The Seawall, Tales of the Guyana Coast – film

The Seawall, Tales of the Guyana Coast – film

This is a film about the ongoing battle to build and maintain the sea defences of Guyana.  It gives a historical perspective as the earlier Dutch and English planters and Governors had to battle the sea and the flood from rainfall as well.  The rising sea levels, if they occur, will make the sea defences  even more difficult to control flooding during high tides.
Director and Camera: Ray Kril Script and Co Director: Rupert Roopnaraine Sound and editing: Theo Raben Producer: Gloria Lowe Original Music: Richie Maxwell Featuring Mark Matthews as the Old man recounting the history of the seawall …  Total time =00:52:11 mins.
— Guyanese Online Post #1890
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  • Dmitri Allicock  On 09/24/2012 at 2:13 pm

    Riveting story of the ongoing battle for survival and defying the ravages of the Atlantic. The ballet grand allegro and rhythm of rich cultural life is showcased at a glance. The application and vital history of the seawalls is not overlooked as 90 percent of Guyanese continue to extra life and harmonically live below sea level, enjoying the rich clay of fertility- embraced by the might of the Amazon and Atlantic.

  • Deen  On 09/24/2012 at 9:50 pm

    Interesting and impressive piece of filmmaking. I applaud the collaborative work of Ray Kril, Rupert Roopnarine, Theo Raben, Gloria Lowe, Richie Maxwell and Mark Matthews in producing this artistic documentary. This film provided some stark glimpses of economic hardship and rich cultural practices . As a Guyanese, I would love to see more of these films that will skilfully showcase the history, culture, places and people of Guyana.

  • BERNARD N. SINGH  On 09/25/2012 at 9:21 pm

    Where can I buy this.

  • Cyril Balkaran  On 09/27/2012 at 11:05 am

    What is so very interesting about the collapse of parts of the sea wall is that it took over 100 years to happen. The slow but sure coastal erosion all over the globe are sending signals to the authorities to take action as it will be too late for mass action including mass evacuation, So step by step repairs are to take place over a period of time to effect the repairs so desired. Guyana is 11ft. below the sea level and the high tIde at all times remind us of our vulnerability. we will not wait for a Sunami to come at our doorsteps before action can be taken.

  • Ron. Persaud  On 09/30/2012 at 11:35 pm

    “….it took over 100 years to happen.” ???
    Hell No! It had been happening insidiously over all those hundred years wherever the Atlantic dictated the tides – along the coast most certainly; but also along the rivers.
    “One, one, dutty bill dam” was certainly inspired by the sight of a whole village (I remember the scene well at Phoenix, Leguan) – men, women and children – fetching whatever lumps of dutty they could – and tossing it into the breach while others worked frantically to wedge them in place before the rushing water swept them away.
    Years later, I was to see the mechanized version of this operation as directed by Sam Dean – the Mech. Till. Foreman at LBI. A “Caterpillar” D9 bulldozer would move almost a wall of earth up to the breach. When enough earth was piled up, the operator would drive the little D9 to the top (hair- raising!) of the pile and, with short quick forward and reverse motions push the whole pile of earth into the breach and in a short time it would be sealed.
    I was a passenger in a small plane that made a low pass over the foreshore of LBI. The tide was out and I could see the neat grid of drains and “cross four foot” of whole fields outlined on the mudflat. Those fields were lost through some breach that had occurred quite a bit before my time. There was a derelict koker structure standing forlornly almost a quarter mile form the existing and functioning seawall. Those who knew of these things (Jimmy Singh) spoke of a 7-year cycle. You could play cricket on the Kingston foreshore for some years; then there would be an similar period when the tide would preclude this.
    I remember Mr, Brindley Benn referring to the “Dunlopillow” effect on the coastal roadways because of underground intrusion of the sea under and inland from the seawall. For the same reason the roadway along “slant wall” on the east coast seldom stayed level for very long.
    Another bit of evidence were the two concrete strips on the public roads that were an acknowledgement of the of the size and gravity of the erosion problem, not to mention the tons of burnt earth that had to be put down all the time.
    Growing up in Albuoystown, I remember the consternation and distress that occurred when a “koker break away”.
    Again I was to see this from a different aspect many years later.
    LBI was looking for drainage any and every where possible.
    Bernie Lopes had this bright idea to drain two sections of the estate back through the Ruimveldt Koker, but the door was jammed solid by the silt.
    Bernie reasoned that if we could lift the door enough, the rising water on the river could exert enough pressure to blow out the silt and get the koker functioning again.
    It was night. Carrera, the koker watchman, Bernie and I watched as the tide rose in the Demerara river. At about & o’clock, there was this muffled “Boom!” and water started bubbling into the drainage trench. Bernie had been right but the event occurred too early. Now we could only watch and hope that the tide would turn at 8 o’clock as predicted in the tide tables. The tide did turn on schedule but the water on the river was so high that it would keep rising in the drainage trench for some time yet. Around 11 o’clock a strange but rather comforting event took place.Residents along the drainage trench turned up to alert (wake up?) Carrera that the place was flooding. When they heard what we were trying to do, they hung out to see what would happen. We watched tensely as the water continued to rise. It was after midnight that the tide turned in our favor (pardon the pun). The water started to recede and everyone sighed with relief.
    By next morning the water had scoured away a lot of the silt, the koker was functional once more…..and Bernie Lopes was a hero!
    Then there were the Conservancies had their share of breaches due to another problem – the pegasse soil type. The Cane Grove breach claimed 21 punts which were used in the frantic effort to seal the breach. Almost every employee on the east coast estates could claim some first hand experience with that effort.
    To this day I can detect the sound of the slightest drip or trickle of water. That sound was often the first indication of a potential breach and we relied on the “ranger” to pick up that sound and fix the leak with his “Demerara teaspoon” -the shovel that was like a staff of his office.

  • guyaneseonline  On 12/18/2013 at 5:24 am

    Reblogged this on Guyanese Online and commented:

    Have another look at this entry that was made on September 24, 2012.

  • de castro  On 12/18/2013 at 10:02 am

    Correction to above comment….
    Guyana is not 11feet below sea level….
    Its massive rivers will always cause floods on their banks and estuary…
    GT at the entrance of these two mighty rivers will always flood.
    75% of the population of the planet live along rivers and coastal areas.
    One of the most impressive ideas in 21st century was to build a CITY
    as far inland on higher altitude as possible….
    That city was BRAZILLIA….
    if you cannot afford it then let someonelse do the honours….
    A New City is long overdue.
    Build the infrastructure and people/investment will follow.
    Its commonsence economics.

  • Rayokril  On 11/07/2014 at 11:45 pm

    Thank you for all the positive contribution and comments. This film was made by us in 1991, before Global Warming not a common discussion. I would love to return now to make follow up film as the situation is clearly more effected by Global Warming. Ray Kril

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