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RECOLLECTIONS ABOUT RADIO IN GUYANA
This is quite a remarkable and interesting history of a treasured period that meant so much to so many of us. It certainly serves as a testimony to the contributions made by those past and present, and how much this particular industry was able to give comfort, entertainment and knowledge to so many Guyanese and others alike.
My best memories of radio in Guyana was the occasion when I took the first CD player to the radio station on High Street. I remember demonstrating this unique piece of equipment in Studio C while I was hosting the Best by Request one Monday afternoon. Everyone from within their offices, the canteen, library and the news room flocked into this small studio to see what was it I was using to make the songs re-
The sad part however, was that I had forgotten the disc -
For those of us who are still in the fight to maintain our loaned talent, we can only express thanks for honor of being privileged to have walked through the doors of Broadcasting house in Guyana. Once you received grounding from that institution, the sky was, and will only be the limit.
Bobby Vieira -
One Caribbean Radio -
We pass through this world but once. If there's anything you can do for a fellow being, it would be best to do it now. For we shall never pass this way again.
I have missed the record of the late night show Prince Maison did with Matthew Alleyne and the spotlight piece called ''Up to the Minutes".The reason being that the only relationship I had with him was his soft voice coming over the air ways and that made me feel so special that nothing else mattered. The grown-
Memories and more memories, sad we have lost such a great and historic building such as Broadcasting House, (Radio Demerara The Voice Of Guyana) lucky for me I do have visual memories of that great place, it was a pleasure spending and educating myself there with the likes of Rafiq Khan, A Hamid, Bertie Chancellor, The Chanecllor Of Pop, Anne Defraitas, Roland Philliphs, Charlie Smith (Smithy Boo) Bernice Mansell, Par Cameron, Ron and Ray Robinson, James Sydney (Uncle James) Bobby Reis, B.L Crombie,Angella Messiah, Cornel Ferdinand, Pauline Gardner, Ave Brewster, Peter Fraser, Holbert Clarke (Clarkie) Flo, Olive, Tony Adamson, Neville kisoon, Raymond Azeze, Bayney Karran, Allan Martindale, Lloyd Langevine, Bobby Reis, Bayney Karran, Shannon Yarden and the later years of GBC , Pancho Carew, Matthew Allen, Clairmont Tait, W. Mcandrew, James Debreau, Robert Lalljee, Roger Moore, The Girl and Tides of Susanburg those radio serials, Teensville, Portia Faces Life, Dr paul, Marigold Saul, who made me giggle on her first broadcast Phylis Jackson Ulita Anthony, Ulric Hetsburger, Eve Paris, Ron Cameron, Allison Stephens,Hugh Hamilton With all that took me to higher ground to be a Radio presenter from a Control operator, to Suriname, the Nederlands and now video Film here in London, the experience was worth it, Radio Dem and Broadcasting House was my life and always will be until I die, I can go on, all i can say is thank you for the opportunity of being a part of this great history, I still have the footage and memories of Control Room 1-
If I may be permitted, I would like to provide a piece of information on Wordsworth McAndrew which you may wish to add to his data. He too is a cultural icon who should not be forgotten.I recall Mr. McAndrew hosting a programme in the mid 1960s called "Creole Meche Meche". I believe this was his first series of radio programmes in Guyana. He toured the country, collected folklore from the ordinary people about old higue, jumbie, silk cotton tree, etc, and recorded their music and stories for broadcasting. In songs such as "Dis time na lang time" and "Cane a cut and price na pay at all", he gave voice to the sugar estates' East Indian women who sang about life and hardship on the sugar estates. On the African Guyanese side, he gave voice to Queh Queh songs such as "Victoria married to German man", pork knockers' songs, and equally important, told the story about the history of villages such as Victoria, E . C. D., etc. Keep up the good work. Regards and best wishes.Harry Hergash
I've noticed that characters like Papa Greene and Mr.Lindo, guards with years of service were not mentioned..Smithie..Mooree and our great gardener Singh who always kept the grounds of RD comparable to those of government house. Then what about those at the show window..who greeted presidents..ministers and all who visited RD for one reason or another?. The receptionists..Sheila Jordan..Millie Abrams..Luna Chung and so many others. Working at RD having a GM such as Rafiq Khan . a gentleman..knowledgeable ..decent ..dignified..RD in those days was a prestigious organisation a place of class and well trained staff..of course Rafiq spotted talent afar off..he once transformed a receptionist into an announcer..who later became Programme Director....Phyllis Jackson.A messenger into an operator/tech..Hulbert Clarke.. Bernice Mansell the best Supervisor/Manager I've ever known .Each member of staff was a compliment to the other..I remember Julian Mendes a great reporter well loved by all but don't argue with him when he has had a few . Olive and Flo who always had our coffee tasting just right.. Plus the happiness and laughter ...Oh what a great organisation was Radio Demerara it's just as if 'm about to greet Mr.Arthur Chung or President Linden Forbes Burnham, what a geat privilege. I am so much more for having been a part of what was once a great organisation.
