Old England CDC geared towards fostering community development
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Marlon Fernandes at the natural spring they have in their backyard (Samuel Maughn photos)
Marlon Fernandes at the natural spring they have in their backyard (Samuel Maughn photos)

FOR Gina Ann Fredericks, fostering development at the community level is paramount for an enhanced life for the people of Old England Village.

She is the Chairperson of the Community Development Council (CDC) and was elected last November during a village meeting.

Being at the helm of community development is not an easy task, but she has the support of the villagers, most of whom are part of the CDC.

Fredericks told the Pepperpot Magazine that the village is on the move and they welcome development in any form and over the years, they have partnered with non-governmental organisations as well as both the past and present administrations to equip the community with certain facilities to promote skills training, sports and employment for the locals.

Marlon Fernandes (Samuel Maughn photos)

She reported that for the past 14 months she has engaged Food For The Poor and they will build a resource centre in the village for cookery, skills training,and sewing, among other specific training for youths and adults to be empowered.

Fredericks disclosed that they received the lease for the plot of land from NICIL last Thursday, so the construction will begin soon and this project is solely funded by Food For The Poor.

She related that the non-governmental organisation will also equip the edifice for capacity-building among the locals.

The mother of six added that most people are small- scale farmers because of the difficulties of getting a steady job, and most men would go into the bush for work.

Fredericks reported that last Wednesday during a community meeting, the CDC formed a Community Policing Group (CPG) and they will police the village to ensure the safety of the people.

She is a shop owner and her small business is one of many in Old England Village.

In relating the history of the village, she stated that from what she grew up hearing from her fore-parents, who were among the first settlers in the village, a man by the name of Joseph Williams left his village, Malali, a scenic place in the Demerara River and came to Old England looking for work.

Marlon Fernandes at the natural spring they have in their backyard

That was in the 1920s and he sought employment in the logging industry; the company had a timber grant and the village was called Grand Old England back then.

Fredericks stated that Joseph Williams then brought more people to work in the timber business and by 1980 the place became a village.

And as the years went by, the village became more populated and development took place: a road was constructed and they built houses and settled there.

Fredericks told the Pepperpot Magazine that she has been residing in Old England for the past 20 years and they were living across the river, but her family relocated to Old England.

She reported that Linmine had the mines and the trail was cut in the early 1980s, which transformed the forested area into a settlement, eventually.

Fredericks is of the third generation of her family who are living in Old England Village and her mom, who passed away years ago, was from Bartica.

Her father is still alive and she has 11 siblings, two of whom have also passed away.

“Youth and village development top on my list and as the CDC head, I will do everything I can to enhance the lives of the people here and to get a pavilion for the ballfield for the youths, a place they can go to,” she said.

Through the intervention of government, when Minister Charles Ramson visited Coomacka they lobbied for a pavilion for the ballfield and a promise was made that it will happen.

Fredericks pointed out that as leader of the CDC, she has the community at heart and will fulfil her goals and to create opportunities, employment and general development of the locals.

Marlon Fernandes and Joycelyn Munroe
Marlon Fernandes and Joycelyn Munroe have a nice house which was recently built and it is within reach of a small creek and a natural spring, so it is a paradise for them and it overlooks a huge sandhill.

Marlon Fernandes told the Pepperpot Magazine that he is a handyman at the Coomacka Nursery School and he really likes the place because there are no nosy neighbours and there is much space for outdoor activities.

He reported that the place is very quiet and they have a lot to do in terms of being outdoors and it is just a lovely place to live.

Fernandes is from Abraham’s Creek, Pomeroon River, and moved from that village more than 20 years ago while working in the bush.

Meanwhile, his wife Joycelyn Munroe stated that she is originally from Dartmouth, Essequibo Coast, but relocated after she married Marlon Fernandes 12 years ago.

The mom of eight pointed out that she used to work in the interior and that is where she met Marlon Fernandes, who was at the time a miner and they got married and they both relocated to Old England to start their life as a couple.

All except two boys, are still with them, while the others are grown and have moved on to pursue their goals elsewhere.

Joycelyn Munroe and her husband are both happy with their simple life in Old England Village.

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