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water and the fertilizers would be washed into the creeks at each subsidence of the water. The Agricultural Department is planning to fence those areas which are not flooded and concentrate on fertilizing this land only. The stock feeding on the improved pasture here would, it is hoped, so increase in general quality that they could be eventually released into the harder world outside, and have the strength to thrive in it. Eventually a finer, stronger breed of cattle could be produced.

At this moment there is foot and mouth disease in the Brazilian cattle country and the cattle are kept five miles from the border. Two emergency abattoirs have been built and airstrips to go with them. In the ordinary way all cattle are brought to the abattoir at Lethem for slaughtering and flown down to the coast from there. The cost of air transportation is six and a quarter cents a pound. Because of foot and mouth the 200-mile cattle trail is closed and all meat is being flown. In normal times about half is flown and half goes by trail, which causes losses in weight or from death of from 5 to 10 per cent.

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By jeep across the savannas. The sandpaper trees, and the cashews with their pleasantly tart fruit; always on the far edge of us the blue Kanuku Mountains, in whose fertile foothills most of the ranchers have farms for mixed provisions. Creeks of beautiful, blue water, but full of pirai (the piranha of the Amazon) with saw-like teeth and a love for warm blood. Clumps of ite palms. Wind and glare of sun, great dryness—even after three beers the throat feels parched.

We passed the area marked on the old maps as Lake Parima, the land of El Dorado. All the ranches except two are owned by members of the half-Amerindian Melville family. The first Melville was a Scotsman and a man of some education who came to British Guiana in the 'nineties to prospect for gold and diamonds. On one trip up the Essequibo river he was attacked by malaria and his men left him for dead on a sand-reef. Indians found him and nursed him back to health. He wandered with them over the mountains to the Rupununi. He fell in love with the savannas and the Indian way of life, took two wives and

1 The restrictions have since been removed.

settled with them, producing ten children. He was the first serious cattle-rancher in the savannas.

At Awarwaunau: open land-name is Wapisiana for Windcreek Hill. Indian children drinking their UNICEF milk, a gift from the United States. It is a paradox that in cattle country American powdered milk should be necessary, but the herds are not dairy herds. Mothers suckling babies up to three or four years old. The tuchau, or headman of the village, complained that the water was bad and asked when Government were going to keep their promise of boring a well. They were ashamed, he said, to offer visitors water, it was so bad. Fencing has begun so that the Indians' cattle can be kept separate from the ranchers', but the barbed wire has proved a boon to the Indians in another way. Hammered it can be made into excellent arrowheads, and fences have been ruined by the removal of an inch or two of wire. The Indians use bows and arrows for fishing only. If they go on a hunting expedition they take their ancient guns. The game on the savannas was once deer, but these are now almost non-existent. In the patches of jungle along the creeks or where savanna gives into mountain, wild hog, tapir and maroudi or maam are hunted. Jaguars are common. One had been attacking dogs and livestock at Awarwaunau recently and we saw two badly-wounded dogs. Fishing by bow and arrow, as I found by experience, is a very difficult sport, a subtle art. The refraction of light must be judged exactly and this varies at different times of the day and at different points on the river.

On the Mazaruni

The Mazaruni is the route to the gold and diamond fields, a majestic river, the bush on either bank filled with giant trees, heavily buttressed like the mora, soaring and straight like the greenheart. For its first 125 miles the Mazaruni is a maze of small islands, rapids and falls. In the old days when the mining men, the pork-knockers, went up the river they would paddle against currents which an inboard engine can now only just fight. There was an average of five deaths a month on this part of the river, mostly when the boats were being hauled over the falls, a man would slip, be lost in the rushing water. Govern

ment has now built a track from Bartica to Issano, to cut out this stretch of the river. No boats now go there and for 125 miles the country is uninhabited except for a columbite mining camp, which is prospecting the area. Two companies are working on columbite and its near relation, tantalite, in British Guiana; they are both American companies employing a Guianese subsidiary. Some miles above Issano at Morabisi is a big columbite camp which is fast becoming a white elephant.

