Leguan: An alluring island with a rich camaraderie and agricultural enterprise
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on whatsapp

I was certainly tingling with excitement and there was good reason for this. You see folks I had always dreamed of exploring the intriguing islands of Guyana, but really had never gotten the opportunity to do so.
So naturally when my boss suggested the island of Leguan as my next stop in our Village Focus treks, I jumped and whelped with joy at a level that was allowed in the office.

Everyone does a little farming in Leguan
Everyone does a little farming in Leguan

I know you folks must be certainly wondering just where this island is located and I would do my best to pinpoint its location.
Leguan is an island situated in the delta of the Essequibo River. The island is shaped like a gull wing and is nine miles (14 km) long and 2 miles (3.2 km) wide at its widest making it 18 square miles in area.
This island at one time had an estimated population of 4,200 living in 27 demarcated villages. But due to migration of many residents for various reasons, this has now dwindled to just less than 3,000 according to reliable sources there.
The population has declined fairly rapidly during the past decade as residents leave to settle in more urban parts of Guyana or migrate, often to the United States, Canada the United Kingdom or to various Caribbean islands. Leguan is primarily a rice farming and cattle rearing community. Other occupations on the island include government administration, teaching, health care and policing.

Preparing the farm lands for agricultural prospects
Preparing the farm lands for agricultural prospects

Leguan consists of roughly 82% East Indian ancestry and 17% African ancestry. The remaining approximately 1% of the population are foreign born Chinese, Canadian, American and English, most of whom are involved in community development work with religious or state organisations. The majority of Leguan residents are Hindu, while the rest are followers of Islam, Christianity and the Rastafari movement.
Leguan is situated next to another island named Wakenaam in the Essequibo River. There are five rice factories located on the island; the largest one being L.P.Doobay& Sons Rice Mill.
The primary means of transportation in Leguan is by bicycle. Many people also have motorbikes. A small group of people also have cars. In terms of public transportation, Leguan has a handful of taxis, buses and seemingly an abundance of horse carts.
The community of Amsterdam, which lies on the eastern tip of Leguan, is predominantly a farming area, with several rice and cash-crop farms situated in its environs.

Infrastructure

Fattened iguana serves as a rare delicacy on the island
Fattened iguana serves as a rare delicacy on the island

The island is home to the regional government office for the Essequibo Islands. The regional office serves the other populated islands of the Essequibo River delta, Wakenaam and Hogg Island. Leguan has five elementary schools and one secondary school. The secondary school currently serves about 300 students in grades seven through eleven or forms one through five.
The island is divided into several quiet and comfortable villages like Enterprise, La Bagatelle, Belfeild, Waterloo, Melville, Success, Anna Maria, Bunduri Park, and many other locations.

Childhood chums Bhola Ramoutar (left) and Winston Lake still continue to make ‘bush cooks’ in the real traditional fashion.
Childhood chums Bhola Ramoutar (left) and Winston Lake still continue to make ‘bush cooks’ in the real traditional fashion.

The demure island is served by the Transport and Harbours Department (T&HD) with two daily trips to and from Parika with large engine vessels. Many Leguan residents travel to shop at the Thursday and Sunday open-air markets in Parika. Privately owned speed boats also service the island regularly from the Parika Stelling.
Leguan only received electricity services from Guyana Power & Light company in 1997 and telephone services, both land-line and cellular, from Guyana Telephone & Telegraph in 1999. The island has three main paved roads, two running along the northern and southern routes and a road that bisects the island connecting these routes. The Government of Guyana built a new stelling on the island in 2005.
Leguan, one of the few inhabited islands in the Essequibo River, sits squarely in the mouth of the river, a relatively short speedboat ride from Parika. While the population of the villages on the island has decreased in recent times, the people who remain have been making the best of what life has to offer there.

This is just about one of the many places of worship that can be found on the island.
This is just about one of the many places of worship that can be found on the island.

