their life” said lovely Rufina Allicock.
    Nikisha Telford our gorgeous family member was crowned Miss Linden 2009. The headline read, a superbly executed Miss Linden Town Week pageant saw Nikisha Telford, who represented the Silvertown community, walking away with the coveted crown on Saturday night at the Mackenzie Sports Club Ground.
    Nikisha is the proud daughter of Carol Murray Telford and Royston Telford. She is the granddaughter of my dearest Cousin Terrance Murray. Terrance Murray was my father’s nephew.
    Toshanna Allicock our family princess wooed her way into the hearts of both judges and crowd to walk away Queen of Linden, the headline read. Every time she took to the stage, she wowed the crowd with her poise, beauty and assertiveness. At the beginning of the night, it was obvious that not many persons had come out to root for her but her queenly deportment bought her a sea of supporters.
    Toshanna Allicock, Miss Kara- Kara was crowned the 2011 Queen at the Linden Town Week Pageant, before a large crowd
    The former Mackenzie High School student and current employee of Fredco’s Photo Studio, 18-year-old Toshanna was the first contestant to grace the stage, and created quite an impact from the beginning they continued. Toshanna Allicock, who represented Kara- Kara, graduated from Mackenzie High School in 2010 with 11 subjects having the proud distinctions in seven of them. She plans to study law at the University of Guyana.
    Rufina, Nikisha and Toshanna represent the brand new generation that needs our love and encouragement. They are indeed the treasures of today. It is obvious that ‘Guyana then versus now’ is a much different place. Yet, the resiliency of the people of Upper Demerara has endured as they attempt to extract a better life. All the Linden Town queens are celebrated and held high is a symbolic gesture that a brighter future may yet be on the horizon.

    Dmitri Allicock

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — December 16, 2011 @ 1:17 am | Reply

  39. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO THE VIEWERS OF GUYANA THEN AND NOW!
    There is no Christmas like a Guyana Christmas they say. I would also add that the Christmas of my childhood in Guyana cannot be replicated anywhere else. Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind.
    This is the ultimate celebration of all the holidays in Guyana. Christmas waves a magic wand over Guyana, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. The birth of the baby Jesus and savior of all mankind tradition goes back to the early Dutch in Guyana. Christmas in Guyana is about Christianity and family. The entire Country prepares weeks in advance. Government workers including civil servants, police and army expects their traditional bonuses and salary increases. Children are at home from school for their Christmas Holidays. Flights are jammed up as many Guyanese abroad head home. Guyana is missed tremendously at this time for those that are unable to return home.
    Christmas is a time for festivity and closeness of family. It is a time when nostalgic adults remember what it was to have the innocence of childhood. The Christmas celebrations begin months before December 25th. The soaking of fruits in wine and rum is the earliest preparation. Some may soak fruits a year in advance. The home is placed in order in the weeks leading up to this season. Repairs, painting and other cosmetic improvement are done.
    As a child, our wooden furniture had to be sanded and polished. We had to remove the grill work around the windows to wire brushed then and apply fresh coats of antirust paint. We worked diligently and did not need any other motivation other than that of Christmas. The excitement build as the days drew closer. We brought live meat birds from Old England to ensure a fresh supply of chicken for the season. Shops stocked up in preparation. Livestock can be seen unloading from boats and Ballahoo as the Butcher shops also prepared. New window curtains went up on all the windows by Christmas Eve. The Christmas Cards would have been mailed weeks prior. The smell of Christmas punctuates the entire home. Black cake, Pepper Pot and Garlic Pork is made before Christmas. Ginger Beer and Sorel were made days before. Christmas carols on the radio was played just a day or two prior to Christmas. The home would be fully decorated on Christmas Eve. Sleeping the night before Christmas was difficult due to the excitement and anticipation. Our freshly made stiff pajamas didn’t help as we defied sleep to get a glimpse of this joyful man in red put the gifts under the Christmas tree.
    We were usually awakened by the sound of cap guns blasting from every home in the neighborhood where a boy lived. We would response by firing our own that Father Christmas brought. A cap gun was the toy that most boys dreamt of. These were much different that the toy that is produced now. The gun looked real, had removable parts and was a quality collectable. Many of our toy guns were kept year after year. The girls wanted the best doll that was able to talk or walk. They couldn’t wait to sew the dolls outfits and play with their new teacup set.
    After prayers, they family would eat breakfast together. Pepper pot or ham and eggs with homemade bread were served and we hurried to enjoy every minute of this historical day.
    Neighbors, friends and family all greeted each other as all sins were forgiven and people felt a sense of renewal and rebirth. Church going on Christmas morning was also a tradition. Short early am services were held.
    Those unlucky to have to work on Christmas day had the sympathies of most that were off for the holidays. The entire Country was placed on auto pilot as every attempt was made for families to be together.
    After a bath we would dress in our Christmas good clothes and played with friends. We also listened to Christmas greetings on the radio coming from abroad. We all felt so special and like the happiest children in the entire world. The closeness and happiness we wanted to last forever
    After a morning of rejoicing, playing and feasting, the distance whistle and drums of the Masquerade band coming drove the children wild with excitement. The fearsome Wild Cow and Mother Sally were terrifying figures to many children as they flounced and danced to the sound of the kittle, flute and drum. Some were scared witless at the sight of Mother Sally and the Wild Cow and would hide indoors until they were out of sight but most children followed the band or were chased around by the man in the Wild Cow. The men and boys who accompanied the masquerade bands would perform amazing acrobatic movements as they flounced and danced to pick up money that was placed on the ground. Some of the members of the masquerade bands would chant: “Christmas comes once a year and everyman must have his share, poor uncle Wiley in the jail drinking sour ginger beer.” I frequently wondered who was uncle Wiley and why he was in jail every year at Christmas time.
    As children, we emulated the Masquerade band by making our own. I made the Wild Cow out of bamboo and cloth. The band included some of my irreplaceable friends like Michael and Maurice David, Earl and Robby Stewart, Junior and Daniel Yearwood along with my brothers. We danced wearing masks and outfitted in our mother’s old dresses. We divided up the money collected and bought caps for our cap guns and carbon to use in celebration.
    When we approached teenage years, we would sneak and smoked Kool cigarettes then played games of Skittle at Jimbert’s place at Silvertown.
    All Guyanese celebrated Christmas regardless of Religious beliefs. Black cake was served with ginger beer, sorrel or soft drink to those who visited. Everyone made an effort to make this special day happen. Homes stocked up with foods that were only afforded at Christmas.

    December 26th or Boxing Day was reserved for visits and parties. Yes, the Christmas drinking is still huge. Many would gather up an assorted amount of the best spirits in town for the Christmas blast. Guyana has never been short in supply of liquor. Many over did the drinking but felt justified after all it was Christmas. The imported apple cider that came in the large dark brown bottle was a treat for all. Boxing Day was used as an extension of Christmas day that no one wanted to say good bye to.
    Yet, we did have the Old Year and New Year celebrations to look forward to. The feast, treats, songs and harmony of a Guyana and upper Demerara Christmas still lives and represent the best Christmas I have ever known!
    Merry Christmas and Happy 2012.
    Dmitri Allicock

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — December 16, 2011 @ 1:12 pm | Reply

  40. OLD YEAR AND NEW YEAR – The best season of holidays that Guyana has to offer.

    The Christmas seasons comes to an end with the Old and New Year celebration. December 31st is a time of year for reflection on the past year and to usher in the New Year. Church services and parties are held all over Guyana. The celebration of the New Year is the oldest of all recorded holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago.
    Most Guyanese stayed up to witness the birth of the New Year.
    The Bauxite Company use to blow the horn for a full ten minutes. The ships in port would also blow its horn and put on a dazzling display of fireworks.
    Family and friends got together to drink, eat and be Merry. The traditional greeting of Happy New Year is used immediately after midnight. This is a time for resolution as most families look at the New Year as a symbol of rebirth. Traditional meals like garlic pork, cook up rice and pepper pot are prepared. Alcohol is consumed heavily at this time. The festivities continue during the day as relatives and friends get together. Towards the end of the holiday’s season carbon explosions can still be heard. Black cake becomes short in supply.
    Sponge cake is served with black cake or by itself along with ginger beer to anyone that visits. Sometimes the Christmas Masquerade band may pass by as a farewell gesture to the best season of holidays that Guyana has to offer.
    HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL THE WONDERFUL VIEWERS OF ‘GUYANA THEN AND NOW’ WEBSITE! MAY YOU BE BLESSED WITH HEALTH AND HAPPINESS FOR 2012!
    Dmitri Allicock

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — December 27, 2011 @ 12:36 pm | Reply

  41. Yes, you’ve conjured up a forgotten memory of mine; while living on the Berbice (Dubulay Ranch), the sound of the neighbors’ bamboo guns sounding off up and down the river were such a part of that time. I especially remember as a kid having my first go at one of those ‘guns’, what fun.

    All of these bits of memory being shared here have reminded of one of my favorite Guyanese sayings of all time ; ‘Dutty Pun Dutty Build Damm’

    Best,

    Kevin

    Comment by Kevin King — December 27, 2011 @ 2:17 pm | Reply

  42. We welcomed 2012 as a brand New Year of hope and happiness for all. The famous horn of the Demerara Bauxite Company is remembered dearly. I asked several friends and members of my family if they would be up when “the horn blew” without even realizing it. Life continues as the dawn of a New Year brings a fresh renewal of resolutions and commitments. Yet, as we look forward we are forever drawn back to very special memories of Guyana then and now, that made it all worthwhile.
    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — January 2, 2012 @ 5:02 pm | Reply

    • I wonder whether the hooter is still used to usher in the new year. Were there any fireworks, sirens, ship blasts?
      Happy New Year one and all.
      Pat

      Comment by Pat Hunte-Cusack — January 2, 2012 @ 11:33 pm | Reply

  43. My wife and I have been here for 4 months now and we have never heard this “hooter” We did not hear anything on New Years, but I must confess I did not last until midnight this year. We live in Amelia’s ward. Friends in town said the ships were blasting in the new year.

    Comment by Brad Summers — January 3, 2012 @ 1:32 am | Reply

  44. Hi Brad, A happy New Year to you.
    Plese see comment No.31 on the “Horn”. The horn is but a memory now. I hope you had a great time at home.
    “When I heard the horn a few years ago on a trip home, I stood still for a while to listen. It had a welcoming feeling that you were finally home. The last horn blew in 2007 and fell silent since. The trumpet fit for a great king name Bauxite was no more! There is a siren used today but nothing it seems can replace the magical sounds of the horn that told the wonderful story of the reign of Bauxite.”
    Best regards,
    Dmitri Allicock

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — January 3, 2012 @ 1:51 am | Reply

  45. Thanks for new years wishes Dmitri:
    We wish there was something to lift the community again. We read the comments on this blog and see the remnants of the glorious past.
    Brad

    Comment by Brad Summers — January 3, 2012 @ 2:37 am | Reply

  46. What was then is gone forever, and now even worse ‘they’ continue to attack mother nature like parasites.
    We pray, but God’s way is not ours.
    Best,
    Kevin

    Comment by Kevin King — January 3, 2012 @ 3:30 am | Reply

  47. Hi Brad,
    I empathized with you about the life “then and now” in this once thriving community and want so much to be positive. I get my inspiration from the very young who are always optimistic and willingly to overcome just about any difficulties.
    All overseas Guyanese have one thing in common which is a hope to see Guyana flourish. It is so great to hear good news out of Guyana. We may live like Americans and Canadians in the day and dream of a better Guyana at night.
    It is with excitement and hope that the news of oil and the building of the Amelias Hydro Electric Project will benefit all Guyanese. Guyana is swinging back and lives will improve drastically for all at home.
    The new generations of Guyanese must be encouraged and supported with a positive outlook. History must be understood and preserved for the future. It must be used in every way to build bridges of development for its people. I saw so many beautiful young children on my last trip home and wonder how I can best serve them. Most of them were born since 2000. Knowing your heritage is vital for the future. There is no greater treasure in life than children. They must be given every chance to grow and to learn their heritage.
    The scripture says, “For the Son of man himself did not come to be serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” from words attributed to Jesus in Mark 10:45. We must focus our energies by using history to extract the very best for our family.
    The reign of Bauxite served the people of Demerara and Guyana well and there were harsh lessons learned. When Bauxite hopefully recovers it will exist with a number of other industries as Linden and Guyana push forward. There is lot of talk of revitalization of bauxite by the present Guyana Government. There are reported studies for putting down a smelter by the Rusal. That would be great for the people of upper Demerara. The opening of the Takutu Bridge to Brazil and talks of making the road to Brazil a proper highway would also be good news.
    The lives of the people of upper Demerara would improve vastly with this trade route being planned. I was impressed to see the countless businesses and entrepreneurship being practiced by the young people in the community. The use of the private taxi to get around was a good development but the poor Mackenzie/Wismar Bridge is taking a beating. Everyone has a cell phone. What was missing is the sense or concern with history.
    A whole generation of people have been born that would not recognized the area from just 30 years ago as this cultural trend to forget and discard recent history is once again observed. It goes to show how important history is. I would also add that history is important because we are the past. We are the sum of all the events that have occurred. Lack of history is the loss of heritage. It is so important that the area’s heritage be preserved so that its legacy of cultural and educational benefits can serve the future generations.
    This area called Linden is a miracle by its self. Located 65 miles deep in the jungle of Guyana, it exists only by “chance or faith.” We have had the major influences of the Paterson Sawmill, then the Sprostons Railroad and now Bauxite.
    When one of my forefathers Robert Frederick Allicock sailed up the Demerara River in the late 1700s and decided to settle at this spot, it was indeed IK HEB DAT NOOITGEDACHT or I NEVER THOUGHT OR IMAGINE
    An oasis in the dense tropical rainforest something or event appears to always come at the right moment to make things right. Robert Frederick Allicock must have observed this phenomenon when he called his plantation Noitgedacht.

    Best regards,

    Dmitri Allicock

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — January 3, 2012 @ 10:56 am | Reply

    • So many people from all walks of life and from every part of the world contributed to making the place up the river from Georgetown so special. My wish for the place is that you can prosper, preserving what you have without destroying what nature provides – be careful what you wish for. I was so against the smelter(s) proposed for my place of birth – Trinidad and Tobago – and the same goes for Guyana. There are enough aluminum smelters in the world already. Try to do something different. Treasuring your unpolluted, natural resources would be my advice. Take care.
      Pat
      p.s. What is the translation of “Noitgedacht”?

      Comment by Pat Hunte-Cusack — January 3, 2012 @ 1:53 pm | Reply

  48. Hi Pat,
    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    NOOITGEDACHT means “I NEVER THOUGHT OR IMAGINE” similar to discovering
    An oasis in the desert or dense tropical rainforest, accordingly to a good South African friend that speaks Afrikaans which is mainly Dutch.

    This plantation, owned by Robert Frederick Allicock in the early 1800s was referred to in the Historical Records as “Plantation Nooitgedacht and Retrieve.” The small area called Noitgedacht and Retrieve today might have been named mainly out of “symbolical representation” of the area’s former name.
    The land owned would add up to 5,146.05 international acres or 8.040 square miles. This is roughly the area between Arakwa Creek and Three Friends or Maria Elizabeth, which are located on the eastern bank of the Demerara River. It is important that the record shows Cloot Denieunkirk as owning the Watooka Lands of the same period.

    Regarding my optimistic outlook and possible smelter of course I fully agree with environmental concerns and the likes. Demba did not practice Land Rehabilitation . The signs are everywhere. Mountains of overburden and signs of a ravaged land surround the town of Linden. All the former mining areas were left with large open pits that are now lakes of water. These lakes have been claiming lives as children and others use them for swimming and fishing.

    A teenager drowned earlier in 2011 while swimming in Blue Lake at the former Plumba Mines at Christianburg. Lack of concern was exhibited by the failure to control the bauxite and alumina dust that bombarded the community and its people.
    Choking dust was a daily occurrence for the residence of Wismar and beyond. We also will not forget the accidental Caustic spillage into the Demerara River at various times that killed many fishes. Many bauxite ships also showed great contempt for the area by washing oil and tar into the river, affecting the river and the lives of the people. These behaviors “did not change” with nationalization and continue to this day.

    It is only my humble wish to see life improve in Upper Demerara the place of my birth where my connection will always be eternal. Most of my family is buried alongside the river banks. The final chapter on Bauxite is yet to be written and optimistically it will be a good one. Painful Lessons were hopefully learned and will improve understanding and actions.