Hauling a boat over a range of falls

A track has been built at great cost to penetrate the jungle for some twenty miles, and large machinery has been set up for the complicated process of isolating the columbite. Now it is found that the ore-bearing ground is not where the machinery is where precisely it is nobody seems yet to know. It is realized that unless it is within a mile or two of the machinery the cost of extracting the tons of earth necessary to produce each ounce of ore, and transporting it to the machine, will make the enterprise impossible. Small portable machines which can move from one area to the next are needed. The Morabisi machinery stands magnificent and silent in the jungle; it may have to be abandoned there, like so much mining machinery in the Guiana forests, which lies entangled with secondary growth, the haunt of snakes and insects.

In the Jungle

It was like a dark Sussex ride in autumn after heavy rain, though no horse could stand for long the tangled roots that lie under the mud and sodden leaves. It was cool but after a few minutes I was soaked with sweat. Such humidity. No insects and no flowers, just columns of cedar, mora, crabwood and savannadalli. They are straight and taut, no leaves or branches for most of the trunk, all leaf and branches forming a canopy at the top where the air and sunlight is. Up there are orchids and vines, fritillaries and blue morpho butterflies, marabunta wasps raiding the flowers, smaller insects attracted to the apparently innocent petals of the pitcher-plants, which trap the insects and devour them sinisterly; howler monkeys lay in the canopies, dormant till seized by the mood to howl; sloths moved on their day's journey along a branch. Occasionally I would raise my eyes from the trail for a moment in the hope of seeing some life above me, but the only sign of life in our subterranean world was the flash of a red-mottled snake. Sometimes my guides would point to a spot on the ground, to me no different from the rest, but to their amazing eyes a sign that bush-hog had passed by recently or a jaguar had been through during the night. During the first day's march we crossed thirty-two creeks. I came to curse each creek as we met it, but was grateful for the cold, delicious water.

Camped in forest, in a disused hut belonging to an Indian. I asked my guides questions as we lay in our hammocks after the meal. They laughed at my pronunciation of Carib words. I took down a short word-list, which showed no trace of English in the neologisms-all were Spanish; dog was perro, hat was sumbederdu, shoes were sapatos and orange was aranka. They called a gun an arakabusa (arquebus). Inadvertently I stumbled on the etymology of manatee. I asked what the word for milk was and was told ‘pakamanatil'. The manatee suckles its young and manati turned out to be the Carib for 'breast'.



RITISH GUIANA is now (September, 1956) entering on the third year of the period of 'marking time' proposed in the Robertson Report. It was an unfortunate expression, with its suggestion of inactivity at a time when all Guianese and the British administration needed the inspiration of a call to constructive action. The emergence of the People's Progressive Party, a party led by young men, showed that a generation has grown up in the Colony which is prepared to organize itself into concerted political action; the spirit and the energy is there for the first time in British Guiana's history, and no suspension of the Constitution or recommendation of ‘marking time' will kill that spirit. The British Government does not wish for its death, and has hoped, during the three years since the Suspension, that new leaders would arise with progressive ideas who could one day take on the responsibility of government. On the face of it this seems to suggest that the British Government is willing to give the Colony modified self-government, but only if it is certain that the party elected will do as the British wish, will in fact be well-behaved puppets to be thrown out, as the P.P.P. was thrown out, at the first signs of disobedience. Twenty years ago it was the fashion to be cynical about Britain's administration of her colonies; it is no longer so easy to recognize the sinister shadow of a ruthless and exploiting capitalism darkening the underdeveloped areas of the Commonwealth, and it is impossible to be any time in such a Golony as British Guiana without recognizing the amount of honest and unselfish endeavour given by colonial officials to the administration of the country-even if the results of their endeavour are less than one would wish. But that the government and administration of the colonies must one day pass to the people of each colony is a foregone conclusion; it is a matter of deciding the readiness of the governing class to take over their grave responsibility, and of doing all that is possible to prepare them for the task. In British Guiana's case the British Government and the sugar interests sincerely wanted, and still

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