Millie AbramsReceptionistAccounts ClerkScriptwriter.
Hi my name is Shameer Ali, I worked in radio (GBC) as a Control operator from Aug 1992 -
Yes mark I remember sukie who at GBC would not remember her.
A friend sent me this site.
I worked at Radio Dem 50s as did Laurence Taitt, was`an engineer, along
with a a guy called Pedro, the head James Norveille, Berthie, and Benji,
chief operator, along with guy we called Inch, I was operator and
producer also ocassionally as announcer, Clairmont Taitt and Hugh
Chomondley joined staff just before I left.
There`was an operator, you know its one of those cases where you see the
face but the name is like a ripe mango just out of reach,
he lived in kitty married Miles fitzpatrick's sister, an Indian guy who
livred in Kitty, himself and Inch were the best operators.
I'd like get in touch with them too guys, both last seen 60s London,
Pedro was witness for me first marriage.
The Goon Show use to come on huge disks, I was one of the operators when
the first international cricket broadcast between Guyana and BBC was
Lots of bacakanal use to take place in the sound locks between corridor
and studio. Once I had to read Death Announcememnts
and the daughter of the deceased was named Lillibati, the name taken
literally conjured an image in me head and you all know how it is when
a laugh starts its infection, is like trying to hold back a sneeze, you
cant win..naturally outside studio window staring at me was senior staff.
To make matters worse Clairmont was sitting opposite to read news and
take over shift and Hear me nuh! and now here is the news read
by?????????? my mind went blank.....I COULDN'T REMEMBER CLAIRMONT'S
NAME , he luckly realized what was happening by my inane stare Said
I worked at G.B.C for 10 years (1992-
Thanks for the reminder about Suki.
Looking back, I think the people of Guyana were fortunate to have a really rich education -
Thanks for a wonderful memories. Does anyone remember the "gong show" in the early 50's? -
Hi Since contacting you, I've checked with my mother-
(Name not given)
I happened on this site quite by accident. I would like to say thanks for providing this web page. I enjoyed reading the feedback and stories from the contributors and would like to share mine. In Guyana then, a land of no T.V., my listening skills were enhanced by radio and probably served me well as an Air Traffic Controller in the 70’s and 80’s. The enrichment of our culture must be attributed to radio where I learnt about Literature by listening to “Portia faces life” with my beloved Grandma. Grandma would make dinner and feed the chickens on a strict schedule so that she did not miss the programme. The radio was a tiny transistor but served its purpose in entertaining many.
During the early the 70’s, I hung around Radio Demerara and auditioned as well as played my favourite songs on “Teenager’s Choice” with Ray Robinson I requested songs on “Indian Hour” for my father’s birthday and songs for the birthdays of friends. I was sad while listening to “Memory Album” songs by Mukesh and Lata as I missed my father (he sang like Mukesh) and cared for my mother who was ill. Like most teenagers, we developed an appreciation for music and culture while we created our own concepts using our imagination. Thanks to all the wonderful people at Radio Dem.; past and present, especially Ray Robinson. Where is he please?
Sandra L. Persaud
Ray Robinson lives in Queens, New York.
My grandfather was Arthur Hemstock who was a broadcaster on Radio Demerara between 1950 and 1953. He spoke very fondly of his time in Guyana and I am lucky enough to have a copy on cassette of his last programme broadcast just before he returned to England. It's wonderful to see his contribution recorded on your website
(Name not given)
I too just stumbled on this page by chance. I am doing a Masters in Radio in UK but have lived and was mainly educated in Guyana. As a child I used to wander about the GBS studios (my Mum worked there) getting into the way of people like Uleta Anthony, Joan Greene (Sunshine Corner) and Christopher Dean.
I am currently putting together a documentary using audio clips from my last visit in Guyana (March 2005) and wanted to use some music from some old tapes. However, for copyright reasons, I need to provide the following information:
Album Title (whether LP, cassette or CD)
Album Label (Which company published it)
Any Reference numbers (usually on the side of CDs and begin with Letters followed by numbers) -
You just know I am not going to find that information in the UK.