Easy-going, independent and hospitable are only some of the words used by Leguan residents to describe themselves. While rice farming is considered the main economic activity in Leguan, cattle-rearing is beginning to take “centre-stage.” According to residents Leguan is the island that supplies fresh cow’s milk to other islands, many locations in Essequibo and to other parts of Guyana.
Each year at Easter time and on Emancipation Day, many persons, most of them non-islanders flock to the area. Residents feel that with improved infrastructure, many persons would visit places around the island “just to enjoy the scenes.”
Apart from the very hospitable people and tasty foods, Leguan will always remain popular for its breathtaking beach.
In times gone by, there were two private hotels on Leguan, but one of the businesses closed its doors, owing to a lack of customers. At the same time, several persons who migrated from Leguan to live overseas have returned spend their “golden years” there.

The journey
Well there I was in a Parika bound minibus smiling dreamily at the possible exciting prospects my visit will unfold, not for once reflecting that my means of transport to this location from Parika, would be by speedboat.

Joiner, Allan Hussain (left) and apprentice, Andrew Ragunandan hard at work as they make ready repaired and new furniture for their customers.
Joiner, Allan Hussain (left) and apprentice, Andrew Ragunandan hard at work as they make ready repaired and new furniture for their customers.

Well I am not ashamed to admit that even though I am an excellent swimmer I am strangely terrified of wide expanses of water and rolling, crashing waves. And this was just the spectacle that greeted me when I arrived at the Parika Boat Stelling and began to make enquiries about locating the correct transport to this island.
A smiling boat captain with a twinkle in his eyes noticed my apparent bewilderment and approaching enquired of my destination. When I told him of my direction and reason for travelling, he took one look at my media identification card and became more polite and endearing than a yesteryear knight with shining armour. Honestly, his demeanour did lift my spirits and so I followed him briskly as he led the way to his boat moored alongside the stelling.
Then it was time to enter the boat and I did so gingerly, almost falling over the side as the waves rocked the vessel to and fro even though it was almost filled with passengers.
So there I was my eyes bulging with fright, as I buckled up my life jacket with trembling fingers. I looked around and almost every passenger seemed to be enjoying the ride, except me who was almost flung several times from the vessel as it soared above very high waves to come crashing down in the deep valleys and watery caverns created by the forceful wind pattern. Despite my fears I arrived safely in Leguan.

Security guard Miguel Jacobs enjoys life on Leguan Island.
Security guard Miguel Jacobs enjoys life on Leguan Island.

Walking along the stelling on wobbly legs I gulped in huge breaths of fresh air as I struggled to settle my nerves and regain my composure.
Not knowing where to turn I headed for the NeighbourhoodDemocratic Council’s (NDC) Office to chat with administrative staff there. I spoke with the Chairman who was actually going on an errand and promised to be back in a few minutes. Strangely he did not return an hour or more after, so I began my interviews with a few staff members there and folks I bumped into along the way.

Chatting with residents
Miguel Jacobs, 48, a security guard at the NDC Office was eager to talk and revealed that he has been residing in Leguan for over 20 years and has been a security guard for about five years. Miguel revealed that while he was much younger he was a pork-knocker in the interior regions of Guyana, but had declined from that practice as he aged.
He expressed great pleasure about residing in the island, indicating that it is a ‘nice’ and quiet’ location,which is slowly developing.
“When I was much younger I was caught up in the gold rush and spent many years in the interior. Yes I was making ‘big money’ and enjoying life, but even that job too has its dangers with pits falling in and all of that. As I grew older, I decided to take up a much softer profession and that is how I ended up being a security guard here. Life is good in Leguan and this island is the perfect place for a person who prefers a little peace and quiet. We are not fully there yet, but the island is developing slowly”.

The Yuvindra Cinema offers ready relaxation and family oriented entertainment for residents.
The Yuvindra Cinema offers ready relaxation and family oriented entertainment for residents.

