British Guiana: The Land of Six Peoples

British Guiana: The Land of Six Peoples

British Guiana: The Land of Six Peoples

British Guiana: The Land of Six Peoples

Excerpt

This book is the result of a visit which I made to British Guiana for three and a half months at the beginning of 1955. I went to the Colony at the invitation of the Colonial Office, who wished a book to be written about it by an impartial observer. All expressions of opinion are my own and are not necessarily shared by the Colonial Office or the British Guiana Government. I travelled in most areas of the Colony -- by aeroplane, river-steamer, jeep, dug-out canoe and on foot -- and shared, if only superficially, in the diverse forms of living which make the country so fascinating; I stayed on sugar estates in the coastal areas, enjoyed the social life of the expatriate English in Georgetown, met Guianese of every race and passed some weeks with primitive Indians in the deep Interior. Although the Interior comprises all the Colony except for the narrow coastal strip, it is on this strip that 95 per cent of the population lives and this book is thus primarily concerned with life on the coast, with its politics, problems, customs and economic formation. The section on the Interior is short and is seen largely from the point of view of its relation to the coastland; this relationship will become increasingly important in the future. I have in preparation a more personal account of travels in the Interior.

So many people gave me help, advice and hospitality in all parts of the Colony during my visit that a list which was not invidious would literally occupy the next three pages, but I should like to express my gratitude for all the kindness I received wherever I went. It would be impossible, all the same, not to mention the names of Mr. A. W. B. Long and Mr. Vincent Roth, O.B.E., who both so patiently answered my questions and gave me so freely the benefit of their great knowledge of British Guiana in all its aspects. I only hope their pupil has learnt a little of the lesson they had to offer.

MICHAEL SWAN

October, 1955 . . .

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