Monthly Archives: February 2010

Q.C. Alumni Association – Toronto

Queen’s College Alumni Association – Toronto

The Scribbler January 2010 Edition < Click here

Please find above the link to the latest edition of the Queen’s College Alumni Association – Toronto Scribbler Newsletter.

The Houses of Queen’s College

The Houses of Queen’s College

Posted By David Granger On March 7, 2010

Queen’s College is steeped in traditions that have been nourished for 165 years. The very name has been retained from the reign of Queen Victoria. Its anthem − Carmen Collegii Reginae − is still sung only in its original Latin although one stanza proclaiming loyalty to Britain was dropped after Guyana became an independent republic. Its motto − Fideles Ubique Utiles − also in Latin, inspires students and reminds alumni of two of life’s important values. Its newspaper used to be called the Lictor and its emblem is still the 19th century, three-masted, Royal Navy barque depicted on the coat-of-arms of the colony of British Guiana.


Bishop William Austin

Such symbolism apart, distinctive features of college life were the unwritten code of conduct and the spirit of camaraderie which sprung up among the students themselves. These were achieved largely through institutions such as the system of ‘prefects’ introduced in 1915 and ‘monitors’ in 1924, a network of societies and clubs and, most of all, by the ‘House System.’

The house system is a tradition associated with 19th century British public schools in which a ‘house’ originally referred to a boarding ‘house’ or dormitory of a boarding school. The word was borrowed by day schools such as Queen’s College where a ‘house’ was used to refer not to a building but to a group of students that was not restricted to level (form).

The ‘house system’ was introduced into the College in 1916 on the suggestion of a master, Edward Pilgrim. Students were grouped at first into two houses − ‘A’ and ‘B.’ A third house, ‘C,’ was added in 1921; ‘D’ in 1932; ‘E’ and ‘F’ in 1945 and ‘G,’ ‘L,’ ‘H’ and ‘K’ in 1954. At that time, there were ten houses.

The practice of naming the houses after famous persons was started in 1921; each was eventually given a distinctive colour. The ten houses therefore possess their own names, letters and colours – A, Percival (red); B, Raleigh (royal blue); C, Austin (leaf green); D, D’Urban (brown); E, Pilgrim (purple); F, Weston (sky blue); G, Moulder (pink); H, Woolley (emerald green); K, Cunningham (yellow); L, Nobbs (originally white, now gold).


Admiral John Cunningham

The primary purpose of the house system is to encourage team spirit and foster group solidarity. It is also the basis of competition as sports, debates and other activities are usually organised along inter-house lines. A trophy was awarded in 1954 for annual competition in academic work − based on year-round class work and external examinations − among the houses.

School ties, except for prefects and winners of ‘college colours,’ displayed house colours which were introduced in 1933. Each house had a ‘head of house’ (later house captain) and an additional number of ‘house prefects’ who were not necessarily school prefects. A staff member was usually appointed ‘house master.’ Houses would assemble every week, bringing together students of all ages and at all levels and were important platforms for participation in various extra-curricular activities. The ‘house feed’ was also a memorable annual event.

New students were assigned with the aim of balancing the membership of houses in order to foster fair competition. It became a convention that, once a student had been assigned to a house, younger siblings would join the same house when they arrived at the school. This convention sometimes extended to the children and close relatives of former students. Students would not normally change houses.


Sir Benjamin D’Urban

The ten houses are named after the College’s founder; an explorer; an alumnus who became an admiral; three headmasters and two masters, one of whom died in the Second World War and two colonial governors.

Austin House is named for Bishop William Piercy Austin, MA, LLB, DD − the patriarch of Queen’s College which was founded on August 5, 1844. He was Prelate of the Order of St Michael and St George, first Primate of the West Indies and Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of British Guiana and was personally responsible for the development of the College.

Having conceived the idea, Bishop Austin convened a meeting of prominent citizens in July 1844 to whom he explained his purpose and from whom he sought and received pecuniary support. The College, from the outset, was an institution of the Church of England and Bishop Austin was also the first principal. Born in Britain and educated at Oxford, his father owned Land of Plenty Estate on the Essequibo Coast, about 16 km from Suddie. He was consecrated Bishop of Guiana in 1842 after he had been Rural Dean in 1836.

Bishop William Piercy Austin was born on November 7, 1807 and died on November 9, 1892.