    Dmitri Allicock

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — January 4, 2012 @ 2:13 am | Reply

    • Happy New Year to you too Dmitri. Do you still live in Guyana? Noitgedacht could also mean – “never in my wildest dreams could I imagine such devastation”. It was after nationalization that the area went to pot thanks to bad politics. But that’s another story for another time on another site. We all know what happened.
      Best wishes,
      Pat

      Comment by Pat Hunte-Cusack — January 4, 2012 @ 1:53 pm | Reply

  49. I am curious as to your thoughts on colonial Guyana? I have been to other parts of the world where the British had colonies. It appears that the British built buildings, railroads, and roads. What all these places seem to have in common, is that when the British left, only a minimal effort was made to keep these things usable.
    My question is… Was life for the average person worse or better, under colonial rule? What was it that made enough people mad. If today is no better, then why did people riot and risk their lives for independence? Because it would appear to me that life is worse now. I make that judgement based on the upkeep of the country. I think I know the answer for the United States. Those people thought they could do it better and they sacrificed to make it work. There are things that I love about the people here in general. They are probably the nicest that I have ever met. Most people will return a greeting on the street with a smile (if not a look of bewilderment when they see a white guy in Linden.) They seem very easy going. If we plan to do something and we must postpone a meeting, Most people are fine with that. In fact, I notice that most don’t come to anything on time and if they “don’t feel like it” they don’t do it. Whereas this makes for nice people, it is not an attitude that would breed engineers or anything else that needs to be precise. I know that there are individuals who can be disciplined, but the general attitude would make it difficult practice most forms of it. These are merely my perceptions and they seem to change every day that I am here, so please don’t view this as a final judgment on my part. But I am interested in the insight of people like yourselves that seem to know more about this environment than I.
    Thank you for your comments.
    Brad Summes

    Comment by Brad Summers — January 4, 2012 @ 4:09 pm | Reply

  50. Hi Brad,

    This is one of my all time favorite topics. I grew up in British Guyana of Canadian Parents and witnessed the independence and the republic + the non-aligned status as well as the comrade era. My soul too, weeps for what has become of much; not all mind you, of the ‘Real’ Guyana.
    Your perception, that Guyanese people being some of the most naturally ‘nice’ people on the planet is accurate my friend. However your observation that the serious industrious, entrepreneurial, business and academic side of the Guyanese, is missing the true critical piece of the puzzle; the lion share of the Guyanese class of academics and professionals left, were driven out of the country or just plain discouraged so many years ago.
    When the Brits pulled out, and as we continue to see time and time again in other countries, a vacuum was created in terms of governance, business and academia. The folks at the time that were clamoring to fill the void was made up mostly of a composite of Negros and East Indians, hostile towards each other. Throw in greed, graft, corruption with a liberal sprinkling of physical violence and we more or less arrive at the state of affairs you see before you today.
    Mine is an over simplification, I really hope others on this thread will follow your lead Brad, perhaps fill in some of the blanks. I also want to make crystal clear that my observation of the racial reality between the two majority peoples is not judgmental. I love the Guyanese people as a whole 100%.

    Kevin King

    Comment by Kevin King — January 4, 2012 @ 9:47 pm | Reply

  51. What you said is very true Pat. I left Guyana many years ago as a result of the shocking decline of life but remains connected. Pat, I lived through the frustrations and experienced much more that you will imagine. Well said Kevin you are on target.
    Most Guyanese wisely shy away from the political aspects of life. Guyana has done very poorly politically. We are use to “free thoughts and expressions” in the West and assumed it was the same in Guyana. Recent history would explain what I mean.
    Brad, Guyana’s aspirations to join the third world family of independent nations would be successful with independence from Britain in 1966. The journey to political maturity was complex and difficult. We would however sadly spiral down into that “tragic abyss that is so typical of most.” Guyana entered a storming night of inner struggles and very serious mistakes that lead to a disastrous decline all over Guyana including the Bauxite industry. The political struggles, racial strife, Communism versus Socialism and so much more lead to what you are witnessing today.
    Nationalization without deep forethought on future sale and market of Bauxite, strikes, corruption, mismanagements and a long series of events from the mid sixties saw this downward turn and failure.
    Politics is still very divisive in Guyana and “the message will be quickly lost.” Wisdom would however leave this for another time and place.
    Pointing a finger of blame is not my focus. History is however vital is determining a future. Thanks Brad for trying to make a difference.
    Dmitri

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — January 5, 2012 @ 2:36 am | Reply

  52. HERBIE! For most Upper Demerara residents is a legend that rivals “LAW AND ORDER” the former king of Guyana’s street people.
    There were many other colorful characters who paraded daily through the town, providing spontaneous street theatre. There were others like TIGER, ITUNI DOG, and a few more. ITUNI DOG was psychotic and dangerous. He would chase children “with a cutlass” when teased. I believed he did live in Ituni once thus his name.
    ” NUMBER FOUR “was a well dressed alcoholic in a white or blue shirt jack, floppy hat and 6 or more flags. He sang, danced and had used his flags at rhythmic intervals for liquor. His audience all waited for his climax song which was” number four!”This was quite a remarkable song that I used to sing to my youngest child as a wonderful lullaby.
    Herbie has been roaming the rum shops and streets of Linden as long as I can remember.
    His favorite spirits is a red wine called Pak-Pak. Usually drunk he would indulged in his second past time chasing young girls around the school yard and elsewhere. I remember headmaster James of the Mackenzie Primary School, beating Herbie with his cane after he was “interfering” with the young school girls. Herbie would run out of the school yard and end of story. We call that behavior something else in other parts of the world.
    Herbie was quite functional when he wasn’t drunk. He made all sorts of wood furniture and carvings. He would brave the swamps and poisonous reptiles to obtain the right piece to do his great work which he would later peddle for money to quench his thirst. That was the cycle.
    We would later see Herbie sleeping alongside the gutter or under the steamer stelling. There was no T.V and few entertainments in those days. Herbie was a major attraction. We would watch Herbie asleep on the beach as the tide slowly rises. He would then roll up just enough to avoid being submerged. It was also a belief that Herbie “ate someone’s cat” once that further esteemed him.
    The shocking site of Herbie still alive after all these years made me greet and hug him. He is almost totally blind and must be in his nineties by now. Cured by alcohol and baked by the sun, emaciated Herbie looked like the end is close but I wouldn’t bet on it.
    He told me that my father had died and was quite up to date with the happenings. He still has an American accent despite never leaving Guyana. I ran in to him at what was the former Town square and gave him a nice sum of money per his request and was embarrassed as he shouted praise of thanks long after I said goodbye to him.
    Dmitri Allicock.

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — January 5, 2012 @ 3:33 pm | Reply

  53. SOME CULTURAL AND TRADITIONAL SPOOKS OF GUYANA.

    In addition to the other major religions found in Guyana, there are other traditional beliefs being practiced such as OBEAH. Obeah is a folk religion of African origin that was passed down from the days of slavery. This is where members or persons would consult with the elders for help with a problem they may have that concerns health, work, domestic life, money, romance, etc. for this to work some villagers or persons may wear charms or use other forms of devices to protect themselves from any harm. These beliefs and practices exist in the shadows of the established churches and are quite secretive since it is not condoned. African, Amerindian, and Indian traditional cultures have sustained folk practices that have penetrated Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam. Obeah has its roots in African folk religion but influences Indians as well, and Indian spirit possession has affected rural African religious sensibilities
    I was at a wedding at one of my neighbors at Silvertown, Wismar in the 1970’s. This “Christian wedding” reception was held in a house much too small for the large crowd that attended. The wedding traditional speeches were prolonged as liquor took control of the proceedings as it went into the night. The over clad groom in his button and tie closed fitting suit, who stood standing in the very hot home suddenly collapsed and started to convulsed. The screams of the bride and the wedding party was lost in the mad panic as the crowd scattered.
    Some jumped through the windows. They pushed and shoved to run as fast as they could to escape. One of the seven brother’s of the groom got hold of his vehicle and accelerated through the large crowd on the street causing many to fall into the open gutter. Luckily no one was killed. My parents hurriedly gathered us and restricted us to the house.
    Later that night, around midnight we saw about a dozen souls dressed in all white gowns with their hair wrapped up in white, holding candles walking around in the yard, singing and chanting. They were exorcising evil spirits I was later told. Rumors later went around that when the wedding cake was cut, a green Bacoo jumped out!!!
    The warring neighbor of this family had supposedly placed a curse on the wedding. My only regrets were I was waiting to gets a piece of black cake before the mishap. The holy ones had a feast of all the wedding foods well into the morning hour.
    A frequent contributor to Kaieteur news of Guyana “talk half- lef half” said this in fluent Creolese in the October 18th 2011 edition. Many practitioners of obeah are referred to by the more accepted” herbalist”.
    People don’t even believe in doctors these days. Imagine people guh to doctor and when dem can’t get cure dem does go to dem herbalist. Only heavens know wheh dem herbalist get dem training fuh cure people.
    Wha dem boys know is that all of dem got big fancy house and is strange that de people always believe that dem get cure. Dem boys seh that if dem been stay home and let nature tek its course dem woulda cure same way.
    One of dem guh to Plaisance and de herbalist wuk till de person collapse. That is when de herbalist tell de people fuh carry de man to a doctor. Why de herbalist didn’t seh suh in de first place is a mystery.
    Then dem had another set who use to beat spirit out of people. One of dem beat a man till he jump through a window and he dead. Another woman beat one and kill she and bury she.
    Now dem boys want know who gun pay people fuh beat dem? Dem woulda beat de beat man instead.
    Suh dem have a woman wid TB. This woman and she family claim how doctors can’t cure she. She go to Sister Lyn and drink something and dead. Dem boys seh that if de woman did want something to drink all she had to do was tell dem boys.
    What she drink mek she vomit from both ends. Then she complain how she feel bad. Dem boys seh that dem never see somebody give back people money suh fast. Sister Lyn do just that. She dealing wid de police right now and dem ain’t even paying.
    Even Sister Lyn ain’t got fuh pay fuh de security she getting now.
    Talk half Lef half.

    Dmitri Allicock

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — January 6, 2012 @ 11:29 pm | Reply

  54. The OLD HIGUE {Hag} was and still remains part of Guyana’s folklore. This old soul or witch lives on the edge of the villages in the day and becomes a ball of fire at night, flying through the air and seeking out tender juicy babies to suck but will settle on feeding on any prey.
    Many homes have the ominous manicole broom that is made from the manicole palm over the doorway. This special broom along with bowl of uncooked rice and bottles of various goodies are kept waiting on the old higue. It supposedly served as a deterrent or the broom to be used in beating the old higue when she is drawn to counting the rice grains. Many unfortunate elderly, sick and uncared for, were victimized as this practice is still alive in some of the villages and minds of Guyanese. I know some people would challenge me and are convinced there are still old higue flying around at night.
    Here is some Old Higue food for thought that has a flavor of Creole taste for the family!
    Like I been saying, we got ‘old higue’ here too! But unlike them foreign vampires, them vampires here got a li’l more powers. Them vampires here can walk in sunlight.
    [Heh! From the way people describe them, I can think o’ some who fit the description o’ old higue, man and woman who does drain you ‘til you dry. I sure you know some too...]
    Old higue is usually a old woman…sometimes a man. But for some reason, you only hear ‘bout woman old higue.
    She does live in the community just like me an’ you. But unlike me an’ you, she does slip out o’ she skin on the night when she going on she li’ jaunt.
    Then she does hide the skin in a calabash gourd, and hang it in a tree in a dark, dark shade.
    And hear the best part!
    She does spin she self into a ball o’ fire and flyyyy, fly and land on the top o’ the house where the brand new baby live. She does go in the house and suck the blood from the baby. The poor, sweet li’l thing does turn blue and die. Always, when folks see a baby turn blue and die, they does say is old higue suck it.
    [I know somebody who insists that this is why he baby die. I ask he, "You see the old higue?" Nooo," he say, "Me no see no old higue. But me baby been blue when he dead ..So is old higue kill he."] Now, if you think them li’l, li’l mosquitoes does vex me…imagine how a old higue can enrage villagers!
    So, naturally, they does set traps to ketch the wretch. To ketch she you got to throw raw rice, that is, grains o’ uncooked rice, on the floor.
    When old higue enter the house she does turn into a person again…but without she skin, remember? As soon as she walks in the house, she does step on the raw rice. And as soon as she feel that rice she does have to count. If old higue only drop one grain o’ rice she got to start counting all over again.
    So there she is, counting, counting, and counting ‘til morning come. And that is how the people does ketch she. Well!
    Lawd help you if you is a old higue and you get ketch this way.
    Them people does take they coconut broom…and BROOM! the old higue, beat and beat! And remember, she ain’t got no skin on, so you can imagine how it does burn.
    Heh! In all them years that me hearing ‘bout old higue I never meet one single soul who ketch a old higue in they house, never ketch she counting rice, never ketch she to broom she.
    [But this midday, when I cook rice for lunch, about five, six cooked grains fall down...and I ketch meself picking them up from the floor. Help, help, what that mean?]
    Every now and then, people does ‘suspect’ that some old lady [or man] is a old higue…and that is what the conversation was all about at Sunday night dinner.
    The belief in the “Ole Higue” is very serious business for many. A mentally challenged woman on the East Coast at Bachelor’s Adventure was tragically beaten to death in April 2007 ago for being an “Ole Higue”. Some cultural beliefs and practices have serious ramifications.

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — January 6, 2012 @ 11:42 pm | Reply

  55. JUMBEE is the ultimate mythological spirit or demon in the folklores of Guyana. All races of Guyana tend to believe in some form or manner of this frightful spirit, despite their strong belief in Christianity or other religions. This belief is also held by the practitioners of Obeah. It is the beliefs that people who are evil in life are destined to become a Jumbee in death to haunt the nights and minds of the believers.
    One favorite expression when Guyanese say goodbye at night is “don’t let Jumbee hold you” Jumbee is always on the minds of many Guyanese walking home at night. Walking Pass a Cemetery can be especially frightening.
    The ghost of Cloot Denieunkirk my three times great grandfather was rumored to have existed at Watooka and Noitgedacht over a hundred years after his death. Stories were told that at dusk, the “clip clop” sounds of the hooves of the white horse that Cloot once owned could be heard as Cloot made his way home from his plantation. The horse would snort and sometimes whinny as terrified residents hurried indoors. Some even saw this Dutchman as he rode in the twilight of the evening. Some older relatives also felt “the haunt” of the many slaves that were buried there.
    Children were brought up on scary Jumbee Stories. Television did not make entry into Guyana until the 1980s and storytelling was a requirement. There was nothing more exciting than a good intriguing Jumbee Story at night.
    Listen to an older relative lead up to the story’s conclusion was the best part. The conclusion of the Jumbee choking or braking necks was enough scare you to
    hide under your blanket. Any family of the Riverain area would understand how scary a Jumbee story can be at night.
    A lamp or flash light was not enough to illuminate the blackness of the night. The bloodcurdling sound of the tiny and faint voice of a Jumbee speaking, they said would convince all non believers to run like crazy!!

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — January 6, 2012 @ 11:58 pm | Reply

  56. The MASSACURA MAN is another devil of Guyana’s waterways. This is a water monster that is generally active in the late evening as the sun sets. The only ambition of this devil is to drag you from the river bank, drowning and breaking your neck. I was told many times as I fished on the riverside at old England, that the Massacurra man would get me if I continued.
    There is no Guyanese river man that who has not heard of the Massacura man. I was unsure of its origin but a very brave relative that dare to challenge this old belief said that the Massacura man actually originated out of Slavery. Apparently there were expert trackers of runaway slaves that were called the Curaban who came out of Africa also. When Slaves ran away from the plantations they used the vast waterways of Guyana to escape deeper into the interior. The plantation owner was lets loose his slave trackers to hunt and capture them.
    Hence MASSA- the plantation owner and CURABAN- the tracker, legend was born. Somewhere along the line in the Creole mispronunciation of the word, BAN from Curaban was switched for MAN.
    The association of this devil to water must have been from the fact that the only access through Guyana’s dense jungle was by the many rivers and creeks which the Curaban trackers would have used. The fears of the poor runaway slaves must have been so powerful that the belief of the MASSACURA MAN became legend and it still survives in the depth of Guyana’s rivers and minds of so many, hundreds of years after.
    The fear of this water monster is very real for some. Many are still trouble by this folklore and would not be too hasty in dismissing it.
    Other spooks that would see Guyanese children scrambling underneath the bed is the Moongazer. This moonlight phenomenon is so tall that his head is at the level of tall coconut trees. His concern is gazing unwaveringly at the moon. If disturbed, the Moongazer had the ability to suck your brains out. You are warned as a child to leave this spirit alone should you unfortunately encounter this which was not necessary as most might imagine.
    The Bacoo is another feared spirit or being in all Guyana. This is a tiny little man that fits in a bottle covered by a cork. There is a long association with our early Dutch history with this Bacoo tale.
    Some curious minded Guyanese have drawn a link to a Nigerian’s belief. This little devil may be green or have a beard. He is kept by the evil dwellers to use when necessary to hurt or harm. A Bacoo is expensive to keep. They say he requires gallons of milk and bananas as his only dietary demands. It is reported that he speaks in various tongues and may be also helpful when he chooses.
    Many old wine bottles and other relics of significant historical value are immediately discarded by hastily reburied or thrown into the river for the fear that a “Dutchman’s Bacoo” might be attached!
    This Bacoo prefers to dwell at night and will stone your roof top if annoyed it is believed. Priceless historical artifacts may lay buried or lost to the Demerara River bottom due to this frightful Bacoo belief.

