GUYANA: Places and Things Waiting for an appropriate name – By Francis Quamina Farrier

– By Francis Quamina Farrier

There are quite a number of places and things, many public property here in Guyana, which are waiting to be given a proper name or a change of name. Way back in colonial British Guiana, for example, a small portion of the Potaro river downstream from the Kaieteur Falls, was christened “Garraway stream.” It was so named to the honour of the popular Berbice-born cricketer of the day, Patrick Garraway. At that point of the Potaro where the river is sort of flowing serenely after tumbling 741 feet over the Kaieteur’s lip, there is a bridge over peaceful waters.     

The Denham Suspension Bridge spans the Potaro along the 111 mile trail from Bartica to Mahdia. Constructed in 1933, the Denham Suspension bridge was named for the English Governor Sir Edward Denham whose tour of duty in the colony was from 1930 to 1935. There are many other bridges in present-day Guyana which could be given names; bridges over the Abary, Mahaicony and Mahaica rivers, for example. There is also the bridge over the Canje river which is now known as the Canje bridge. Then there are the two bridges over the Demerara river; at Peter’s Hall and at Linden for consideration.

New Amsterdam set the tone some years ago by naming two streets to former presidents of the country –  “Cheddi Jagan” and “L.F.S. Burnham.” While there is the Arthur Chung Center on the lower East Coast Demerara, I am not aware of anything named for Presidents Desmond Hoyte, Samuel Hinds, Janet Jagan, Bharrat Jagdeo, Donald Ramotar or David Granger. There is the “Matthew Allen Road” in New Amsterdam.  Named for the popular Radio personality, the road leading from the Strand in New Amsterdam to the Berbice River Ferry was in a deplorable state for a very long time. During that period Matthew Allen would advocate almost daily for its repair while doing his morning radio show. When the work was finally completed, the road was named for Matthew Allen.

After the Berbice Ferry service was terminated when the Berbice River Bridge came into service, a new stretch of road was constructed which leads off from the Palmyra Public road on the lower Corentyne Coast, due west to the Berbice River Bridge. Some time ago I asked a few Berbicans for suggestions for a name which it should be given. After some discussion “Rohan Kanhai Drive” was the consensus.

Years ago, Linden named the north to south street on the western bank of the Demerara river, “Burnham Drive.” The country’s Main International Airport was also years ago, named “The Cheddi Jagan International Airport” while the country’s second international airport at Ogle has more recently been christened “The Eugene Correia International Airport” in memory and to honour the well-known businessman and politician.

In posting the question on Facebook about a name for the Kitty Round-about which is located at the northern end of Vlissengen Road in Georgetown, these are some of the suggestions which I received;  Berkley Wickham took to history. “The Kitty roundabout has taken in the Kitty Playground. This playground was famous for its annual maypole and May queen event. The roundabout could be called “The Kitty maypole roundabout.” Lenox Bobb suggested, “Sea Breeze roundabout.” Bertrand Stuart wants it to be know as “Atlantic Turn.” “The Pump House” was what Christopher recommended. And Miranda La Rose offered “Patto Roundabout.” Albert Bentick felt that it should be named for the late educator and author, Vere T. Daly, who resided in Kitty. When Vedant De Caiman came up with “APNU’s Full circle” Andrew Pollard responded, “Vedant, you are a troublesome boy.” The laughing emoji with a tilting head was inserted at the end. Clairmonte Griffith’s suggestion was an original; “As it was in the beginning – Kitty Public Road Circle” was his recommendation. Ian G. Hall came up with “Ken Corsbie roundabout” while Bernard Ramsay recommended “Kitty Roundabout” since he feels, “Not fancy but it’s already been christened so by Georgetowners.”

Rounding off the suggestions was Anthony Persaud who came up with the name “Mingo roundabout.” No doubt there are other citizens of Georgetown who would have their own interesting names for that roundabout. About a mile west of that Kitty roundabout is Eve Leary; a small part of the city where the Police Headquarters is located. Eve Leary was an English young woman and is buried in that area of Georgetown which bears her name. In an excavation exercise, I discovered her tomb which was covered in about a foot of soil.

Now let’s go beyond the city of Georgetown to Anna Regina on the Essequibo Coast. Could the name of the town’s first mayor, Hettie Kumar, be chosen for the car park? Then there is the attractive new speedboat landing at Supenaam which should also be given an appropriate name. That location used to be classic “Third World” ugly and muddy speedboat terminal, but has been upgraded to the nigh standard of a developed country two years ago.  MELANIE on the East Coast Demerara was named by President Forbes Burnham for one of his daughters. The SHIRLEY FIELD-RIDLEY SQUARE in Georgetown was named for a former Minister of government. So, let’s get on with it. We have been talking about this patriotic activity for quite a while. By-the-way, what should be done about the Essequibo island of “WAKENAAM” since that name means, “Without a Name?”

Farrier at BARTICA; an Indigenous name which means “Red Earth.” Essequibo river and T&HD Ferry Stelling in the background.

Matthew Allen Road, New Amsterdam

Anna Regina, Essequibo Coast, Region #2. Observe the long-gone Sugar Factory chimney in the far distance. (Photo by Francis Q. Farrier)

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  • kamtanblog  On 11/29/2020 at 2:12 am

    Thanks for that history lesson on place names !
    Can I humbly suggest a name that most in the diaspora are aware of ! Jonestown !
    Renaming is not unlike “re-branding” it tends to gloss over the past. In renaming originality must
    remain intact…Kitty roundabout my choice.

    Enjoyed reading
    Write on !

    Kamtan uk-ex-EU

  • dhanpaul narine  On 11/29/2020 at 12:52 pm

    Thanks, Uncle Francis, all I want for Christmas is for the media center at Providence Stadium to be renamed “The Reds Perreira Media Center.” Let’s do it while the great man is alive to enjoy it.

  • detow  On 11/29/2020 at 12:57 pm

    You suggested a name for the Kitty roundabout and also renamed Francis Farrier. Way to be Kamtan.

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