Guyanese Online Blog and Newsletter – featured in Stabroek News

The Guyanese Online Blog and Newsletter

 By Stabroek staff On January 7, 2013- In In The Diaspora | 

By Cyril Bryan

A graduate of Central High School and Pupil Teacher at Lusignan School from 1955-1960, Cyril Bryan migrated to Canada in 1966, where he attended York University to study Economics. He is currently a management consultant focused on computer technologies.

20130107diasporaIn last week’s “In the Diaspora” tribute to Randall Mohan Butisingh, who passed away in Florida just a week after he celebrated his 100th birthday with loved ones, I was quoted as saying: “When Randall Mohan Butisingh stopped blogging he suggested that I begin my own blog.  I decided to start the Guyanese Online Blog and newsletter in March 2010. It may not be in existence today had I not first had the experience of helping Mr. Butisingh with his blog.  He inspired me to do Guyanese Online without the thought of compensation for my work. He said, if it serves a purpose then it would be successful.”  

The first Guyanese Online newsletter, published in March 2010, went to a database of about 500 persons.  To date, we have published 32 newsletters which are sent to our database of over 30,000 Guyanese and friends worldwide. The blog posts over 100 entries every month on a wide range of subjects, and now has almost 2300 entries.  It receives an average of 2000 visitor views/day and at present has a total of 925,000+ views and should pass the 1,000,000 mark by its third anniversary in March 2013. Mr. Butisingh was correct … the Guyanese Online Blog and Newsletter had a purpose that has filled a need.

As I noted in the introduction to Guyanese Online Blog: “Guyanese, like most others, try to preserve their culture and pass it on to their children and grandchildren.  The problem has been that many Guyanese have not looked back, or if they did, it was only fleetingly.  This means that the younger generations and those who left at an early age know very little about Guyana since many have not visited the country.  Also, if they do get information about Guyana, it is usually negative and thus the cycle of non-interest is cultivated. …. The Guyanese Online Blog, along with its monthly newsletter, aims at bringing Guyanese together to support positive news, increase travel and tourism in Guyana and, in general, foster the birth of a new Guyana, which has already begun notwithstanding the negative news that grabs the headlines.”

Cyril Bryan (www.guyaneseonline.wordpress.com)

Cyril Bryan (guyaneseonline.wordpress.com)

We focus on Guyanese individuals, associations and groups worldwide who want news from Guyana but do not read the on-line newspapers. Guyanese Associations are given free advertising in the Blog and the monthly newsletters. This has helped in the success of their events and awareness of their works. The newsletter, usually around 25 pages, covers Associations’ news, Guyana’s news: general news, politics, business, tourism, medical, history, arts and cultural stories. Since Guyana is a part of the Caribbean Community – CARICOM – we also feature news from Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados and other Caribbean islands. These news items complement the daily entries on the Blog. All past Newsletters are available on the Blog.

About four blog entries are done each day, selected from a whole file of interesting material collected by me or sent to us from readers around the world. The newsletter takes at least seven days to produce each month.

Our statistics show that about 40% of our readers live in the USA and about 20% in Canada, but readers are located in over 180 countries. We, therefore, feature commentaries and interesting articles and videos that would interest a wide audience. Every week we email a list of Blog entries to the 30,000 plus email addresses from which readers access the items that interest them.  The most popular entries are Guyana news; music videos, especially calypsos, Guyanese and Caribbean recipes, political/social commentaries, Guyana personalities, hinterland travels, history articles and educational videos.

The comments in the Guyanese Online introduction entry highlight some of the positive feedback from readers who have “found” the blog and appreciate its content and philosophy of working towards repairing the image of Guyana overseas and aiding in its rebirth so that Guyanese can be proud of their heritage, and regain the respect that was ours in the past.

Over the last two years, many persons have contributed articles to the Blog and it is not possible to list them all here. However, some articles I do remember well. Peter Halder’s early article on growing up in Albouystown and how it did not prevent his personal success was an instant hit. He has contributed other stories and forwarded interesting items to the Blog, but this story held the attention of many readers. We thank him for his help in expanding the readership of the Blog.

Our most prolific contributor has been Dmitri Allicock.  He has written over 20 entries, many of them specifically for the Guyanese Online Blog. They range from life in the Upper Demerara River; his family history; a nostalgic Guyanese Christmas; the unique Berbice Chair; historical stories on our technological development; and stories of the interior and the plants and animals of Guyana. We thank him for his contributions as they have all been educational, and we look forward to many more in the future.

A more recent contributor has been retired Major General Joseph Singh. His most recent entry “The magnificent Essequibo River” has been well received as it highlights life in the interior of Guyana, which many of us have not experienced. We thank him for taking the time to share his experiences with us.

