Guyana Novel - To be Published













2007 from an unexpected source: a collection of poems, My Voice, by Samuel
Singh – then a 26 year-old Guyanese-American poet residing in New York. I, too,
shared Samuel Singh’s evocative remembrances and dreams for our native land,
Guyana.

Immersed for sixteen years (1987-2003) in a foreign culture, I had been
uprooted, replanted, and had blossomed into a Guyanese with a Brazilian heart:
uma brasileira de coração.  My Voice shook my roots.

This impetus gained propulsion in January 2008. According to Guyana news
reports, around 2:00 a.m. on January 26 when most people were turning over in
their sleep, a group of heavily-armed gunmen invaded the homes of five families
in Lusignan – a coastal village of about 2000 people, located ten miles from the
capital. For about twenty minutes, heavy gunfire shattered the quiet morning air.
Among the eleven who did not awake to a new day lay five children, ranging from
four to twelve years of age.

“Skite, man! When we going stop hating and killing one another and come
together to build we country?”
(Voice of Richard B. Cheong, protagonist of Under the Tamarind Tree.)

My first novel,
Under the Tamarind Tree, is a work of fiction set in Guyana
during the period 1950 to 1970. The plot is interwoven with the colony’s struggle
for independence from Great Britain: a time when the bitter seeds of discord,
mistrust, and hatred were planted and sprouted in our hearts and souls.

“Tamarind tree can't give we sugar-apple."
(Voice of Richard B. Cheong, protagonist of Under the Tamarind Tree.)

We reap what we sow. This theme runs through the life of the protagonist,
Richard B. Cheong – the only surviving son of a Chinese father and an East Indian
mother – who reaps the bitter fruit of deceit sown by his father.

Born in the coastal village of
Beterverwagting, Richard is orphaned at the age of
thirteen. Tormented and driven by guilt over the deaths of his mother and
younger brother, Edward, Richard believes that only a son will remove the stains
on his soul and put an end to his life of poverty and servitude.

  • Beterverwagting comes from the Dutch words meaning better expectation. In 1840, six years
    after emancipation, 61 ex-slaves bought the plantation from Baron Von Gronigen, when the
    land had become unproductive.

At nineteen, Richard moves to the capital Georgetown to work at Lee Hardware
Store owned by his Chinese aunt. He soon cements close friendships with Wesley
Clarke, an African civil servant, and Lachman Singh, an East Indian high school
teacher.

When Richard marries the beautiful and fiery Gloria Henry – daughter of an
African police inspector and Portuguese housewife – he expects that she will give
him the son he wants and fill his home with lots of children.

In 1953, faced with grumbles for independence and unrest on the sugar
plantations, the British governor orchestrates the invasion of British troops on
October 9, setting in motion events that will splinter Richard’s life and change the
future of his homeland.

  • Watch British Pathe Video Newsreel Films (clips of less than one minute each) on left bar -
    Crisis in British Guiana. Do these scenes portray people in revolt to warrant the invasion of
    British troops?
  • Listen to reading of an article from the Guyana Chronicle newspaper: October 9, 1953 - Dark
    Days in Guyana's History - a brief outline of Guyana's journey to independence in May 1963
    (7:48 minutes duration).
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THIS PAGE WAS LAST UPDATED ON: 2 MAY 2017
Jesus said to his Apostles: Do not think
that I have come to bring peace upon the
Earth. I have come to bring not peace but
the sword. For I have come to set a man
against his father, a daughter against her
mother, and a daughter-in-law against
her mother-in-law; and one's enemies
will be those of his household.
MATTHEW 10:34-36 & LUKE 12:51-53
LISTEN TO
WHERE ARE
YOUR HEROES?
DAVE MARTIN &
THE TRADE WINDS
Tamarind Tree
UNDER THE TAMARIND TREE
Impetus to set out on the journey of
writing my first novel came in September
ROSALIENE BACCHUS
Tamarind pods showing fruit and seeds
RESEARCH RESOURCES
FOR NOVEL
FOLK SONGS OF
GUYANA
VOLUME 4
GUYANESE CHOIR
SEE LYRICS OF SOME FOLK
SONGS OF GUYANA
COOLIES - HOW BRITAIN
RE-INVENTED SLAVERY
BBC PRODUCTION
CRISIS IN
BRITISH GUIANA
SUSPENSION OF
THE CONSTITUTION
9 OCTOBER 1953