The very jovial man noted that Leguan is a beautiful island with the perfect historical sightings and old world charm that would make good ‘eye teasers’ for tourists and even visiting Guyanese. However, this man is very much concerned about the drainage and irrigation system in the village which he claims is not perfect.
“While this island has some very historical land sites and markings that would be of interest to tourists and even visiting Guyanese, something needs to be done to our drainage and irrigation system. Not so long ago a koker was built here and the contractor, I think, did not do a proper job. When the koker is closed lots of water still seep through from the bottom and sides, and this could eventually lead to flooding. There are still drains around the area that are not properly cleaned and this can put us at a disadvantage”
‘Little Stewart’ as he prefers to be called is an electrician who is quite contented with his existence and level of survival on the island.

Khaleel Mohamed is a famous writer that originated from Leguan Island
Khaleel Mohamed is a famous writer that originated from Leguan Island

“I am a quiet and cool person and for me life on this island is not perfect but at least peaceful. We do not have the sophisticated infrastructure like many other locations around Guyana, but we are slowly developing and with the right minds and hands put to proper use, Leguan can become a major tourist attraction. For this to happen however we would have to get better playfields, maybe a proper fun park for families, and a variety of recreational facilities so as to ensure our youths can be engaged positively during their leisure time”.
Cash crop farmer Tularam Singh touched on the issue of migration, noting that the driving factor behind such actions is because of the sea defence system in the area, which he claimed still cannot keep out towering waves during high tides and the rainy season.
“Bass man this ah wan really nice place fuh live, but because of certain reasons people ah move out frumhea and ah look fuhbettament elsewhere. Me ah wan farmer for almost 15 years and me see many athafarmah move out tuh Georgetown and otha areas because ah dis flooding problem. Yuh see when we get wan real high tide the rivawata does over flow de bank, especially in dem lowland areas and flood out acres and acres ah provishan and vegetable. We does invest big time money in many cases in planting on a large scale and when this happen, it does get yuh real angry and break yuh spirit. Plenty farmah move out because ah dis problem”.
Mr. Singh suggested that a five-foot wall should be built around the entire village, alongside the river bank to keep out the high waves during the high tides. He feels that this would encourage villagers and other farmers to remain in the area and enjoy comfortable living.
Food vendor, Sursattie Loknauth enjoys her trade, but is concerned about the state of the roads in some areas of the islands.
“To be honest I enjoy living in Leguan, and of course I normally make a nice small piece as a food vendor in Enterprise village. Life here is beautiful, but what concerns me most is the state of the roads in Enterprise and a few other areas. Many side streets are not paved and the three major roads that are paved are very ‘broken up’ in some locations and filled with potholes. If this can be taken care of, it will add to the beauty of Leguan. Other than that, I must admit it’s a nice place to live. We enjoy proper drinking water and good electricity, and that makes life if not perfect, reasonably comfortable.”
Allan Hussain would surely fill your life with laughter if you sit down a while to listen to him as expresses the joy and pride he enjoys while indulging in his profession as a joiner.
With eyes twinkling like tropical candle flies he divulged the following: “Me happy wid me self and de life me ah live. Me a wan jinahfuhovah three years and me does tek pride and joy in meh jab. Me does really enjay when I finish me wuk and see demcustomah smile with satisfaction at de good wuk me put out. Me is a single man living alone suh de money me does mek does always duh fuh me. Me ah train wan young apprentice to fill in me space afta me gan and he learning quite fine and very quick. This really please me because I know de trade will continue. Dem a got a few mohjinahs here, but me is de village favorite . Me really like dis jab bad. And this place really nice, we could leave we doors open and sleep comfortable, day and night.”

The Leguan Magistrate Court, Police Station and Post Office are quite close together forming a businesslike alcove.
The Leguan Magistrate Court, Police Station and Post Office are quite close together forming a businesslike alcove.

