We need a museum at Linden
Stabroek News
December 4, 2001

Dear Editor,

Linden town, a name associated with the late President of Guyana Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham. But, what about its leaders and citizens? Are we honestly concerned about this town's future or are we only concerned about our immediate surroundings and ourselves?

I cannot deal with all the ills in our dear Linden town, so I shall highlight some issues that relate to history and preservation. I sincerely hope my views and comments won't in any way be offensive to anyone. Permit me to say, as a concerned citizen and son of the soil, it's my duty to criticise, also to praise whenever necessary.

Firstly, my late grandfather whose name was Walter Nathaniel Parris, uncle of Winslow Parris and the late George Parris, brother- in-law of the late Arrinintha Parris (Mother P) died about twenty years ago at age seventy-nine. He told me of some of his working experiences with the former Demerara Bauxite Company (Demba) during his short stay at Mackenzie. He also told me about the operation of the Wismar boat landing between Mackenzie and Wismar, which is now broken down and apparently forgotten by the authorities responsible for the preservation of historic sites in Linden town. He said in the early stages of Demba, when an employee who lived at Mackenzie was dismissed, he was given twenty-four hours to gather up his personal effects from his home and was escorted by security guards to the Mackenzie shore of the Wismar boat landing and was placed into a boat and taken to the Wismar shore where he would remain. After all of that humiliation suffered by our grandfathers and fathers shouldn't we reconstruct, preserve and write our history for the sake of our children? What a shame!

Secondly, history, culture, preservation and care seem very much dead in our societies and communities. Let's look at the trademark on the Workers club, which was constructed by Demba in the year 1925 for the recreational pleasure of its workers and families. That building is now used by the former Mayor and other business people for their own benefit and not what it was constructed for. We, the citizens of Linden town, are in dying need of a Museum, a building to show off our history and not live just for vanity and personal pleasure. Remember, when we cease to exist, our children and grandchildren will continue to live and they must be able to remember our past and should shout our names proudly like other people do in other areas. It's time we the children and grandchildren of the former bauxite company (Demba) workers reclaim our Recreation Hall donated to our grandfathers and fathers who worked very hard with forks, shovels and pickaxes in order to take care of themselves and their families. Let us not cast blame on other people for our faults. We are responsible for our going out and coming in.

Thirdly, Mr John Dalgleish Patterson, a Scottish engineer, came all the way from Scotland during the nineteenth century. During his lifetime he constructed a water driver or water wheel saw mill outside his residence now used as the Christianburg Magistrates Court. A portion of that structure still stands as testimony to that fact. Mr. Patterson, his wife and children's tombstones are in the courtyard.

Wouldn't it be wise for those who are associated with the Tourism Committee to visit historic sites and make the necessary recommendations for development and preservation and be serious about it? We could use our imagination to recapture and reconstruct what was there for the purpose of tourism. We should stop talking and start acting.

Finally, how many of our children and grandchildren are aware of the system used by us to be here at Christianburg, Wismar and Mackenzie now called Linden town? The R.H. Carr Ferry, the Cargo Boat Independence made of aluminum and the Hamilton Sawmill are all memories to persons of my age. Let us have a museum for the sake of our offspring, or they too will be lost and become hopeless.

I call on the powers that be to save Linden town from further retrogression.

Yours faithfully,

B.W. Parris