1) Beautiful Guyana -
2) Not sure of the name of the folk group (the XXXX Singers), might be the Police Male Voice Choir, but there are women in the recordings I am thinking of. They performed songs like Bamboo fire, Me Na dead yet, Small Days, Hear Auntie Bess, See-
tune that goes ...
"One mornin de captain wake,
captain wakey wakey boatman,
boatman wakey wakey bowman,
bowman wake wid de paddle in he han',
all ah want is meh long and strong,
long and strong is too much for me,
long and strong is Etanami ...
AwwwwwwwwAwwwwwwwww ... Captain Captain put me ashore ... etc etc
Hi Torchbearer, This is Alyson Chester nee Stephens and I was a Control Operator at GBC and I also used to produce the programme " Music to remember" Do you recall that programme? I left GBC in 1989 to migrate to St.Lucia where I have been living since. It would be so great if all my colleagues could get in touch. It would be great to have a reunion. This is so good. Imagine I just stumbled onto this site. Keep the flag flying.
Alyson Chester (email@example.com)
(A reader looks for recordings of the Guyana Police Male Voice Choir. Can any of us help?)
I have no additions for your website nor complaints and as a last resort I hope you can help.
I am a Guyanese living abroad and for years now I have been trying to obtain a record with little success. It was played constantly on Radio Demerara in the early 60's hence my reason for contacting you. the record was Guyana folk songs sung by the Guyana Police male voice choir. I have tried the police association but have not gotten a reply.
Could you please help and direct me to where I can obtain a copy either in tape /cd/ 33/dvd or whatever.I would be forever grateful.
Thanking you in anticipation
Click here if you can help
(Following the death of Bertie Chancellor)
I have known Bertie Chancellor since I was a kid because I frequented Radio Demerara on Shows and Request programs.
Bertie was very reserved but friendly. I recall being on a Show with him as the Host. The Show was named 'Shopper's Choice.' There was another teenager on the Show along with me, and she was so nervous that she was actually trembling because she had never spoken to a microphone. Bertie just calmly told her to look at him like they were just talking and pretend that the microphone did not exist. Those words did great justice to her. It also made an indelible print in my mind. That is one of my fond memories with him.
May God bless his precious soul. See you in heaven, Bertie.
Evadne A. Duff nee VanSluytman
Bertie Chancellor, one of the most well-
Hardly anyone knew that his real last name was Jones (Full name: Albert Walter Chancellor Jones) and that the last name Chancellor was adopted for radio.
Here are a few tidbits about Bertie. (1) His forte was pop music, which he compiled for programs and presented (2) He called himself the “Chancellor of Pop.” Everyone knew what that meant and nobody argued with the title. (3) When he died at age 77, he was the person with the longest continuous service in radio in Guyana. (4) His main position was that of Assistant Librarian (first at Radio Demerara, later GBC) and as such knew every nook and cranny of the radio station’s record library (5) He promoted and supported on the air a large number of Guyanese music performers, many of whom became quite successful (6) He was a recipient of the Medal of Service, a national award.
(See above also)
What a fun page. I also have fun memories of Radio in
Guyana. I remember one program I really loved. I
think it was called "House of Pressure". Does anyone
Thousands Cheer Remembered
Here is a reminder of radio as it used to be in Guyana. Do you remember the major contribution of Lloyd Rohlehr, author of Thousands Cheer (title later changed to We Are Free!), a historical drama specially written for radio in three acts with 16 characters and awarded the First Prize and Special Prize in the Theatre Guild's national competition, Guyana, 1960?
The radio drama was based on the famous Slave Rebellion in Demerara, 1823, and featured the Demerara Martyr, Congregational Minister the Rev. John Smith, who was court-
It was produced by Carlotta Croal for the Theatre Guild and broadcast on June 9, 1961. There were subsequent broadcasts in May 1966, December 1968 and February 1970 (this time in Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago to mark Guyana's Republic Celebrations. Guyana-
Thanks for this site. I can recall a few shows my mom and dad always listened to, Dr. Paul, which used to be on at eight every weeknight, also Panorama and Action Line. I used to love listening to the theme music of the latter two shows. I have tried but have been unsuccessful in getting the names of these tunes. Can anyone help. Those were wonderful times and memories of Guyana and radio in Guyana. Thanks again.
