Commentary: From Buxton to Buxton — by Francis Quamina Farrier

— by Francis Quamina Farrier

Eusi Kwayana now 95. The Sage of Buxton, Guyana.

There is the village of Buxton on the East Coast Demerara, Region 4, Guyana.  There is the city of Buxton which is located in Derbyshire in the East Midlands region of England. I know both Buxtons having been to both – one on many occasions, the other just once.

That English Buxton at 960 feet elevation, is the highest above sea level of any town in England. Its population is 23,000.

Though not as large, or as populated as its English counterpart, the Guyana Buxton is one of the lowest villages in Guyana being almost about seven feet below sea level at high tide. At this time (2020) its population is approaching 6,000.       

To juxtapose a few other things between the two Buxtons; The English Buxton has a railway service, while the Guyana Buxton had a railway service. The English Buxton has a market. The Guyana Buxton had a market. The English Buxton has many canals. The Guyana Buxton also has many canals. In the English Buxton, there is an Opera House and the Guyana Buxton has the Tipperary Hall. In both Buxtons are many Christian churches. The English Buxton is very popular in the UK. The Guyana Buxton is very popular in the Cooperative Republic.

While there is an open-air market on the Buxton line-top, one of the issues already being discussed within the Guyana Buxton community at this time, is consideration to re-establish the historic village market. “I am in full support of reopening the Buxton market” said prize-winning dramatist and journalist Mosha Telford who is a Buxtonian. She also informed me that, “Many Buxtonians have returned to agriculture. The market attracts people from other communities because the produce is organic.” she added.

There was a period about 15 years ago when the farming backlands of the Guyana Buxton became the sanctuary of some shady characters whose presence was a deterrent to farming. That is now a thing of the past. Farming is blooming once again. However, better drainage and irrigation is necessary for this low-lying community, especially for successful agriculture.

History reveals that the village of Buxton in Guyana was bought by emancipated African slaves shortly after Emancipation. The British overlords who ruled the colony at that time, never considered that such villages as Buxton, Victoria, Queenstown and others, should have been awarded to the former enslaved as reparation for the free service they had given for 400 years. Instead, the Africans had to purchase the communities – and at inflated prices. The citizens of the Buxton in England never had such an experience as being enslaved. Yes, that town was once occupied by the Romans many centuries before, but the people were never held in such bondage as the Africans in the Guyana Buxton.

From a past of slavery, the Guyana Buxton has produced some of Guyana’s greatest sons and daughters – especially in the field of education. They include two former Ministers of Education, Winifred Gaskin and Malcolm Parris. Other well-known high achievers from Buxton include former government minister Sydney King/Eusi Kwayana. Now in his 90s Kwayana, the author of a number of books, plays, and poems, is regarded as the sage of Buxton. There is also former Chief Education Officer, Gaston Fox, and retired Headmistress of The Bishops’ High School, Joy O’Jon. University Professors Dr. David Hinds, Barbara Thomas-Holder and Gordon Payne. Buxtonian Haslyn Parris was the youngest CEO of the Guyana Bauxite Company at Linden. He was also an accomplished musician. Guyana’s dedicated and best known archivist Tommy Payne, is also a Buxtonian.

The well-known Federal Management Systems establishment which is based both in Georgetown, Guyana and in Washington, DC, USA, was founded by Buxtonian Aubrey Stephenson, AA. This company employs approximately 400 in Guyana and 125 in Washington, DC, USA. Federal Management Systems, Inc. also gives educational grants and scholarships to many young people both in Guyana and in the USA. The company has sponsored many projects of the Guyana Embassy in Washington, DC. over the years.

Another Buxtonian Businessman who is based in Washington DC, is George Abrams. In 2017, he established The Primo’s Garment Establishment in the village which employs eight villagers.

