CONGRATULATIONS to Sheriff Medical for opening a private hospital at Leonora and planning another opening at South Ruimveldt. This service is required and the public will enjoy its convenience. Leonora is quickly becoming a town with most urban amenities. Leonora, the famous village on the West Coast of Demerara in Region Three, is endowed with the birthright of Guyana’s current President, the dynamic Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali.
Situated some 10 miles on the western end of Vreed-en-Hoop and also 10 miles on the eastern end of Parika, it is encrypted with golden memories and encoded in silver tears, while being sea sprayed with the daunting question of whether it has lost its glamour. Dust covered with the burning ashes of sugar cane and comforted with the cool breeze of the Atlantic Ocean on the northern end, Leonora permeates its resplendence over five square miles of circumvented friendly ambience, stretching afar to the south by the West Demerara Water Conservancy. Sandwiched between Edinburgh as its eastern neighbour where Guyana’s first synthetic track and field ground can be found, and, Stewartville on the west, where the ingenious Forrester Lumber Yard and Building Complex is located, employing many youths. Leonora also bosoms Groenveldt, Pasture, Para Field, Seafield and Sea Spray as her sub-divisions, blossoming over 5,000 multi-ethnic residents. A privileged place of Dutch origin since the 18th century and named after two children, Leo, a boy and Nora, a girl, this village is a buzzing flock of Hindus, Muslims and Christians who know not the difference of religion nor ethnicity. Its extravagant and overcrowded Saturday market reflects the unity from diversity and molds the wish of a nation.
Leonora was once the prestigious home of the Leonora Sugar Factory until the former PNC Government in 1986 spitefully dismantled a thriving estate which had provided bread and butter for hundreds of families. A callous PNC Government meant to break the back of sugar workers when they went on to close other estates. Leonora was also the proud owner of the best-kept cricket ground…. of course, next to Bourda, fielding a much feared cricket team, and, a park which had provided many exciting and memorable events and games and thrilling fairs and shows, now discarded and isolated in the ruins of regrets. The passion for cricket flows in the blood of every youth in Leonora, but now there is a flood of disdained alacrity. A generation of vacuum has filled a gap of disconcerted interest. The tears of pleas for a cricket park continue to fall on painful shoulders but cushioned on untroubled conscience. Will Leonorians once again ever enjoy the resounding excitement of lovely cricket? The flame has been rekindled to flare a fiery resilience with an undaunted spirit and the President and Sports Minister are urged to fan this inferno. A main railway train station had occupied the centre of Leonora alongside the popular Roxy cinema, both now lying in the annals of history. Again, a means of transportation still relevant to the current needs of society, the then PNC Government in hindsight, lacked the vision of foresight to modernise an industry which is still being maintained throughout the world. Thousands of frustrated Leonorians joined the bandwagon of migrants to evade the wrath of hardship, carved, crafted and executed by the idiosyncrasy of the PNC administration.
Will Leonora be considered for township? Currently, the village boasts a police Divisional Headquarters, a magistrate’s court, a post office, a NIS office, a fire station, a Cottage Hospital with an ambulance service, a travel service, various supermarkets, a furniture and electrical appliance store, mechanic shops, an Internet service , pharmacies, rum shops, modern bars, other business entities offering various services, a concrete block business, an immigration consultant, a lawyer’s office, nursery, primary and secondary schools, a technical institute, an accounting school, a synthetic athletic ground, four mandirs, a mosque, two churches, a Ministry of Works compound, various taxi services, an office to pay utility bills, barber shops, hair salons, a Saturday market, daily vegetable, fruit and fish stalls, a Chicken Burger shop, etc. A huge shopping mall is under construction,which which will provide various services including a cinema, entertainment spots, diners, a gym, shopping plaza etc. A bank will also be opened opposite the mall. New housing schemes are in progress. A recreational park with a computer station was recently opened by the President in memory of Kowsilla’s sacrifice for freedom and Sakina’s contribution to democracy. While a number of houses are being reconstructed and modernised, there are quite a handful of dilapidated buildings left unattended and rundown. These buildings hold sentimental value for mostly villagers who have permanently migrated overseas and abandoned their once beautiful homes. But now, these empty houses are occupied by vagrants, drug addicts and loafers.
The Honourable Minister within the Ministry of Works, Mr Deodat Indar, paid a visit two Saturdays ago to the market and observed the despicable condition of the uncomfortable environment, muddy roads, traffic congestion, inconvenient stalls and the deplorable infrastructure, leaving a sour note in the mouth. It’s an outright shame and disgrace to reflect on the atrocities displayed in front the Leonora Hindu Temple as a result. He promised to begin repairing the roads having perceived impatience, animosity and frustration while engaging aggrieved interaction. But Leonora needs a modern market to facilitate housing all the vendors under one shelved roof with the ambience of compatibility for comfort and convenience. Market vendors should not be selling on the public road, on the bridge, nor on the old railway line pathway. How gruesome, gross and grotesque is this eye sore! Let’s not put the horse before the cart. A moment of pause, reconsideration and application is requested for practicality.