As regards to life on the island, house wife Theresa Small described the islanders as generally “relaxed people,” although sometimes residents would feel neglected by the authorities. She said that if more focus was placed on the creation of jobs, improved sea defences and better maintenance of roads, “a lot of people would come here just to tour the place.”
Jairam Hanoman, a rice farmer was very saddened by the fact that although he had harvested his rice crop a long time ago, he is still waiting on payment from millers for his produce. He noted that this has certainly thrown a damper on things and is affecting his domestic finances.
“Bai this thing really telling pon me nerves. Since Noah build he ark me done harvest me rice and sell it tuhdemmillashea and today I still waiting fuh meh money. Yuh see bass de rice market slow and suh it ah tekdemlangfuh sell affdem rice and pay we rice farmers. But how lang we guhwait? Me get several mouths fuh feed when de day come. Dat is why I had to tek up a side jab as a mechanic with de NDC in Leguanhea just fuhmek ends meet”.

Leguan in years gone by

A school girl gingerly maneuvering her way in  a section of a badly damaged road in Enterprise Village.
A school girl gingerly maneuvering her way in a section of a badly damaged road in Enterprise Village.

Today Leguan has developed to a reasonable extent and there is a certain impending modern ambience that fuses nicely with the yesteryear charm that oozes from the location, made ready by the historical structures and land sites that still remain.
To tell the story of its transformation was 77 year-old Winston Lake who has been a resident for over 50 years.
“What you see today is not the Leguan that was there in my time as a young boy. I can remember running around with my underwear in the scorching sun with mud all over my body as my mother would bellow at me from the open window of a small thatched roof cottage. There were hardly much houses around and those that were there were mostly small in size and far apart from each other. There were plenty of bushes and the few streets were unpaved.”
“In those days everyone survived by agricultural means and a few by rearing a few pigs, cattle or sheep. I can remember rice farmers with their bulls and ploughs tilling the rice fields. When it was harvesting time the ladies and young men came out in their numbers and would trash the paddy by hand, using pitch forks to separate the grains from the stalks. In time the combine harvester came into play as more settlers came to live here bringing the evolvement of businesses, economic growth and modernization with them”
Mr. Lake noted that many years ago most households would cook their meals on ‘firesides’ outside out of the home using wood and twigs to fuel their fires. He added that there was a lone cinema in the village during his teenaged years-the ‘Viola Cinema’ where villagers will congregate to watch movies since there was no televisions around at that time.

The horse drawn cart serves as a reliable means of transport on the island
The horse drawn cart serves as a reliable means of transport on the island

Today that cinema has been remodeled and is now named the ‘Yuvindra Cinema’ which stands just beside the ‘KabhiKabhi XM Bar’ and the Sunjay Chinese Restaurant. All around there are food stalls with the Dassy’s Hot Spot being the most popular.
Chand’s Rice Milling Enterprise helps farmers market their produce, and there are indeed several mandirs, mosques and churches since residents share different religious beliefs.

Entertainment and leisure time activities
There is certainly no lack of entertainment opportunities in Leguan since residents are contented to sit around at a few small bars and ‘tek a tupps’ as they listen to pulsating music and their favourite sounds.
On weekends youths customarily congregate at the Denison Ground Ball Field and engage in various games, such as cricket, football and rarely circle tennis. From time to time village teams would face off in fiery sporting clashes for trophies and cash prizes and this attracts villagers in large numbers at the venue.
That aside, villagers are content to listen to music in their home, watch television or wait for the major events like Leguan Nite, and the famous Miss Leguan Beauty Pageant. They also look forward to holiday festivities and religious celebrations.