Admiral of the Fleet John Henry Dacres Cunningham was one of the College’s most distinguished alumni of all time. He was born in British Guiana, entered Queen’s College in 1896 but returned to England after his parents died in a sailing accident. He sent a personal letter to the principal in 1946 referring to the educational foundation he received at Queen’s fifty years earlier.


Captain Howard Nobbs

He was a naval cadet at HMS Britannia from which he graduated in 1901. His first service was as a Midshipman on the cruiser HMS Gibraltar and, just before the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, he was promoted to Vice-Admiral.  He was knighted in 1941 and appointed 4th Sea Lord in charge of naval supplies and transport and remained in this position until June 1943 when he was sent to the Eastern Mediterranean as Commander-in-Chief Levant, as Acting Admiral. In August he was promoted to Admiral and later took the role as C-in-C of the merged Mediterranean commands.  John Cunningham retired from the Royal Navy in September 1948.

Admiral John Cunningham was born on April 13, 1885 in Demerara and died on December 13, 1962 in Middlesex.

Lieutenant General Benjamin D’Urban, GCB, KCH, KCTS oversaw the amalgamation of the former colonies of Berbice and Demerara-Essequibo and served as the first Governor of the United Colony of British Guiana. He began his service as a military officer in 1793 and later fought in the Napoleonic Wars in which he won distinction in the Peninsular War as a quartermaster general.

General D’Urban was sent to the West Indies as Governor of Antigua in 1820 and became Governor of Demerara-Essequibo in 1824. He was then sent to Cape Colony, South Africa in January 1834 where he assumed the dual role of Governor and Commander-in-Chief. His tenure was controversial and, although he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General in 1837 and continued in his military capacity until 1846 when he was transferred to Canada, he was relieved of the governorship in 1838. The port city of Durban in South Africa and the major street and park in Georgetown were named in his honour.


Sir Walter Ralegh

Sir Benjamin D’Urban was born in 1777 in Norfolk, England and died on May 25, 1849 in Montreal, Canada.

Edwin Richard Denys Moulder, BA, MA was the first alumnus to be appointed principal of the College.  He was born at Friendship Village, East Coast Demerara, British Guiana, the son of a former vicar of St Augustine and Christ Church. He was educated at Queen’s College, won the Guiana Scholarship in 1891 and read Modern History at New College School and Merton College, Oxford earning his BA (Hons) in 1896 and his MA in 1908.

Edwin Moulder taught at schools in Kent, Winchester and Barbados from 1899 to 1901 and was appointed Assistant Master at Queen’s College in 1901. He also served as Inspector of Schools, Director of Primary Education, Examiner to the Education Department and as Censor in the First World War (1914-18). He was appointed Principal of Queen’s College in 1920 and retired in 1929. An outstanding cricketer, he represented British Guiana and the West Indies between 1902 and 1911.

Edwin Richard Denys Moulder was born on October 9, 1875 and died on November 21, 1942 in Barbados.

Captain Howard Nobbs, OBE, M Sc, FRIC was the longest-serving and one of the most successful principals of all time. He was appointed in 1931 and retired in 1951. He was educated at Brockley County School and the University College, London where he gained his MSc degree and became a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chemistry. He served with the 1st Battalion, Northampton-shire Regiment and the Royal Engineers in France during the First World War and was demobilised with the rank of Captain.


Sir Charles Campbell Woolley

Captain Nobbs devoted his energy to preserving the College’s best traditions, introducing the most recent developments in education, encouraging the staff to initiate and implement extra-curricular activity and gaining the co-operation of alumni. His greatest success was the realisation of the new College building in Thomas Lands which was opened in 1951. For his services to Queen’s College and to education in British Guiana, he was awarded Order of the British Empire in 1951.

Captain Howard Nobbs was born on October 29, 1891 in London.

William Exley Percival was the youngest person to be appointed principal in the history of the College. He assumed duty at the age of 29 years on March 5, 1877 as the first principal after the College had become a government institution and remained until 1893. Born and educated in England where he took the BA in Classics at Brasenose College, Oxford, he was regarded as a disciplinarian.