Over the holidays, we carried a piece by Ron Cheong, recording his memories of Christmas, leading one reader to write that “He reminded us older Guyanese folks of those items that were special and customs and rituals that were uniquely associated only with [sic] a Guyanese Christmas. A beautiful piece and well written.”

Another blog entry by Lear Matthews, a tribute to Guyanese teachers, prompted one reader to attribute the fact that he is a poet today to his Guyanese teachers instilling a love for the form in him, and identifying a number of teachers, Mr. Lochan,  Tr. Riley, Tr. Joseph, Mr. Ben Chinapen, as well as headmasters like the late J W Chinapen, J Butchey, and John Ramlall. It turns out this reader was himself a teacher, who worked “for the great CV Nunes, Cumberbatch, Mr Fields and Mr James Sukhu.”  Another praised the entry, writing that “We need to expand this article and number them: Part 1, Part 2, and so on. I was talking to retired Senior Education Officer – Community High Schools, Clarence Bertie London [Mister CB] and he is one that could assist with expanding the list of teachers in Guyana.”

Guyanese Online, as an information tool for the Diaspora, has been a success.  However, the Diaspora is evolving and Guyanese Online will have to evolve with it.  We have noticed that many Guyanese associations are now focusing on “local initiatives” rather than sending aid to Guyana as they report problems with implementing their aid projects there. Many are looking at other options in the Caribbean and elsewhere. Many Guyanese want to invest in Guyana but they worry about doing business there and of safeguarding their transactions with the rampant corruption. The economic downturn and Hurricane Sandy have also reduced remittances from the New York/New Jersey areas where many Guyanese reside. Moreover, the political/economic uncertainties in Guyana are affecting the decisions of many who would dearly love to return home if they could see long-term positive change.

There are numerous overseas Guyanese associations, but with many of the founder members now over 65 years old they are not as vibrant as they were in the past, because of a problem of succession to the younger generations. Associations also may have problems ensuring their donations reach the “end users,” with many stories of misappropriated funds and equipment and this affects future donations. And communication is key – whether e-mail, phone or other correspondence. Many opportunities are lost by a lack of interest or follow-up.

There are many organizations in Guyana that do excellent work for those less fortunate, but they do not seem to have the resources to be able to regularly project their needs to Guyanese organizations overseas. Guyanese Online could help in getting these organizations known, so contact us to help get the word out about what you do!

The Guyana government seems to recognize that the ongoing brain drain has affected development.  They are reaching out, like previous governments, to attract Diaspora investment and for skilled Guyanese (who have the highest emigration rates in the world) to return home. They have recently launched the Guyana Diaspora (GUYD) project. This project, which ends in March 2013, is an online survey by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Development Fund aimed at creating databases of Guyanese who want to aid in the development of Guyana and perhaps return home. A long term strategy for attracting Guyanese overseas may be developed when the IOM contract ends. However, in addition to the problems outlined above, issues regarding tax-free and other waivers on cars and equipment will have to be clarified before persons make decisions of such magnitude.

In closing, Guyanese Online thanks all of the contributors of articles; those who forwarded articles of interest for publication; contributors from their blogs; letter writers; commentators and all our readers, blog followers, and supporters who have made it one of the most popular Guyanese sites on the Internet. You are the reason for our success!

We are always on the lookout for material – contact us at cybryan@gmail.com  or guyaneseonline@gmail.com

We wish a Happy and Successful year 2013 to everyone.

Guyanese Online Blog address:

https://guyaneseonline.wordpress.com

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Comments

  • guyaneseonline  On 01/09/2013 at 7:43 am

    From: Cedric Joseph
    To Cyril Bryan – Guyanese Online

    Your column in the Diaspora section of Stabroek News yesterday was quite
    interesting and refreshing. My sincere congratulations on the excellent work
    you have done in only three years in providing a reliable source of
    information to Guyanese in many lands.

    I do look forward to your newsletters, so rich in news and particularly in
    design. I am very pleased to have had an article included in the past.

    Congrats again.
    Cedric

  • guyaneseonline  On 01/09/2013 at 7:44 am

    Hello Cedric:

    Thank you very much for your comments.
    I will insert them on the Blog when I post the article on the Blog.
    All the best for 2013
    Kind regards
    Cyril

  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 01/09/2013 at 5:31 pm

    Congratulations on your achievements and thanks for the work you do in bringing news about Guyana and other interesting information to us in the Diaspora.

