The Indian Heritage Monument

The Story

The Indian Monument Site at the corner of Church and Camp Street is a very historic Monument.  It commemorates the first indentured Indians who arrived in then British Guiana on 5th May 1838.

In August 1987 a group met including Yesu Persaud, Lloyd Searwar, Roy Prasad, Ishmael Bacchus, Fazia Bacchus, Ronald Ali, Hemraj Kissoon, Mr. Pat Dial, Dr. Sukdeo, Iris Sukdeo and Ayube Hamid to discuss the 150th Anniversary of the Arrival of Indians in Guyana which was to be celebrated on 5th May 1988. It was unanimously agreed that the one person who had the ability to get persons to work together and to get all the groups to come together was Yesu Persaud.  He was duly appointed Chairman of the 150th Anniversary Committee.

In May 1988, during the visit of Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma, Vice President Of India, to celebrate 150 years of Indian Arrival in Guyana, Mr. Yesu Persaud, the Chairman of the group had a private discussion with him and informed him that our Committee wanted to build a Monument to commemorate the arrival of East Indians in Guyana and he promised that the ICCR will do whatever they can to help us.

After looking around for a while we found a site at Camp and Church Street suitable to put up a monument.   We approached the then Mayor, Mr. Compton Young.  He told us that spot we identified was very low but if we can make it into a garden then to go ahead since he had no use for the site.    Nearly 1000 loads of sand and dirt was used to fill up the site.

We held a competition countrywide seeking drawings or sketches what the monument should look like.   Hundreds of entries were received from Berbice to Essequibo, most of these had the concept of sailing ships.   The Committee chose the winning entry which was a ship that looked like the “Whitby”.   An architect from India came and worked closely with our local architect, Mr. Albert Rodrigues, whom we renamed Albert Singh, then mapped out a plan of what the garden should look like and infrastructure work for the ship.

The ship builder also came to Guyana and returned to India to construct the ship.    The architect and ship builder returned to Guyana when the ship arrived to help in the setting up of the Monument.

Our Indian Anniversary Committee was converted into a “Trust”, The Indian Commemoration Trust 10 years ago.  Today the Monument Garden is very beautifully kept and is maintained voluntarily with help from the business community. Fund raising activities are also held from time to time.  Every year activities are planned and celebrated at the Garden on May 5 to commemorate Indian Arrival Day. Activities are also held for special occasions such as Diwali, Phagwah, Eid at the Monument Garden.