Wednesday, March 3, 2010

COLIN PATRICK ROSS (1954-1981)

COLIN PATRICK ROSS

COLIN PATRICK ROSS (1954-1981) - HE AIN'T HEAVY HE'S MY BROTHER BY ONE WHO KNEW HIM PERHAPS BEST – Allick Sancho.
Saturday, February 13, 2010 marks the fifty-sixth anniversary of the birthing of Colin. However, he would be alive for only twenty -seven years and seven months.
I am sure, when my eyes were opened; I recognized Mariette, Compton, Cheryl, and Colin are also my immediate relatives. I must have known, at first sight, Colin would be the one closest early companion. I recognized early in life Colin was far more balanced a person than I would ever be. I depended upon his rationale thoughts to balance my emotional processing. I simply loved bonding with Colin more than I did with every other being with exception of my mother. I am not at all sure; perhaps, I was the negative influence in his early life. He and I were as different as we were similar.

BIRTH
It’s my understanding Colin and I were birthed on the same bed, in the same room some twenty-two months apart. Colin and I shared that bed and room for the better portion of ten years. The process of the birthing of Colin Ross began in the spring of 1953. Colin Patrick Ross was birthed on February 13, 1954 at the residence of the Sancho-Ross family located at Alexander Street between Main Street and the Strand, also referred to as Water Street in Smythtown, in the town of New Amsterdam, in the county of Berbice, in the colony of British Guiana. He is the fourth son and the sixth child of the union.

BOYHOOD
The major portions of the first twelve years of his life he dwelt in New Amsterdam. Colin was special to a number of his immediate relatives of both of his parents. Thus, during this period, Colin Ross, frequented the residences of his relatives at Hopetown, West Coast Berbice, Charlotte and Regent Streets in Georgetown, and the Golden Grove-Nabaclis Village District and other communities on the East Coast of Demerara. I cannot name one relative of ours who preferred to distance themselves from Colin. As you can well imagine the older females seemed to dot upon him. There was Cousin Dove Williams, Cousin Gwendolyn Valentine, Cousin Sheila Sharper, and Cousin Olga Sancho amongst others and even the neighbours including Estelle Johdan, all seemed to go gaga over his presence.
Colin and I were pupils at a kindergarten school located a few blocks from Alexander Street. I do not remember the name of the kindergarten school. The name M's Frank comes to my memory. I am not sure that's accurate. However, he was educated at Blairmont Government School, Scarder Preparatory School, Cumberland Methodist School, Golden Grove High School, Golden Grove Government Secondary School, and New Amsterdam Technical Institute. I firmly believe Colin was also educated at Hopetown.
The brothers, Winston Sullivan and William Sullivan were our best friends. We loved their grandmother. She was known to us as Mother Hunter. The sisters, Lanna Reis and Gaynelle Reis (Reece) were our earliest girl friends. They also resided at Alexander streets. Their grandfather was a dentist. He rented my mother’s house nearest to the tenement yard. Colin looked forward to his father returning home for the weekends. I dreaded such occurrences as much as the darkness of nights. He also much to my chagrin would be only too anxious to bond with Blanche Ross and to trek with her to Hopetown. I am sure I confronted him on numerous occasions informing him such were tantamount to abandonment. I still remember complaining to Muriel and asking her to put a stop to such actions to no avail. We both looked forward to bonding with Mariette, Compton and Cheryl. I cannot speak on his thoughts concerning the first two sons of Muriel Sancho.

