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发表于 2018-8-9 20:14:28 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
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From the Diaspora…By Ralph SeeramI stood in a corner watching everyone strutting across the dance floor wondering when I should make my move. I mentally rehearsed my steps; after all I had been practising at home for this occasion. I identified the girls I wanted to dance with; girls who did not seem to be refusing anyone who asked them for a dance.I was nervous and did not want to “screw up” and embarrass myself. After all this was the big dance; this was New Amsterdam Hall,Cheap NFL Jerseys China, and it was like a “coming of age”. You dance at the Town Hall,Cheap Soccer Gear, you can dance any where else in public.Back in the day oh so many years ago, the Town Hall was the cultural centre of New Amsterdam, if not Berbice. New Amsterdam was the only municipality in Berbice. The town had a mayor, the second of two Mayors in the country, the other being Mayor of Georgetown. Most major social events were held at the Town Hall,Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic, concerts,Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping, graduations,Chicago Bulls Jerseys, visits from Governors, Prime Minster and foreign dignitaries.The Town of New Amsterdam in those days was self-reliant, it boasted its own electric “powerhouse” as we called it in those days. Yes it generated its own electricity for the town. Had its own “water works” supplying water for residents of the municipality. The roads and drains were well kept then, there was a crew that constantly weeds and cleans the streets and drains of the town.A familiar sight were the long strips of white lime along the drains; you see this and you know the drains were cleaned. The white powdery stuff was a “lime acid” thrown to kill germs. The same stuff I believe was diluted into “white wash” and used to paint the trunk of the large trees along the street of the town.There were a lot of self help efforts also to help keep the town clean. One Mayor who I recalled made great strides in that area was then Mayor Errol Alphonso.All the trees along Republic Road,(“backdam road” as it was more popularly known)  had their trunks painted white as well as some along Main Street and Water Street, Queenstown and Esplanade Road. It was a beautiful town then, very clean.The Town Clerk’s office was also located in the Town Hall with the municipal market. All major businesses were located in the vicinity of the Hall. There was J. P Santos and Wrefords and the only two commercial banks in Berbice then,Winnipeg Jets Gear, Royal Bank and Barclays Bank nearby.Facing the hall was and still is the main commercial district of Pitt Street. All the car parks were located in its vicinity as well as one of the two gas stations in the town.With the history of the Town Hall which was erected in 1868 I was wondering why such a historical building was allowed to deteriorate to the point where it is in danger of collapsing.Two years ago on a visit to my hometown, I went to pay some taxes for a plot of land for a relative. That land was sitting empty for over thirty years. My first shock was how low the tax was. On inquiring why the tax was so low,Cheap Senators Jerseys, I learnt that the tax was based on the value of the land.You may not believe this but it was based on the original value of the land in the sixties, more than forty  years ago. I had to remark to the clerk, “No wonder they can’t replace the missing windows of the Town Hall.”The building was in such disrepair. I saw not only missing windows, but rotted windows, missing glass panes. I wondered what they did when the rain fell. It would seem to me that the town could generate significant revenues if it appraises the value of properties to present day market values.I will tell you how I made out at the dance, but first I must say that it was with great satisfaction reading that a committee was formed to restore the New Amsterdam Town Hall. I understood that among it members are The Berbice Chamber of Commerce and Development, the Regional Administration and the Private Sector. This is really a good start.In addition to local resources I would suggest the committee seek assistance in the Diaspora, especially Berbicians. There are ten of thousands of us in the Diaspora who would like to assist in restoring that historical building that holds so many memories for us.They could enlist assistance from groups like the Council of Friends of New Amsterdam, COFONA, web site www.cofona.org. The committee can set up a web site with a “pay pal account” where people can go and make people desirous of making contributions  do so.A word of warning; we in the Diaspora are very wary of sending funds to Guyana because there is a fear that the money does not go for what it was intended for, so there must be transparency.The site can have statements showing income and sources of income as well as copies of receipts and invoices displaying expenditures. Such transparencies will inspire the Diaspora to assist in this venture.Back in the day before the dance commenced at the Town Hall the organizers used to sprinkle on the floor what I believed to be corn meal to make the floor smooth for dancing. Yes, people loved to waltz in those days and there was nothing like gliding along a smooth floor with a girl in your arms dancing to a “typee” song.How did I make out in my first public dance? I was advised to pick a “heavy gyal” because she will lead you; you can’t lead a “big girl” I was told.So I asked a girl I knew, a “plump gyal”, for a dance; she did not refuse. I confessed to her that it was my first dance at the Town Hall. She snatched me and led me all around the floor, dancing the night away.Ralph Seeram can be reached at email [email protected]
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