The Walter Roth Museum, Georgetown. Guyana
By Francis Quamina-Farrier
The announced transfer of the prized Indigenous artifacts from the iconic wooden building on Main Street in North Cummingsburg, Georgetown, is likely the kind of reaction to a plan to demolish those century-old Giant Ant Hills in the Rupununi. From the very first time that it was announced that the Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology in Georgetown was to be transferred to the National Museum, it was met with many fierce objectors; and I am not shy to state clearly, that I am one of those objectors. It was with lots of vision that my former Colleague at the Ministry of Culture, the late Dr. Denis Williams, established that Museum, with professional support by Ms Jennifer Wiltshire, his dedicated Secretary. No one knows quite clearly what is the true reason for the plan to remove all those artifacts – some of which will be damaged beyond repairs with such an unnecessary exercise.
Many moons ago, I visited Aishalton in the deep South Rupununi Savannahs in Region Number 9, along with Dr Denis Williams, and saw him at work at those historic Rock Carvings. I saw the man up close and with perspiration running down his face, as he did his Archeological work. That was over forty years ago, but it is as fresh in my memory as though it were just forty hours ago. Such dedication to preserving the historic wealth of Guyana must not be dismantled over a few days, never to be revived.
Over the years, I have visited the Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology on many occasions, and promoted it on my various Television out-lets; The Evening News, Tape 4 Stories, and Farrier‘s Friday Feature. I have also bought items such as CDs (the music of Basil Rodrigues) and printed publications from that Museum. My position on the ill-advised plan to remove those invaluable artifacts from the Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology on Main Street in Georgetown is, “LEAVE THAT MUSEUM ALONE”. Let sense prevail. Keep our Indigenous artifacts intact.