YOUTH
He was an excellent soccer player. He played defending positions. He possessed the ability to grasp foreign languages. He was very pleasant and easy going. He seemed to me a magnet attracting the attention of pretty females. Being in the company of Colin meant the likelihood I would encounter and be conversant with some rather attractive female. One of the most regrettable events in our relationship occurred at our family residence at Nabaclis. The fussing and fighting ended, after I inflicted a bloody wound upon him. That was the aftermath of an encounter with a female from Beterverwagting. Muriel Sancho and Cousin Phyllis Kendall were furious. We were soundly chastised. I caught the blunt of their fury and ridicule. It was basically books before, beyond and over girls.
I am positive; Colin counted Colin Trim, Fitz St. Kitts, and Stanford Solomon amongst his friends at Golden Grove High School, and Golden Grove Government Secondary School. I Know I Visited the Solomon Residence at Golden Grove with him on quite a few occasions as he chatted with Stanford Solomon. I preferred Zorro Solomon. His characteristics were much closer to the folk’s I hung out with over the line at Golden Grove Colin was also particularly fond of Michael "Backlegg" Sancho, Winston "Tallman" Matthews, Sydney Valentine and Colin Sancho. He did not care for George Hinds. I am certain that was due to the fact George Hinds’ attempt at discipline was considered abusive and unwarranted. That act never sat well with Colin and George Eleazar Ross, his father. While a pupil at Golden Grove High School victimized by a teacher surnamed Lawrence. He hailed from Victoria Village. He is likely a relative of ours.
I also recall an event which had a profound effect upon my make-up and thought process. Shortly before the Georgetown to Rosignol train service was terminated by Burnham and his illegal PNC regime, Colin boarded an early morning train on his way to Golden Grove Government Secondary School. However, he fell asleep. George Eleazar Ross, realized his son was absent from his residence located at E1/2 115 Regent Street, Lacytown, Georgetown. Thus, the very next day George Eleazar Ross made his way to my mother's residence at Nabaclis. I heard him demanding of my mother to hand over his son to him. He left in a fit of rage. It was obvious to me he expressed that my mother had kidnapped his son. I listened to the entire exchange. I heard MS repeatedly telling him I wanted to share at least a few minutes with him. Low and behold the man simply completely ignored my mother and I. It was at that moment I realized that man did not really consider me his off spring. Clearly, he had separated himself from my mother and I. I watched him walk away out of our lives. I would be dishonest if I did not state I was very disappointed and annoyed. I regretted possessing his DNA. I began to deny its presence in my physical. When I saw Colin at school, the next school day he told me he had fallen asleep and later made his way to Blanche's residence at Hopetown. He suggested I should go visit George Eleazar Ross, in Georgetown. I simply refused to listen and/or to comply with such expression.
After Colin completed the series of academic requirements at Golden Grove Government Secondary School; He enlisted in the Guyana Youth Corps. He was sent to Tumatumari, on the Potaro River, in the region of the Pakaraima Mountains, in the county of Essequebo. There he would bond with Reynolds. In March 1974, Reynolds would become my most trustworthy squaddie in the Guyana Defence Force.

MATURITY
Colin would join the Guyana Police Force in 1972. His enlisted number is 8832. It appears Muriel Sancho was so concerned and committed to the welfare of her son that she visited Carl Austin, then the Commissioner of the Guyana Police Force. I am not certain where this meeting transpired. It was likely either at the Austin residence at Paradise, on the East Coast of Demerara or at his office at Police Compound at Eve Leary, in Georgetown. I recall Muriel and I visiting Carl Austin’s residence on at least two occasions. Carl Austin reassured his teacher he would place her son in responsible hands. Carl Austin promptly turned the responsibility of training and nurturing Colin over to Joseph Patterson. It must be noted Carl Austin was cognizant Joseph Patterson and Colin were very closely related persons. They are third cousins.
Colin had a trait which suggested to him he must hold on to his relatives. It was sort of protective. I recall Colin walking between Cheryl and I and holding onto our hands as we left our mother's residence at Nabaclis. It was strange to me because I was approaching 24 years of age. I was no longer a child. I was as matured as I probably will ever be. Had I known the inevitable was just around the corner I would have held onto my brother instead of pulling away and walking either across from or behind my siblings. Life affords us no do-overs.

