Guyana is beautiful, rich, and full of po-tential.
The people are hospitable and friendly and the landscape
And there are people interested in de-veloping Guyana
at the same time as they are preserving the environment.
back in the saddle, or rather the airplane seat, travelling
the Caribbean for work again. This time I reach Guyana for
the first time.
Since I small I hearing about Guyana and how things hard
there, it worse than a Soviet gulag, how Burnham spoil up
the place and all kind of thing. But the Guyana I see wasnt
a place that nobody spoil. It beautiful, it rich, and it
full of potential.
When I say rich, I dont mean in dollars, eh. The jokes
about how the place ent have toilet paper might not be so
funny when you in a Berbice stelling (a dock) and sitting
down wishing you could wipe. I stay in a five star hotel
there and we wanted strawberries and had was to settle for
caimet (star apple if you from Guyana). If you stay in Georgetown
you go see hustlers and a set of old house, the wood looking
frail and the paint flaking off so they looking every minute
of their hundred years.
But leave the city. Out in the Interior you could see that
the crack-up paint and potholes in the road is not the real
I is a romantic. I could look inside a hurricane and see
a beautiful thing, even when the world swirling and going
up in circles around my head. So maybe I looking at Guyana
and how she have gold, diamonds, timber, fisheries, agriculture
and bauxite and figure that just because she have so much
natural resources she in a special position. I look at the
Guyanese people, all so hospitable and friendly to me, and
the landscape so gorgeous, and think, Why this place
ent have more tourist? People should be lining up to come
Anybody you ask in Guyana go tell you the same thing: rich
in resources, poor in management. Guyana governments somehow
cant seem to figure out how to take all that she have
and make it work for she.
Graft and corruption also playing a part, no doubt, like
in so many Caribbean countries. Like we cant see to
look up from we own wallet and see the bigger picture, how
we greediness and selfishness hurting the people around
we even though we pocket getting fat.
And, like everywhere you go in the Carib-bean, it have development
that dont take into account the needs of the people
who there, or the conservation of the environment and the
Thank God it have people who interested in developing Guyana
at the same time as they preserving the environment.
I was in Guyana to shoot a video about Annette Arjoon, the
secretary of the Guyana Marine Turtle Conservation Society
(GMTCS). Annette win the Anthony N Sabga Caribbean Awards
for Excellence 2008 for Public and Civic Contributions.
The awards is a project of the ANSA McAL Foundation, a charitable
organisation chaired by Dr Anthony Sabga. I working for
the awards secretariat as the communications manager.
We does show a video on the winners during the awards ceremony,
so that is what I was in Guyana to do: shoot a video about
Annette Arjoon and the other Guyanese winner, Prof David
Me and the video crew spend three-and-a-half days with Annette,
going in the Interior in a part of the country name Region
One, up by the Venezuelan border. We went with Annette to
a town name Mabaruma, then up the Waini River to the Atlantic
coast. The GMTCS working to tag and protect turtles on Shell
Annette also helping the Amerindian people in the area to
make and market their native products under the brand name
North West Organics. It have cocoa stickscreole chocolatefrom
Mabaruma, crabwood oil and soap from Waini River, and cassava
bread and cassareep from other villages in the same region.
She not there to exploit them, take their products and vanish
in a puff of smoke like some other organisation might of
done. She helping all these communities develop their own
production centres, standardise the products, increase efficiencies
of production and even distribution. For example, she help
this area in the Waini River name Three Brothers to develop
a natural resources development and conservation plan. Apparently
the plan so sick that government looking at it as a model
for other areas.
Annette is a Guyanese sheself. She have that muddy brown
water of the Demerara in she veins, and she have a hopefulness
as buoyant as a Amerindian cork canoe. She love the place
and I for one cant wait to see what she going to accomplish
in the future.
Is people like she who this Anthony Sabga Awards looking
for. Annette sharing she award with a lady from Jamaica,
Claudette Richardson Pious, who running a NGO name Children
First. They taking children off the streets and giving HIV/Aids
education to young people all over the island.
In Barbados they give the award for Science and Technology
to James Husbands, who doing solar water heaters for the
past 33 years. Dabydeen, the other Guyanese winner, write
must be 20-something books, plus he help a set of other
writers get their work publish too.
Is quality people win the awards, and they doing important
work. The Anthony Sabga Awards is a way to encourage and
push them even higher heights.
If every country had 20 Annette Arjoons, you could imagine
what this Caribbean would of be like?