At the start of Exley Percival’s tenure, there were only 28 students but, by the end, the number had risen to over 100.  He was a keen botanist and made a list of 114 different birds in the Botanic Gardens and this was published as a book.  He also published Wild Flowers of Georgetown in 1889.  According to Norman Cameron’s History of the Queen’s College of British Guiana, Percival’s last words before dying were, “Carry on boys.” Following his death, a group of alumni and friends subscribed a sum of money for the founding of an annual bursary − the Percival Exhibition.


Frederick Thomas Weston

Exley Percival was born in 1848 and died on March 5, 1893.

Edward Oliver Pilgrim, BSc, MBE, who became one of the longest serving masters, joined the staff of the College as a junior assistant master in 1905 and left in 1959. A Barbadian, he was educated at Lodge and earned a BSc (Hons) in Physics.

Edward Pilgrim served as a master and acted as principal on several occasions, the first time being 1919. He had the good fortune to teach more than one generation of students and to create, more than any other master, the enduring ethos of one of the most important schools in the Caribbean. He is credited with introducing the ‘House System’ in 1916. For several years, he was Honorary Representative in British Guiana for the Royal Schools of Music and member of the Board of Examiners, Land Surveyors and of the National Library Committee.

Edward Oliver Pilgrim was born on January 9, 1886 in Barbados and died in 1970.

Sir Walter Ralegh was an English aristocrat, writer, poet, soldier, courtier, and explorer. He rose rapidly as a favourite in the court of Queen Elizabeth I, being knighted in 1585.

Walter Ralegh came into possession of a Spanish account of a fabulous golden city at the headwaters of the Caroní River in 1594. A year later he explored the territory that is now eastern Venezuela in search of Manoa, the legendary city. Once back in England, he published The Discovery of Guiana (1596) an account of his voyage which made exaggerated claims as to what had been discovered. The book contributed to fostering the legend of El Dorado. After Queen Elizabeth died in 1603, Raleigh fell into disfavour and was imprisoned for allegedly being involved in a plot against King James I who disliked him. He was released in order to conduct a second expedition in search of El Dorado in 1616 and, after his return to England, he was arrested and executed.

Sir Walter Ralegh was born in Devon in 1552 and executed at Whitehall on October 29, 1618.

Frederick Thomas Weston was one of the most distinguished masters of Queen’s College. He was educated at the University College, Cardiff and earned the BA (Hons) and Diploma in Education. He served as an assistant master of the Grammar School at Wallingford-on-Thames and assumed a position at Queen’s College where he remained for six years.

Known as ‘Taffy’ and described as “the greatest all-rounder” the College ever had, Frederick Weston’s favourite recreations were cricket, rugby, scouting and swimming. He introduced swimming sports and the shot put, revived boxing and became scoutmaster of the 27th British Guiana (Queen’s College) Boy Scouts. He also became the Colony Commissioner for Scouts, served on the BG Boxing Board of Control and represented the colony at rugby. He departed to serve in the Royal Air Force in the Second World War but was killed in an aircraft accident.

Frederick Thomas Weston was born on November 9, 1908 in Wales and died on August 31, 1943.

Sir Charles Campbell Woolley, KCMG, OBE, MC was Governor of British Guiana from April 12, 1947 to April 14, 1953. It was during his administration that the major, post-war, 10-year development programme covering all aspects of economic and social welfare transformation was introduced. This led to improvements in public health, public transportation and the social services and the introduction of the ‘Waddington’ Constitution introducing universal suffrage. More particularly, the new building for the College was constructed at its present site in Thomas Lands at a cost of over half-a-million dollars and the removal of students from Brickdam was completed.

Charles Woolley was a Captain in the South Wales Borderers Regiment and saw active service in the First World War during which he was awarded the Military Cross. Educated at the University College Cardiff he held the posts of Secretary to the Governor in the Ceylon Civil Service; Colonial Secretary in Jamaica; Chief Secretary in Nigeria and Governor of Cyprus before being appointed as Governor of British Guiana.

Sir Charles Campbell Woolley was born in 1893 and died in 1981.

The fact that the ten houses of Queen’s college were all named after dead males did not seem strange in a boys’ school fifty years ago. That the men were historical figures was an assurance that their records of achievements were sufficiently known to justify their selection and to avoid embarrassment from the revelation of fresh peccadillos.