Just reading some of these stories and looking back over time at some of the 'GREAT VOICE OF RADIO' emanating from Radio Dem. brings back a flood of memories...I can still hear A Khan in the 5am morning show playing "Sahani-
Clive Solomon NY
I thought I would share this with you. It came out some investigation I did following communication with someone with whom I seem to have lost contact.
Ayube Hamid (full name: Ayube Hamid Khan) is, and has been for some time, the major presenter of Indian music on radio. He took over from Akbar Khan. And before Akbar Khan was Azeem Khan, the father of Rafiq Khan.
Incidentally, Rafiq Khan, who went on to occupy the pinnacle of radio broadcasting in Guyana, got his start in radio while working along with his father.
I’m late but I just heard that Pancho Carew died in 1999. I liked Pancho and thinking about him brings back a lot of memories. I first knew him as MC/DJ of Combo Seven (Des Glasford’s band). Names like Butch Parmanand, Byron Lee of Jamaica, Dave Martins from Barbados come up when I think about Pancho. He went everywhere in Guyana and the islands promoting emceeing and dejaying. And he had great West Indian connections in the music world. For me, he was an important part of the GBS. Those were the days. He did some funny things. I always remember a picture of Pancho in a dhoti when Lata Mangeshkar went to Guyana.
Pancho was my boy.
Ellie Evans (formerly Chance)
I stumbled on your informative page by accident and while reading the names it brought back memories of a by gone era. The history is very interesting and it brought out many facts that I did not know. The internet is wonderful for communication and this is a fine example.
There is one insertion that I would like to make. I remember Allan Martindale's contribution to Radio. 'Cook up' was in the (9am to 1pm) slot and was the brain child of Pat Cameron. She specifically tailored this program for Allan. Towards the Dawn was the Joint services Military Radio program that was the first broadcast of a regularly scheduled show after midnight. This was 12.00 am to 2.00am Monday to Friday. In addition to Best by Request when Pancho was unavailable. Others include Man in the Street, and News Documentaries incuding the Year in Review. Allan was also a continuity announcer/producer.
Keep up the Good work. Warmest regards
Radio Broadcasting in Guyana-
I think that radio was an important element in firing the Guyanese imagination and bringing us closer together. I remember the fifties' radio soap opera, "A Second Spring" which I have not seen recorded on this website and which I mentioned in my book, The Coloured Girl in the Ring. This soap was always introduced with the words (which I still remember well after forty-
A Second Spring followed the long drawn out trials and fortunes of two star-
Yet every week night at seven, my mother and I would creep close and "watch" the Phillips radio to follow the events that clouded Christine's life. By way of radio, my father had Ramadin and Valentine-
Occasionally, some woman whom we did not know would be passing our house and, hearing the "Beautiful Dreamer" theme song, she would come into the yard, carefully avoiding our "rice-
I was between ten and twelve when I listened to A Second Spring, and I'm convinced that such stories (Portia Faces Life, A Man Called Shepherd, Aunt Mary-
Thank you for the opportunity to travel back through the years to a better time and place.
Brenda Chester DoHarris
Editor's note: Brenda Chester DoHarris made insightful contributions to the radio program "Analysis" during the period 1977-
She is also the author of "The Coloured Girl in the Ring."
About Keith Barnwell
When I was a young beginning broadcaster in the UK in 1971, I had the chance to work with a Guyanese broadcaster at BBC Radio Humberside named KEITH BARNWELL. He had worked with GBS before coming to England, and evidently
returned to GBS after we parted that summer of 1971, when I came to the USA. Is Keith Barnwell still in Radio in Guyana?
Still curious after all these years. I've been involved in radio Programming in Florida for many years now, but always wondered about Keith!
From Silvertorch ed.:
To all readers: If you can help, please click here.
And Keith turns up on 7/14/03
From Keith Barnwell
By the merest brush of luck I happened to be on the net looking for friend from Guyana, Malcolm Sonaram. The system I was using amazed me and led me to wonder if such obscure people like malcolm could be found by mention what would the system throw up about me. You now know the result. I have been back in Hull for many years , although sadly not in radio. I have reached that time in like when nostalgia is a serious hobby and would love to hear at length from you and all my friends from the past.
