Guyana: Land Co-op formed to reclaim Bachelors Adventure backlands

Land Co-op formed to reclaim Bachelors Adventure backlands

March 20, 2018 – Kaieteur News –By Feona Morrison

Residents of Bachelors Adventure, East Coast Demerara, want to reclaim ancestral backlands which they say were stolen by Booker Sugar Estate in the 1950s. And to do this, the residents on Sunday formed the Bachelors Adventure Land Co-op Society. They had gathered for a meeting at the Paradise Primary School, East Coast Demerara.

In their first efforts at repossessing the lands, members of the Land Co-op disclosed that they will write to President David Granger, the Land Select Committee, the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO) and National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL). 

They say if no favourable response is received they will resort to protest action. According to Secretary of the Land Co-op, Ras Aaron Blackman, those lands were retaken under the People National Congress (PNC) government and handed to GUYSUCO.

Blackman says that this action has seriously affected the communities of Bachelors Adventure and Paradise and surrounding villages.

With a growing housing community and the inevitable need to occupy our lands, Blackman is calling on the Government to return the lands that ancestors fought for and died, on August 20, 1823. He added that residents are in support of President David Granger’s vision of a green state but asked, “How are we going to survive if our land isn’t returned to us?”

Blackman and Nela Garraway, President of the Land Co-op, both hosted the meeting ,which was attended by about 60 residents from the two villages. Garraway said, “We are the only people on the East Coast without backlands. We have to work together and put differences aside to reclaim our backlands that were taken away from us.
“Too long we are going without anything.”

She pointed out that Golden Grove, Nabacalis, Buxton and Beterverwagting, all villages along the East Coast of Demerara, have backlands. She told the villagers gathered that their ancestors fought effortlessly for those lands, which she wants to see pass down to many generations.

The villagers were reminded that Bachelors Adventure sits on ancestral lands, which play an important role in the country’s history. They were also reminded that it was at Bachelors Adventure that the only significant armed confrontation between Government forces and the enslaved Africans of the East Coast who rose up in 1823, took place.

Garraway added, “Government talking about being self employed. Can you mine 60 pigs in your yard without affecting your neighbours? Can you get a fowl pen with a 1000 meat birds? You are going to affect your neighbour. We want our lands and we are coming to get them. We did it before with the previous government and now we are coming again with this government.”

She continued, “We are going to march to get back our lands so that our children and their children can benefit from it. We need those lands. How are we going to sustain ourselves in this country?”

She assured the residents that the lands will be returned to them even if efforts to have them returned results in protest action. She reminded that lands from Elizabeth Hall to Foulis on the East Coast of Demerara were given to them by the Queen and that there are documents and records to support this.

Apart from Blackman who also serves as Public Relation Officer (PRO) for the Land Co-op and Garraway, the other members are Vice President, Vanessa Griffith and Assistant Secretary/Treasurer, Gordon Venture.

Cheryl McPherson and Kester Garnett are committee members. The residents will meet again this Sunday at the same venue to develop a programme for the Land Co-op.




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