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — January 7, 2012 @ 12:11 am | Reply

  57. KANAIMA Is another bush devil that is still very real to some Guyanese. The families of upper Demerara are very familiar with this folklore. When I was a child visiting the River, I was told not to venture too far from the home because “a Kaniama would get me.” It was supposedly a cannibal like bush devil that haunts the deep jungle.
    This belief still survives mainly in the riverain areas primarily. Henry Kirke “author of 1898 Twenty Five Years in British Guiana” wrote “the Indian Kaniama is like a Corsican Vendetta. The Executioner is selected by lot from the family of the slain. He indefatigably follows his victim, like a stoat follows a hare until he meets and kills him. One Indian, against whom a Kaniama had been preached, was followed for two years by his executioner, who at last met him and killed him in front of the Government Building in Georgetown.” He concluded.
    Henry Kirke was a former Sheriff of Demerara in the 1870’s, and saw many cases of the Kaniama contract killing. The fear of a Kaniama would become folklore throughout Guyana and took on various characteristics as most does. Rational thought becomes meaningless if the seeds of fear take root. This goes to show how vital it is to understand your heritage. Generations have been plagued by the Kaniama who was very real to them.
    Fear is a powerful and primitive human emotion. It alerts us to the presence of danger and was critical in keeping our ancestors alive accordingly to the Psychologists. The many fearful folklores of Guyana were then after all helpful in our life experiences. It is no wonder that some many Guyanese have so many spooks in their lives. Combating an unforgiving world produced a resilient people with so many stories of fear to tell.

    KANAIMA Is another bush devil that is still very real to some Guyanese. The families of upper Demerara are very familiar with this folklore. When I was a child visiting the River, I was told not to venture too far from the home because “a Kaniama would get me.” It was supposedly a cannibal like bush devil that haunts the deep jungle.
    This belief still survives mainly in the riverain areas primarily. Henry Kirke “author of 1898 Twenty Five Years in British Guiana” wrote “the Indian Kaniama is like a Corsican Vendetta. The Executioner is selected by lot from the family of the slain. He indefatigably follows his victim, like a stoat follows a hare until he meets and kills him. One Indian, against whom a Kaniama had been preached, was followed for two years by his executioner, who at last met him and killed him in front of the Government Building in Georgetown.” He concluded.
    Henry Kirke was a former Sheriff of Demerara in the 1870’s, and saw many cases of the Kaniama contract killing. The fear of a Kaniama would become folklore throughout Guyana and took on various characteristics as most does. Rational thought becomes meaningless if the seeds of fear take root. This goes to show how vital it is to understand your heritage. Generations have been plagued by the Kaniama who was very real to them.
    Fear is a powerful and primitive human emotion. It alerts us to the presence of danger and was critical in keeping our ancestors alive accordingly to the Psychologists. The many fearful folklores of Guyana were then after all helpful in our life experiences. It is no wonder that some many Guyanese have so many spooks in their lives. Combating an unforgiving world produced a resilient people with so many stories of fear to tell.

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — January 7, 2012 @ 12:24 am | Reply

  58. BAUXITE LIVES AGAIN!

    Deal signed for bauxite mine at Bonasika in November 2011.

    First Bauxite Corporation and the Guyana government signed a mineral agreement to open a bauxite mine at Bonasika, along the Essequibo River.
    The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Hilbert Shields; Prime Minister Samuel Hind
    First Bauxite Corporation CEO Hilbert Shields and Prime Minister Samuel Hinds exchange notes after signing the Bonasika Mineral Agreement
    The mine, located close to Timehri, has a life span of 44 years and can yield bauxite production of 100,000 tonnes on an annual basis. First Bauxite Corporation has completed a feasibility study and intends to build a mine in 18 months.
    According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) release, Prime Minister Hinds, the minister responsible for mining, said the bauxite belt stretches from the Pomeroon area to Bartica, Linden, Kwakwani, Ituni and Orealla.
    Shields disclosed that the company plans to construct a plant designed to promote environmental sustainability, with the use of vertical shafts that have zero emissions thereby averting dust and other pollution.
    The energy cost that will be incurred for producing refractory grade bauxite has also been taken into consideration and according to Shields; the company will be looking towards kilns and other sources that are more efficient. The CEO presented a draft copy of the feasibility study to Hinds and said that the company is cognisant that mining practices in today’s world must be done with the environment at heart.
    Although the company is Canadian based and the capital will come from Canadian markets, Shields said the expertise and product base will be local. Thursday’s agreement follows the historic Aurora Mineral agreement with Guyana Goldfields, and another with Sand spring Resources Inc and its affiliate ETK Inc for the development of the Toroparu mines.
    Manganese mining in the North West District, Region One, has been reinvigorated after agreements were sealed in March this year with Reunion Manganese Incorporated. President Jagdeo said the aforementioned agreements amount to $2 billion in cumulative investments, and spoke of plans by the Russian aluminum company RUSAL in the Berbice River to expand production to five million tonnes by 2015 and 10 million tonnes by 2018.
    “That will bring a world of jobs in the Berbice River and will also have a huge impact in New Amsterdam because of the logistic for shipping 10 million tonnes of bauxite versus 1.2 million tonnes,” President Jagdeo said.
    Bosai, which will be expanding production under another agreement with the government, will lead to massive job creation in the Linden area, confirming that Ramotar’s promise of at least 1000 jobs in the community is not a “pipedream” as one newspaper article had stated.
    Guyana was the prime location in the world for bauxite in the 1920s and according to Hinds, local bauxite was 38 per cent of the world market in World War II, but with new deposits discovered in countries like Guinea, Jamaica and Australia and bauxite in Guyana reaching the point of exhaustion, Guyana began facing difficulties.
    He said the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) took office at a time when all seemed lost in bauxite, but the industry “held on” and was able to welcome the Chinese company Bosai to operate in Linden and RUSAL operating in the Bauxite River.
    FIRST BAUXITE CORP. has a mining permit from the Guyana Geology & Mines Commission to mine bauxite at a general location called Bonasika, located on the right bank of the Essequibo River
    • An environmental permit is held • The bauxite deposits are usually tabular with the typical thick interiors and pinched dipping marginal terminations described as “Turtlebacks”
    • The typical vertical profile consists of 3 to 35 feet of overburden consisting of white sands, aluminous clays and occasional loams overlying 6 to 34 feet of bauxite
    • The Bonasika deposits were churn drilled by the Demerara Bauxite Company (Demba) on a square grid pattern using 600 feet center; GINMIN has copies of the drill logs and has drilled some confirmatory drill holes of its own
    • Using a cutoff of 20% SiO2, 7% Fe2O3 and a minimum of 50% Al2O3, GINMIN has calculated the drill indicated geological reserves of MAZ bauxite at 5.2 million metric tons
    • Includes some 800,000 tons of Chemical Grade Bauxite (CGB)

    Dmitri Allicock

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — January 16, 2012 @ 2:07 am | Reply

    • I read that the Norwegian Government had given Guyana millions of dollars (in which currency I don’t know) because of “carbon credits”. Was there any accountability by the government for this money? That is, what was done with it? Just asking.

      As far as all the mining goes, and bearing in mind past and present experiences, one can only hope that what has happened in the Amazon does not influence the decision-makers in Guyana and elsewhere. It would be a great tragedy if pristine rainforests and pure waters were to be ravaged and then the land abandoned further down the line e.g. Mackenzie. Just a thought.

      Have a great day, y’all!

      Comment by Pat Hunte-Cusack — January 17, 2012 @ 1:06 pm | Reply

  59. Yes – and please do not misconstrue my point
    as being counter productive to the future of Guyana just because I am not advocating short term wealth at thr expense of bankrupting natural resources and Mother Nature.
    We are doing just that right here in Canada where 2/3 of the entire countries carbon footprint is generated by the Alberta tar sands.
    So don’t think for even a moment that the frail political and economic interests of Guyana will fare any better in protecting the environment by investing in sound long term development that which generations for the next several hundred years can thrive with well-founded pride.
    Respectfully,
    Kevin

    Comment by Kevin King — January 17, 2012 @ 3:07 pm | Reply

  60. ONE CENTURY OF BAUXITE IN GUYANA- A LESSON IN HISTORY…

    FOR 100 YEARS BAUXITE DOMINATED THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE OF UPPER DEMERARA RIVER. The town of Linden is synonymous with bauxite. The discovery of bauxite in Demerara shaped every aspects of life. The community grew from a small and sparsely populated one to become the second largest town in Guyana.
    Bauxite is not a rare mineral. Over eight per cent of the earth’s crust is composed of bauxite. It is mined only in areas with access to mechanical transport. Though the large deposit of bauxite at Linden was costly to mine, the cost was offset by the fact that Guyana’s bauxite is exceptionally rich in quality.

    HISTORY OF BAUXITE

    Bauxite was found at Christianburg and discussed as early as 1860 before its full potential was realized. Interest in this ore peaked as aluminum became of age.
    In 1897, Sir Henry Harrison collected samples of the ore at Christianburg and Akyma and had it analyzed in Georgetown.
    The results were not published until June 16, 1910 in the Colony Official Gazette . Deposits of bauxite occur in a belt along the southern margin of the Coastal Plain of Guyana. The bauxite was formed from the underlying Pre-Cambrian bedrock during a mid-Tertiary weathering episode. Once the facts were established, mining companies began to show interest. 1n 1912, Geologist George Bain Mackenzie was visiting the area and collected samples of the ore for testing. In 1914, he bought lands for Alcoa in the area now known as Mackenzie.
    In 1916, The Demerara Bauxite Company was incorporated and registered in Georgetown, and started operations on the lands bought by Mackenzie. 1n 1917, bauxite mining started at Maria Elizabeth and nearby Akyma. Both areas are south of Mackenzie, about 8 miles upriver from the city.
    The area was briefly called Mackenzie City but the City was dropped later. The bauxite plant on the east bank of the Demerara River was soon built. The mining community would soon follow.

    THE MINING OF BAUXITE

    The story of Bauxite requires a clear understanding of this ore. The first part of bauxite operations was the search by the prospecting teams. This team was made up by people that were familiar with the terrain and life of the area.
    When the signs were favorable for bauxite, the land would be cleared enough to get samples by drilling. After analysis of the sample promised rich bauxite and full scale mining was justified, then the work begin. The jungle would be cleared. Salvageable wood would be taken then the area cleansed by fire.

    The next objective is to get to the buried bauxite. The soil above the ore is called the overburden and may vary from superficial to varying depth.
    Many times hundreds of feet of silica sand have to be removed. Powerful water jet monitors were used to wash away the top layers of overburden in some cases. This process is called hydraulic stripping. Other primary stripping was done by drag lines and bulldozers.

    The bauxite layer is rock-like and looks like a rock quarry being excavated. Today, bauxite is blasted. Holes are drilled and dynamite placed to blast the topsoil off to get the ore. The traditional daily booms of blasting still ring in my ears from early childhood. Samples were taken at every point of excavation and rushed to the lab for analysis so engineers could determine the quality of the ore.

    The broken chunks of hard, reddish bauxite was dug by massive draglines and loaded onto trains. Each mine was connected by rail to the plant. This was Guyana’s second inland railroad. The train ran until the 1970s when they were retired for the very massive dump trucks. Work was 24 hours and seven days a week. There were three shifts and endless overtime. Full employment was a guarantee for all residents when bauxite ruled.

    When the ore reached the Mackenzie Plant, it was crushed and washed clean of sand and clay. The second process is that of heat. The heat application was dependent of whether the ore was being exported as a dry product or as a calcined product. Most of the dry product went to Alcan in Quebec, Canada. The making of calcined bauxite was a little more complex. Several of the kilns were involved. The ore is heated to 3000 degrees or more.
    Demba produced several kinds of bauxite. The world famous type called “RASC” Refractory A- Grade Supercalcined bauxite was produced by the Plant at Mackenzie. Guyana’s RASC is still the standard by which others are judged. The Berbice operation was the primary source of abrasive and chemical grade bauxite. Guyana, China and now Brazil hold the distinction as the world supplier of RASC bauxite.

    THE OPENING OF THE ALUMINA PLANT IN 1961

    The Alumina Plant opened Tuesday, March 28, 1961. Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Cheddie Jagan, declared Demba’s $65 million Alumina Plant open with the turn of the control lever. He set the loader in action, giving a token finish to the loading of the S.S Sunhenderson with the first shipment of alumina ever to leave British Guiana.
    The Demba Digest said no single construction project ever done in British Guiana has been as big as the building of Demba’s Alumina Plant. It dwarfs all others in cost, in the amount of materials it absorbed and in the quantity and quality of work that have been expended in its erection.
    When Sprostons Construction Company personnel’s started this job in Dec. 1956, they had to solve a tremendous problem. They had to provide a solid foundation in the 420,000 square yards of swamp and bush where the plant with its huge, heavy tanks and equipment was to stand. After determining the nature of the subsoil, they drained the swamp and cleared away the vegetation. Then they laid a foundation of steel and greenheart piling, which they drove up to 100 feet into the ground. Thirty two miles of steel piles and sixteen miles of greenheart piling were driven into the ground. The Alumina Plant production capacity was 230,000 tons of alumina a year in 1961.
    Another part of the project, which went on all the time, was the construction of an entirely new $9 million power station of 15,000 kilowatts capacity. This was built to supply steam, electricity and compressed air to the Alumina Plant and also to provide electricity to the rest of Mackenzie and Demba. The year 1961 was indeed a good year as bauxite, and now alumina, dominated life in Upper Demerara.

    The making of Alumina occurred at the Alumina plant located at Speightland. Bauxite is first processed to make alumina, or aluminum oxide, a white granular material. Alumina is lighter than bauxite because the water has been removed, and it flows readily in the processing plants, unlike bauxite which has a sticky, muddy consistency. The making of Alumina is bit more complicated.
    STEP 1- Crushing and Grinding: Alumina recovery begins by passing the bauxite through screens to sort it by size. It is then crushed to produce relatively uniformly sized material. The ore is then fed into large grinding mills and mixed with a caustic soda solution at high temperature and pressure. The grinding mill rotates like a huge drum while steel rods – rolling around loose inside the mill – grind the ore to an even finer consistency. The process is a lot like a kitchen blender only much slower and much larger. The material finally discharged from the mill is called slurry.
    The resulting liquor contains a solution of sodium aluminate and not dissolved bauxite residues containing iron, silicon, and titanium. These residues – commonly referred to as “red mud” – gradually sink to the bottom of the tank and are removed.

    ________________________________________
    STEP 2-Digesting: The slurry is pumped to a digester where the chemical reaction to dissolve the alumina takes place. In the digester the slurry – under 50 pounds per square inch pressure – is heated to 300 °Fahrenheit (145 °Celsius). It remains in the digester under those conditions from 30 minutes to several hours.
    More caustic soda is added to dissolve aluminum containing compounds in the slurry.
    Undesirable compounds either don’t dissolve in the caustic soda, or combine with other compounds to create a scale on equipment which must be periodically cleaned. The digestion process produces a sodium aluminate solution. Because all of this takes place in a pressure cooker, the slurry is pumped into a series of “flash tanks” to reduce the pressure and heat before it is transferred into “settling tanks.”

    ________________________________________
    STEP 3-Settling: Settling is achieved primarily by using gravity, although some chemicals are added to aid the process. Just as a glass of sugar water with fine sand suspended in it will separate out over time, the impurities in the slurry – things like sand and iron and other trace elements that do not dissolve – will eventually settle to the bottom.
    The liquor at the top of the tank (which looks like coffee) is now directed through a series of filters. After washing to recover alumina and caustic soda, the remaining red mud is pumped into large storage ponds where it is dried by evaporation.
    The alumina in the still warm liquor consists of tiny, suspended crystals. However there are still some very fine, solid impurities that must be removed. Just as coffee filters keep the grounds out of your cup, the filters here work the same way.
    The giant-sized filters consist of a series of “leaves” – big cloth filters over steel frames – and remove much of the remaining solids in the liquor. The material caught by the filters is known as a “filter cake” and is washed to remove alumina and caustic soda. The filtered liquor – a sodium aluminate solution – is then cooled and pumped to the “precipitators.”
    ________________________________________
    STEP 4-Precipitation: Imagine a tank as tall as a six-story building. Now imagine row after row of those tanks called precipitators. The clear sodium aluminate from the settling and filtering operation is pumped into these precipitators.

    Fine particles of alumina – called “seed crystals” (alumina hydrate) – are added to start the precipitation of pure alumina particles as the liquor cools.
    Alumina crystals begin to grow around the seeds, and then settle to the bottom of the tank where they are removed and transferred to “thickening tanks.” Finally, it is filtered again then transferred by conveyor to the “calcination kilns.”

