James McFarlane Corry was a revolutionary 19th century British Guiana leader. His name is associated with the development of the Local Government system in Guyana; and many historians regard him as the ‘Father of Local Government’. He also played a vital role in the establishment of co-operative banks in the country. He is fondly remembered for his work in the community of Den Amstel, located some 10.5 kilometres (6.52 miles) away from Vreed-en-Hoop. In 1892, Den Amstel and neighbouring community Fellowship were merged together and declared a Village District under the name Den Amstel/Fellowship District. Three years later, in 1895, Corry began serving as the third village Chairman, a position he held until 1922.
The visions of James McFarlane Corry did not stop with Den Amstel. In 1904, Mr. Corry inaugurated the countrywide Village Chairmen’s Conference and served as its first Chairman for approximately two decades. It is this Village Chairmen’s Conference that many consider the backbone of our local government system today. While serving as chairman, Corry proposed the banking system that we now know as co-operative banks to assist small scale farmers in the production of their produces.