Village camaraderie

Residents catch up on a little gossip and current affairs
Residents catch up on a little gossip and current affairs

Taking a close look at my experiences in all the other locations visited, I would definitely have to agree that Leguan sports a very high degree of harmony, co-operation and camaraderie among residents.
In this appealing island ‘everyone lives as one’, and there is certainly no evidence of ethnic divisions or differences. As I explored the island I was greeted with endearing smiles that certainly was reflected in the heart and eyes of those that looked my way and the warmth and love they showered on me during interviews was astounding.
As I made my stops and interacted I was even hugged by many who were all ready to talk about their quiet existence and their hopes for the island to become the next big tourist attraction.
Some housewives insisted I sampled their home made fruit juices or eat small samples of stewed vegetable from their very own farms and gardens. And many insisted that I took home juicy looking golden apples, ripe mangoes and in some cases sugary watermelons.
At the street corners and food stalls it was an ‘ethnic mix’ as men played dominoes, cards or argued loudly on issues like politics, sports, and the positives the government has done on the island so far.
This was truly the land of natural love and ‘wild ethnic abandon’ as villagers filled the air with raucous friendly conversation, peals of hearty laughter, or shout their ‘good day’ and ‘good mornings’ to each other with glee and mirth that was pleasing to the eye.

Tourism Impact

Enjoying the crisp, refreshing Leguan winds
Enjoying the crisp, refreshing Leguan winds

Over the years, the Tourism Ministry has been placing a lot of emphasis on domestic tourism, and in this regard, it has implementedseveral initiatives such as the Wakenaam Nite, Essequibo Nite, and several expos.
In expanding on the ‘Nite’ initiative, the Ministry on in 2013 launched the Leguan Nite, to allow individuals to visit and explore the island and see what it has to offer. At the ceremony at the Tourism Ministry’s South Road Office, Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA), Indranauth Haralsingh had indicated that the event was expected to have a greater outcome than the Wakenaam Nite. The event attracts a large crowd, because it serves as an open exhibition to the island.
It offered a tour of the island, along with a visit to the beach, which can be used as family time to relax or play a game of cricket or volleyball while allowing visitors to experience life on the island, which includes rice farming, cow milking and fishing, along with other daily routines. Overnight camping was also be facilitated at the community centre ground and in the schools’ compounds.

The main attraction of the event, however, is the pageant which consists of five segments and sees nine young women sponsored by residents or former residents of the island competing for the crown. The young women were at the launch of Leguan Nite and highlighted their platforms: pollution, peer pressure, domestic violence, teenage pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, women’s empowerment, rights of the child, child abuse and unemployment.
Last year as the sun went down, the party vibes went up a few notches. Tempting music filled the cool air as dozens of visitors and hundreds of islanders, adorned with their finest, flocked the streets of small Leguan as they proceeded to the venue.
Some walked to the centre ground while others were transported by cars, buses, and even trucks, to the event which included the much anticipated Miss Leguan Pageant.
This, the major highlight of the night, saw nine beautiful young ladies vying for the much coveted crown. After five segments, including a Talent piece, an Evening Gown, and the most important, Question and Answer Segment, 20-year-old Indranie Rampatie was named the queen of Leguan.
The Queen was followed by first runner-up, Tejwantie Rampersaud, second runner-up Adeola Austin, third runner-up Tabitha Persaud and fourth runner-up, SerikaParasram.
The other contestants were TaramattieOudit, DevikaMahase, Natasha Sookraj, and Roxanne St. Hill.
Special prizes were also awarded, with Adeola Austin copping those for Best Smile, Best Evening Gown, and Best Talent Piece.
Miss Congeniality went to Taramattie Oudit, while the Best Introduction and Best Cultural Wear went to the newly crowned queen, Indranie Rampatie.
As part of the night’s activities, there was also a mini-expo which showcased agricultural produce, clothing, as well as a variety of culinary delights, including the island’s famous iguana dish.
Leguan Nite is the brainchild of acting Tourism Minister Irfaan Ali, a native of Leguan, whose idea it was to build a unique tourism product, in an area that has made a significant contribution to Guyana’s economy in the productive sector.
A committee was subsequently formed comprising various stakeholders and planning of the event got underway. It is an initiative the government continues to encourage in rural areas, particularly those with potential tourism hotspots, to adopt, given its appeal to nature lovers from abroad who have grown too accustomed to sand and sea.
Under the stewardship of the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Leguan has been transformed from a community that used bottle lamps to one where there is now electricity in every household, potable water, a health centre, sea defence, schools and improved drainage facilities.
The Leguan Secondary School made it in the category of top performing schools at the last Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination with Alana Babulall copping 11 subjects, 10 of which were distinctions.