    ________________________________________
    STEP 5-Calcination: Calcination is a heating process to remove the chemically combined water from the alumina hydrate. That’s why, once the hydrated alumina is calcined, it is referred to as anhydrous alumina. “Anhydrous” means “without water.”
    From precipitation, the hydrate is filtered and washed to rinse away impurities and remove moisture. A continuous conveyor system delivers the hydrate into the calcining kiln. The calcining kiln is brick-lined inside and gas-fired to a temperature of 2,000 °F or 1,100 °C. It slowly rotates (to make sure the alumina dries evenly) and is mounted on a tilted foundation which allows the alumina to move through it to cooling equipment. (Newer plants use a method called fluid bed calcining where alumina particles are suspended above a screen by hot air and calcined.)
    The result is a white powder like that shown below: pure alumina. The caustic soda is returned to the beginning of the process and used again. Drawing and information – courtesy of Reynolds Aluminum Alcoa and the Aluminum Institute.
    ________________________________________

    Calcined Bauxite and Alumina from this plant was exported to smelters all over the world to be further processed into the very desirable Aluminum. Aluminum usage has grown to be used in countless household items, cars, airplanes, electronics and much more.
    It was hard and exhausting work in heat, dust, and noise, but it was well worth it. The lives of the people of Demerara and Guyana as whole benefitted. The government of British Guiana, and later Guyana, benefitted from the very large taxes that Demba had to pay. The Alumina Plant was closed 11 years after Nationalization and tragically resulted in thousands of workers being unemployed for the first time in the Community’s history

    TIME LINE OF BAUXITE BEFORE NATIONALISATION

    1759 First survey undertaken by L.L BERCHEYCK.
    1860 Bauxite was observed at Christianburg
    1894 Paterson sawmill and lands sold to the British Government.
    1897 Sir Henry Harrison collected samples of the ore from Christianburg and Akyma to be analyzed in Georgetown.
    1910 The results of the analyzed ore of Sir Henry Harrison published in the Official Royal Gazette.
    1912 George Bain Mackenzie a Scottish American and geologist, visited the area taking back samples of the ore to be analyzed in Georgetown
    1914 George Bain Mackenzie bought up land in the area now called Mackenzie for the Bauxite Company of Alcoa. This period saw the movement of all of the residents there to the upper and lower Demerara River.
    1914 Demerara Bauxite Company, Limited (DEMBA), owned by Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa), secured leases around the Mackenzie area where bauxite deposits were identified
    1916 DEMBA was incooperated and registered in Georgetown and commenced mining of bauxite at Three Friends mine and later at Akyma mine (also known as Maria Elizabeth) south of Mackenzie.
    1929 The Aluminum Company of Canada (Alcan) took over control of DEMBA.
    1930 – 40 A drilling program was undertaken by DEMBA in the Ituni area south of Mackenzie.
    1937 – 44 A small number of bauxite deposits were located by DEMBA near the Essequibo River.
    1938 The first shipment of refractory A-grade super calcined bauxite (RASC) by DEMBA.

    The Berbice Company Limited began exploration in the Kwakwani area.
    1942 The Berbice Bauxite Company, a subsidiary of American Cyanamid, commenced production of chemical grade bauxite (CGB) at Kwakwani.
    1943 DEMBA expanded its mining operations to Ituni, south of Mackenzie.
    1952 The Berbice Bauxite Company was acquired by Reynolds Metals Company and began production of metallurgical grade bauxite (MAZ) at Kwakwani.
    1955 – 56 Drilling was carried out by Harvey Aluminum Incorporated in the Groete Creek and Blue Mountains areas west of the Essequibo River.
    1956 DEMBA commenced construction of an alumina refinery plant at Mackenzie.
    1957 Barima Minerals Limited drilled selected targets in the Pomeroon area.
    1970 The town of Linden, which incorporates the mining town Mackenzie and two former village districts, Wismar and Christianburg, was established.
    1971 DEMBA was nationalized and renamed Guyana Bauxite Company (GUYBAU).

    Dmitri Allicock

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — January 20, 2012 @ 2:55 pm | Reply

  61. ONE CENTURY OF BAUXITE CONTINUES…

    When bauxite was king, life changed and was vastly improved for the people in Upper Demerara. The workers at Mackenzie/Wismar were the best taken care of employees in the entire country. They were guaranteed jobs with decent pay, free and good health care for the entire family.
    Demba provided low-cost housing, free schools by subsidizing education from primary to secondary, decent roads with good drainage and sanitation, reliable electricity and potable water as well as recreation in a clean, safe community. Life was good. A man worked his eight-hour shift and was able to maintain his family in a decent manner. It was customary that he saved money to build a home “without a mortgage” and was able to move from the provided subsidized company houses.
    Thousands of homes were constructed by Demba to house their employees. The entire area of Mackenzie including Cara-Cara, Industrial area, Rainbow City, Constabulary Compound, Mackenzie High School teachers living quarters at Retrieve and at Red Wood Crescent were built by Demba. The exclusive areas of Watooka, Fairs Rust, Noitgedacht and the Richmond Hill area were also constructed to house their staff members.
    As the Company expanded, housing then moved across the river to Silvertown , Wismar, Silver city, Christianburg, and the housing scheme areas on Wismar hill. Along with housing came all supportive building of municipality such as library, clinic, hospital, recreational hall, public pool, the Mackenzie sports club with tennis court and ground, all built for the comfort of their workers.
    The Watooka guest house, pool, tennis court, school, dairy and golf course served the staff of Demba. The Demerara Bauxite Company shaped the lives of in Demerara for over 50 years. They provided decent housing, fully equipped with electric, indoor plumbing and sanitation. My parents paid 85 cents per week in all bills to live at the company-owned house at Mackenzie. All homes and surrounding yards were sprayed once per month to keep down mosquitoes and pests. Garbage was picked up daily. Concrete drains flowed and was properly maintained.
    Most of the streets of Mackenzie were named after the woods logged in the nearby forests such as Greenheart, Purpleheart, Crabwood, Mora, Bulletwood, Determa, Silverballi and others. Some areas like “Dakama” Circle and “Redwood” Crescent were named in a similar manner. Arvida road was named after Alcan’s Alumina smelter located in Arvida, Quebec, Canada.
    The Demerara Bauxite Company pension plan for their employees is still active after over 40 years since the Company changed hands. Death benefits are also honored and received by the relatives of the employee.
    Most of the community’s children went to Christianburg, St Aidan’s or Mackenzie primary schools before a secondary education was possible. I attended St. Aidan’s briefly before I joined my siblings at Mackenzie Primary. The Mackenzie Primary School was closed in 1977 and students were transferred to the vacated Kara-Kara High School building. The Commacka School also provided a primary education for children in that area. The story of schools in Guyana is of structure, uniforms, and what is now known as corporal punishment. As children, we judged our teachers by the feared cane they used to mete out punishment and discipline.
    Punishment extended to every aspect of schooling. As a 4 year old attending kinder garden at Silvertown, I was asked by my teacher to go to the nearby spring to pull a reed out of the stream that ran there. I felt privileged to be asked this task only to be disappointed after I realized that she was going to beat me with it. I ran home from school after being struck and did not return. Children started their education at private kinder garden. Primary school started at 5 years 9 months old. Classes were from little ABC then first standard to fourth before the dreaded Common Entrance exam and a chance at a secondary education. This exam allowed students the opportunity to qualify to attend high school. It was, indeed, a very stressful time for 10- and 11-year-olds.
    Those who did not qualify for high school, were taught a trade, or in the cases of the girls, how to cook and sew at the Home Economics Center. High School was where rules and structure were taken to the maximum. In the 1960s, ’70s and ’80sMackenzie High School was regarded as one of the top high schools in the country.
    The other high school was the Kara-Kara High. This school, School which opened in 1975 and was later located at Blue Berry hill , became The Multilateral High. The education system was based on that of the British, with students attending from Form 1 to a possible Form 6. Most students left high school after completing the Fifth Form when they took the G.C.E. exams. Few others continued for another two years to take the Advance level GCE exams. All of Guyana’s schools require students to wear uniforms. You can tell the school that the child attends by the uniform worn.
    The first recognized school in Mackenzie was started by Helen Orsford I in 1924. Note that there was the Christianburg Scots School on the opposite shore that served the area for decades prior. The Mackenzie Primary School was built in 1940. Echols High School from 1946 became Mackenzie High School in 1959. The Demba Trade School that now called The Linden Technical Institute, trained many in much needed skills before being hired.. Most young workers served a nine month apprentice period before fully hired. My father Stanley Allicock did his apprenticeship at the machine shop in 1937 at 17 years of age.
    Echols High School, now renamed Mackenzie High School, a co-educational Secondary School was established in 1946 to provide Secondary Education for the children of persons residing at Mackenzie and in the surrounding districts.
    Up to 1946 there were no facilities for Secondary Education in the Mackenzie area. Students had to travel to Georgetown by steamer, a distance of approximately 65 miles, to obtain an education beyond Primary School.
    In 1945, the resident Public Health Officer Mr. O.D. Cambridge called a meeting of the Parents Teachers Association of the Mackenzie Undenominational School now the Mackenzie Primary School to look into the formation of the town’s first Secondary School.
    Attending that meeting Were Mr. William Grant, Mr. Sam Blackett, Mr. Dawson Carr, Mr. Charles Gittens, Mr. F. Cheddie, Mr. W. Wright, Mr. William Nedd, Mr. O. D. Cambridge and the lone woman Mrs. Beryl Joseph. This enterprising group of parents decided that the community should have a High School.
    The big question was how to acquire an adequate building for this purpose. A small two flat building previously used as a clinic was identified and the group decided to approach Mr. Henry Vance Echols, General Manager of the Demerara Bauxite Company, for permission to use this facility as a school. Permission was then granted. This building would serve as the first secondary school in the area until the 1959 opening of the current M.H.S.
    The MacKenzie Hospital built and funded by Demba, practiced very decent health care. Every employee received free care and their family members had to pay half of a nominal fee. My parents paid a total of $9.00 for my birth and the entire 5 days of hospitalization of my mother. For those that were not part of the company, care was given for a small sum. Those were the days when you spend up to 9 days in the hospital after having a baby or until the baby’s umbilical cord fell off.
    No one was rushed out of the hospital. Doctors and nurses both give of their best and the hospital was ranked as one of the leading hospital in Guyana and the Caribbean. The excellent and quality patient care practiced by the hospital cemented a very high degree of trust and respect from the entire community.
    Guyanese born Doctor Roza was a legend of the Mackenzie hospital. He was the first Guyanese staff member at Demba. In 1924 he worked at the first smaller Mackenzie Hospital that was located where the Power house was built. The well dressed Dr. Roza in his white shark skin suite, tunic neck and white leather polished shoes holding his stethoscope, briskly approaching you was a welcoming site to so many. His comforting words and touch was a full guaranty that you would be receiving the best of care. This remarkable man would work into his eighties at the Mackenzie Hospital and retired to England soon after the Nationalization.

    TIME LINE OF THE HISTORY OF LINDEN AND ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE DEMERARA BAUXITE COMPANY

    1775-1800 Robert Frederick Allicock, siblings and possible parents settled in the now Mackenzie and Wismar areas. The area was sparsely populated with Native Guyanese, Dutch, Scots and few Germans. This Allicock family may have left the United States as a direct result of the 1776 war of Independence.
    1800 Balata Rubber Plantation of Christian Fenette sold to John Dagleish Paterson. Christianburg was named after Christian Fenette.
    1820 John Allicock of Plantation Wismar dies
    1822 Robert Frederick Allicock of plantation Noitgedacht and Retrieve dies.
    1842 John Dagleish Paterson of Christianburg Saw mill and Red Camp Village dies.
    1894 Paterson sawmill and lands sold to the British Government.
    1897 Wismar Rockstone Railway established.
    1898 The Christianburg Scots Church opened
    1915 George Bain Mackenzie suddenly dies. Transport of land passed to Winthrop C. Neilson.
    1918 Village administration formed with Mr. R. G. Sharpes elected chairman
    1920 First railway line on the eastern shore constructed from Cakatara Creek to Three Friends mines.
    1924 First established school started by Helena Orford. Population estimates of Mackenzie 6000 and Christianburg 17000.
    1925 The Mackenzie Hospital opened and the Mackenzie Recreational Hall was built.
    1926 The Establishment of Country Authority at Christianburg/Wismar. First chairman is Mr. J. Delapar.
    1927 R.H Carr Steamer started regular passenger and cargo service to Georgetown. This boat was powered by steam until it was converted to diesel in 1951. This Steamer was an important link with the 1897 Wismar/Rockstone and the Upper Essiquibo region and followed previous Steamers in the area.
    1927 The Y. M.C. A was established in Mackenzie.
    1940 The Mackenzie Primary School opened on Arvida Road. The Linden shopping plaza now occupies the site.
    1941 The Saint Aidan Primary School was built. The Saint Aidan’s church was rebuilt.
    1943 Railway line connecting Mackenzie with Ituni completed.
    1946 Echols High School, named after the general Manager of Demba at that time. The first secondary high School was opened at Wismar Street and Arvida Road.
    1949 The first Commercial Bank was opened by the Royal Bank of Canada on Arvida Road next to the Cakatara creek.
    1951 The Crescent Cinema was opened in Mackenzie. This Cinema served the public for 50 years and was the only public Cinema until Palm Tree Cinema of 1980. The Watooka Cinema was a private Cinema for the residence in that area yet many went there as a “guest “.
    1952 The old Wismar Market was constructed. After the fire that destroyed it in 1967, the current Wismar Market was constructed on the same site.
    1952 Christ the King Anglican Church opened at Mackenzie. Saint Joseph the Worker Catholic Church on Arvida Road also opened.
    1953 The Mackenzie Pure water plant opened.
    1954 The Public Free Library opened at Wismar Street and Arvida. The current Library next to the Mackenzie High School was opened in 1967.
    1955 Christianburg/Wismar was elevated to village status with the first chairman being Mr. H. Fraser. The Esso gas and bulk storage plant opened.
    1956 The present Mackenzie Sports Club, pavilion and ball field constructed. The Mackenzie steamer stelling was build. Speightland residents resettled at Rainbow City, old Kara- Kara and elsewhere. This move was to felicitate the building of the Alumina Plant. Point worth noting . The only resident to defy this move was Sweet Muggy Hubbard. She refused and won her fight. Cousin Muggy lived to be a very old woman in the shadows of the Alumina’s plant. I remember as a high School child, a group of us would pass by her home heading to the scrap metal dump to look for ball bearings . We would lust for her ripe mangoes, cashews and other fruits. All it took was to call out that I was Stanley’s son and she would put away her favorite shotgun and gladly invite us on to her prized property.
    1957 Pure Water Plant was established at Wismar.
    1958 Demba Tade School opened
    Housing Development at Retrieve, Noitgedacht and Richmond Hill established
    Charles Rosa Nursing School , an arm of the Mackenzie HospitalOpened-Volunteer force, Upper Demerara contingent formed.
    1959 Mackenzie High School opened(t Echols High School became M.H.S)
    Wismar Hill Housing Scheme completed.
    1960 Electricity Co-op formed to service Christianburg and Wismar.
    Village Affairs Committee formed to manage the Affairs of the Mackenzie Community.
    1961 The Alumina Plant built at a cost of $65.million was opened in March.
    Sandbach Parker opened the first fully air conditioned store in Mackenzie. This building now houses the Guyana National Co-op Bank.
    1962 Mackenzie United Church dedicated
    Sprostons store (Mackenzie Branch) opened
    Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh visited the Community
    Earl Mountbatten of burma also visited during the year.
    1964 Greater Mackenzie Development Trust formed.
    The Ration Store, which started as a Commissary in 1920 was closed. New Cara Cara Housing Scheme commenced.
    1965 Work on the Mackenzie/Wismar Bridge commenced.
    District Local Authority status granted to North Mackenzie.
    Barrington’s Esso Service Station opened. Barrington dies shortly after in plane crash at old England.
    1966 Soesdyke/Mackenzie Highway started and opened in 1968
    Construction of the New Wismar Market started with budget of $275,000
    British Guiana gained Independence under Prime Minister L.F.S. Burnham.
    Jaycees of Greater Mackenzie initiates Independence Queen contest with Buy -A-Vote system.
    Upper Demerara River Hospital Project launched. Jaycees first contribution of $30,000
    1967 Royal Bank of Canada opened new building at Arvida Road and Green- Heart Street. (this building which later housed the Public Relations Dept. of Guymine is now occupied by the National Bank of Industry and Commerce)
    Mackenzie/Wismar Bridge opened.
    The finance and efforts provided in building this community byDemba is reflected in this timeline was of historical proportions and significance.