There are a number of Buxton-Friendship organizations that have been established by the Diaspora to help the villagers. The Washington, DC based organization, CIMBUX, sponsors many projects in Buxton. There is the Buxton- Friendship organizations in Toronto (COTAB).  In New York  the Buxton-Friendship Heritage Fund, Inc. is extremely active in the Buxton Guyana community and publishes a monthly newsletter – The Buxton-Friendship Express.

The Buxton/Friendship Museum, Archive and Culture Centre, is an initiative of overseas-based Buxtonian Keith Easton and his organization, Friends of Villages, Museums and Archives (FVMA). It was launched on August 4, 2018/ (see news report at https://www.stabroeknews.com/2018/08/05/news/guyana/buxton-friendship-museum-launched/

The reality is that it would take volumes and many authors to write a true and detailed history of the village of Buxton, East Coast Demerara, Region 4, Guyana. The history of the English Buxton is already well documented going many centuries back to the Roman occupation. Though not as large, developed or populated as the Buxton in England, Buxton here in Guyana has an extremely rich and proud history. Incidentally, there are some African people residing in the English Buxton.

I end by disclosing that while visiting the Buxton in England in 1982, I took the opportunity to send a few picture postcards from that English town to friends in the Guyana Buxton. On those picture postcards I wrote the salutation, “Greetings from Buxton to Buxton.” Of interest now, is whether there will soon be repatriation from Buxton to Buxton.

.

The museum in Buxton, Guyana.

Young students at the Guyana Buxton Museum.

Celebrated Buxtonian Twins Malcolm and Michael Parris with
President Forbes Burnham. (Photo complements of Leyland Lucas)

The new Tipperary Hall. Buxton Village. -Guyana – completed July 2011

ARTICLES and LINKS TO OTHERS

BUXTON – FRIENDSHIP: – Guyana’s Premier Village –

A Brief History of Tipperary Hall -By Rollo Younge  – http://www.buxtonguyana.net/index_files/Page702.htm

Buxton People Stop Train – By Ovid Abrams – http://buxtonguyana.net/index_files/Page605.htm

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Comments

  • kamtanblog  On November 3, 2020 at 1:59 am

    “Will there be re-patriations from Buxton to Buxton ?”
    Answer is no not many.
    Why ?
    “Windrush”question ?
    Those who have not contributed to
    UK state pension will not be receiving
    any UK state pension. Those who
    remain resident in UK are “means tested”
    before they receive any payment from
    State. (Welfare) !
    Those who leave UK receive nothing !
    The poverty trap/trick.
    Did not pay into system do not receive
    any pay out of the system.
    Catch 22 ?
    One another point in question
    Even those who receive state pension
    here in UK will loose yearly increase in
    state pension (inflation/retail price linked)
    if they decide to leave UK.
    Another more important factor ….
    £=$guy275.00 at present but that situation
    can change very drastically/quickly with Guyana’s oil boom/bonanza.

    This is all very interesting development but
    am not holding my breadth on any enmass-repatriations.

    Kamtan uk-ex-EU

  • brandli62  On November 3, 2020 at 7:55 am

    On future jewel of historic knowledge that Francis Quamina Farrier shares with the readership of GO. Keep them coming!

  • ndtewarie  On November 3, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    OLD BUXTONIANS WOULD REMEMBER MY GREAT GRAND-FATHER BINDRABAN MARAJ, HE WAS THE ONLY MONEY LENDER IN BUXTON. MANY BUXTONIANS OWED HIM MONEY WHEN HE DIED, THEY COULDN’T OR WON’T PAY UP. HE DIN’T BOTHER WITH THEM.

  • wally n  On November 3, 2020 at 12:13 pm

    From a past of slavery, the Guyana Buxton has produced some of Guyana’s greatest sons and daughters ………
    hey hey B B G NEHAUL ??

  • Clorna  On November 11, 2020 at 2:27 pm

    Great article, but wished some attention was given to the younger generation of Buxtonian high achievers and role models, suc as Dr. Kerwin K. Charles, Dean/Professor at Yale University’s School of Economics and sponsor of an annual scholarship in Buxton.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerwin_Kofi_Charles

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