The drive for restoration at Buxton

Stabroek News
July 12, 2001

Dear Editor,

First of all, it is important for us in Guyana to understand that Buxton has its place in our history and can be restored to its former glory.

Those of us who are familiar with Buxton would know that the village was bought by our African ancestors in 1838. At that time it was known as Orange Nassau which is today known as Buxton/Friendship.

In 1866 the Buxton market was established. During that time the market was economically viable, and could have sustained the entire village because of the fertile farmlands from which farmers extracted cash crops such as calaloo, ochroes, bora, pumpkin and pak-choi. In addition, ground provisions like cassava, plantains, eddoes and yams were also cultivated. This market was able to service other villages extending as far as Mahaica and Plaisance. History has shown that despite the many floods and infrastructural setbacks during the mid-nineteenth century Buxton has been able to survive.

At present Buxtonians continue to contribute to the revenue of our country. The recent restoration of the market at Buxton is a clear indication that Buxton can, like any other village, be economically viable once it is given the opportunity to do so. The market now flourishes with about three hundred vendors who pooled their resources ad worked co-operatively to build the market and so provide a necessary service for the people.

Amidst all of this the Guyana National Congress party has played a crucial role of ensuring that the vendors receive their goods at wholesale prices, affordable to all of them so they can sell to the public at a reasonable price.

It is important to know that Buxtonians were left out in the cold with no help from the present government and as a consequence the people had to be innovators and return to the co-operative spirit to salvage their village.

It is not only the Buxton market which was viable and contributed to the development of Guyana, but also the small farmers who contributed to the sugar industry over the years. At present one farmer has about thirteen million dollars worth of investment in cane cultivation, while another farmer has approximately six million dollars worth of sugar cane. This in itself is a tangible contribution to the domestic market. Buxtonians who are cane farmers have, however, been denied loans from the various commercial banks in Guyana. The rice farmers on the other hand have been given preferential treatment over the years and have benefited tremendously from loans and infrastructural works.

Fifteen million dollars have been promised to Buxtonians by the present government but how much would this do for Buxtonians in the restoration drive.

This present government has a golden opportunity to show what it can do to develop Buxton. Let us all hope that the President of Guyana does not lose sight of the prize.

Yours faithfully,

Samuel Harris