    The story continues…

    Dmitri Allicock

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — January 21, 2012 @ 3:10 pm | Reply

  62. THE DAWN OF A NEW DAY IN UPPER DEMERARA BRINGS HOPE FOR A BRIGHTER FUTURE.
    SUMMARY OF ONE CENTURY OF BAUXITE

    The influence of this industry on Upper Demerara and Guyana as a whole was extremely significant. An entire town revolved around this industry and was ultimately tied to its success or failure. Bauxite is not gone. The bauxite resources of Guyana are still being mapped and the ore mining potentials are still to some extent not fully known. What has changed is that the bauxite industry has drastically declined from what it was.
    I can hardly write about bauxite and Linden and skip over some significant events that occurred with the bauxite Industry and Guyana. Guyana’s aspirations to join the third world family of independent nations would be successful with independence from Britain in 1966. The journey to political maturity was complex and difficult. We would sadly spiral down into that tragic abyss that is so typical of most. Guyana entered a storming night of inner struggles and serious mistakes that lead to a disastrous decline all over Guyana including the Bauxite industry.
    Nationalization without deep forethought on future sale and market of Bauxite, strikes, corruption, mismanagements and a long series of events from the 1970s saw this downward turn and failure of this industry.
    The ruins of the multimillion dollar Alumina Plant was a shocking site in 2010. I stood outside its broken gates and witnessed the jungle taking over. Large sections being cannibalized and salvaged for scrap iron. I felt torn inside and for a moment like it was not real. My mind drifted to the feeling of watching a western movie and looking at a busted and abandon gold town. It was windy that day and I thought tumble weeds would come blowing aimlessly by. The haunting echoes of the thousands that once worked there can almost be heard. “A belly up gold town where gold did not run out” is a major contradiction and the story of this decline.
    Bauxite is everywhere and resources are vast and far from depletion. What was the problem with this picture? What was this story of Bauxite all about? We went from Demba in 1971 to Guybau with the nationalization then Guymine before Linmine. The industry was already in the red as early as 1976 with a negative cash flow according to the current Prime Minister and Minister of energy and mines Sam Hinds. The Alumina Plant was closed in 1982, just a mere 11 years after nationalization. The first of many retrenchments occurred with 2000 bauxite worker laid off permanently in 1983. A first in the history of this Community and signaled what was to come.
    By 1992 this non profitable bauxite industry was to be closed as recommended by the international agencies associated with the government. The new and current government kept it limping along by heavily subsidizing it as suitable investors were sought. The industry by then was only a fading shadow of its former self with greatly diminished staffing and production.
    Heritage is about facts and knowledge of the past and should not be used for recrimination or blame. We can use it wisely to charter a safe, healthy and proper course that serves our interests best. We must understand and move on. We cannot afford the price of division, blame and gloom.
    It appears that the storm has passed and a bright new day is unfolding. We can see a Chinese and Russian flag flying over the Bauxite industry at Linden and Berbice, and I must have a positive outlook. We see a battered community and just a skeleton of what it was. Even the superb areas of Watooka, Richmond Hill and surroundings have not been spared. I went looking for the Dairy Farm in 2010 and “swallowed hard” to see the wild curio bushes growing through the ruins. The former golf course is now dense jungle. A few remnants of the pine trees that lined the course I used to reconstruct my bearings as I attempted to make sense of the ruins.
    Reliable infrastructure of the past is being restored somewhat. Safe drinkable water supply is still a memory as bottle or boil water is a must. Piped water is better now but is not available 24hrs a day.
    Electricity is better some days but black outs are now a way of life that the residents have learned to live with. Food is once again back on the shelves unlike the late1970s and 80s when basic foodstuff was a big luxury. Businesses now supplies any and all consumer items. Gone are the large businesses, replaced by endless small entrepreneurs. The big changes are the unbelievable prices. The current generation has no concept of money under a dollar. Cash remittance from Guyanese’s abroad and a flourishing illegal economy now drives the community.
    There is now an association with the Government of China and it is now called Bosai. The Russian Company called Rusal owns the Berbice operations called Aroaima. The Bauxite plant is very quiet in 2010. I had the opportunity to be standing at the very congested shanties that was once the town square. At eleven o’clock, I had the customary feeling that I would see the rush of workers pouring out of the plant on their way home for a quick meal. A bauxite worker is as obscured as the Chinese staffers that are supposed to be in the area.
    The thing that impressed me the most was seeing posters of the many political parties side by side of a post. That truly represented an improved Guyana and symbolized that we are indeed one people. All overseas Guyanese have one thing in common which is a hope to see Guyana flourish. It is so great to hear good news out of Guyana. We may live like Americans and Canadians in the day and dream of a better Guyana at night.
    It is with excitement and hope that the news of oil and the building of the Amelias Hydro Electric Project will benefit all Guyanese. Guyana is swinging back and lives will improve drastically for all at home.
    The new generations of Guyanese must be encouraged and supported with a positive outlook. History must be understood and preserved for the future. It must be used in every way to build bridges of development for its people. I saw so many beautiful young children on my last trip home and wonder how I can best serve them. Most of them were born since 2000. Knowing your heritage is vital for the future. There is no greater treasure in life than children. They must be given every chance to grow and to learn their heritage. The scripture says, “For the Son of man himself did not come to be serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” from words attributed to Jesus in Mark 10:45. We must focus our energies by using history to extract the very best.
    The reign of Bauxite served the people of Demerara and Guyana well and there were harsh lessons learned. When Bauxite recovers it will hopefully exist with a number of other industries as Linden and Guyana push forward. There are lots of talks of revitalization of bauxite by the present Guyana Government. There was the signing of a mineral agreement by First Bauxite Corporation and the Guyana government in November 2011 that will open a bauxite mine at Bonasika, along the Essequibo River. The company plans to construct a plant designed to promote environmental sustainability, with the use of vertical shafts that have zero emissions thereby averting dust and other pollution. The company will be looking towards kilns and other sources that are more efficient. The CEO presented a draft copy of the feasibility study and said that the company is cognizant that mining practices in today’s world must be done with the environment at heart.
    Although the company is Canadian based and the capital will come from Canadian markets, the expertise and product base will be local. There are reported studies for putting down a smelter by the Rusal. That would be great for the people of upper Demerara. The opening of the Takutu Bridge to Brazil and talks of making the road to Brazil a properly paved highway would also be good news.
    The lives of the people of upper Demerara would improve vastly with this trade route being planned. I was impressed to see the countless businesses and entrepreneurship being practiced by the young people in the community. The use of the private taxi to get around was a good development but the poor Mackenzie/Wismar Bridge is taking a beating. Everyone has a cell phone. What was missing is the sense or concern environment or history- a luxury to most. Environmental necessities are also a must in any plans for a sustainable future.

    A whole generation of people have been born that would not recognized the area from just 30 years ago as this cultural trend to forget and discard recent history is once again observed. It goes to show how important history is. I would also add that history is important because we are the past. We are the sum of all the events that have occurred. Lack of history is the loss of heritage. It is so important that the area’s heritage be preserved so that its legacy of cultural and educational benefits can serve the future generations.
    This area called Linden is a miracle by its self. Located 65 miles deep in the jungle of Guyana, it exists only by chance or faith. Upper Demerara saw the major influences of the Paterson Sawmill, then the Sprostons Railroad and now Bauxite.
    When Robert Frederick Allicock my forefather sailed up the Demerara River in the late 1700s and decided to settle at this spot, it was indeed IK HEB DAT NOOITGEDACHT or I NEVER THOUGHT OR IMAGINE. ‘An oasis in the dense tropical rainforest something or event appears to always come at the right moment to make things right.’ Robert Frederick Allicock must have observed this phenomenon when he called his plantation Noitgedacht, an area that stretched from Arakwa to the north and Maria Elizabeth or Three Friends to the south.
    For the thousands that left the area, bauxite will no longer play any significant part in their lives. For those at home the relationship will continue. The final chapter on Bauxite is yet to be written and optimistically it will be a good one. Painful Lessons were hopefully learned and will improve understanding and actions. The story of bauxite and its relationship with the people of upper Demerara for one hundred years must be told and not forgotten, because it is a story of the people of Guyana.
    Best regards,
    Dmitri Allicock

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — January 21, 2012 @ 4:44 pm | Reply

    • Hello
      I found your writings very interesting and so true of many countries after taking the path to independence. The decline has often been catastrophic, but as you say, lessons should be learned and hopefully to move on.
      I am a railway historian from England, researching historical facts about railways in many countries in South America for books in my world rail atlas series.
      I am trying to finish compiling details for Guyana, and seek detailed information for the Rockstone – Wismar – Mackenzie – Ituni line. I have that it was first operated by the Demerara – Essequibo Railway. Then I found that a company existed called the Essequibo Extension Railway but can find no information whatsoever. Maybe you have some ideas?
      I do hope you can help, or maybe know someone that can.
      Yours faithfully
      Neil Robinson

      Comment by Neil Robinson — November 29, 2013 @ 12:06 am | Reply

      • Thank you Neil, regarding the Mackenzie/ Ituni line {on the eastern shore of Upper Demerara River} that was all about bauxite, built and operated by Demba {Demerara Bauxite Company}. This line delivered bauxite to the plant at Mackenzie from the various mines. The line also carried passengers and provided other duties.
        The 1897 Demerara/Essequibo Railway was built by Sprostons and ran by British Guiana. This was constructed directly across the river from {the later} 1917 Bauxite Plant and was a safe route into the highlands of Essequibo. A link to something I did on that railway. http://guyanathenandnow.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/the-demerara-essequibo-railway-der/
        [This railway should not be confused with “the coastal line” that ran from Vreed en hoop on the west bank of the Demerara to Essequibo. This link I believe might have mentioned the Vreed en hoop railwayhttp://www.tramz.com/gy/g.html]
        All the best and let me know how best that I can be of assistance
        Dmitri

        Comment by Dmitri Allicock — November 29, 2013 @ 4:44 pm

  63. Section No 61 – A Century of Bauxite continues … This is a wonderul record of otherwise unknown history of Guyana the country and its industries. I am planning to forward it to the electronic deposit mailbox at the British Library at Boston Spa in Yorkshire (UK) so that it is preserved permanently. On Youtube there is another excellent archival facility, namely the British Pathé website offering 90,000 clips of Pathé Newsreels, which can be viewed free for assessment and purchased for fair prices. I found eight short 1930s films entitled “British Guiana – the Country and its Industries” showing a selection of activities up-country AND the steam railway in operation. Bloggers would find all of the material of great interest. For example, one can view steam riverboats forcing their way upstream through the shallows and rapids of the Essequibo River. I have not yet seen any explanation on this webblog of the name of the Demerara Riverboat R H Carr, put into service in 1927. On searching in Lloyd’s Register I found another identical vessel named the Potaro and assumed that there were two such vessels ! But the explanation was different. The newbuilding commenced under the name of S.S. Potaro, but during its construction, the name was changed to commemorate Ralph Hamilton Carr, managing director of the Demerara Bauxite Company (DEMBA), a robust man who died unexpectedly in November 1926. The Canadian-based company had taken offices in Westminster City Hall and was looking for enlarged premises. They moved into offices in Bush House, Aldwych, best known as home to the BBC World Service, as soon as they were vacated by the Mexican Embassy. The governing director of the shipyard at Saltney, near Chester, James Crichton, had offices at St Mary Axe, and it is thought that he lived somewhere in the London suburbs, accessible from Liverpool Street Station. MK.

    Comment by Michael T Knowles BSc — January 22, 2012 @ 11:03 pm | Reply

  64. Thanks Michael for your compliment and thoughts. I grew up in Upper Demerara and experience firsthand the tremendously good influence of the Bauxite Industry even though the decline occurred in my time.
    Very little has been said on the positives of The Demerara Bauxite Company and nothing on the true reasons for the collapse of bauxite after nationalization in 1971. This chapter has pretty much vanished completely from the record. So many who benefitted from this industry and has disappeared across the oceans of the world seeking greener pastures leaving behind not even a memory of what took placed. The Politicians, the Engineers, teachers, and so many thousands of past workers are all gone – never to look back.
    I was at the very first MHS reunion in 1996 which was held in Toronto and felt encouraged. The Mackenzie High School stood out and represented a time when life in the community was good and a better future was promised.
    Many former Demba Canadians attended including the daughter of its founder Henry Vance Echols. My entire family including myself made this historical trip and enjoyed it immensely. It was historical to see the old Demba staff showing videos and telling personal stories of their lives in Upper Demerara. I stood and smile to see them mingle with the entire gathering, reaching out in genuine friendship.
    A missed opportunity for future M.H.S reunions and Upper Demerara has been lost by the switching of the M.H.S reunion to the current “Linden Fund.” The essence of the School is unable to survive in the current label and suggestions as you can guess. The Linden Fund will not attract too much of the Demba Canadians.
    The new generations in the area are left to make life without much explanations or information. I am sure the age long taboo that goes along with Guyana’s tragic politics have contributed, notwithstanding it is important that the story of bauxite, Demba and its historical contribution to Upper Demerara and Guyana as a whole be told and not forgotten.
    The facts speak for themselves and no spin is required. I think the unforgiving world and Guyana is made just a bit gentler by providing information and the wonderful story of bauxite.
    Best regards,
    Dmitri Allicock

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — January 23, 2012 @ 12:16 am | Reply

  65. Dmitri: Do you remember a guy named Glen Fordyce? I told him that I would tell you hello.
    Brad Summers

    Comment by Brad Summers — January 25, 2012 @ 2:13 am | Reply

  66. Hi Brad,
    I knew Glen Fordyce and his entire family very well. Glen and I were class mates from Primary to Secondary School. His dear Mom was one of the nicest person and teacher I had at the Mackenzie Primary School. My family and I still talk about her. My wife was also a pupil of Ms Fordyce. Glen is a great guy and I would like to get in touch with him.
    Brad, You are interested in the history of the area and had asked a few questions. My last posting “100 years of bauxite in Upper Demerara” is a detail and chronological documentation that will take you back to over two hundred years of the area’s history. The “DER” or Wismar to Rockstone Railway which is posted on this site also covers the 1800s and part of the 1900s.
    Is Glen Fordyce in Guyana?
    Best regards,
    Dmitri

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — January 25, 2012 @ 10:12 am | Reply

  67. Dmitri:
    Yes glenn is still here, living in Amelias ward. His mother lives with him. He has some trucks and a feed store in Macenzie. Several of his children work with him. He is also raising animals and has a fairly large pineapple plot. He spoke very highly of you. I have been reading your posts. I find the history very interesting, but they also sadden me a bit, because of what we are today. I have not forgotten your request to write on my impressions. I have started several times but still am not able to convey my feelings adequately. thanks Brad

    Comment by Brad Summers — January 25, 2012 @ 10:21 am | Reply

  68. Thanks Brad.
    My Email is DNALLICOCK@GMAIL.COM. Please convey to Glen.
    God bless,
    Dmitri

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — January 25, 2012 @ 10:32 am | Reply

  69. thank you for your hard work, reading your site sitting here in Pagasus hotel!!!!

    Comment by Twin Jalanugraha — January 31, 2012 @ 2:13 am | Reply

  70. Hi, i have a very good question, what is the company name that is currently mining for Bauxite in Guyana? ive tried researching online, but have not found any sort of leads.

    Comment by Rhiaz — February 1, 2012 @ 5:59 pm | Reply

  71. Hi Rhiaz,
    Regarding your question. See Comment { 62 } above. The conclusion of Bauxite.
    “There is now an association with the Government of China and it is now called Bosai{ Linden operation}i. The Russian Company called Rusal owns the Berbice operations called Aroaima.”.
    Thanks for your question and best regards.
    Dmitri

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — February 3, 2012 @ 1:47 am | Reply

  72. Hi Demitri,

    This is a solid source of information. Congrats, keep up the good work. Your commitment to making available the history of Guyana and more particular life in McKenzie (now Linden) to all is highly commendable.

