Building Berbice’s …image 

Well, it looks like the Ancient County’s being dragged into the 21st century. And your Eyewitness thinks it’s about time!! Imagine, it was in Berbice where our first blow for freedom was struck – all the way back in 1763 by Kofi and his fellow slaves – and yet Berbicians have pretty much been kept in the dark following Independence, almost exactly 200 years after!! What’s the point about making the man our “national hero” when the conditions in the place he fought to liberate are pretty much the way he left them??
A lot of that’s due to Burnham, of course. He just wanted his house historian PH Daly to draw comparisons between Cuffy the national hero and himself the “liberator”. Too bad he was just a quisling who sold out our independence for a mess of pottage – and a fake General’s uniform!! Berbice became an internal colony that produced rice, sugar and vegetables that fed Georgetown while it remained as underdeveloped as the Africa Rodney wrote about. Not a single new industry was located in Berbice among the THIRTY-SIX companies in Burnham’s post-independence Guystac!!
But it looks like the times are a changin”!! And it ain’t just about those cane-cutters striking against a Government they put into office over being sent back to Rose Hall Estate without getting “severance”!! The biggest bit of news – to your Eyewitness – is that the Berbice Mad House is gonna be closed!! Now, don’t tell him to be politically correct and call it “Berbice Psychiatric Hospital”! It was called the “Berbice Asylum” back in 1869 when it was opened – and folks who knew what an “asylum” was simply called it for what it was – the Berbice Mad House!!
Unfortunately, the part became used for the whole – a “synecdoche” they call it!! – and all the good folks of Berbice were accused of being from a “Mad House”. Understandably, Berbicians never found it funny!! So, the Minister now says the new hospital being built in Berbice gonna have beds to accommodate folks with mental problems. And voila!! – no more “Mad House” and snickering at Berbicians!! That’s progress, innit?? Or is that being too optimistic??
After all, in our fair land, no one gives a second thought when folks talk about visiting doctors, clinics or hospitals. But just mention – if you’re VERY brave – that you gotta check out a psychiatrist or psychologist!! Oooo la la!! From then on, all you’ll be getting are side glances from folks who’re suddenly very wary when you’re around!! Even if they want to be kind, at best they’ll cackle that you’ve “gone mental”!!
Your Eyewitness suggests that since there’s also gonna be a new hospital built in G/town, the Psychiatric Facility be located there!!

But it’s not just the negativity of being dubbed a Mad House that’s gonna be removed from Berbice – there’s a whole lotta positive development in the works that will transform the “Ancient County” into the “Space Age County”. We already know about the Deep-Water Harbour that’s in the works, that’ll see eighteen-wheelers hauling freight from Manaus and Roraima State in Brazil to be shipped to destinations in North America and Europe. That’s BIG BUSINESS!!
Then, at Palmyra, right across the Berbice Bridge, there’s the multipurpose stadium, a cricket stadium, two branded hotels, a hospital – no…not a mental one! – a new state-of-the-art mall, a recreational centre, a centre for persons with disabilities, and a call centre going up. And, of course, we heard about the Sherriff boys having a casino in their hotel!
With the Petroleum Refinery on Crab Island and Suriname’s LNG transported to our Deep-Water Harbour after that bridge across the Corentyne River goes up, we’re talking about a city at Palmyra!! Shining Berbice!!

…agri potential
Berbice has the deepest coastal plain in Guyana – and was barely scratched by the colonial sugar monoculture. The Black Bush Polder rice scheme was one early example of alternative use. Why aren’t some experiments for soya, corn etc being done in Berbice?