Re: [guyanese_genealogy] Re: CRISIS WITH GUYANA'S ARCHIVES
- Hello Sharon and allApart 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.RegardsJon
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charge of the historical documents, the money might not be used as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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, Sancho of Nabaclis
> 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!
> 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
> 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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