    Comment by Shola — February 14, 2012 @ 3:39 am | Reply

  73. Thanks very much Shola for your wonderful compliments! So much has changed in Upper Demerara and Guyana as a whole. Many have emigrated around the globe leaving the younger generation to fend on their own. History is so important to understand the present and to ensure a successful future.
    I think the full meaning of life is realized by giving something back. The “Guyana Then and Now” is a good forum for just that. Much thanks to Bob Wong.
    I will always hold my first love Guyana and Upper Demerara close to my heart and wish for a better tomorrow and we reflect.
    Best regards,
    Dmitri

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — February 15, 2012 @ 1:37 am | Reply

  74. Thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Brad Summer who are doing absolutely great missionary work in the areas of Amelias Ward Upper Demerara.
    Your kindness and inspirational energies are felt across the ocean. Thank you for everything and most of all “your friendship.” May god continue to bless you and family.
    A friend for all times,
    Dmitri

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — February 17, 2012 @ 12:45 am | Reply

  75. I would like to offer some information in response to Posts Nos 70 & 71, which I found on researching the UK aluminium industry. I have not done a round of telephone calls to update the information from 2005, but here goes: The smelter at Lochaber, near Fort William, Scotland, had been refurbished and is operated by hydro-electric power from a system of tunnels along the south side of Ben Nevis, which is Britain’s area of maximum rainfall. It was then owned by Alcan. A short distance away on the next loch, the smelter at Kinlochleven is decommissioned and is now the museum of the UK aluminium industry. The third one in Scotland bulit in 1979 is at Invergordon, and there was/is a thermal smelter at Ashington, in North-East England. Next on the list is the smelter on the Isle of Anglesey, operated by Rio Tinto Zinc, which I think, has been closed recently. There is a smaller hydro-electric smelter on the mainland at Dolgarrog in mid-Wales. Last time I telephoned it, I was told that it had been saved by a management buy-out and I presume it is still operating. The other interesting discovery relating to the above post No 71, was that bauxite was calcined at Aughinish Island on the south side of the Shannon Estuary by a plant now owned by Rusal = Russian Aluminium. I did not establish the sources of bauxite, but your account of the Russian and Chinese ownership of the mines in Guyana might give a clue to today’s material flows.

    Comment by Michael T Knowles BSc — February 18, 2012 @ 10:57 am | Reply

  76. Very interesting and great information Michael,
    I was also reading the “Scottish information with great interest.” Many Scots settled in British Guiana and Upper Demerara from as early as the 1740’s.
    A number of my forefathers were out of Scotland. John Dagleish Paterson, John Spencer and John Blount, the famous “Three Friends” of Upper Demerara were from Scotland. Robert Frederick Allicock, the area’s prior settler and my forefather was also believed to be out of Scotland originally but came from America sometime after “the 1776 war of independence.”
    John Dagleish Paterson timber business that was started at the turn of the 1800s would prove to be the impetus that consolidated the area of Upper Demerara from plantations to that of a small Community. This tiny community would grow into the second largest town in Guyana with the coming of Bauxite.
    John Dagleish Paterson or JDP came from Dumfries-shire, where the Patersons had lived for generations in the Parish of Tynron. In 1691 they were tenants at Clonrae, Craignie, Craigturow and Ford:
    William Paterson 1691-1743, was tenant in Aird, close to Ford. In the 18 Century (the Barony of Airds in Tynron had been acquired by the 2nd.Duke of Queensbury from Sir Robert Grierson of Lag in 1708.
    His son William (1733-1810) who married Jean Dagleish (1740-1824), moved before 1793 to Craireknowe, a farm in the neighboring Parish of Durisdeer. All were buried at Tynron. John Dagleish Paterson of Christianburg (1775-1842) was William and Jean’s third son
    Their surviving second son, William Paterson (1774-1855) inherited the tenancy of Craireknowe. The fourth son, John (1808-1886), farmed at Craigdarroch, a neighbour of Craireknowe, near Sanquhar, and it was at Craigdarroch that the later Patersons of Demerara often stayed when they visited Scotland.
    Arrival in Demerara:
    It has been said that John Dagleish Paterson, John Payne Blount, and John Spencer were three British Naval Officers who decided to remain in Guiana after the British occupied the country in the early 1800s. Their arrival is a subject up for debate, since it is still unclear what really happened.
    Their arrival together seems unlikely. In a letter to Governor Light in 1840, JDP said he had been in Demerara for 33 years (since 1807) His son, Dr. William Paterson, said JDP had been a resident at Christianburg “for thirty years” (since 1812) at the time of his death.
    Blount was reported as leaving the colony with three servants in May/June 1815.

    The Scottish influence in early Upper Demerara was historical significant.
    Today the only remnants of the early settlers clearly visible are the remains of the 1824 Water Wheel of the Sawmill that John Dagleish Paterson owned and a few of the tombs of this historical family.
    The 1824 water wheel had powered the nearby sawmill by water channeled from the nearby Catabulli creek {called “Kathapoety” by the early Dutch}
    A system of gears and belts were used to provide power to the Sawmill. It was the first water-powered sawmill in Guyana and it was an example of the ingenuity of J.D Paterson.
    This historical water wheel survived the fire that destroyed the 208-year-old house on April 12th, 2011 that brought to an end of the oldest landmark and house in Upper Demerara and probably Guyana.
    Reflecting on history,
    Dmitri

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — February 18, 2012 @ 1:54 pm | Reply

    • In addition,
      Guyana’s Parliament Building, designed by Joseph Hadfield, was built on a foundation of greenheart logs. The foundation stone was laid in 1829 and, in April 1834, the structure, stucco to resemble stone blocks, was completed.
      Having been completed, the building was formally handed over to a committee of the Court of Policy on 5 August 1834. Those present were Joseph Hadfield, of the Hadfield family, after one of whom, John, Hadfield Street was named; and George Booker, who represented “J.D. PATERSON,” one of the three contractors, the other two being Roderick McKenzie and Hector Kemp. The architect was Joseph Hadfield. The building was constructed at a cost of 50,000 pounds.
      “John Dagleish Paterson” referred to as Scottish army major, naval officer and engineer, was also credited with a series of other endeavors including the building of the Eve Leary Police Barracks, co owner of Union Coffee House with Malcolm Campbell until his death in 1808. He was recorded as selling Timber Plantation Susanna Rust 1807 on the East Bank Demerary by the Demerary Gazette.

      Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — February 21, 2012 @ 8:40 pm | Reply

  77. LEGACY OF THE SCHOOL VENDER- The Way We Were
    By Lear Matthews
    Whether it was Ms. Murray, Ms. Stefie or Auntie Gertie, her presence represented an impressionable dimension of the educational environment of primary school children since the 1950’s and to a lesser extent, today. She has been a daytime fixture occupying an unsolicited “spot” outside the school building, either near a lantern post, under one of Guyana’s massive oaks or a tattered umbrella sheltering from the beaming sun. Typically, she was a simple middle-aged woman wearing a plain dress, matching “head tie” or straw hat and apron with side pockets. Fondly known as “the sweetie Lady”, this veritable street vendor was a beloved entrepreneur peddling a potpourri of local snacks. She sold a variety of succulent and tart indigenous fruit, arguably of some nutritional value, sweets and beverages displayed on a shallow, well-worn unpainted wooden tray.
    Popular items were green mango, tamarind, golden apple, guinep, dunks, sugar-cake, coconut ice, chip chip, hard sweetie (nevah done), lump, tamarind balls, plantain chips, chicken foot, mittai, fudge, channa, phulourie, flutie, and custard block.
    Favorites included “tambrun”, plum and gooseberry syrups, served in brown paper, which was often chewed, with little concern about the health consequences. Although “stinkin toe” (locus) was not a preferred choice, due to its pungency and clamminess, it was occasionally sold by this solitary vendor. Salt, pepper and “sour”, were an essential part of her repertoire of flavoring condiments. She carried a sharpened kitchen knife used primarily for peeling and “cuttin up” fruit, with remarkable savvy and well honed knife craft.
    As if those indigenous goodies provided extra vitality or mental alertness, pupils swarmed her during mid-morning “recreashun” and at lunch time. Seemingly energized, many could be seen standing around or gleefully playing while chomping, savoring and sharing snacks, for which they paid no more than a few pennies or would “trust” (credit) until Friday. Others patronized her on their way home, licking sticky fingers and wiping them on khaki short pants or well-pleated uniform dresses.
    Some retrospective observations about the interaction between vendor and pupil are noteworthy. This extra-mural matron of commerce was not only well respected, but known to defuse conflicts, often with calm, yet stern: “yah’ll don’t fight man”, offering solicitous, motherly advice to her unwitting juvenile patrons. However, of no significance to us was that this adorable seller intermittently wiped her hands on what appeared to be a permanently smudged apron, repeatedly collecting and making change, while handling the delectable snacks. She also broke “hard candy” with the sweat-saturated wooden knife handle. Further, there must have been moments of ambivalence about the sanitary conditions under which those appetizing building blocks of our youthful biological make up were prepared and stored. Notwithstanding, we survived!
    Although they co-existed amicably, her only real competition was the shave-ice man. Precariously balancing a huge burlap-covered block of ice on a Carrier Bike, he provided a treat that helped to cool us off from the broiling sun and tiresome school yard activities. The first few sucks on a piece of shave-ice, partially molded with his bare palm, doused in thick red syrup (whatever the source of that ruby brew) was a heavenly experience. How sweet it was! The days of that brand of school vendors may be long gone, but not forgotten.

    Thank you Lear for this wonderful article,
    A great reflection and well written story of a time of true innocence that I enjoyed reading very much for I was one of those little children that couldn’t wait for lunch break to get to my favorite school vendor.
    We all enjoy the snacks and delicious treats as we ran around the school yard and playground. The money was much different in looks and value. A large copper penny got you a nice filling snack, most fruits cost one cent or a penny. There was a song of the time that said, “Mango ripe! Mango sweet! I want a penny to buy”, {repeat}. That was very true of the times as most of us can remember. Sucking a juicy spice mango that ran down your elbow was a trade mark of the school children at Wismar or Mackenzie market place. A coconut base salara, bun or biscuit and a very large cup of delicious mauby to wash it down was five cents.
    It was strange that no one really cared too much about little things like where did the vendor wash up or attend to personal matters like that. Hepatitis A or jaundice was a foreign language and few understood its origins.
    The school vendor was a very important part of every child growing up in Guyana.

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — February 18, 2012 @ 5:49 pm | Reply

  78. FEBUARY 23RD IS MASHRAMANI IN GUYANA
    Mashramani is a Country wide annual celebration in observance of the anniversary of the Republic. This is a relatively new tradition was started on Feb 23rd 1970, when Guyana became a republic
    It is probably the most colorful of all the festivals. There are spectacular costume competitions, float parades, masquerade bands, and dancing in the streets to the accompaniment of steel band music and calypsos.
    Masquerades frequent the streets performing acrobatic dance routines, a vivid reminder of Guyana’s African heritage. Calypso competitions with their witty social commentaries are another integral part of “Mash”, and this culminates in the coronation of King or Queen for that year. The word Mashramani is Amerindian in origin and means “the celebration of a job well done”.
    This festival originated in Linden in 1966 to celebrate independence. However, it was agreed that the festival would become a national one to celebrate the Republican Anniversary and in 1972 it became a national event and for the first time in 1973 it was controlled and organized by the Government of Guyana.

    HISTORY OF MASHRAMANI
    Jimmy Hamilton formerly of Linden and the Bauxite Industry and “is credited as a founder of this festival” had this to say on “Mashramani”
    “The word Mashramani was spelt that way by me, because that is how it sounded. But let me go back a bit. The Junior Chamber of Greater Mackenzie started celebrating the Independence of Guyana with a Trinidad type Carnival, which was intended to keep the free spending bauxite workers and their families within the mining town. When it was announced in 1969 that Guyana would become a Republic in February 1970, the Mackenzie chapter, in keeping with the Government’s Socialist agenda, which excluded the monarchy, decided to Guyanise the celebrations. Jour Ouvert became fo-daymawnin jump-up. Ole Mas became the Revolt Dance and the Calypso Contests became the Shanto Contest. The search then began for a name to replace Carnival Queen. It was during this time that we contacted every known source for an appropriate name. It was sometime in November 1969 that Basil Butcher, Chairman of the celebrations committee, suggested that we look for an Amerindian name. Several persons were contacted including Mr. Albert Fiedtkou, who at that time was an instrument man with a geological team of the Demerara Bauxite Company. Mr. Fiedtkou, who had just returned from an exploration mission in the interior informed us that he can’t think of anything, but he was visiting his grandfather, who lived somewhere in Malali, Upper Demerara River, and he promised to find out if there is any Amerindian festivity that will suit our purpose. On his return a week or two later, Mr. Fiedtkou said the ‘old man’ remembers an Arawak festival that was something like ‘muster many’ but in Arawak language sounded like Mash-ra-mani. An example, he said, was like when a young couple was getting married, the men would go hunting and fishing for meat, while the women and children will be busy preparing Piwari and sleepy tonic and gathering materials for building a benab. When the men returned, the benab will be built, the meat prepared and the entire village and surrounding neighbours travelling by trail or canoe will congregate and the celebration will begin. This story prompted me to declare ‘hey that’s a celebration after a co-operative effort, ideal for the co-op Republic of Guyana.’ The Committee agreed, but subsequent efforts to qualify the word and its meaning proved futile. It was Mr. Adrian Thompson, the late historian, who confirmed the use of the word with these final remarks “I don’t know of the word and its meaning, but I suspect no one else does, therefore go ahead and use it.” Mashramani was born, and the 1970 celebrations were a huge success.”

    Regarding the use of the word Muster or “Musta-”When I was a child in Upper Demerara, the Churches in the riverain area were used as a meeting area to conduct personal and public business.
    The famous Musta were agreed on after Church Service. “Musta is a cooperative effort of others to band together and help another in a specific task. All was assured help in this manner by each individuals taking turns.”
    They agreed to band together in a co-op and assisted each other with major work like cutting a farm, construction and extensive manual labor. They would take turns helping each other in this manner. The person receiving the help was responsible for providing meals. This was a very successful way around many enormous tasks and it also cemented healthy relationships

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — February 23, 2012 @ 11:53 am | Reply

  79. THE COCONUT TREE is the very most versatile tree in the world. The yards of Upper Demerara, Guyana would not be found without numerous coconut trees around. The nut of the cocunut is used in numerous Guyanese cuisine and treats and represent a tradition with most families
    The coconut tree and nut have endless useage:
    The wood is lumber and can be used in construction and is more so in the Carribean Island. The fronds provide thatching material for roofs, matting for the floor or walls and for sun shades or blinds. The dried fiber of the nut or hush is shreded as stuffing for pillow or mattress. The center vien of the frond pinnae can be bundled together to make a good whisk broom{ pointer broom} or used individually as tooth picks. Many children of Guyana uses the veins or pointer to frame small kites at Easter holiday.The heart of the young coconut tree taste as good as any heart of palm that you can eat. The dried husk of the coconut makes the best cooking fire for BBQ or just plain camp fire. The dried shell of the coconut is crafed into jewellery and other fine odorments. Bowls, cups and other storage containers are fashioned from the shell also. Coconut water can be very tasty and refreshing. It provide the added assurance of being free of contamination. Coconut water is loaded with essiential minerals and vitamins. One on the major use of the meat or nut of the coconut is in coconut oil manufacturing that is used for cooking. It can be rendered into a very fine oil to provide lighting at night and as a skin lotion also. The smoke of the burning coconut husk is a natural mosquito repellant. The white milk of the dried coconut has endless application as a food additive. Cook up rice or metemgee would not be complete with out this milk. The use of coconut as a food is endless.
    Cook up rice is a one pot Guyanese traditional rice dish and is only complete with Coconut extract.. It can be made with one or more types of meat. Cook up rice is prepared with any pea or bean of your choice. The most common kinds of beans use in making cook up, are the blackeye, split peas or the pigeon peas. “Coconut milk”, salt beef or ham add richness to the meal and your taste buds. Cook up rice is cooked all year round and is accepted as a special occasion meal. Fried yellow plantain or fried fish completes cook up rice cuisine. It can be served as a lunch or dinner. The most craved part of the cook up rice is usually at the bottom of the pot where all the happiness has settled, and is called “the famous bun-bun.”
    The nostagic wecoming feeling of home is made real by seeing the coconut fronds or leaves dancing in the Demerara sunlight.
    “The tree seems to express its wish
    in the tossing of its head:
    its fronds heave and swish -
    It thinks, Maybe my leaves are feathers,
    and nothing stops me now
    from rising on their flutter.”

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — March 3, 2012 @ 2:02 am | Reply

    • Just back from two weeks in Barbados where I met up with Jane Macdonald again after how many years?! And I made a special effort to get coconut water and coconut bread. The coconut vendor at the
      side of the highway thought I would use a straw. He was quite surprised when I just put the coconut up to my mouth and savoured the delicious, refreshing drink. Then I enjoyed the meat with a piece of the shell as is the custom. Yum. We bought the coconut bread from a chap who used to sell veggies out of his van every day near where we stayed. The bread came in handy as a snack on the plane ride home. Yum.
      Next stop T&T and Guyana? Hold that thought!

      Comment by Pat Hunte-Cusack — March 3, 2012 @ 1:20 pm | Reply

      • Hi Pat,
        I hope you had a nice trip. You were quiet for a while and I thought that you might be ill. I am glad you are doing fine.
        The first thing on many Guyanese minds on a trip home is a taste for Coconut Water. Vendors provide it now with fancy umbrella and straws and that nice, however I take it the old fashion way like you.
        On my last trip home, I was weeding our family grave sites up the Demerara River while watching a relative slid up a coconut tree like a Yawri {Mongoose} .Soon we were gulping down sweet, refreshing coconut water while listening to the almost deafening early morning happy chorus of birds.
        As I taste the Demerara River Coconut water, the modern attributes of the water did cross my mind like being able to improve circulation, slow aging, fight viruses, boost immunity, and reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke plus the oil they say kills the fungus/yeast infections that cause Candida, ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, jock itch, diaper rash and more.
        All that they say, but “the overwhelming good feeling and burst of energy” I felt overshadowed everything else. The very soul of my Demerara Heritage appears embodied in the drink as I sat on the tombs reflecting. I felt at peace and finally home.
        My wife, sons and I later planted over fifty young coconut trees that will continue to bear fruit and will be there when I am able to make another trip.

        Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — March 3, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

  80. Nothing beats a cold water coconut…Would never forget the day I went to the market in St. John’s Antigua and the coconut vendor refused to sell me a coconut as they were all reserved with names… I said to myself..I hail from a country with coconut trees lining the roadways…maybe it must be time for a home trip. Fortunately a cousin was returning to Antigua, I was pregnant, tey did not want the child to be marked and his mother instructed that he bring a bottle of coconut water…Thank heavens it was pre 9/11.

    Comment by Shola — March 3, 2012 @ 7:15 pm | Reply

    • Nothing beats the spiritual connection to one’s roots. Good on you for planting the coconut trees, Dmitri!

      Comment by Pat Hunte-Cusack — March 3, 2012 @ 11:26 pm | Reply

  81. A BIT ON MACKENZIE HIGH SCHOOL HISTORY AND VERY FIRST “A” LEVEL CLASSES

    In 1965, after the departure of Mr. Ogle, Mr. John Cummings was appointed the first Guyanese-born principal. Under his administration, four new classrooms were added to the building. GCE Advanced level classes were introduced in 1966 and the first students, Daniel Baker and Lennox Richardson, wrote their “A” levels with major successes. The second group of students included my sister, Joycelyn, Daphne Casey, Johnnie Wilson, and Irwin Allicock, who had transferred from Preston High School{ later called Kara-Kara High and now known as the Multilateral School- located on the western shore on Blue Berry Hill.}
    Prior to the establishment of the “A” level classes, students who qualified to enter the sixth form had to seek admission to Senior Secondary Schools in Georgetown such as Bishop’s High School and Queen’s College to write their “A” levels.
    Demba offered scholarships to those students who qualified for entry to those schools.
    Mr. Cummings died in a tragic motor vehicle accident in November 1971 and Mr. Siegfried Luyken became the next principal. When he left, Josephus Bakker acted briefly as principal until Mr. Clifton McDonald took over in September 1972.
    In September 1976 Mackenzie High School came fully under the control of the Guyana Government.

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — March 28, 2012 @ 7:55 pm | Reply

  82. POSTED EXCLUSIVELY FOR LINDEN VIEWERS:

    “THE GOLDEN AGE OF GEORGETOWN CHARACTERS: 1930-1960″
    By Bernard Heydorn
    The Caribbean is known not only for its sunny climate, but also its street people: Colourful characters who paraded daily through town and country, providing spontaneous street theatre.
    Whether driven to the streets by mental, emotional or social derailment, or “dropping out and turning on” by free choice, they remain indelible in memory, symbolic of the life and times. Like the politicians of the day, street characters had the ability to attract attention.
    In Georgetown, Guyana, names like Bertie Vaughn, Law And Order, Cato, Pussy In The Moonlight, Pele, Mad John, Saul, Walker The British, Cow Manure, Oscar The Paper Man, Tunus, Daddy Ben, Mary Bruk Iron, Bicycle Jack, and others, were standouts during that golden age of theatre of the absurd (1930 – -1960), providing year round side shows, a character for every reason and season.
    It is interesting to note that many of these characters found a place to rest at night, be it the Palms, Dharm Shala, a Mental Home, a back room, or underneath a shop bridge. However, back then, as now, their illnesses, be they mental or physical, their idiosyncrasies and eccentricities, were crying out for healing hands.
    Mad John was a man who walked up and down Regent Street in Georgetown, beating up on himself, complaining, “a woman tek all meh money!” Mad John seemed to possess a split personality which I shall call “He” and “Himself” for clarity sake.
    Now, “He” and “Himself” were always fighting each other but never producing a clear winner. One day “He” would be on top and “Himself” would retreat from the blows; and on another day, the tide would turn and “Himself” would be top dog.
    The state of affairs continued for a while until one morning, “Himself” caught “He” half-asleep on Camp Street by the Blue Light Store, and like a dog chasing its own tail, gave chase and delivered a solid knockout punch! From that day on, people said that Mad John never slept properly, being constantly on guard against another sneak attack by the other side of himself.
    Christmas in Georgetown was noted as much for ‘Cow Manure’ as for its ginger beer. ‘Cow Manure’ was an East Indian man who sold cow manure as a fertiliser, from a basket on his head, and who was perpetually drunk. He belted out his favourite Christmas Carol, “While shepherds wash their flocks and socks at night, all seated on the ground” to all and sundry, slurring the words and composing his own, as he walked the streets.
    Another well known character was ‘Saul’. A man for all seasons, he dressed for every occasion, depicting the daily news. His outfits and placards gave a running commentary to the events of the day, for if a condemned murderer was being hung at the jail on Camp Street, Saul was the first to show and tell. Saul was also the first to coin the saying, “Why get sober if you have to get drunk all over again?” During a cricket test match, Saul ran around the ground at Bourda, dressed as a cricketer with paper gloves and cardboard pads, bringing the game to a halt and getting more attention than the Governor!
    Another Bourda character was ‘Daddy Ben’, who the M.C.C. press called ‘Daddy Bell’. ‘Daddy Ben’ had a permanent bird ticket up a tall tree at Bourda, on the eastern side of the ground by the Georgetown Football Club during a Test Match. From that vantage point, whenever he got bored or he wanted a wicket to fall, he would ring a big bell loudly, and sure enough, wickets would start to tumble, to the amusement of the crowd and the amazement of the players.
    Oscar’, the blind paper man, walked up and down the streets of Georgetown before dawn and cock crow, shouting the headlines and selling newspapers, “Argasy! Agasy!” Although he was blind, he know his coins well and anyone who tried to cheat him would be cussed out.
    Horse racing at Durban Park would not be complete without the appearance of ‘Pele’, an East Indian man who walked around, dressed up in a suit, smoking two cigarettes at the same time! He gave a running commentary on the races and every other subject imaginable. He was also a passionate suitor, for if he liked a young lady, he would find out where she lived and go and sing loudly outside her bedroom window, from midnight to dawn!
    ‘Pussy In The Moonlight’, alias ‘Pussy Foot’, was a bearded Portuguese man who wore a jacket and plaid shorts. He sold sweepstake tickets in between drinks, and was reputed to live in Albouystown with many children, some of whom walked around with him. School children were sometimes cruel to Pussy Foot, taunting him with a verse, “Pussy in the moonlight, pussy in the dew, pussy never come home till half past four”.
    Another Portuguese character was ‘Tunus’, a strong, hard-drinking man whose favourite haunt was the Red Coconut Tree rum shop at Cummings and Second Street. Tunus apparently went to jail for stabbing a policeman, but he was better known for playing a mouth organ with one hand and doing the unmentionable with the other!.
    An icon among Guyanese characters would be Bertie Vaughn, a black man. Bertie apparently came from a “good” family, and was himself once a school teacher, and it is said, a candidate for the Guiana Scholarship before “too much studiation sent him off his pins”. From then on, his station in life was to sit on a parapet by the main Post Office, shaving his head and other parts of his anatomy clean, clean, with a broken “grass bottle” in a fashion that would make Gillette both envious and anxious about the competition.
    In between picking a sore in his scalp and begging, he also drank iodine, miraculously without poisoning himself, having built up a tolerance over the years. If he begged for a six cents piece and you gave him a bit (an eight cents piece), he would return it saying, “ah want six cents”. At one time he had a Raleigh bicycle, replacing the bell with a horn, saying “school children gun listen to the horn”. Later for no apparent reason, he ran his Raleigh bicycle into the Demerara River.
    ‘Walker The British’ was a mixed-race (Mulatto) man, who sold sweepstake tickets around Water Street, armed with two bricks. Apparently, he came from an educated family, and then, like Bertie Vaughn, “went ’round duh bend”. He was an ardent supporter of British superiority, shouting “British yuh fool! Highest hair and colour!” People taunted him, calling him “Walker the nigger” and so he retaliated with his two bricks, sometimes drawing blood from his tormentors. He slept at the Palms, letting himself out daily on his rounds.
    Another Post office character was ‘Telegraph George’, who used to work at the Post Office as a telegraph messenger before he “went off”. He could then be found, making signs with his fingers, looking at the heavens saying “ah gun talk to God”.
    One character I had some fear of as a schoolboy was ‘Cato’, a somewhat deranged black man who wore short pants and rags and often exposed himself to bystanders for money, saying, “Ah want a penny tuh buy a panty fuh me sister”. ‘Cato’ also had a weakness for rubber, devouring pencil erasers and chewing on the rubber seals of bottles. Once on an indecency exposure charge in court, he saw Forbes Burnham and shouted “Uncle Forbes, get up an’ talk fuh me maan. Yuh gun leh dis coolie magistrate do dis tuh meh?” Apparently, this was one of the rare occasions when Burnham was at a loss for words.
    And who can ever forget ‘Law And Order’ who staged an execution in his push cart everyday, every hour on the hour. During the executions of his rag doll, he gave an address on the evils of crime and the benefits of the British Empire, of laws and order. He was always sole judge, jury and executioner. Curious crowds always gathered around ‘Law And Order’ at Bourda Market and the Public Buildings where he was a regular show stopper. ‘Law And Order’ and his push cart also marched proudly in the Armistice Day parade on November 11, each year, getting loud applause and holding his own with the veterans of many campaigns.
    One of my favourite characters was ‘Bicycle Jack’ a museum on wheels. ‘Bicycle Jack’ rode a bicycle all day long in the Georgetown sun, with every object imaginable attached to the bike – clips, wires, bells, horns, lights, decorations, flags, the most prominent being the Union Jack, homemade toys, and spinning windmills, to name a few. The wheels were also gaily decorated, all in all, a sight to behold. His only problem was when rain fell, when he had to peddle fast to find shelter.
    There were other characters too, like ‘Bubble Up’, the white woman with ‘big foot’, who cursed like hell; and ‘Mary Bruck Iron’, a prostitute, who had established a reputation for ‘brucking iron’ in Tiger Bay.
    Be it ‘Monkey’, ‘Sharkey’, ‘Live Wire’, ‘Dribbly Joe’ or the legendary ‘bag men’ used by parents to develop fear in children, street characters were always around. Some times in retrospect, I wonder if the colonial powers allowed these characters to roam free in order to provide distraction for the local people, while they exploited the country.
    There were a few other names also, “Spungdown.” A short stocky and elderly black man worked with a Lykin Funeral Home. He bathed the dead and informed families when their loved ones died, particularly from the Public Hospital. It was known that he carried a dead man on his cycle from Vreeden Hoop to Georgetown. He made it appeared as if the man was drunk, slapping the man several times and talking to him on the way to G/T.
    The other was “Bastiannie.” A short Indian man worked with Bastinannie Funeral Home in Albertown. He also bathe the dead and slept in coffins at the parlor. It was said the people would be scared to death, when they went to the Parlor to make funeral arrangements, he would be seen coming out of a coffin as if he was dead.
    “Bertie Sammon.” A short and stocky strong handy man from the Village. A bit retarded, but he had his own kind of sense. He ran errands for people in the neighborhood, and lived around John and Durban Street Lodge. He had an infectious laugh, which you can hear him blocks away, when the night is still, even as you stood in Hadfield Street. After the end of each race day at Durban Park, he would go into the Stands to search every draw to for money hopefully left by ticket sellers or anyone dropping a shilling. He had a big appetite. He would eat 12 tennis rolls, many large cups of mauby or swank and anything in sight. He loved going to Indian weddings in the Village, where he would eat several plates of food (rice and doll). and wash down with more food, when he is in the mood. He was the Gallon of the area.
    The next person was Jamesie Moore. A onetime Amateur Boxer. He become mentally disturbed, due to some woman. He ran around the D’urban Park, each day Shadow Boxing, always training for a fight that never came off. He liked drawing a horse on a piece of paper that he said must be printed into his own currency. He brought the paper to the Argosy News Paper Company in Belair Park each day to be printed. He ran errands, and also lived near John and Durban Streets in Lodge. He sang to the top of his voice, when he sat on St Sidwells school steps. I believed he was a member of the Choir, years before he became ill. It is sad that some of our best brains ended up that way.
    Mental Health is big social problem which needs to be addressed. We took the problem as entertainment and an individual problem.

    IN RESPONSE TO SUCH A MEMORY TEASER BY BERNARD- I will add;
    HERBIE, for most Upper Demerara residents was and “is still” a living legend that rivals “LAW AND ORDER” the former king of Guyana’s street people who was known throughout Guyana.
    There were other vagrants like TIGER, which was both father and his daughter, ITUNI DOG, NUMBER FOUR and a few more that provided public theater, free of charge in the days of no television.
    ITUNI DOG was a quick temper psychotic and the most dangerous of all the characters. When teased, he would violently explode, cursing and chasing the thrill seeking children with his cutlass like a maniac on the loose. Ituni Dog was rumored to live at Ituni and had killed a dog in earlier days, hence his name.
    Ituni dog was solitude but functional like most of the area’s entertainers, he was frequently seen weeding trenches or cleaning up yards in the neighborhood. Ituni dog was unkempt and always had on his trademark long black rubber boots, which, thank goodness, impeded his ability to catch any children. His ominous cutlass was wrapped in newspaper and carried in a dirty canvas bag slung over his shoulders.
    TIGER, the father, became a spectacle mainly when he was drunk, which was usually the case. Shiny, flush face and red lips, this small stature man was frequently involved in many altercations, resulting in a distant second place for him.
    He was famous for biting like a tiger when fighting. In 1968, he was admitted to the Mackenzie Hospital ward, where I was a young patient. He was badly beaten and bleeding from head and facial wounds; the nurses had to restrain him as he attacked, kicked his caregivers and violated the hospital sign “QUIET” with a crescendo of screams and foul language.
    The nappy head, very untidy and delusional daughter called TIGER also, roamed primarily Wismar streets stopping at intervals to curse real or imaginaries teaser. When crossing the river in the ferry boat, Tiger had most of the boat to herself as passengers avoid her pungent ammonia fragrant and wrath.
    NUMBER FOUR was a well dressed pleasant alcoholic in a white or blue shirt jack, white floppy hat and 6 or more colorful flags. He sang, danced and had used his flags at rhythmic intervals for liquor. His audience all waited for his climax song which was” number four!” That began with Aunty Mary at the market square- shaking her bam-bam.
    LAW AND ORDER, the very proud World War Two veteran was well described in the article. It was very customary to see this old man who sewed his suit together by hand with needle and thread, dragging his monstrous silver contraption masterpiece on Arvida road at Mackenzie tying up traffic. Law and order held legitimate puppet shows for the Mackenzie Primary School in the mid sixties. He did part time preaching as well and would be seen shouting at women church goers on Sunday, every choice word in the forbidden book and demanded their repentance.
    HERBIE the living legend has been roaming the rum shops and streets of Linden as long as I can remember.
    His favorite spirits is a red wine called Pac-Pac. Usually drunk he would indulged in his second past time chasing young girls around the school yard and elsewhere. I remember headmaster James of the Mackenzie Primary School, beating Herbie with his cane after he was “interfering” with the young school girls. Herbie would run out of the school yard and end of story. We call that behavior something else in other parts of the world.
    Herbie was quite functional when he wasn’t drunk. He made all sorts of wooden furniture and carvings. He would brave the swamps and poisonous reptiles to obtain the right piece to do his masterpiece work which he would later peddle for money to quench his thirst. That was the cycle.
    We would later see Herbie sleeping alongside the gutter or under the steamer stelling. We would watch Herbie asleep on the beach as the tide slowly rose. He would then roll up just enough to avoid being submerged. It was also a belief that Herbie “ate someone’s cat” once that further esteemed him.
    In 2010, the shocking site of Herbie still alive after all these years made me greet and hug him. He is almost totally blind and must be in his nineties by now. Cured by alcohol and baked by the sun, emaciated Herbie looked like the end is close but I wouldn’t bet on it.
    He told me that my father had died and was quite up to date with the happenings. He still has an American accent despite never leaving Guyana. I ran in to him at what was the former Town square and gave him a nice sum of money per his request but was embarrassed as he shouted praise of thanks long after I said goodbye to him.
    The mentally ill or otherwise emotionally troubled individuals’ real world was unforgiving. A lunatic asylum or lock up was about the only help provided when things got out of hand. Guyana’s favorite pastime of alcohol didn’t help much but most characters of yesterdays and today’s street would disagree.