A prominent Leguan figure
(Khalleel Mohamed – Writer)
Khalleel Mohamed is the author of two books, “Terror Island” and “A Tapestry of Life”. He was in New York not so long ago to promote them and also to discuss his writings. Khalleel comes from Leguan, an area that is rich with the ebb and flow of Guyanese life.
Leguan is a picture postcard of an island with its lovely churches and spirals, its stelling, cinema and schools and green fields. Leguan has produced many famous personalities over the years. David Karran, the former Registrar of the University of Guyana is a son of Leguan. Dr. Gary Girdhari, who was head of the Biology Department at the University of Guyana, is also from Leguan. Dr. Girdhari at present is editor of the Guyana Journal, a monthly publication that is based in New York.
Khalleel grew up with the sights and sounds of Leguan throbbing in his ears. The water, sun and the myriad of personalities with their unique take on life have added a distinctive flavour to Khalleel’s writings. It has enabled him to write with a descriptive punch and with details that could only be culled from being close to his community. In ‘Terror Island’ for instance, he points out that “soon the water was a boil with action as the crocodiles snatched the meat from the air and fought over it. One very big crocodile saw a very large piece coming down and heaved its huge body out of the water. It came with a thunderous splash that rocked the boat violently, almost capsizing it. Everyone grabbed some part of the boat and held on for dear life.” This is not unusual in rural life.
Khalleel Mohammad was born in Leguan to parents Nur Mohammad and Bibi Hassan Bano. He went to the Canadian Mission School and Maryville Primary School. One of his early influences was his Principal J.T. Yaw who was “an intelligent man” and who got on well with his students. In the 1960s there was no High School in Leguan and no electricity or running water but there was a love for learning. Khalleel became a teacher having passed his pupil teacher’s exam. The next step was to pass his GCE O-Levels and since there was no High School, Khalleel studied privately. It was Gary Girdhari who brought the application forms for Khalleel to sign up for his GCE O-levels.
Khalleel passed his O-levels with flying colours. Gary Girdhari was again on hand with useful advice. This time he brought the forms for Khalleel to apply to the University of Guyana (UG). In 1967, Khalleel was accepted to read for his Bachelor’s Degree in History at UG. He described his stay at the University as a fantastic experience. It was at UG that Khalleel would meet a scholar who would have a tremendous impact on his life. This person was the famous Guyanese historian Dr. Robert Moore.
Khalleel found Dr. Moore to be a walking encyclopedia when it came to understanding and interpreting Guyanese history. Khalleel says that “Dr. Moore was a great teacher. I was in a new world listening to him. He inspired and motivated me.” Khalleel remembers very well his last day on the Bachelor’s programme. Dr. Moore took him aside and told him to keep writing. “I didn’t know that I could write but I was a good storyteller,” Khalleel says.
Another influence on this life at UG was Sister Noel Menezes, the former head of the History Department. Sister Noel was “Queen of the footnotes” and was a legend on campus for her meticulous checking and re-checking of quotes and footnotes. But apart from this Sister Noel was a distinguished scholar in her own right and is widely regarded as an authority on the Amerindians on Guyana. After leaving UG, Khalleel was employed at the National Archives of Guyana.
It was at this time that he thought of leaving Guyana and settling abroad. But such dreams were short-lived. Dr. Robert Moore intervened. He told Khalleel that “you are not going anywhere. We are planning to open a Master’s Degree programme in Guyanese History and you will be in the batch of students.
The Master’s programme had an intake of six students and Khalleel was one of them. He was lucky to be at the National Archives as it enabled him to have access to primary source documents.
In 1971, Khalleel went to work at the Ministry of Education. The minister at the time was Frank Campbell. The 1970s was also a time of great interest in the Guyana-Venezuela border dispute. Since Khalleel was researching this for his Master’s Degree he was asked to accompany the Minister to explain the border issue to various Caribbean Heads of State. This resulted in Khalleel travelling to Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat, among others. After a tour of duty at the Ministry of Education, Khalleel joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and worked under Minister Rudy Insanally.
Khalleel migrated to Canada in 1982. The writing bug was still with him. He felt he had so many stories to tell and it would be good to put them on paper. Khalleel believes that a good storyteller should infuse morals and values in his work. He explains:“ I put a lot of morals in these stories. I would like children to read them because they should be taught the outcome of their lives.” In ‘Tapestry of Life’, Khalleel wanted to reach a wider audience so the stories were tailored for all readers.
Khalleel was grateful to Dr. Robert Moore for his guidance and inspiration. Sister Noel Menezes remains a bright light for him and Khalleel’s sister, Nariman, was a useful sounding board for his ideas. Tommy Paine, the Archivist, was on hand to encourage Khalleel and would even provide him with time to do research work for his Degree. There is also Dr. Gary Girdhari who kept a watchful eye and did everything possible to help Khalleel realise his goals.
As a parent Khalleel has advice for young people. He says: “Young people should search for who they really are. They should not try to be somebody else. They should create their own identity. They should develop positive thinking and people will respect them for it.” Khalleel Mohamed is a rich talent that will go on to write more books.