Apart from their evident eminence, the historical rationale for the selection of these personages can be only a matter of surmise. Laurence Clarke’s The Queen’s College of Guyana: Records of a Tradition of Excellence explains that the assignment of ‘A,’ ‘B’ and ‘C’ houses was based on “drawn lots” and the selections for ‘E’ Pilgrim and ‘F’ Weston houses were determined by “a poll” among a section of the College in 1945. The method of selection of the others is not known.

What is clear, however, is that the men after whom houses were named became exemplars of public service and sources of inspiration to students for over nine decades.

There’s something about “Slingshot”

There’s something about “Slingshot”

Listen to his song “Wake up Guyana” by clicking on this link

Stabroek News – February 20, 2010

By Oluatoyin Alleyne

There is something about John ‘Slingshot’ DrePaul’s music that is contagious, resulting in the involuntary tapping of the feet and nodding of the head to the beat of his songs.


John ‘Slingshot’ DrePaul (Photo courtesy of John ‘Slingshot’ DrePaul)

Maybe it is the passion that just pours out of his singing–which by the way is unmatched by many–or it could be the obvious patriotism to his homeland; then again it could be just him. But whatever it is it has propelled Slingshot into the hearts of Guyanese.

If he is not singing about Mashramani, he is singing about the markets and still he may be singing about a good Guyanese Christmas.

Maybe it is words like these “Your praises I’ll sing out loud…!  And walk with my head high and proud…! No matter where I may roam…! You’re my Home, Sweet Home…!” which is the chorus of his cover song “Home Sweet Home” of his third album. And again it could be “There is nothing like me home on Christmas morning…” from his “Christmas in Guyana” hit. People in the Diaspora admit that listening to Slingshot’s songs away from home dredges up strong feelings of nostalgia.

After all there is nothing like pepper pot and ginger beer–all of which Slingshot captures in his Christmas song–to make a good Guyanese Christmas.

But it is not just his songs that give that true down-to-earth feeling, his music videos which all seem to be spontaneous and in no way choreographed manage to capture what life really is like in Guyana.

Slingshot and his wife Ingrid in costume on Mash Day last year.

The spontaneity was confirmed when this writer was approached by Slingshot  and his adoring wife Ingrid while shopping in Bourda Market to be part of a video they were shooting on the spot. I declined but observed many other shoppers gladly acceding to the request and shouting the words they were told as a beaming Slingshot had his small handheld camera trained on them.

Maybe the answer to why his songs are just not forgettable is provided by Slingshot himself when he says he has “used my music and videos as tools to weld social, cultural, and to an extent, political harmony among Guyanese.”    The singer also proclaimed that he is “welcomed and appreciated in homes in the inner-city as well as rural areas.”

Perhaps the essence of it all comes out when one sits down and listens to the life story of the Berbice boy who was thrown out of the only place he called home by his stepmother and was forced to spend some time on the Number 63 beach in a shack. The loneliness and pain a 13-year-old boy would have experienced during such an ordeal rings out in most of his songs as it is this that prompted him to start writing songs. But the joy and triumph derived from pulling through such a period with just a few scratches and bruises is also evident in his singing.

‘Self made’

Slingshot describes himself as a “self-made artiste whose music is appealing to people from all races, backgrounds, and cultures because it has rhythm and meaning.”

“Affable” and “multi-talented” are other adjectives he uses to sell himself as a “versatile entertainer whose raw authentic Caribbean singing style imitates no one in particular” and one who has a “most colourful past.”

His background gets more interesting when he talks about moving to the US in 1970 and performing at Madison Square Garden with his Guyanese band ‘Tropical Waves’ as the opening act for Jamaican singer Yellowman, the Mighty Sparrow from Trinidad and Guyanese Calypso Rose. His stint in the military, which saw him spending time in Germany also adds to his colourful past.

The singer has boasted of composing and arranging over 150 songs and has recorded seven CD albums.

Slingshot adds that he has been into all genres of music, calypso, soca, reggae, waltz, R&B and Chutney. He is of the opinion that he has broken the stereotype of someone from especially an “East Indian background and from the rural area of Guyana” to enter the realms of “calypso singing and entertaining, and to create an almost unique sound that is truly Guyanese.”

Saying music is his life, Slingshot said he has performed in many countries and has fond memories of his performances in London to a predominantly Nigerian and Ghanaian audience. He said his music videos are seen in a number of African countries, US, Canada, UK and the Caribbean.