MARRIAGE
I cannot say what sort of a husband Colin was. I am aware at the time of his transition he and his wife was dwelling apart from each other. In 1975 Colin and Agnes Smith from Cumberland Village in the Canje River Basin were married at the General Post Office Building in Georgetown. I signed my dreaded government name as a witness to that event. The reception was held in Kitty Village on the East Coast of Demerara. The union reproduced two delightful young females, Mariette Ross and Anastasia Ross.
In 1975 before he was, married Colin was shot in the arm by another police man. The shooting was ruled accidental. However, if you understood my trend of thinking, I believed the shooting was a deliberate act. I did not think it was politically motivated. Such a sentiment was also expressed, repeatedly by our parents.
Colin like most uniformed personnel loved the taste of alcohol. He was also an excellent cook. He loved to curry the flesh of animals, such as chickens, ducks, and a number of the exotic creatures, such as turtles, tortoises, labba, iguana, anteaters, and others found in Guyana. I suppose he developed such a fancy while a member of the Guyana youth’s corps. He also loved partying. I cannot recall whether he was considered a dancer. I guess he was much better than I was at dancing in public. Guyanese folk songs, jazz, rhythm and blues, calypso and reggae were foremost amongst his musical tastes. I can assure you, during the late 1970s, the Peter Tosh composition, “Downpressor Man” was one of his favorite Tunes.
Colin seemed to be always capable of forgiving those who violated him. I simply distance myself from those whom I am confident willfully and blatantly violated me. I was not shocked when Cedric Hudson of Nabaclis village told me Colin warned him and told him to leave New Amsterdam immediately but never arrested him.
The last time I saw my brother alive in the town of our birth, I refused to accept the collaborated statements he and Colin Sancho stated as factual. I thought for some reason known to them. Colin Ross has pummeled Colin Sancho. I was flabbergasted. Colin Sancho told me the refrigerator fell upon him, thus his injuries. I became enraged at both of them. What kind of a fool did they think I am? I could not find any rationale to believe them. I simply had to accept their explanation.
Colin collected rent for the dwellings Muriel Sancho owned at Alexander Street, in New Amsterdam. However, he refused to utilize his mother’s money to finance his examinations - and other personal requirements. I simply would have sent Muriel the proof of transactions and expenses. He was learning welding at NATI. I accompanied him on several occasions to classes at the institution. He encouraged me to enroll. However, fearing damaging my sight, I refused.

DEATH
The death of Colin was one of the most numbing and bitter events. I have experienced in this sojourn. I was aware, that the deaths of my maternal relatives are much too distasteful for me to stomach. There was always the sense of regrets and the question of personal mortality in the future. That inevitable event comes readily to the surface and takes its time to submerge itself again. Thus, September 1981 remains one of the toughest periods of my life I had to endure.
He died tragically from the injuries he received following an accident involving motor vehicle driven by a drunk driver. I cannot get over the sight of Muriel Sancho aging before my very eyes weighed down by grief respecting the passing of her son. She had never appeared more mortal. It was like she surrendered. It appeared her will, her resolve was snapped. I never witnessed my mother appearing so vulnerable. She had. It seemed always a picture of strength. The passing of Colin was a turning point in the lives of a number of his loved ones. I am sure of it. No clichés gives comfort - even to this day.
The funeral services were held at Central Methodist Church, Main Street, New Amsterdam. Some twenty-seven years, prior, Colin was baptized at that institution. The preacher went on and on making statements as he attempted to eulogize my brother. I could not identify most of the eulogy with that of the life of my brother. It was clear to me. He had very little knowledge of my relative. It was phony. It was fraudulent. It was disgusting. Consequently, I concluded that travesty is not for me. No fanfare, no tears, no words are required; just simply entomb my remains with that of my mother's and that will be the end of that.
There is so much more I could say respecting Colin. However, I am with these few words simply attempting to paint a portrait of him for the benefit of his relatives who by natural circumstances were not permitted to bond with him. It is also to remind those who were blessed with his presence; that it’s up to the living to tell our story ourselves and to impress upon the present generations of our people to grasp the contributions of those who came and left before us and thereby preserve such for the benefit of future generations of our people

