Stabroek Market Clock: is time running in or out? – letter by Yvonne Sam

Stabroek Market Clock: is time running in or out?

Oct 16, 2016 – Kaieteur News – Letters – Yvonne Sam

Opinion - commentary -analysis

Stabroek Market clock

Stabroek Market clock

Dear Editor,
Lately, there has been so much brouhaha about the Stabroek Market Clock, its restoration and seeming negative implications that time has struck me out. Yes, I am somewhat taken aback and at a loss for words as I try to grapple with the thinking or level of mental cognition of some of the key players and sayers.

Speaking from an angle of political correctness, the iconic Stabroek Market Clock is not just your ordinary timepiece. It takes pride of place alongside the likes of Big Ben in London, the Saviour Tower in Moscow, the Zytglogge Tower in Switzerland, the Rajabai Clock Tower in Mumbai , India, and the Peace Tower Ottawa just to name a few.   

Surely the rehabilitation of such a historical masterpiece, that qualifies as a cultural heritage should have been a top priority of the Guyana Government, and not a gratuitous gesture through the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation following Ambassador Perry Holloway’s proposal to his U.S affiliates.

Did the idea of restoration not cross the mind of the Guyana Government during the cleanup, make pretty, look nice pre-Jubilee activities? Let us not forget that Ambassador Perry only took office in Guyana on September 24, 2015. The clock was there even before he was conceived let alone be received. Apparently the clock situated so strategically in the heart of the nation’s capital had made its last tick eons ago, and has stood still ever since.  Such is symbolic of present day Guyana, as the clock represents time and parallels the current non-progressive way of life – Stabroek clock was not ticking, at City Hall brains were not clicking, and common folks were taking a plain ole licking.

From my vantage point, there certainly appears to be more in the mortar than the pestle, for the very act shows that there is absolutely no regard whatsoever for history or heritage. Fancy, even after fifty years we are still behind the eight ball. The Stabroek Market and the clock were built somewhere around 1880 and 1881, and today the market remains one of the oldest structure still in use in the country.

What have we as a nation not learnt? When will the Rip van Winkles of Guyana, namely The National Trust of Guyana and the Guyana Historical and Research Society awaken from their slumber, spring into action and take control of things. After all, better late than never!.
I wish to juxtapose an age old Guyanese adage alongside another proverb of the Western society—in Guyana the saying runs thus “nothing for nothing and very little for a sixpence”, and the Western society claims; “he who pays the piper calls the tune”. Of course he who dispenses the money should determine how it is spent.

The U. S government is paying for the rehabilitation/restoration of the clock and as such seemingly has the final say on the clock, which will no longer be mechanically operated as previously, but instead electronically with a solar powered system. This is neither restoration or rehabilitation but instead alteration and improvisation. Regarding this change, it is fitting to ask who at the governmental level was consulted prior to such a decision being taken. Was accountability and transparency once again denied the citizens?

According to the Mayor Patricia Chase Green the change in systems is designed to coincide with the greening of the country. Undoubtedly, while the clock failed to tick the country remained green with hardly anything moving forward. Now it is imperative that the clock be restored to its former known state, and as it ticks towards progress, we will soon find that all the green would be left behind.

Yvonne Sam

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  • demerwater  On 10/16/2016 at 5:20 am

    Man must be the only creature who is conscious of the passage of time. My pet dog does not know how old he is; not even when is his birthday. We bury time capsules and establish museums – to provide coming generations with some appreciation of how we spent our time on the planet. Read “The Star” by Arthur Clarke; and weep a little. A synopsis here:
    ‘Big Market Clock’ is as iconic and reassuring as my grandmother’s face. I support any update that will render its continuation more earth-friendly. While they are at it, they might provide for “lighting up” to mark special occasions.
    “Old Year’s Night” at the “Big Market” car / bus park comes readily to mind.

  • Deen  On 10/16/2016 at 11:24 am

    I applaud Yvonne Sam for her impressive letter that highlights the symbolic and historical significance of the Stabroek Market Clock. Also, the need to restore the clock with its original unique and antique mechanism. It’s sad that no one in the political arena, both municipal and central governments, saw the priority, as Ms Yvonne Sam did, in restoring this iconic clock to its original functioning state. With today’s engineering and technological capabilities, I certainly believe, it can be done. To alter the clock mechanism is a sacrilege, to restore it is a sacred act.
    Thank you Ms. Yvonne Sam fir bringing this matter, this historical work of art and time, back to the future.

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