His success in rising above economic, cultural, social and family adversities, he said has seen his music used “many times over as role models for the economically and socially disadvantaged, as well as musicians and entertainers in Guyana.”

Beach house

Slingshot talks openly about being thrown out of his home at age 13 by his stepmom. He said he lived for a while in a “simple beach shack” he put together on the Number 63 beach. Many months later, he said, he got together with some friends and built a solid beach house where he “survived with the protection and kindly assistance from strangers.”

But even in such adversity, the artiste said he stuck to his schoolwork and attended the Tagore Memorial High School daily.

His love for music developed during that period and he juggled it with school, succeeding in putting together a bad named ‘The Lonely Bulls’. This group was popular in its days and performed at many local events along the Corentyne Coast and in New Amsterdam.

Not to be daunted when his band was no more, Slingshot said he instead organised another group which he named ‘Sons of India’ and it was with this band that he “experimented with a fusion of English and Indian music” adding that the word Chutney was not coined at that time.

As a boy, Slingshot said, his friendships reached across the racial divide which was typical of a rural upbringing.

Following his completion of secondary school the artiste taught at his alma mater for a few years and without any assistance from local or national government he said he was “instrumental in the formation of some social clubs which kept the youths in the various villages along the Upper Corentyne occupied and off the streets.” The clubs were called ‘Early Risers Youth Club’ and ‘Idlers Dominoes Club.’

Some of his more memorable songs, which were produced in collaboration with his wife Ingrid, include “Mash Fever”, “Welcome to Guyana” and of course “Sweet Island Woman”.

Over the years, Slingshot has played a significant part in Mash celebrations and has had floats on the road for a number of years–winning some prizes in the process.

No one can forget the 2007 accident when he fell off the horse cart that was pulling his float on Mash Day. Even in pain he got up and “balancing on his two hands” he ensured he made it to the National Park but shortly after was admitted to the hospital where it was diagnosed he had sustained three broken bones in his lower back.

Not to be deterred he came out again the following year and won his category with ‘Mash Fever: Heart of Man – Love of Country.’

Listing some of his achievements Slingshot recalled that in 2004 a song entitled “You Are Not Alone” written by him and wife was recorded with the input of a number of Guyanese artistes. The song was given to Artistes in Direct Support to benefit orphans and homeless kids in Guyana, especially those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. This song was relaunched on Thursday when Slingshot launched his Mash band at the Pegasus Hotel and The Scene understands that some of its lines are also destined for a new GT&T advertisement.

Slingshot has received the ‘Mayor’s Award for Excellence’, the ‘GT Lime 2005 Charitable Award’ and helped with a relief in London for victims of the 2005 flood.

Fans will soon get to learn more about this artiste as Slingshot revealed that he is in the process of editing his manuscript titled Slingshot: From Number 63 Beach to Madison Square Garden. He said the manuscript chronicles his rather “interesting and unique journey through life” since he overcame the “psychological trauma” of living alone in his early teens. It will also talk about the fact that he taught himself guitar, formed a string band, supported himself through high school and refrained from using alcohol and tobacco. (

Schoolnet Guyana Launched

SchoolNet Guyana project launched

THE SchoolNet Guyana pilot project, being undertaken by Global Partnership for Literacy (Global Literacy) in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, got under way on January 29, at Diamond Secondary School, East Bank Demerara.

In the partnership, the Canadian non-profit organisation, Global Literacy is working with the Ministry to computerise all secondary schools in this country and the one at Diamond School computer lab, which has 30 computers, is estimated to cost about US$65,000.

SchoolNet Guyana is computer-based and the objective is to integrate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the targeted schools.

Global Literacy was established two years ago and is creating SchoolNet chapters in Canada, United States (U.S.) and the United Kingdom (UK), to assist with the acquisition of funds, equipment, technical expertise and promotion of the scheme.

SchoolNet Guyana seeks to support the national ICT strategy, to expand its use in education and help bridge the digital divide; assist the school alumni and community groups to realise positive outcomes from their investment in school programmes locally and promote computer-aided literacy in this country.

SchoolNet Guyana envisages that, by 2013, every educator and learner in the secondary education stream will be empowered to use appropriate and available technology to complete the curriculum requirements of their programmes…….  continued

Read the full article by clicking here >Schoolnet Project launched


HANSIB PUBLICATIONS – Catalogues Available

Hansib Publications of the U.K., have an extensive catalogue of publications numbering some 74 titles that are available worldwide through bookstores. They also have direct ordering from their website.