Wish List

Complete list of Guianese teachers who successfully completed teachers’ training programs at the following institutions in British Guiana and in the Caribbean basin; Bishop’s College (1853-1882); College for the Training of Teachers (1928-1966); Naparima, and Tranquility in Trinidad and Tobago, Rawle in Barbados (about 1910?-1928?); Mico in Antigua and Jamaica (1850-1870, 1910-1928); and Shortwood College in Jamaica (about 1910?-1928?).
Complete list of the shareholders of Plaisance (88); Sparendaam, Beterverwagting (January 1841:65); Buxton (April 1840:128); Friendship (1842:170); Golden Grove (50 shares); Nabaclis (perhaps1852 or1854); Ann’s Grove (May 1849); and Two Friends.
What are the exact dates of the Centenary Celebrations of the following villages; Plaisance, Sparendaam, Beterverwagting, Buxton, Friendship, Nabaclis,, Victoria, Ann’s Grove, and Two Friends?
Who are numbered amongst the Commissioners, Board of Superintendence, and Village Councils of Plaisance, Sparendaam, Beterverwagting, Buxton, Friendship, Golden Grove, Nabaclis, Ann’s Grove, and Two Friends 1839-1892?

Maps of British Guiana showing the various dimensions of the political boundary from the beginning of the colonial experience to recent times.
Also map showing the parishes, their boundaries and their capitals.
Lists of Chemists and Druggists, Sick-Nurses and Dispensers, Pupil Teachers, Trained Teachers, and School Masters, Post Masters, Station Masters, Sugar Boilers, Police Officers as per Their Stations 1831-1966

Death by Misadventure: - the Rise, Fall and Disappearance of Agricultural Industries in the Rural Communities in Guyana

Death by Misadventure: - the Rise, Fall and Disappearance of Agricultural Industries in the Rural Communities in Guyana with Special Reference to the Local Authority of Golden Grove and Nabaclis Village District.

“The people have been left with no guidance, little training, and believe in a myth that Queen takes an interest in their welfare and is their Champion” . . . VERITAS, The Watchman newspaper, November 7, 1873.

THE BIRTH:
The communities in rural districts were founded on the basis of Agriculture. In fact, Agriculture and not Prostitution, the false claim of the Eurocentric world, is indeed the oldest profession on earth. Perhaps, an Egyptologist would verify the above statement. I seriously doubt the Pharaoh Aha would put up with such a practice. Agriculture in the rural communities in Guyana dates back to the Dutch occupation. That is the era of the beginnings of the enslavement and colonization of our ancestors from the Eastern Coast of the Atlantic Ocean on the plantations in the colonies of Essequebo and Berbice in the seventeenth century and Demerary in the eighteenth century. A great number of our people were farmers. They were captured, stolen and kidnapped from the regions known as the Yam and Rice belt found between the Senegal and the Congo Rivers. Thus, our representatives were allowed to engage themselves in their allotted plots on the slave masters’ estates. Also, governors, such as Gravesande in Essequebo, and Bentinck in Demerary, with the aid of indigenous people, carried out several campaigns against maroons (Runaway slaves) which included such activities as burning the rice fields and other crops of those seeking self-emancipation. In short, contrary to the misinformation and/or miseducation, and/or both, propagated by individuals and now by national institutions in Guyana such as the Guyana Rice Board, that rice was introduced in Guyana by East Indians is part of the grand scheme of things aimed to discredit and/or omit black people all together as a group of having made no contribution whatsoever. This is identified by major Afro centric commentators as “Not out of Africa,” “Not before Columbus” and/or “anybody but Blackman” our ancestral legacy is continually stolen and denied us. This has been fostered facilitated by ignorance of our people. There is an old cliché which states and I am paraphrasing the saying; you can hide things from Black people in plain sight, just put in a book; they never read. If you know me, you will observe that for the most part I have a book and/or some reading material in my possession. It is rarely ever fiction. It is primarily humanities and social sciences. You can’t fool me again. They can’t fool me again.
Moreover, Black People were not sitting around, praying to some God in the sky to send a number of East Indians to the colony of British Guiana to feed them. Such a notion is as ridiculous as it is the ranting of a racist mind-set. It is utter rubbish. It’s absurd. Most racists are devoid of logic, and/or rational thought. Whenever you encounter a racist, you tell them the siblings of your ancestors are their ancestors. If that statement does not work; then be plain - tell them every kind of man known on this earth is a descendant of Blackman . . . if it were accurate that Black people had to wait for East Indians to come to their rescue in British Guiana - well then just how did Black people manage all those 50,000 years without East Indians. Also they would have been no civilizations in “Africa,” “Asia,” “Europe” and “the Americas” in millenniums past. In short without Blackman there would be no human development on this planet. Blackman is the foundation of the human experience. None predates Blackman. Blackman is earth’s rightful ruler.