Growing up my name was actually one of the most popular ones. As a kid I used to write lots of letters to the Program 'Children's Choice' which was hosted by Uncle James on Saturday mornings. At a period this program held the 'Ovaltine Bicycle Contest.' Every week one letter would be randomly selected and that lucky child received a bicycle. I wrote lots of letters because I wanted to win a bicycle very much. Regretfully it was never picked for that prize. But it would always be the letter afterwards which was always awarded another prize. This hurt my feelings very much because my parents could not afford to buy me a bicycle. I was also hurt because I was always over protective of the Radio Announcers -
I then ventured out to 'On Show Young Guyana' with Aunty Pat, then 'Teens Ville' with Roland Phillips, and all the other request Programs with Pancho Carew and Robin Deodat.
I left Guyana in 1975 and remembered the good oldies playing on the radio. I was lucky to visit and tour the stations and meet a lot of the announcers and we became friends. I used to help Bernice Mansell with the needy children's fund everytime around Christmas. I would like to know if she is still around and how I could contact her. Also is Bertie Chancellor around? We used to correspond when I was living in Guyana. In 1994 I went to Guyana for a vacation and saw him at the Radio Station.Also is Rovin Deodat, Ray and Ron Robinson still around? Please let me know how I can contact them.
I can see you have great memories. Bertie is still at the GBC on High Street in Georgetown and may be contacted there. Ron Robinson works in televison, I believe. Of course, he still produces "The Link Show" and comes to New York at least once a year to stage it. I'm going to try to get as much contact information as possible and let you know by e-
Missing from your list of radio voices is Nigel Martin. He is my husband and was on air from 1989 -
child. Now that impressed me! Women loved him for that program and to this day he thanks Margaret Lawrence for giving him that opportunity.
I just remembered John Fernandes, the old man. He had a broadcast every Sunday. It was not a lively broadcast. You had to love him to tune in every Sunday. But do you know what? Many people who knew him personally loved him. He was a great man with a big heart. That's how I remember him.
Briarwood, New York.
Among my memories of radio in Guyana, I remember B. L. Crombie on Radio Demerara. B.L. lived for sport. There was nobody like him at that time. He alone covered everything. He was on the air early in the morning and late at night. I wonder how he did it.
Another thing I remember is Music From McKenzie with Rafiq Khan on Sundays. This was a great classical music program. He was up there with the best in the world. Where is he now? I know B.L. died.
Keep up the good work.
Los Angeles, CA
Editor's note: Rafiq Khan now resides in Jamaica, West Indies.
Enough recognition cannot be given to our pioneer radio broadcasters who provided the public with wholesome entertainment, news and educational topics. In some rural parts of Guyana, radios were the only links people had with the outside world.
I fondly recall an outstanding program that was aired in the early 1970s. It kept listeners glued to their Murphy, Bush, Grundig and Phillips radios just like how the miniseries "Roots" did to TV viewers. "Super Sleuth" produced by James Sydney transformed the populace into contemporary Hercule Poirots and Sherlock Holmeses. This innovative program prompted national participation. Responses came from far and wide; everyone tried to provide information that could solve mysteries like (1) The location of the oldest tombstone (2) Identifying the couple with the most amount of children (3) Finding the oldest living person.
Perhaps we should revive and support a program like this one. If it does not succeed in proving that public entertainment can be fun without pushing sex, violence and immoral behavior it may motivate some couch potatoes to become growing plants. What is your opinion?
Brooklyn, New York
I remember so many things about radio in my youth, I could write a book. But nobody else seems to remember this one. It was a thriller about firemen on radio, and I think it was on at midday on Radio Demerara. I can hear in my head how one of the men received a call then started the siren at the fire station. The other men would slide down a long pole to get to the fire truck, and then I can hear them taking off for the fire. At the fire station, somebody would shout "Let's go firefighters." But I don't remember the name of the series. Help! Does anybody know?
Brooklyn, New York
Radio Broadcasting in Guyana
Nice effort on the web! I particularly enjoyed the history section.
My memory is hazy but here is some information:
My father the late Mr Sugrim Singh of Georgetown was an announcer on the old ZFY in Brickdam hosting an East Indian musical program called "Bose's Indian Hour"
(Subhas Chandra Bose was an Indian hero in India). He remembered another announcer pouring Coca Cola down the front of his shirt while he was broadcasting! He was a secondary school teacher then and later became a lawyer
and legislator in the Interim Govt of 1953-
Sometime in the late 50's he resurrected Bose's Indian Hour on a Monday night at Radio Demerara with the opening theme consisting of the song "Sohani Raat"..I think it was a shortlived effort of no more than 2 years.
This may be of interest
Dr Ranjit Singh MD