The Monument Gardens
April 29, 2007
The Indian Monument Gardens
The Trust has always held the programme at the Indian Monument Gardens, which was set up to commemorate the first indentured labourers from India who arrived in then British Guiana on May 5, 1838.
The monument had its genesis at an August 1987 meeting between Yesu Persaud, Lloyd Searwar, Roy Prashad, Ishmael Bacchus, Fazia Bacchus, Ronald Ali, Hemrak Kission, Pat Dial, Dr. Sukdeo, Iris Sukdeo and Ayube Hamid. They met to discuss hosting a grand celebration for the 150 anniversray of the arrival of the frist East Indians. Persaud was appointed chairman of the 150th anniversary committee.
In May 1998, during his visit for the celebrations Indian Vice President Dr. Shankar Dyal Sharma promised to offer help to the committee in its intentions ot build a monument.
After looking around for a while, the site at Camp and Church street was found to be suitable. The committee approached the then Mayor Compton Young, who said that the spot was very low but if the committee wanted to make it into a garden he had no problem, since he had no use for the site.
Neraly 1000 loads of sand and dirt was used to fill up the site.
A countrywide competition was launched seeking drawings or sketches of what the monument should look like. Hundreds of entries were received from Berbice and Essequibo, most of them having the concept of sailing ships.
The committee chose the winning entry, which was a ship that looked like the Whitby, which brought the first set of Indian workers to these shores.
An architect from India came to Guyana and worked closely with local architect Albert Rodrigues (who the committee renamed Albert Singh) to map out a plan of what the garden should look like.
The ship builder also came to Guyana and returned to India to construct the ship. The architect and builder returned to Guyana when the ship arrived here and they helped in setting up the monument.
The anniversary committee was converted into a Trust 11 years ago. Today, the garden is beautifully kept and is maintained with the help of the business community.