The titles are mainly by Guyanese and West Indian writers.  They include titles under the following headings: History, Nations Studies, Cultural Studies, Social Sciences and Politics; Biography; Younger Readers;  Literature and  Poetry; Cookery; Sport; The Arts’  Fiction and Law.

You may download the two catalogs from the Guyanese  Online Weblog on these links:

Link1– Hansib Catalogue 2008 – 2009

Link 2– Hansib Catalogue – New Publications

CONTACT Information:

Hansib Publications Ltd,  PO Box 226, Hertford, Hertfordshire.  SG14 3WY. U.K. Ph: 0208 523 0888.  Fax: 0208 523 1155

E-Mail: Website: and



– A Critical Analysis by: Christopher Ram

(Note-Click on headlines for links to articles)

Focus on Guyana’s National Budget 2010

This 2010 Focus on Guyana’s National Budget marks twenty years since Ram & McRae began this annual publication which highlights, reviews and comments …

The Global Economy

The Minister estimated global decline of 0.8% in 2009 compared to 3% growth in 2008, attributed to weak demand in the world’s larger markets, and …..

2009 Legislation

During 2009, thirty-five out of forty-nine Bills tabled in the National Assembly were passed, while three additional Bills from 2008 and one from 2007 also ….

Unfinished Business

Every year, Focus tracks the implementation of the key issues and policies identified in previous Budget Speeches. Where it seems clear that some issues have …..

2010 Policy Issues and Targets

In his introduction of the 2010 budget, the Minister attributed the achievements of 2009 to a careful and deliberate policy stance, aimed at maintaining macroeconomic …

The Government of Guyana Financial Plan 2010

The table on page 24 presents a summary of the Government’s projected Financial Plan for 2010. The 2010 Plan projects a surplus on the current account …

Who Gets What in 2010

Current Non-Interest Expenditure.  In this section we consider how the budgeted expenditure is allocated among the principal Ministries, Departments, Programmes and Projects.  Central Government’s non-interest current expenditure … …


The LCDS has earned a separate section in the 2010 budget speech. The Minister announced the development of a new model of low carbon economic …

Presidential Assenting of Bills

The President’s failure to assent to several Bills passed by the National Assembly in 2006, which lapsed when the Assembly was prorogued, has been debated …

That other contract scandal

Ram & McRae in their Focus on the 2010 Budget drew attention to a section of their 2009 Budget Focus which examined the explosion of consultants in government…

Godfrey Chin mounts outstanding pictorial exhibition

Godfrey Chin mounts outstanding pictorial exhibition

Some never-before-seen images of Guyana, past and present are on show at the Umana Yana exhibited by photographer and renowned former costume band designer Godfrey Chin.
The exhibition which runs into Mashramani, is a partnership effort between Chin and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport in the lead up to Guyana’s 40th Republic Anniversary celebrations.

Godfrey Chin and Ian McDonald view the exhibits

Among the collections are pictures that reflect the themes: “From whence we came” the “Garden City,” “Festivals,” “Mash,” and Guyana’s Hinterland,” among others.

The exhibition opened in the presence of several of Chin’s personal colleagues from as far as boyhood days. Among them were Economist Ian McDonald, Terry Holder Deputy General Manager of   Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GT&T), Chris Fernandes of Fernandes Shipping and Advertising Entrepreneur Vic Insanally.
Explaining the background to the exhibition Chin said the inspiration was drawn from advice by friends to write a book about Guyana.

Following on the advice Chin in December 2000 started writing for his book “Nostalgia – Golden Moments of Guyana 1940 to 1980.” In the process he compiled a series of photographs and later developed a love for photography.
At last evening’s exhibitions, several of those who congratulated Chin for a job well done made a public appeal for all to pay a visit noting that “an opportunity like this shouldn’t be missed.”
GT&T’s Terry Holder said he was surprised and pleased to see photos past and present about the telephone company and considered it a worthwhile promotion that pioneered telecommunications in Guyana.