FIRST RURAL DISTRICT SHOW
An Agricultural and Industrial show was held at Golden Grove on December 7, 1897. It was an astounding success. The exhibits displayed, more than a hundred and twelve years ago, reflected the magnitude of the philosophy of self-sufficiency amongst our representatives. Another show was held the following December at Golden Grove. It appears that the 1898 Show was not as successful as that held the previous year. The major reason given is that a similar show was sponsored by the farmers of the neighboring Victoria Village and held at Belfield on whit Monday 1898. The major esteemed historian Norman Eustace Cameron tells readers - the first such show was scheduled to be held in 1889, in the village of Buxton However, in the aftermath of “The Cent Bread Riots” of March 1889, the colonial authorities’ rescinded permission to stage the event. Readers may wonder - What the Rioting in Georgetown had to do with showcasing the industry of our people? It was simply stated - racism. The colonial government was ever willing to portray black people in bad light and seldom would they grant the opportunity to Black people to showcase themselves as worthy of the heritage of their ancestors of Nile River Valley Civilizations.
Thus, eventually the first rural district show was held at Golden Grove on December 7, 1897. It must be noted the highly esteemed schoolmaster and wordsmith the honorable Mr. Tappin Johnson Elliott was one of the major organizers of the show. Mr. Elliott delivered one of the featured speeches at the ceremony marking the opening of the show. Mr. Thomas Elliott, brother of Tappin Elliott, also a schoolmaster, musician and politician of note were also in attendance. The participants and patrons consisted of the various so-called ethnic groups found in the district and neighboring political boundaries. As many as five hundred products were displayed. Prizes were adjudged and handed out to a number of the industrious folks. The fact that Black People made Curry Powder was very surprising to me. Mrs. Mary Sandy, the daughter of Bentick Sancho and sister of Lambert Tuckness Sancho won several prizes including that for producing Curry Powder and Coconut Oil. It is, thus, accurate to conclude those folks got it right. They are primarily the members of the first and second succeeding generations of the shareholders of Golden Grove and Nabaclis and other communities on the East Coast of Demerara. They were self-sufficient. They practiced self-determination and self-help. They clothed, housed, and nourished themselves. Much respect to them.

THE DECLINE:
The great flood of January 1934 is often identified as a marking point respecting the beginnings of the decline in the fortunes of the Small Farming industry in the rural communities on the East Coast of Demerara. A number of Social Scientists and commentators expressed views that the soil became less fertile in the aftermath of the 1934 Flood. That may have been possible; however, crop rotation, animal waste-matter, and remains of burnt vegetation could have been employed as manure in the attempt to revitalize the land. I am an eyewitness. I noticed as late as January 1969, the farmers of Golden Grove, Nabaclis, Victoria, Buxton and Friendship were still producing vast amounts and high quality of crops and domesticated animals. The manufacture of coconut oil appears to have been the major industry in the three ancestral adopted village districts.

