Location: Enmore, East Coast Demerara
Classification: Commemorative Monument
Period/ Year Built: 1977
Historical Background / Description:
On April 22, 1948, approximately 1,200 estate workers from the plantations of Enmore, Non Pariel, Lusignan, Mon Repos, La Bonne Intention (LBI), Vryheid’s Lust and Ogle initiated a strike action to express their disapproval against the ‘cut and load’ system and the unfair methods of measuring work productivity.
This system, together with poor wages, unfair treatment from overseers and dilapidated working and living conditions, led the workers to strike. The protest continued and reached the streets of Georgetown on June 5, 1948. Ten days later on June 15, a meeting was held on Plantation Non Pariel between the workers and numerous estate representatives, but the outcome proved futile in ending the strike. On June 16, the protest continued at Plantation Enmore, during which police opened fire, killing five and injuring numerous others on the claim that they were attacked by “a large missile throwing crowd”. On June 18, approximately 5,000 workers marched from Plantation Enmore to the Le Repentir cemetery in Georgetown to bury the five fallen sugar workers.
At the Continental Conference of the National Affiliates of the World Peace Council in Bogota, Colombia, held on June 4 – 7, 1976, recognised the slain workers as the ‘Enmore Martyrs’. One year later, the Government of Guyana unveiled the Enmore Martyrs’ Memorial Monument.
The Enmore Martyrs’ Memorial Monument is located on Enmore Sugar Estate Road, Enmore, East Coast Demerara. It was designed by renowned Guyanese artist, Dr. Dennis Williams and constructed by Zenith Industrial and Construction Cooperation Society in 1976, on behalf of the Government of Guyana. The following year on June 16, 1977, it was unveiled by Prime Minister Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham.
Engraved on five cutlasses and affixed to the monument are the names of the martyrs: Lallabagie, 35 years old; Harry, 30 years old; Pooran, 20 years old; Rambarran, 30 years old and Surajballi, 32 years old.