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — April 12, 2012 @ 4:45 pm | Reply

  83. Hello my name is Carl Rose from Mackenzie,reading these stories realy brought back some memories.I will be visiting this site more often,when I left Guyana in 1968 I was employed at the Bauxite Company as a welder,came to New York and attended Manhattan College

    Comment by CARL ROSE — May 4, 2012 @ 1:28 am | Reply

  84. MOTHER’S DAY TRIBUTE
    “The formative period for building character for eternity is in the nursery. The mother is queen of that realm and sways a scepter more potent than that of kings or priests.”

    Today, Sunday May 13, Guyana devotes this very special day by joining 90 other Countries around the World to recognize and give tribute to all Mothers.

    Only recently dubbed “Mother’s Day,” the highly traditional practice of honoring of Motherhood is rooted in antiquity, and past rites typically had strong symbolic and spiritual overtones; societies tended to celebrate Goddesses and symbols rather than actual Mothers. The personal, human touch to Mother’s Day is a relatively new phenomenon. The maternal objects of adoration ranged from mythological female deities to the Christian Church itself. Only in the past few centuries did celebrations of Motherhood develop a decidedly human focus.

    This great idea of devoting a special day for mothers would take root rapidly and became one of the most commercialized holidays around the world yet this observation shouldn’t take away from the true meaning of this special day.

    The discussion about our mother always evokes strong emotions in us. And it should! After all, we lived in her womb before we experienced the light of this world. Mother’ is defined as the person in whom life receives a form suitable for living in this world. However being a mother is not restricted to a woman who only give birth also includes those women who have adopted, fostered and cared for their children

    What does ‘living in this world’ mean? It means that a person is alive and functioning physically and spiritually. Mother’s day emphasize the mother’s unique role within the family.

    The expectations and responsibilities of mothers are endless. They are expected to be there for their children, no matter what. She is expected to nurse, nurture, feed clothe and hold her children when they are sad. The credit almost always goes back to them for the deeds of their children, whether the report is good or bad.

    My mother Enez had the enormous task of caring for six children and a husband. She literally nursed a baby in one arm while juggling a multitude of tasks with the other. When she wasn’t cooking or doing daily chores, she was sewing together our clothing.

    She was the house physician, accountant, therapist, teacher, cook, disciplinarian, housekeeper and wife to my father who served 47 years with the Bauxite Industry in Guyana. Today, my siblings and I are very thankful to my dear 82 year old mother who is still active and is very much the matriarch of our family.

    Dear Mom
    When I was a baby, you rocked me to sleep,
    And dressed me and taught me to talk,
    You guided my faltering, hesitant steps
    When I first started learning to walk.
    And then came the day I started to school,
    When you realized how fast I had grown,
    And you told me what wonderful fun it would be–
    Then watched as I skipped off, alone.
    You make all the days of my childhood so gay,
    So filled with contentment and fun.
    That the memory I have of my growing-up years
    Is a cherished and wonderful one.
    And then, when I started to be on my own,
    You offered a sure, guiding hand,
    Whenever I needed a listening ear,
    I knew then that you’d understand–
    For all of your thoughtfulness, all of your love,
    Your patience and gentleness, too,
    I’m thankful–for I have a wonderful treasure–
    A sweet, lovely mother like you!

    If there was a day for everything you have given to me as a mother, it would be Mother’s Day every day.

    Thanks for always helping me to remember what is important in life… and today it is you! You’re the best! Thanks for all you do. Thank you goes out to all the wonderful mothers of Guyana and around the world.

    DMITRI ALLICOCK

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — May 13, 2012 @ 12:37 pm | Reply

  85. Dmitri,
    It was very interesting to read the chronicled history of Guyana’s bauxite industry. It most definitely brought back memories of the stories related to me by my father and mother of those great heights achieved by DEMBA, and the energy and vibrance that the people who worked and resided their experienced.
    However though you even discussed the colorful characters on the street, you failed to mention those great Guyanese who worked within the bauxite industry and their achievements.
    I was actually looking for my father’s name in your chronicles, Joseph A.M. Proctor, (fondly known as ‘Fred’ or ‘the Black Lion’) who was the first Guyanese to hold the position of ‘Electrical Superintendent’ and later General Manager of the Ituni Mines (his name is mentioned in the ‘History of Alcan’ which can be found in many libraries across the globe). My father later went on to become the first Guyanese to hold the position of Chairman of both the Guyana Electricity Corporation (GEC) and Guyana Telecommunications Corporation (Telecoms). But, his 47 years at Demba from 1919 to 1966 truly defined him, and he could never stop reminiscing about those great times.

    Comment by Mark Proctor — June 23, 2012 @ 7:51 pm | Reply

    • Hi Mark,
      Thank you for your response and suggestion.
      My focus with the bauxite article was not directed towards individuals except for the older doctors who were mentioned and I highlighted them for a number of reasons.
      They were many, many great Guyanese who worked and contributed in making the Demerara Bauxite Company successful and your father I am sure deserves credit and recognition like so many others.
      You would have noticed that I didn’t attribute individual blame for the collapse of the Industry likewise.
      The colorful characters of Guyana’s Street were a “much different subject matter and article” which probably belongs in the category of nostalgic cultural habits and memories.
      Now, maybe we can work together in preparing an article which remembers and pays tribute to all the wonderful men and women who contributed so much including most of their lives at Demba and later the Guyana Bauxite Industry.
      Let me know what you think.
      I went to MHS with a schoolmate with the name Proctor. {His first name fails me at this moment} I was wandering if he might be related to you.
      Best regards,
      Dmitri

      Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — June 24, 2012 @ 1:43 am | Reply

    • Hi Mark,

      I do hope that you are doing just fine. Though I am not a Guyanese you are my cousin. I am Jamilah Pilgrim and now live and work in Dubai. Your Dad Uncle Fred was married to my Great Aunt. The last time we met was in Montreal many years ago. Please contact me.

      Comment by Jamilah — January 26, 2014 @ 2:49 pm | Reply

  86. Hello,

    My name is Chris Dyson-Coope,
    What a superb history of Guyana’s bauxite , thank you so much.
    We have been trying to research some family history. I believe my late father Capt Geoffrey Dyson-Coope was first a ships master on the Sun ‘….’( not sure of the vessels name) then later a marine superintendent for Saguenay Lines, there was some mention of McKenzie, Trinidad as we understood it he owned property in McKenzie in the 1960′s maybe around 1965.

    I don’t suppose you have any suggestions ?

    Comment by Chris Coope — June 29, 2012 @ 8:24 pm | Reply

    • My name is Claude Meldrum son of Captain Ronald Meldrum from Montreal. In 1948 my Dad was transferred to Port of Spain Trinidad to be the marine superintendent for Saguenay Shipping at Chagaramus. My Dad, Mother,Brother and myself left Mntreal and remaned in Trinidad for 6 years. Prior to living in Trinidad we also lived in McKenzie and Georgetown British Guyana at the time.I must say I have no fonder memories. I know I had a childhood which was extremely rewarding which many children will never have the opportunity that I did. I noticed a photo of various Saguenay ships on this site of which one was the Sundial which was previously named Wentworth Park which my Dad was Master of and joined the ship in Philadelphia bound for Newport News and loaded cargo for St. John New Brunswick. I do have photos of many Saguenay ships and I do have a photo of the Sundial loading cargo as well as a small article in a newspaper clipping mentioning my family and the fact that my Dad was joining the Sundial in Philadelphia. I was wondering if you would be able to tell me where I might be able to obtain the photo shown on this site of the Sundial. It is a fine photo which brings back many memories. I can still remember being at anchor in the Demerara River waiting for a berth to load Bauxite for Arvida Quebec. I so remember being in so many hurricanes in the Caribbean bound for Arvida and Montreal.Great Memories indeed. I could go on and on but I do not wish to bore you any longer. Thank you. Claude Meldrum

      Comment by Claude Meldrum — December 5, 2013 @ 11:52 pm | Reply

  87. Hi Chris,
    Thanks you very much for the compliment. Regarding the question and the name Coope, it does not ring a bell and probably due to the generation thing. I was a quite young at that time period; however, I graciously recommend Peter Halder from this very site- See Peter Halder’s Guyana-Guyana Then and Now.
    He was been very helpful and a great resource in the past. Good luck and stay in touch
    All the best, Dmitri Allicock

    Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — June 30, 2012 @ 12:58 am | Reply

  88. Dmitri

    Thank you so much for replying so quickly, I will indeed write to Peter Halder.

    Thank you once again, Chris Coope

    Comment by Chris Coope — June 30, 2012 @ 2:09 am | Reply

    • I am glad to be of assistance at any time,
      God bless,
      Dmitri

      Comment by DMITRI ALLICOCK — June 30, 2012 @ 9:22 am | Reply

  89. Hello everyone, I am trying to find relatives of a man who worked at the bauxite company in the 1950s. His name was William (Bill) O’Dowd (Dow). William He was friends with Phillip Lancaster/Munere Sultan(not sure of the correct spelling. William married and had several children of the marriage but also had children outside – Georgina, Steven and another child, plus me Wendy. i am in my late fifities, and the other children were older, so I don’t know whether they are still alive or whether they still live in Guyana. I believe that one of his children from his marriage is named Jessica O’Dowd(Dow/Dowd). I would really like to find people from the other half of me. Regards

    Wendy

    Comment by razzielle — July 7, 2012 @ 1:03 pm | Reply

  90. Hi, viewing the pictures was a pleasant treat. I love my country. For years now I have been hoping to find out anything about a Canadian couple who lived in Mackenzie( Watuka). Did I spell that right? I grew up in Kwakwani and this family came to our sandy yard to camp overnight. I spent many holidays with them. His name is Walter Fildbrandt. I am not sure I even spelled that correctly. His wife was Nancy. He was a manager at the the Demba plant. My memory of this couple is joyous. At the time I was only 8 years old. Around that time when the Pegasus hotel was celebrating their grand opening, Walter and Nancy went to the opening ball. I just want to let Walter know, the little girl, Eugenie is doing well and has a large family of her own. My love goes out to them. I now live in Canada. Thanks for this opportunity.

    Comment by Eugenie De Costa — November 3, 2012 @ 2:08 am | Reply

    • Comment by Dmitri Allicock — June 22, 2013 @ 9:19 pm | Reply

  91. Thank you Brad and God bless you and family for the wonderful work you did in Upper Demerara. A renewal of the spirit of hope is priceless. The happiness in the heart of the many in Upper Demerara will always cherish you. I will surely pass on your message to Mom. Dmitri

    Comment by Dmitri Allicock — April 27, 2013 @ 4:54 pm | Reply

  92. Hi everyone I’m Derek (Nicholas John Drakes) youngest son of Hilary Drakes the paymaster of DEMBA, I was born in 1958,I think moved to Wismar Housing Scheme when I was child, my dad bought some land at the bottom of the hill in Valley of Tears Wismar. We built a brick house after the shack we all lived in blew away with the monsoons. My eldest brother Christopher Drakes was a DEMDA Trade School Grad., we all went to McKenzie High School, we immigrated to Toronto Canada, in 1967, my Dad died of Leukima and was insured and was an Insurance Salesman (British American Life) who was being transferred to Canada, however he didn’t make it, but we did, that is my Mom Cecilia Verema Drakes, Colleen, Christopher, Rose-Ann, Joseph and me. After living in Toronto Canada for 45 years I often wonder why we came here, because there is no simpler satisfying life anywhere I have traveled except Guyana. I am going to have my hip surgery and I hope to return home to die where I grew up. As I am persued by vultures in this society after all my contributions, I wish you all well and I hope where ever you are all just GO HOME, cause we na belong babbylon.

    C-Ya.
    Derek (Nick) Drakes
    derekdrakes@juno.com
    Skype: derek.drakes
    416-890-0645

    Comment by Derek Drakes — June 24, 2013 @ 8:47 pm | Reply

    • Hello Derek, are you related to Glen Drakes? He is my cousin.

      Comment by Dmitri Allicock — June 25, 2013 @ 12:32 am | Reply

      • Yes Dmitri, Glen is my cousin also, Annie & Peter, and Auntie Phillipa of Mckenzie, and Uncle Carlas who died of prostate cancer many years ago. Would you know where we used to live (111 Valley of Tears) in Wismar, looking at your protos and reading the comments it appears most Guyanese is just like me, we really don’t like not being home, however we still have to carry on, like my parents they just wanted us all to get a good education, funny thing is we already had a good education before we got here.

        Comment by Derek Drakes — June 25, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

  93. How is cousin Phillipa, Derek? She is the great niece of my maternal grandmother Nesta Allicock nee Bremner {1896-1968}.” Valley of Tears” now called” Victory Valley” is a place that I remember a little. You can reach me at my email dnallicock@gmail.com. All the very best Derek.

    Comment by Dmitri Allicock — June 25, 2013 @ 1:13 pm | Reply

  94. Some of the greatest cities of old and modern times owe their rise and grandeur to their positions in the fork between great rivers, which gave them unrivaled advantages for defense and commerce. Lyons of France, St Louis in the U.S and Belgrade of Serbia are three striking examples. Bartica occupies such a unique natural location in north-central Guyana where the mighty Essequibo, Mazaruni, and Cuyuni rivers meet.
    http://guyaneseonline.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/bartica-a-missed-opportunity-of-history-by-dmitri-allicock/

    Comment by Dmitri Allicock — July 25, 2013 @ 10:14 pm | Reply

  95. I worked at the Alumina Plant between 1973 – 74 as an engineer. I have very fond memories of Guyana – cook-up, pepper-pot and Banks Beer!

    I am wondering if there are any people of my vintage in Guyana. I’m going to be in Suriname in December and would like to visit Georgetown. I remember a Tilak Doobay, a Guybau accountant, always ready to give me a ride to Georgetown on week ends. Pops Kellman, golfer. . .

    I am now retiring soon. . .

    Comment by Raj D. Kulkarni, P. E. — August 13, 2013 @ 9:30 pm | Reply

    • Hi Raj, I think I knew Tibak Doobay from the late 70s who was an accountant at the Bauxite Industry. I was in my teens working with Associated Industries who supplied an assorted amount of Industrial gas and equipment to the Industry. Our paths crossed many times in a professional manner . The Alumina Plant is no more as you may know.
      .All the best and happy retirement.

      Comment by Dmitri Allicock — August 14, 2013 @ 11:45 am | Reply

      • World is getting to be a small place! I never thought I would get a response from Guyana but Dimitri you surprised me!. Opportunities took me to different places each with their own goods and difficulties. Survival is the name of the game. Take care. And do keep in touch. My direct email is raj.kulkarni(AT)petroproject.com. Regards,

        Raj

        Comment by Raj D. Kulkarni — August 27, 2013 @ 6:24 pm

  96. The pleasure is all mine Raj. So true, the journey of life saw so many leaving. I will be in touch,
    Dmitri

    Comment by Dmitri Allicock — August 30, 2013 @ 10:26 am | Reply

  97. Thank you Neil, regarding the Mackenzie/ Ituni line {on the eastern shore of Upper Demerara River} that was all about bauxite, built and operated by Demba {Demerara Bauxite Company}. This line delivered bauxite to the plant at Mackenzie from the various mines. The line also carried passengers and provided other duties.
    The 1897 Demerara/Essequibo Railway was built by Sprostons and ran by British Guiana. This was constructed directly across the river from {the later} 1917 Bauxite Plant and was a safe route into the highlands of Essequibo. A link to something I did on that railway. http://guyanathenandnow.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/the-demerara-essequibo-railway-der/
    [This railway should not be confused with “the coastal line” that ran from Vreed en hoop on the west bank of the Demerara to Essequibo. This link I believe might have mentioned the Vreed en hoop railwayhttp://www.tramz.com/gy/g.html]
    All the best and let me know how best that I can be of assistance
    Dmitri

    Comment by Dmitri Allicock — November 29, 2013 @ 4:44 pm | Reply

  98. This is truly a wonderful pice of history. I left Linden in 1982, and is thankful for the time that Dmitri took to put this work together.

    Comment by Brent McCalmon — January 21, 2014 @ 1:04 am | Reply

    • Bless you Brent

      Comment by Dmitri Allicock — January 23, 2014 @ 1:38 am | Reply

  99. Thanks for the ole memories of Bauxite and Alumina. . .
    Does anyone know Nat Ragnauth, he was communications manager at Guybau in 1973 and my neighbour at Richmond Hill.

    Raj Kulkarni, P. E.
    (281) 470-2121 (USA)

    Comment by Raj D. Kulkarni, P. E. — January 22, 2014 @ 6:46 pm | Reply

  100. to
    Chris Dyson-Coope
    Your Dad Geoff was the Sagunay Shipping representative in Guyana in the Late 60s. My father is Captain Bill Cook who was the shipping manager at Sprostons and worked with your dad. I know he and Shelia is wife moved back to the UK.

    Comment by Chris — April 13, 2014 @ 12:44 am | Reply


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