Chin believes that the exhibition will also be to the benefit of school children and said he is willing to dedicate some of his time to meet with them during the period of the exhibition.
Chin held the band-of-the-year title for several years in the 1960s and 1970s during Mashramani costume and float parade competition. Among his winning creations were “Birth of a nation,” “Helen of Troy,” “Guyana Spectacular” “One for All, All for One,” “Birth of a Nation,” “The History of Aviation,”
“Helen of Troy,” designed by Chin in 1961 was his first mega production and it was followed by the “Egyptian Broach” costume which was worn by Evadne Gravesande, the first Independence Carnival Queen in 1968.
“Birth of a Nation was considered the most spectacular as it was highlighted by a mass of glittering colours showcasing the indigenous concept.
Godfrey Chin, who won band-of-the year on several occasions, said Guyana’s Republican status brought out the true potential of Guyanese designers.

Georgetown, GINA, February 13, 2010

Go down to the Umana Yana right now!

Go down to the Umana Yana right now!

– For   Pictorial  Exhibition of Godfrey Chin’s “Nostalgias”

February 19, 2010 Freddie Kissoon

One book on Guyana that will remain quite popular for a long time is Godfrey Chin’s “Nostalgias.”  This is not a publication that fits into a particular genre (see my review, KN, March 18, 2008). Chin’s “Nostalgias” is a portrait of what Guyana was like from the forties up and his canvas takes in Guyana in totality.
Chin didn’t leave anything out – the trains, buildings, cinemas, industries, gardens, roads, sports, schools, parties, floats. This is what has made this book particularly enduring. If your kids in 2020 want to know what their parents’ capital city looked like in 1960, then “Nostalgias” will always be there for them to read. Chin filled a void when he wrote “Nostalgias.” I would suggest that it is an excellent gift for a Guyanese who grew up outside and wants to know about their parents’ country.

Not satisfied with a literary description of Guyana’s contemporary history, Chin has now put on a photographic display of Guyana’s past. This project is fantastic to see. While viewing it with my wife, I called my editor and described for him what I was looking at. No country’s leadership that cares about its cultural and historical values should let this type of material slip through its hands. I appeal to President Jagdeo to buy this stuff. This is our country’s history. Mr. Chin asked me not to quote the particular figure he has in mind but he has no objection in announcing that he is delighted to see the collection bought for the National Library. The figure that was mentioned is not extensive at all. This is peanuts for the Government.

Should the Government buy this photographic archives (please Mr. Jagdeo follow the examples of the leadership of all those countries you visit and preserve your nation’s legacies), I have a suggestion to make. Make a book out of these photographs. Let history be passed on. My fear is if Mr. Chin retains these mountains of depictions, what happens if they should be lost. Mr. Chin is in his seventies. Please, let’s be realistic; he isn’t getting any younger.

The photographic “Nostalgias” exhibition is like the book. It is all inclusive. Mr. Chin has compartmentalized his subjects. There is a politics board. There is a wall for sports. Another section is on great Guyanese. The corner that is absorbing is the ancient fires caught on camera. Most of the famous (or infamous, depending on your epistemology) fires that ravaged Georgetown were snapped by Mr. Chin or maybe some negatives were given to him. Mr. Chin lecturers his visitors on the origins of the fires. In one episode, fire-crackers were being made. At Bookers, a huge fire emerged after something went wrong with the making of Limacol. It is intriguing how Mr. Chin’s camera followed the flames as they consumed building after building.

I don’t know if the families of Forbes Burnham and Cheddi Jagan have all the pictures snapped of them throughout their long careers though I doubt it. But if they need some films on these two personalities when they were young then Mr. Chin is the man to consult. There are about five shots of a very young Forbes Burnham in different situations and it was clear to any viewer that Burnham was a fashion-conscious politician.  The photographs show a contrast between the two men. Burnham appeared to prefer casual clothes while Jagan was more formally attired.

Some rarities are definitely in the collection, like a photo of a man named Art Williams who, according to Mr. Chin, was the pioneer of aviation in this country. It was explained to me that Williams landed his aircraft in British Guiana by mistake. After realizing that what he had on board was deemed contraband in the US, to avoid arrest, he detoured to this country and made history in the process. Then came the shocker for me. Mr. Chin has posted up a snap of Charles Lindbergh in Guyana, the world famous American aviator and explorer who landed here on a flight from Panama.

