A community of history and harmony
THE community of Windsor Forest is nestled along the West Coast of Demerara, and it is one of many Guyanese villages that hold a rich history at heart and have developed with welcoming people at their forefront. With a captivating name of mysterious origins, Windsor Forest lies between the capital city and the Essequibo River. This has given the community a unique atmosphere and cultural flair that has been curated by a mixture of countryside authenticity with all the conveniences its people require.
The Pepperpot Magazine sat down with the Chairman of Windsor Forest to learn more about the village, its history, traditions, way of life, and development. Windsor Forest is like any other community. Windsor Forest, he shared, is like any other village, just with a little more love amongst its people.
Chairman of the village, Rajish Kadernauth, wears many hats and is an integral part of the village. Being a pharmacist by profession, a rice farmer, and a Hindu priest, Rajish is the definition of versatility and dedication, as he still finds time to work on any issues presented in his village. Apart from being a farming community, Windsor Forest also houses several professionals in various fields. This gives the community a balance with its well-thought-out diversity. As the Chairman stated, “This area does have many rice farmers in general and quite a few professionals who are working in the private sector.” The peacefulness of Windsor Forest is echoed by all of its residents.
“This is a quiet community where people live in harmony with no major problems,” the Chairman said. Windsor Forest is well equipped with its own nursery and primary school as well as a health centre.
Windsor Forest’s background is not entirely new, but it is nonetheless vital to the community’s identity and Guyana’s cultural and traditional footprint.
Windsor Forest was said to have been founded by indentured labourers after the period of indentureship. The origins of the community can still be felt today, as many residents still hold traditional and historic values close to them. Farming, particularly rice farming, is considered a part of life in Windsor Forest and is rooted in the village’s past. As the Chairman explained, agriculture was a way of life for the village’s first people, stating that “Many of the people who stayed back after indentureship settled.
Our great-grandparents would have been descendants from India. They settled in Windsor Forest and they practised rice farming and cattle rearing. Basically, the rice came from our fore-parents who came from India and decided to stay.” He further shared that, “My great-grandfather came from India, so we are living where he purchased his plot of land. That would be four or five generations ago.”
A large aspect of Windsor Forest’s history is the fact that the community is said to have been one of Guyana’s first Chinese settlements. According to sources, Windsor Forest was home to one of the country’s largest Chinese settlements before indentured immigrants settled. Between 1853 and 1879, indentured Chinese labourers were brought to Guyana, and on January 12, 1853, more than 100 people were assigned to work on the Windsor Forest plantation.
A monument was erected to commemorate this aspect of the community’s history. The Chairman explained that all aspects and eras of the village’s history are remembered and celebrated in grand fashion by all members of the community. “There is definitely history with the Chinese first settling here and the Indian indentureship. We have three major religions practising within this community, and we have no major disharmony or conflict. It is a community that has tremendous faith in God as well.”
Like so many of the people living in Windsor Forest, the Chairman has called Windsor Forest home his entire life. Life in Windsor Forest is as serene and peaceful as one may imagine, coming from a community near the beach. Rajish’s motivation to work for his community as Chairman is rooted in his love for his village. He shared that, “My upbringing in Windsor Forest was simple. I was involved in many of the childish sports of the time, like swimming and playing cricket on the streets.
It was a very humble upbringing.” In many respects, the community still remains humble in nature. However, Windsor Forest has retained its natural charm amidst various changes. According to the Chairman, the village has seen various upgrades, which have gone a long way in modernising it. He shared that, “Almost every street within the area is upgraded with the intervention of the government and many streetlights are in place. For the past three years, there has been a drastic improvement in the physical infrastructure.”