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Re: [guyanese_genealogy] Re: CRISIS WITH GUYANA'S ARCHIVES

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  • Jon - Budmart.co.uk
    Hello Sharon and all Apart from ourselves there are a few others who dispair with what is going on at the National Archives and have contacted the Government
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 9, 2005
      Hello Sharon and all
      Apart from ourselves there are a few others who dispair with what is going on at the National Archives and have contacted the Government directly.
      I know a few individuals who have corresponded with Government Ministers including President Jagdeo and Gail Texeira in regard to the plight of our National documents and have even helped Mr Jagdeo with his own personal Genealogical research but have not received any useful replies or help in return for their services.
      There has been little funding only promises and now we have fragile documents being heavilly handed by workmen, only in Guyana !!
      There are a number of resources worldwide where original documents or copies are kept that we can use in our research.
      Sharon, M'willana and myself have been busy putting as many of these resources together as we can for the Group and for any other interested persons.
      Unfortunately, we are not able to rely on the Guyana Archives or similiar to preserve these documents as they should be so we have to do the best we can using alternative sources of information.
      We have been in touch with other Organizations such as the I.D.P. (who helped President Jagdeo) and share a common goal in retaining our National sources before they no longer exist.
      The sad thing is the Government refuse to hand the records over to any Group such as the Mormon Church who would preserve them and insist they are doing a good job of looking after them themselves ?
      The best we can do is to personally document anything we come across and then we can collate all our resources together, then will build together our own Collection of documentation/records.
      If anyone is based in Guyana or are able to visit, anything they are able to copy will be something preserved at least.

      Sharon <deuxchat@...> wrote:
      The question is right - What can we do about this? 

      The usual answer is to get together and donate money to assist those
      who can properly care for and store the documents.  However, given
      the country's current situation and with no one knowledgeable in
      charge of the historical documents, the money might not be used as

      Here's another idea - The Mormon church is continously working in
      many countries microfilming old documents.  When a British colony
      the British took care of the documents, but since independence have
      not preserved the documents in Guyana. Perhaps this is due to
      politics in Guyana.  But this is a crisis - could - should we ask
      the Mormon church if they could go there and preserve the
      documents?  Would they need government approval?  (If so, I presume
      the Guyana goverment wouldn't allow it (why????)

      Does anyone know more about the Guyana Historical Society?  One
      wonders how it is structured and what volunteers they could muster
      to preserve the documents.  It seems to me that the person in the
      report was a Catholic Sister...if we could find out her order,
      perhaps we could appeal (i.e., write letters) to the Catholic church
      to help.

      There must be something we could do - could we all write letters to
      the Guyana government?? Would it do any good?  Would our cries of
      sadness be heard in Guyana???

      If we think positively and do something together, perhaps we can do


      --- In guyanese_genealogy@yahoogroups.com, Sancho of Nabaclis
      <childrenofsancho@y...> wrote:
      > June 7, 2005
      > Dear Colleagues:
      >         Please see the enclosed and attached article from Stabroek
      News (June 7, 2005).  It is a very sad story about the potential
      damage to Guyana's national archives and one aspect of national
      >         This situation is potentially more devastating than the
      recent floods.  What can we do about this?
      >         Please circulate this article to your e-mail list.  Let us
      make our voices heard.  Call somebody!  Write somebody!
      > peace
      > Vibert Cambridge
      > ---Article on archives starts below---
      > National Archives building sold
      > Move threatens historical material - historian says
      > Tuesday, June 7th 2005

      > Sr Mary Noel Menezes
      > The Guyana Heritage Society has expressed concern over reports
      that the National Archives collection was being moved temporarily to
      the National Cultural Centre, as the building housing it had been
      > "We're losing our history," society member and local historian,
      Professor Sister Mary Noel Menezes said yesterday, addressing the
      state of affairs of the National Archives and the deterioration of
      materials during handling and movement from one location to another.
      > Her concerns were raised following unconfirmed reports that the
      centuries-old materials were to be temporarily housed at the
      National Cultural Centre (NCC) while a building was being built
      between the NCC and the National Communication Network (NCN) on
      Homestretch Avenue to accommodate the collection.
      > Stabroek News was unable to contact Minister of Culture, Youth and
      Sport Gail Teixeira; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture,
      Youth and Sport Keith Booker; or Chairman of the Advisory Committee
      on the National Archives, Dr James Rose for a comment on the state
      of affairs as regards the archives.
      > Asked about the status of the archival materials and plans for
      their relocation to temporary accommodation while a building is
      being built to house them, Sr Menezes said she was quite surprised
      some weeks ago when she visited the National Archives to learn that
      the archival materials were being moved once again. She said she had
      not "a clue" where they were going to be placed and "it was very
      > Sr Menezes visited the National Archives but could not get the
      assistance she needed because of the preparations for removal. She
      also said that there was no archivist. No one has been appointed to
      the position since the last archivist resigned some years ago, she
      added, and the current staff members have not been trained in
      handling the materials.
      > She recalled being handed a very valuable 1888 document, which
      should not have been touched by bare hands because perspiration
      could further damage it. Sr Menezes said there were very precise
      instructions on the do's and don'ts of handling archival materials
      and the microfilming of materials. In addition, the materials must
      be stored at a certain temperature.
      > Noting that some of the materials were over 200 years old, she
      said they must be handled with care. The more they are moved, the
      more they deteriorate, she said. She recalled that some the
      materials were housed in the dome of the Parliament Buildings for
      years after which they were moved to a small building near the
      Central Fire Station on Water Street, close to the Stabroek Market.
      > They were later moved to the Main Street location, which formerly
      housed the Barclays Bank. Some were accommodated in quarters at the
      National Museum building. Lots of materials in the National Museum
      building, too, she said were threatened. "In all those moves," Sr
      Menezes said, important historical documents were destroyed.
      > Many of the documents were fragile, she said, adding that for
      years she has been agitating at various levels for better care of
      the historical records, which include much of the country's history
      in original documents from the Dutch occupation. "The Letter Books
      are original," she said adding that there were no duplicates of them
      in Guyana.
      > Sr Menezes recalled that in 1975, the country was promised a new
      building to house the archives in time for the tenth independence
      anniversary. Citizens were still awaiting the fulfilment of that
      promise, she said, adding that it was probably because archives were
      not an election issue that they were neglected.
      > Stabroek News understands that the building, which housed the
      institution, was sold to a local businessman.
      > An insider at the archives said a contractor hired by the new
      owner has asked staff at the National Archives for advice in the
      handling of the materials for removal as the building is to be
      demolished. (Miranda La Rose)

      > Vibert C. Cambridge, Ph.D., Chair
      > Department of African American Studies
      > Ohio University
      > Telephone:  740-593-9178
      > Fax:  740-593-0671
      > web:  http://www.ohiou.edu/aas/
      > email: cambridg@o...


      > M'lilwana Osanku -[Selwyn H. Ross]--Sancho of Nabaclis
      > Researcher for Sancho Family History
      > Golden Grove and Nabaclis, Guyana.
      > ---------------------------------
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