  • Michael Alstrom  On 01/09/2013 at 9:30 pm

    Well done CY well done. Keep it up for as long as you can it is worth the time and effort. The Guyanese Online Blog and Newsletter has provided a much needed service and you can be sure it will continue to reach a very grateful readership. Thanks very much and best wishes for even greater success in 2013. Michael Alstrom

    Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2013 07:02:37 +0000 To: delyon4@hotmail.com

    • guyaneseonline  On 01/11/2013 at 12:45 am

      On Wed, Jan 9, 2013 at 5:30 PM, Guyanese Online wrote:

      Thank you Michael for your words of encouragement.
      Kind regards,
      Cy

  • Ron  On 01/11/2013 at 3:36 am

    Cyril

    A great service for the Diaspora, Guyanese as a whole, our friends from the Caribbean and others.
    This is a quality production that could only be accomplished with talent, commitment, tireless dedication, and untold hours of work.
    Interesting cross-section of articles (that undoubtedly involves going through reams of stuff and reducing that into the selection that appears), contributors and bloggers.
    Brings together Guyanese from all over the map, helps adverise community events and more.
    Tremendous job, congratulations.

    Ron

  • compton de castro  On 01/12/2013 at 6:55 am

    cyril

    Randall Mohan Butisingh lives on in you
    His legacy your inspiration

    CONGRATULATIONS my brother

    your legacy our inspiration !

    kamptan visiting UK on way to MILAN to visit my son italian wife and first born

  • Deen  On 01/12/2013 at 7:48 pm

    Cyril Bryan, congratulations on your success. I applaud you for the excellent job you are doing with The Guyanese Online newsletter. Also, I feel you should be recognized for the progress you have made with your blog which is now approaching its third anniversary.
    I find most of the material posted on your blog interesting, particularly the contributions from the late Randall Butisingh and those by Dmitri Allicock.and others, who wrote reflecting on the culture and history of Guyana. Thanks so much for all the worrk you are doing in making this type of reading and information accessable to us Guyanese, especially those abroad.
    Best wishes to you for continued success in your endeavors, and may 2013 bless you with health, happiness and, of course, prosperity.
    Walk in peace and,as the old folks in Guyana used to caution us, “wak ah canna.”
    Deen Ameerullah

  • Isabelle de Caires  On 01/13/2013 at 8:42 am

    Mr. Bryan,

    I read with great interest your article in last week’s Stabroek News about the blog and newsletter which you circulate to Guyanese in the diaspora.

    Just over a year ago we set up Moray House Trust, a cultural initiative in Guyana, in memory of my father David de Caires. The Trust is based at our family home in Georgetown.
    It aims to ‘foster national pride in Guyana’s diverse heritage, to enable all forms of artistic expression’ and to ‘stimulate the sharing of knowledge and ideas within a vibrant public sphere’.
    In our first year, we have held book launches, lectures and talks on the environment, history and literature, poetry recitals and events showcasing local films and photography.
    We have also held a series of workshops for young writers and poets and published Ian Mc Donald’s fifth book of poetry, ‘The Comfort of All Things.’
    Our talks have featured input from local scholars such as Dr Paloma Mohamed (a director of the Trust) and Joe Singh (a Trustee) and from visiting scholars and writers such as Professor Vibert Cambridge and David Dabydeen.
    We are in the process of putting together a programme for 2013 which will include the relaunch of Kyk-over-al.

    We recently set up a website (www.morayhousetrust.com) and have over 80 video clips on You Tube showing footage from some of the events we have held.
    We have also a Facebook page (Moray House Trust) and a Twitter feed (@MorayHouseTrust) which we use to disseminate information about the Trust and little nuggets of Guyanese poetry, prose and history.

    I’d be very grateful if you could alert your readers to our website, Facebook page and Twitter feed.

    With sincere thanks,
    Isabelle de Caires
    Trustee
    Moray House Trust

    • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 01/13/2013 at 7:38 pm

      Isabelle, as a writer and poetry lover, I thank you for your initiative. I will check out your website and Facebook page.

      From Los Angeles

      • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 01/13/2013 at 9:45 pm

        Isabelle, kindly advise how I may purchase copies of publications advertised on your website.

  • Isabelle de Caires  On 01/14/2013 at 4:42 pm

    Thanks for your query. We hope to establish an online pay facility shortly on the website. Until then, please click on any publication listed for details of pricing / availability and email your request to MorayHouseTrust@gmail.com. We can accept payment by bank transfer (details in the ‘Join Us’ section of the site) or you may have a relative or friend who is able to pay locally.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 01/15/2013 at 7:44 am

    Wishing you continued success, Cyril!! One comment about ‘the overseas Guyanese associations and aging founder members’ – this is very true and a real challenge, we are being forced to look at outside support and participation from other communities. At present, Guyanese Canadian Cultural Association of British Columbia collaborates with The Fort Langley Legacy Foundation and Guyana Heritage Foundation – Seattle. We anticipate that this list will expand as we continue into the future. It is a survival thing – Our Heritage!

  • needybad4u-Leonard Dabydeen  On 01/15/2013 at 8:09 am

    Congratulations Cyril !! Your Blog and Newsletter have made a great awakening into our heritage and culture. All the best for 2013 !!

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