Dec 01, 2015 News
The village of Lichfield, West Berbice, celebrated its 175th anniversary with an awards ceremony and cultural programme on Saturday. The event was a part of a series of activities held by the community to observe the
The 175th anniversary was an achievement and proud moment for the villagers, who turned out in their numbers to join in the celebrations. Based on the village history, shared by Mr. Cecil Semple, Lichfield was purchased in 1840 by 12 ex-slaves.
He explained that the sugar cane was not cultivated in the area but staples such as cotton, tobacco and coffee were planted.
After buying the land, a 12-man management team was set up to overlook the village development. That team was headed by Kudjoe McPherson. The team empoldered the land and allotted farm lands. These two activities represented the start of a number of developmental projects that improved the livelihood of the residents.
Semple said that from the very start the village had two churches (the St. Jude’s Anglican Church and the Moravian Church). However, the selection of the patron saint is still unknown. There was also a school, a railway station, loan bank and a village office.
Most importantly, he noted that many of the families who resided in the village in the early days still reside. Semple said that the village is a strong one and can withstand any challenge. However migrations, government policies and loss of village leaders have diminished life, in Lichfield.
Aside from the cultural items performed by the residents, a number of awards were given to several village elders. They are J. B. Layne, 99; Lucille McAlmon, 91; William Semple, 88; and Ivy Collins, 84.
Awards were presented to Oletta Semple, Robin Chichester, Dr. Randell Collins, Steve Chichester, Collette Adams, Alicia Robinson, Darren Wade, Alice Lynton, Pastor O’Brien Welch, Rev. Paul, Samuel Harcourt, Albert Straker, Alene Seraphin, Beyonce Peters and Nikelly Wilson, Alpha Harcourt, Greshan Grant, Ronella Chapman and Ian Archibald.
Minister within the Ministry of Education, Nicolette Henry, lauded the sacrifices made by ancestors of the community, who struggled to achieve many things including freedom.
“This village has a rich history and has produced outstanding sons and daughters,” Minister Henry said. She then shared how her own life was touched by the late Col. Godwin McPherson, under whom she served in the Guyana Defence Force.
As they celebrate their achievements, Minister Henry called on the villagers to reflect on those gains that are still to be made.
She recalled a statement by the Head of State, President David Granger, who noted, “If we are going to construct a new economy we have to make economic decisions like reviving village economies.”
The lands that were bought many years ago must be used to solve the unemployment problem in a collaborative effort (government and community), she said.
“People who find opportunities in a changing environment are those who are actively looking for them,” Minister Henry declared.
While congratulating the awardees, particularly the school children, the Minister urged them to continue to recognize the true value of knowledge.
“While it is good to possess it, it works best when you invest it. When you invest your knowledge in people and society, it grows and its returns are often incalculable,” she emphasized.
Minister Henry also asked that as this investment is being made, that they not be afraid to take risks.
“Innovation is often the inevitable result of risk taking by people who not only dedicated themselves to learning things, but often in challenging that knowledge or its application,” she said.
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