Historical Dutch Church
Leguan still features historical hand-blown wine bottles and decanters left by the early Dutch. The Dutch were in what’s now Guyana from 1595, and they remained in Suriname until 1975. A point worth noting is that many Dutch colonials never left the colonies, and are the ancestors of many Guyanese. Throughout the creeks there are flagons, demijohns, hand-blown wine bottles, decanters, crocks, pots and flasks. But mostly it’s gin.
St. Peter’s Church with its artistic designs and leaning tower is as nearly inspiring as the famous leaning Tower of Pisa.” It was originally constructed on December 9, 1827. The building was, however, replaced on St. Peter’s Day, June 29, 1855.
Prior to the erection of the first church, services were held under a clump of bamboo trees. On November 25, 1826, as recorded by the pencil minute of foolscap in the vestry book of the Parish, a meeting was held in the house of Captain Thierens of Plantation Vissilvalligheid. At this meeting, it was decided that a church and parsonage should be built. A site was chosen on the front lands of Plantation Enterprise, Leguan, where the church is still functioning today.
While it stands as an important part of Guyana’s built heritage, representative of an integral chapter of our social and cultural development, sadly, it has fallen into a state of dilapidation, with a roof that is in dire need of repair among other areas.

Jumbie Stories
‘Jumbie Stories’ still seem to have a hold on residents, and I am quite certain I saw elderly fish vendor Paula De Souza shudder as she prepared to tell me the most popular one on the island. Maybe my imagination was playing tricks on me, I will never know.
She narrated a story about a young lad whose dad had a gruesome fright when he was just 17 years in Leguan.
And here she went plunging into that crimson tale…
“Let me tell you a little about Leguan, as it is very small island, and it is divided into two bits. Back part and front part. Front part iswhere the ferries and boats transfer people from Georgetown (capital city of Guyana) to Leguan. And back part is where all the farms are and a few houses. Then there is long road, which is, I must say, a VERY long road (hence the name, LOL!), with just farms surrounding it. It is VERY scary at night!
Anyway, let’s get back to the story. Late one Saturday night the boy’s dad and a group of his friends went to the cinema to watch a movie at front part, and his friends said that they would stay to watch another movie, but the dad had to go home and do some homework. So he hopped onto his bike, and long road was the only route he could take to get home the fastest. He never liked to go down long road during the night, but since it was moonlight and it was not pretty dark he didn’t mind.
So he pedalled down the long road by himself, and since it was way past midnight there was nobody to be seen. As he was halfway across his journey he saw a farm where a young boy at the age of 10 died. He died because while his dad was in the barn he turned the tractor on, and it went down the hill so fast that it crushed the poor boy into pieces. It is said that the ghost of the little boy still roams Leguan as any little boy.
It took about 20 minutes to get home and straight after he finished his homework, he went to bed in the front room. Just as he was about to shut his eyes he felt a very light weight sitting on his bed, annoyed he got up to see if it was the cat…BUT…It was the little boy! He had on a short brown trousers and a white vest, and his hair was neatly gelled to the side. He stared at the man for a minute, but it seemed like forever the poor man. The man screamed, and his parents and all of his siblings ran into the room and he told them his story, but none of them believed his story apart from his sister who believed in the paranormal. So he slept in fear with his light on.
