A MASSIVE celebration that will include the feature address being delivered by his Excellency President David Granger, is planned for the 180th Anniversary of the purchase of Victoria Village, on November 9, at the Victoria Village Community Ground.
The celebration is part of Guyana’s wider celebration of National Day of Villages across the country. In Victoria, the celebration will be held under the theme “Magnifying our African ancestry, celebrating our cultural diversity”.
Victoria Village is considered the “mother of all villages” in Guyana, being the first village in Guyana. It was in November 1839 that 83 ex-slaves, who ‘pooled their money together’, bought Plantation Northbrook, which they renamed Victoria Village.
This year the government of Guyana has collaborated with the Victoria Youth Development Organisation (VYDO) to form a Victoria Village Day Committee to organize the day’s events, which will also include cultural performances from the Buxton Steel Orchestra, National Drama Company, and the National Dance School, among other groups. Aside from the evening cultural show, an exhibition will be held during the day.
“We will have some booths where we will have on showcase some produce from the village, crafts, and agro-processed stuff. In the evening when the programme starts we will have items from all across Guyana. It’s a collaborative effort to showcase Victoria, it’s of national importance so we try to include as much persons from around the country as possible,” explained Anthony Samuels, president of the VYDO
A number of villages along the East Coast, as well as others across the country have been invited to be a part of the celebration. Aside from the exhibition and evening programme on November 9, the event will also have a component involving several sports activities
“A number of youth organisations are participating in the sports activities that have been organized. On the morning of November 9, we will have a Cross Country marathon starting at Unity on the Far East and culminate at Victoria. So we are bringing together all of the villages across the east coast to participate in the celebrations of the 180th anniversary of the Village,” said Genevieve Allen, Vice Chairman of the Committee.
Samuels shared that they will also be a number of cricket and football matches in promotion of the event, leading up to the celebration day. In 2014, the National Assembly passed a motion, brought by Granger – then leader of the Opposition – for November 7 to be declared the National Day of Villages to commemorate the Village Movement.
In Guyana, the Village Movement was made by freed Africans who pooled their money to purchase plantations across Guyana and formed the very first villages in the country. “The village movement is very important ingredient for the development of Guyana,” noted Attorney General, Basil Williams, who is also Chairman of the Committee.
“I would use this platform to urge citizens across Guyana to recapture that spirit of cooperation which existed among their forefathers. This event, National Day of Villages should be seen as a catalyst to reflect our unification, encouraging entrepreneurship and force for development within the communities, and country as a whole.”
Williams explained that this year’s hosting of the annual event is aimed at illustrating the progression of the village over the years since its origin. “This celebration is intended to be a massive celebration. We all know the importance of the first village, so the programme of the night itself will reflect the acquisition of Victoria and its evolution to the present day. It’s going to be a very good programme in terms of the history being portrayed through drama, poetry, and dance, and the feature presentation by the President.
This whole question of history of villages and developing Guyanese society is one of Granger’s favourite subjects. We have many villages across Guyana and Victoria identified as the village to be celebrated because it is the 180 anniversary so we see it basically as the evolution of villages in society,” Williams noted.