So which photograph caught my eyes? It is one with the British soldiers leaving. They landed here in 1953 after the Constitution was suspended. As they embarked at Atkinson airport, there is a school of young women watching them with blue-eyed children in their hands. These were the children the soldiers fathered while on duty here. As I was leaving I said to Mr. Chin that he has a section on Guyanese icons and he must add himself to the list .

External debt to exceed US$1B in 2010

External debt to exceed US$1B in 2010

Stabroek staff On February 13, 2010

By the end of 2010, Guyana’s external debt is likely to exceed US$1 billion.

According to this year’s budget, which Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh presented to the National Assembly on Monday, Guyana is projected to accumulate external debt amounting to $1,069.80B by December 31, 2010. This comes after the country’s external debt increased to US$933M, having grown by 12% during 2009. At the end of 2008, the country’s external debt had been pegged at $834.32M.

Singh said, “following a number of debt initiatives that resulted in a considerable reduction of the stock in recent years, increased multilateral and bilateral disbursements accounted for the bulk of the 12% growth.” However, he said that “even in the face of this growth in the debt stock, debt service payments declined by about 14% last year to US$17.5M.”

According to the minister, progress has been made in terms of reducing the country’s external debt. “Some progress has been made with our bilateral and non-Paris Club creditors and diplomatic and other efforts would be sustained in the search for a viable solution to reducing or eliminating the stock of outstanding debt to these creditors in line with our Paris Club obligations,” Singh stated.

He said Guyana’s debt “is expected to remain sustainable over the medium term” adding that “amidst rising debt levels in many other Caribbean territories, this would be a significant achievement.” However, he said that for this to be achieved, “Guyana will require continued access to concessional financing going forward.”

This year’s budget projects increased credit being received from non-Paris Club creditors. Total credit received from these countries is projected to increase from $320.44M to $425.83M by the end of this year. Credit from Venezuela is expected to increase from the $143.04M recorded at the end of 2009 to $225.58M by the end of this year. Credit from China is set to increase from the $32.37M at the end of last year to $49.30M by the conclusion of 2010.

Bilateral credit is slated to increase by the end of 2010 to $477.79M. At the end of last year, bilateral credit had been pegged at $375.22M, a relatively marginal increase from the $340.63M recorded at the end of 2008.

Meanwhile, Singh also noted that “the stock of government’s domestic debt increased by 16% in 2009 to $87B.” According to him, this reflected “an expansion in the insurance of treasury bills to sterilise excess liquidity consistent with the monetary policy objective. Commercial banks retained the largest share of outstanding stock of treasury bills with 76% up from 73% one year earlier,” Singh said.

The country’s total domestic debt service, Singh announced, has decreased by 28.7% to $4.3B from 2008 “as a result of redemption of debentures that saw a decline in principal payments even while interest charges increased on all maturities of treasury bills.”

Drought threatening Guyana agriculture

Drought threatening Guyana agriculture

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, February 15, 2010 – Drought conditions in Guyana, caused by a lingering El Nino, is threatening to cause billions of dollars in damage to the agriculture sector and officials say they’re doing all they can to, at least, limit the losses.

Like other countries in the region, Guyana is struggling with water shortages and Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud said the resultant losses could be around GUY$3 billion (US$14.7 million).

He said his ministry is aiming to minimize losses by ensuring that water is being provided where it is needed.

“So far we have close to 10,000 acres of rice land under stress; we have cattle, too, going through some very difficult conditions; we have some acreage in terms of crops under pressure…in the hinterland areas where they did not get rains,” he explained during a visit to affected farming communities over the weekend.

“Across the country we have mobilized resources in all the regions and local officials to try and work very closely with farmers…to develop the type of system that we need so that we can respond, address, provide the type of assistance in all the areas,” Persaud added.

It is currently costing the ministry approximately GUY$3.2 million (US$15,709) per day to operate pumps and conduct other works. Since the drought conditions started, government has spent in excess of GUY$250 million (US$1.2 million) in infrastructure works to support farmers countrywide with GUY$49 million (US$240,549) allocated to hinterland locations.

Minister Persaud said that while the Ministry had been investing in drainage and irrigation, its resources are overstretched and that farmers need to understand resources need to be shared during this difficult time.

Today, the Ministry will be conducting a second wave of assistance where dietary supplements, molasses, feed and veterinary assistance will be provided.