The next day, his friend invited him to go to the cinema again, so before the man could think he said ‘yes’. After the movie (which again was way past midnight) his friend stayed behind to watch another movie, but the man had to go home as he was feeling very tired. So down the long road again, but it was moonlight so he was not that scared. He passed the home of the little ghost boy, and again he got this shiver down his spine. He felt as if he was being followed but every time he looked behind him, no-one was there.
But eventually he got home, but this time he slept in the room at the back, as his brother was sleeping in the other bed. Just as he was about to sleep he felt a light weight on the bed as if someone or something was sitting there… He knew what it was, but he did not want to look, so he hid under the covers for about half an hour, and still feeling the weight at the end of his bed he decided to look. And there was the little boy sitting there, the same way he was the night before! But at that minute the boy just stared at him and disappeared into thin air! The man did not bother to scream as his family would not believe him.
The next day at school he told his best mate, and his mate froze in terror… He said that he saw the very same boy playing outside his house but when he realised the dad’s mate was staring at him he disappeared into thin air. Many people in Leguanhave seen this boy at some point.The frightened man soon after went to visit the little boy’s parents straight after school and they showed him a picture of the little boy in his coffin, wearing the EXACT clothes the man saw him in that night! Of course he was scared but he felt very sorry for the little boy’s parents as he was their only son, who they loved and adored very much. He related to them the two experiences he had with the little boy and the parents said they had many experiences with him too. Some people here still fear to walk at nights because many have sighted the little boy at one location or another”.

President leads Gov’t team on visit to Leguan
Leguan residents got an opportunity to raise their concerns with President Donald Ramotar recently when he led a team of government ministers on a visit to the island to share with them the government’s outlook for Guyana.
The visiting team that included Minister of Public Works Robeson Benn, Minister Irfaan Ali, and Region 3 Chairman Julius Faerber
An Information Communication Technology (ICT) centre installed with support from the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTC) is today providing ongoing computer training for the islanders and, there are also efforts to attain certificate recognition.
Rice cultivation on the island has expanded by 50 percent since 1995 when only 1,500 acres of rice lands were under cultivation compared to 3,000 today

Conclusion
Come bob and be tossed about on the rollicking waves of the Essequibo River, enjoy boat rides that will test your adventurous side. Come mingle with hospitable people, and soak up their pleasant presence and charming smiles. Come taste of the cherry life in the tropics.
Come live the Leguan experience and most definitely I would join you there. Ooooops! That is if I can avoid that hilarious boat ride, lol. See you around folks next Sunday as I EXPLORE ANOTHER INTERESTING Guyanese village.
By Alex Wayne

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on google
Google+
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on whatsapp
Scroll to Top
All our printed editions are available online

Daily E-Paper

Pepperpot

Business Supplement

Supplement

emblem3
Subscribe to the Guyana Chronicle.
Sign up to receive news and updates.
We respect your privacy.