A Guyanese Christmas in Washington. DC- by Francis Quamina Farrier

A Guyanese Christmas in Washington. DC

– by Francis Quamina Farrier

​The traditional annual Christmas Get-together of Guyanese at the Guyana Embassy in Washington DC, brought together Guyanese of every background, as they mingled together the way Guyanese do at most fetes. Some of those who were in attendance have not been home for many years, while there are those who visit regularly. As such, there were lots of discourses about the developments taking place across the ten Regions of Beautiful Guyana, including the recent announced discovery of Oil and Gas within Guyana’s Atlantic Sovereign territory.   

However, much of what was in evidence, was the comradery of Guyanese of many backgrounds and professions, and the way in which the Christmas spirit, as known in Guyana, was in evidence. There was the live music dishing out lots of Guyanese favourites, including the popular folk songs which we all love. There was of course, the dancing, and the eating and drinking. The cuisine was very much Guyanese, including our popular Indigenous National dish, Pepperpot. Most of what was enjoyed was sponsored by Guyanese individuals and companies; the principal being Aubrey Stephenson, AA, the President and CEO of Federal Management Systems, Inc.

Gracing the Yuletide event with their presence were recently retired American Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway and his wife, who seemed as Guyanese as any non-Guyanese could be. Before he left, I took the opportunity to pose a question to the tough-looking diplomat; “What has been your most memorable adventure in Guyana?”, I asked. “An overland trip from Georgetown to Lethem”, was his response.” As those who have made that trip in more recent times, it is known that the trail is not the easiest one to traverse, but Ambassador Perry Holloway has listed it as an adventure he will always remember with joy.

Not at the event at the Embassy, Georgetown-Born and a founding member of the Guyana Defense Force, Pennsylvania, USA-based Clairmont A. Griffith was invited via email to reminisce on Christmas in Georgetown, back in the day; “Christmas remains my Favourite Holiday Season”, he responded and explained his experiences when he was a young boy growing up in British Guiana. “I fondly remember Christmas Window Shopping with my parents, two sisters and two brothers at the big Department Stores on Water Street – Bettencourts, Fogarty’s, Sandbatch Parker and Bookers Universal, and at T. Geddes Grant on Main Street.” For the Griffith Family and so many others, “The evening shopping in front of the Stabroek Market where many parents purchased imported FRUITS and NUTS from the vendors that lined the pavement”, he concluded.

“Christmas in Guyana has an excitement that is not found anywhere else. It starts with ‘breaking up’ of your house for Christmas. Office Parties, Church Recitals and decorating with beautiful, colourful Christmas lights around the city”, according to Georgetown-born, New York-based Graphic Artist and a graduate of The Bishops’ High School, Claire Ann Goring. “My best memory is of Christmas Eve night when the Salvation Army Band would end the Christmas caroling at our house late on Christmas Eve Night. Our house was next door to the Salvation Army Church on East Street (in Georgetown) and I never went to bed until Eddie Richards and the Band played “Silent Night” under our window. Somehow I saw that as the start of a good Christmas.”

Manager and owner of the Stoll Enterprise on the Pomeroon river and Adel’s Resort on the Akawani creek, Zena Stoll, was at the Embassy fete on December 14, and told me that she will be spending Christmas in Guyana. As such, I asked her the obvious. “The Guyana Embassy Party was a huge success, with the rich diversity of people entertained by a joyful steel drum band”, she said, adding that on arrival she received a warm welcome from Ambassador Riyad Insanally, and that “The night was a direct reflection of the engaging work he is doing for Guyana as Ambassador to the USA and the OAS.”

Zena Stoll will be spending her Christmas 2018 in Guyana, and she would have already arrived at her Pomeroon destination even as you are reading this. “The Christmas Celebration there in the Pomeroon with my Indigenous workers and friends, is nothing short of Magical to me”. She was also over-joyed to hear American Ambassador Perry Holloway say that he visited the Pomeroon during his tour of duty in Guyana and know of her Estate. Enjoying the best of both worlds – the developed USA and the developing Guyana at Christmas time, Zena Stoll said that, “The night at the Guyana Embassy in Washington, DC, was a great kickoff to the Christmas Season for me, with Guyanese and expatriates including Ambassador Perry Holloway and his charming wife, mingling with his Guyanese friends.”

And from me to you, do have a Peaceful and HAPPY CHRISTMAS.

Recently retired American Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway, with Guyana Ambassador to the USA and the OAS, Dr. Riyad Insanally. (Photo by F.Q. Farrier)

Mr. and Mrs Farrier with American Ambassador Perry Holloway and Mrs Holloway.

Guyanese Paul Browne and Gabriel Cunje enjoying each other’s company at the Embassy Christmas Fete, 2018. (Photo by F.Q. Farrier)

A group of the guests at the Embassy Christmas Fete, 2018. (Photo by F.Q. Farrier)

Aubrey Stephenson, AA, Valda Forsythe and Dr. Hermon Daniels. (Photo by Francis Q. Farrier)

American Ambassador Perry Holloway and his wife with Zena Stoll.

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