D’Edward – the fastest growing West Berbice village
D’Edward village situated on the West Coast of Berbice between Cotton Tree Village and Rosignol, 65 miles east of Georgetown, is still referred to by many people as Sir James village.
How people got to calling the place “Sir James” can provoke a lively debate among villagers, since there is not much documented history.
Some say that the name Sir James refers to the northern section of the village (near to Cotton Tree) while D’Edward was the name of the southern half (next to Rosignol).
The northern half was owned by some people named James and the southern half by the Edwards with the name of Sir James being used by some as derivative of the ownership by the James’.
Others say that the name of the entire village was first Sir James and then it was changed to D’Edward when it became part of the Rosignol/Zeelust Neighborhood Democratic Council in recent years.
However, this village, reportedly a former cocoa plantation, which recently gained prominence as the location of the western end of the Berbice River Bridge, is certainly among the oldest settlements on West Coast Berbice.
Conjecture aside, the few historic records extant disclose that the official name of the village was D’Edward, as far back as 1845 and that it was divided into D’Edward north and D’Edward south.
An interesting fact to some was that of the 13 named proprietors of D’Edward south in 1845, seven were women.
The names on record of these women were Doris Chapman, Lucy August, Henrietta Jarvis, Janet Katz, Cupid Katz, Bella Conrad and Minerva.
The six male proprietors were Richard John Stewart, Archibald Katz, John Bethune, Thaft, Jacob Johnston and Christian Caedecker.
The proprietors of north D’Edward at the time were three men, John Hamilton, Hercules Hamilton and Jacob Hamilton.
Records revealed, too, that in 1852 a Reverend James Roome, who was a member of the London Missionary Society was instrumental in the construction of a chapel at D’Edward.
This chapel was located near the turn from Cotton Tree into D’Edward, where the Berbice River Bridge begins, a bend subsequently called and is still called Talaballi Turn in honour of a prominent former resident in the area now deceased.
The involvement of Rev’d James Roome in the religious life of the area in the mid-nineteenth century, broaches a theory that his toils may have been responsible for this area being given the colloquial name, Sir James.
Of some curiosity at D’Edward was the discovery of an old tomb many years ago in the yard of the Lalsas, one of the prominent D’Edward Village families.
It was a clay brick tomb, apparently made many years ago, even before then in the 1950s.
Mr. Lloyd Thomas, an Attorney at Law and lifelong resident of D’Edward, recalled that that tomb had sparked his curiosity when he was very young and he had inquired about whose final resting place it could have been.
He recalled that a village elder had informed him that it was the final resting place of a young girl, the daughter of a former Headteacher in the village, who had died tragically while having an abortion to avoid a potentially socially devastating out-of-wedlock pregnancy.
Derick Lalsa, aka Capo, in whose yard the tomb still lies, and who is in his forties, said that it was broken and empty from the days when he was a toddler.
He knew that it had been the final resting place of some resident of long ago, but said that because of the state of deterioration it was impossible to say who that might have been.
He added that his parents had always advised him to bite his fingers after he had pointed at that final resting place of that unknown person as a precaution against attracting the attention of any spirits (jumbies) in it.
Modern day D’Edward is mainly an agricultural village with a growing commercial sector.
The Commercial sector apart, many residents earn a livelihood from working at the nearby Blairmont Sugar Estate.
Others rear cattle and other forms of livestock and still others make a livelihood by farming vegetable and cash crops for sale at the nearby Rosignol Market or in Georgetown.
There are those who make a living by fishing on the Berbice River or along the Atlantic Coast.
The “Sweet Lips” Disco is one of the more nationally and internationally known places of entertainment.
The village also boasts a well kept sports club ground, a multi-purpose community centre and a bleacher. There is also one of the best organised Sports Clubs in West Berbice, the D’Edwards Sports Club.
D’Edward is at the moment striving towards modernity. Residents are happy about the efficiency of the residential drainage system in the village- kudos going to the local government body, the Rosignol/Zeelust NDC.
They are now calling for the installation of street lights in some of the more densely populated areas.