On Wed. Feb. 23, we celebrated another Republic Day.
(Whooptee-doo and all that, we have our own flag to wave.)
(Ahhh…something to celebrate: star apple is in season, purple and milky white, as sweet as ever.)
Feb. 23 2005 is also the 60th anniversary of The Big Georgetown Fire.
In a letter to the newspapers, Ameena Gafoor (editor of The Arts Journal) writes that the fire started a little after 4 p.m. at Bookers Drug Store. It raged for 8 hours.
One of the many buildings burnt down was the Fogarty’s Building. On the top floor was the radio station VP3BG. At VP3BG were Paul Persaud also known as Paul O’Hara (the first ever radio news reporter in the colony) and Charles Kellman, a local broadcaster/businessman.
These two fellas were almost trapped in the building by a baby grand piano…some smart person had tried to save the piano by pushing it down the staircase, and it blocked the path of escape. But somehow, Paul Persaud and Charles Kellman managed to get out. And first thing next morning, the radio was back on air, operating elsewhere.
“And,” writes Ameena Gafoor, “the piano was found in a side street on a donkey cart – no-one knows how it got there.”
She also writes, “ Reports have it that during the eight hours that the fire raged, efforts were made to revise the Insurance laws of the colony to allow dynamiting of buildings to prevent the fire from spreading rapidly. The laws were revised but not implemented.”
Well people…is a bowl that make Georgetown burn down! If my nanee was alive you coulda ask she.
Yes! If my nanee was alive she woulda tell you about that bowl.
My mother tell me that she mother tell she about that bowl.
That bowl was found when they did digging the Bellamy Canal, which stretch from Abary Creek to Mahaicony Creek. The men dig that canal with shovels!
They find plenty, plenty Dutch artifacts. One of them was the bowl. The bowl had the words on it, “Dembra (Dumbra) Gyal Forever.”
(Don’t ask me what a Dutch artifact was doing with Creolese written on it).
The men handed over the bowl to the man overseeing the digging project - Van Certima (Van Certiman?)
On his way home, walking along the dam, a li’l boy appear in front of Van Certima (Certiman). The li’l boy say, “Take back that bowl, take it back right now where it come from.” Then the li’l boy vanish.
You think Van Certima (Certiman) listen?
He take the bowl right to the museum.
And that self, same night Georgetown burn down.
Three days later, poor Van Certima (Certiman) dead.
And that is the true, true story how that Dutch bowl burn down Georgetown.