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GUYANA- Gov’t to erect monument to commemorate 1823 slave revolt

The Guyana government says it plans to erect a 15-foot bronze monument to honour those who died in the 1823 Demerara Slave Revolt as part of the activities to commemorate the UN’s International Year for People of African Descent  which was observed last year.

This was revealed by Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony when the week-long debate on the 2012 national budget continued on Friday.

“The renowned Guyanese sculptor Mr. Ivor Thom  is presently working to complete this project and I heard the Honourable Mrs. [Deborah]Backer asking about what we did last year for the International Year for People of African Descent; this is one of the tangible projects that will be coming out of that year,” Dr. Anthony said.

The project started last year and is expected to be finished this year but a site for the monument is still to be chosen with the minister saying the suggestions are either in Georgetown or on the East Coast Demerara where the revolt had taken place.

Dr. Anthony said the monument is being created at a local foundry as they seek to build capacity at home and posited this as the reason why it is taking so much time to complete.

Meanwhile, he added that they will complete the rehabilitation of the 1763 Monument later this year and will be looking to restore the fountain and add lights to the site.

Other activities on the government’s cultural agenda for the year include the set-up of eco-museums and work on a creative institute.

“This year the [National] Museum will be collaborating with various hinterland communities to develop eco-museums. These are fundamentally different from the traditional museums because they offer the visitor a lived experience that is a more holistic interpretation of the communities’ cultural heritage,” the minister explained.

According to him, in addition to preserving the culture and practices of the communities, the eco-museums will also promote the sustainable economic development of the communities.

Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony said the government will be working this year towards the establishment of the “Institute of Creative Arts” to expand the scope of education and improve the quality of cultural education being offered.

“This would be a consolidation of the Burrowes’ School of Art, the National School of Dance and the National Music School under one umbrella. In addition, we will work to develop two other faculties, one in drama and the other in film.”

A curricula review has already started with the existing institutions while opportunities are being explored for the courses to be accredited both nationally and internationally the minister added.

Guyana will also be hosting the Inter-Guiana Cultural Festival this year which is intended to bring the three Guianas – Suriname, Guyana and French Guiana – together.

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