Victoria celebrates 178th anniversary
By Leroy Smith
One hundred and seventy-eight years ago on today’s date (November 7), 83 freed slaves made their initial down payment for Plantation Northbrook and brought to life the village movement in Guyana where other freed slaves began to purchase plantations/lands from their colonial masters. Today, Plantation Northbrook is now called Victoria, a village on the East Coast of Demerara, named after Queen Victoria.
This morning at 00:05hrs, the community celebrated the occasion with a flag raising ceremony which was attended by hundreds of residents. The flag raising ceremony was preceded by a night filled with cultural items put together by the Victoria Youth Development Organization. The event was also attended by Minister of Social Cohesion, Dr George Norton; Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Karen Cummings and Presidential Advisor on Youth Empowerment, Aubrey Norton.
The village will celebrate the event under the theme: “Celebrating our ancestors’ achievements and embracing our culture.”
On Monday night, persons who travelled from as far as Mahaicony and Georgetown to be part of the observance with Victorians were treated to songs, dancing, poems, drumming and masquerade dancers.
In addressing the gathering on Monday night, Minister Norton spoke about the renaming of the village.
He told those gathered that the time is right for them to look back at the full history of those who were involved in the purchase of the village from the British slave masters and let the name reflect those who made the sacrifice to secure the land for those who enjoy it today.
Meanwhile, Minister Cummings who lives just a village away from Victoria also addressed the gathering and charged the villagers to return to the glory days when the community was practically self-sufficient and produced value-added products.
She also spoke of the many proud sons and daughters of the soil of Victoria who put the name of the village on the map and urged the young ones to make an extra effort in keeping the tradition and rich history of Victoria alive.
Additionally, in his address, Aubrey Norton said that Victoria stands out first as a village but also as one which produced people of quality. He called for a plan of action for the village and for leaders to be identified to take up the plan. The community will be holding several activities this month in observance of the anniversary.