It is my contention; The major factors which gave rise to the decline and disappearance of the Agricultural Industries in the Rural Communities in Guyana are the following;
1. the shenanigans of the two major political platforms,
2. the policies of the National Government,
3. the failure to access to cheap and reliable power supply (electricity),
4. the migration of young people, primarily the males to the major urban centers in Guyana, the Caribbean basin, United Kingdom, Canada and USA,
5. the rise and expectations of remittance,
6. the ill-gotten gains of illegal narcotics trade,
7. loss of self-esteem and self-discipline of the succeeding generations,
8. the aspirations for the so-called white collar jobs such as the Civil Service.
9. The banning of several food items -gave rise to the so-called Black Market Trade,
10. the Guianese Government discontinued The Depot which bought the Small Farmers’ crops in the colonial era as late as 1941.
11. The failure to develop reliable export markets.

THE REBIRTH:
Agriculture; Gardening was very much a part of the curriculum, during my experiences in the school system in the colony of British Guiana (Guyana). Also in the Colonial era in Guyana, there were offices and officials such as the Department of Agriculture, and the District Agricultural Inspectors. The farmers were encouraged to produce by necessity and by the colonial establishment.
Now, I must admit. I am not privy to any program and/or policy of the present administration with respect to Agricultural industries. It is clear to me. The present administration is a failure. The once proud people, with their flourishing agricultural communities are now floundering. They have been floundering for decades. Those rural communities are mired in distress. No change is in sight. Yet you vote for the same people to repeatedly handcuff your socioeconomic development. Who are you? I do not recognize you. What happened to the militancy of the indentured laborers and the slaves? There were hundreds of events between August 1, 1838 and February 1957 in Skeldon which makes me proud of my representatives. There were strikes especially on the sugar plantations and the wharfs. Today, the Guianese people just want to survive to exist like the poor people of USA do on fixed income and act like they are about some thing tangible. They are not even fooling themselves. They are just wishing the situation changes and/or hoping international pressure would extricate them from the decades’ old nonsense that they allow to be propagated against them. Old Ramjeet of Plantation Port Mourant, John Ramballi at Plantation Skeldon, the stalwarts at Plantation Non Pariel in October 1896, the ole Bengali Bechu and numerous others whom the Europeans addressed as Ring leaders would not have sat still with their hands clasped. They would not have been quiet as this lot is today in Guyana and elsewhere.
The ministry of Agriculture seems to be just for show. What are they doing to earn the taxpayers’ money? They are all frauds. I suggest the philosophy of Jerry Rawlins is applicable. At least they could; they should go out of their way to challenge every village in the rural communities to produce, to practice animal and plant husbandry in a major way and thereby become as they once was the breadbasket of the English Caribbean Basin. The ministry of agriculture must lead the charge in this effort of reclamation. Guyanese have become increasingly dependant on foreign products. I charge a consumer mentality does’ not augur well to foster an atmosphere which give rise to developed nation status. The applicable government agencies and/or officials must engage the communities of the rural districts and challenge them to reproduce perhaps as it was in the beginnings of the twentieth century. The government must do its part. They must ensure Guyanese have access to cheap and reliable sources of electric power supply and scientific testing of soils to enable a wider variety of tropical produce. Also, the mountainous and sandy regions must be investigated as sources for subtropical agricultural production.
However, the onus falls upon the people of Guyana, more so the occupants of the rural communities to shoulder the burden to facilitate self-dependence. The international acclaimed historian The Most Honorable Dr. Walter Anthony Rodney (1942-1980) PBUH tells readers a Chairman of the Victoria Institute in April 1919 remarked, “Georgetown looks to the East Coast to decide its political matters” and the facts did bear out this situation. I have identified Hubert Alfred Thompson the remarkable schoolmaster of St. Andrew’s Church of England School at Plantation Cove and John and renowned musician as the orator and thinker who made the utterance.

Recommended Reading:
Rodney, Walter, “the Mass in Action” in the Lamming, George and Carter, Martin (editors) [1966] New World: Guyana Independence Issue