Georgetown, the Garden City; our fair city, once replete with Victorian and Colonial architecture, dutch built and inspired drainage canals reminiscent of European cities, and tree-lined streets and avenues, now laughingly referred to by it’s denizens as the Garbage City, floods with the slightest rain, governed (I use that word as loosely as is possible) by a city council that was elected two decades ago (although faces have changed, but not through any democratic process that I know of), and, sadly, losing it’s trees through neglect, sabotage, and lack of foresight (or hindsight it seems).
Most of the trees lining our streets predate us, they were planted, nurtured and cared for by colonial masters (and slaves) before our independence, before the Republic came into being, before self-governance and the long road that led to where we are today.
As we have travelled that road through time, our leaders, our people, we ourselves have forgotten or ignored what it was, what it is that makes Georgetown a place we want to live in, to visit, to be proud of… We as people, are not as welcoming as we should be, we as humans are not as caring of our environment as we should be.
Saving or replanting trees is not THE answer, but it’s a small part, one that is likely to go unnoticed or ignored.
Yesterday, Kamal Ramkarran wrote (on his own family’s place in our past and present):
As clichéd as it is, the lives of the six generations who followed them is the history of Guyana (from 1875 anyhow). All of us from here are, in a very real way, part of the history of this country. The history of Guyana is our own story, whether we know that story or not.
Since we are part of the story then, the story happening around us and through us, it ought to follow that we should make ourselves responsible for its present and future, just as we try to make ourselves responsible for the present and future of our own lives.
What part are we playing? Will what we do stand the test of time as those trees still standing attest to the work and acre of our predecessors/ancestors?
2013 | Tree in St Joseph Ursuline Convent compound, Camp and Church Streets.
Technically, the tree is in the portion of the compound now housing the St Angela’s primary school, the Ursuline compound also houses the St Rose’s Secondary School. Schools once run by the Ursuline Sisters, but were “nationalised” under the PNC government.