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  • Cyril Bryan
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 22, 2010
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      Pioneers in post emancipation history

      By: Eusi Kwayana

      (Copyright – Part of a forthcoming book on the Village movement bu Eusi Kwayana)

      This article was read in August 2010 at the celebration by Buxton villagers of the 170th anniversary of the village.

      According to Allan Young, using and official estimates, during the first decade of the village movement  the land bought and the houses built and improved both in the Victoria type  25 collective  and in the Queenstown type villages made a total investment of some $2.5 million of African savings at a time when there was no lender. Collective labour for village purposes must have added another value to total investment.

      There are mainly two ways of approaching and seeing village history in Guyana. One is to study villages one by one. We shall find that the oldest villages were those of the indigenous people whom we call Amerindians. Their names are often noteworthy, helping to preserve ancient languages. They are about the only villages with this cultural distinction.

      There are a large number of African villages, the great a majority of which have Dutch, French or mostly English names which had some significance when they were chosen. There are lastly a large number of Indian villages, with names not far different from the African villages. If we taught history in our schools the finding of meanings of names and reasons for naming will be an interesting project for schools and pupils or students of all races and classes. It would be one step in the direction of a good place to go.

      There are several villages over many years that have celebrated their anniversaries. The celebrations were either at home or abroad where our people have gone. Last year (2009) the first Village, Victoria, celebrated its birthday. There are three publications on this village one by a long gone schoolmaster Mr. Arno. The second is a booklet by Mr Rupert Dowden, “The First Village”, written in days of the PNC which had come out in favour of cooperatives. The third other was by this writer. They should still be available in Victoria.

      My forthcoming book will approach village history, not village by village but by discussing the Village Movement.  It is my view and I have proclaimed it since reading Allan Younge’s “Approaches to  Local Self Government in British Guiana”, that the Village movement  was a period of,  about fifty years, during which Guyana went through its most significant period of lasting social change. This is part of the reason that some feel strongly about people who misguide themselves and violate the people’s reputation for freedom by using their inherited lands for purposes of unprovoked attacks, not against a hostile government, but against unarmed persons who might be its supporters. In carrying out these acts of brutality they also corrupted the village inwardly, holding the unarmed villagers under a rule of fear and every form of suffering which war imposes. The insanity allowed the expansion of a drug financed and government- backed force called the Phantom whose self-confessed leader has been convicted and jailed in the USA on drug charges.

      That period roughly from 2001 to 2007 was an unnecessary and unproductive anti-development interruption of the history of at least a small number of villages, including Buxton and Agricola.

      Read Full article here: Pioneers in post-Emancipation History

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