Location: Den Amstel, West Coast Demerara
Classification: Commemorative Monument
Period/ Year Built: 2016
Historical Background / Description:
James McFarlane Corry, a revolutionary 19th/20th century British Guiana leader, was regarded as the ‘Father of Local Government’ by many historians for the role he played in the establishment of the countrywide Village Chairmen’s Conference. This conference paved the way for the local government system that the country has today. He also played a vital role in the establishment of co-operative banks in the country. In 1904, Corry inaugurated the countrywide Village Chairmen’s Conference and was the first Chairman for almost 20 years. During his time as Chairman, he proposed the banking system that we now know as co-operative banks to assist small farms with produce production. The system was slowly adopted, but by 1917, a number of small farmers were utilizing the services of the various credit banks established throughout the colony.
Born in 1850, he was fondly remembered for his work in the village of Den Amstel. Den Amstel is among the few villages that got its unique beginning when it was purchased by 125 former slaves in 1854. In 1895, Corey began serving as Den Amstel’s third village Chairman, a position he held until 1922. His work did not end there, he established the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) branch in the community and served as president for 27 years. He also worked as a Stipendiary Magistrate in 1911 and functioned as a Justice of the Peace for the district. Unfortunately, Corry’s outstanding work came to an end when he died at the age of 74 on March 7, 1924. A monument was built in honour of James McFarlane Corry, allowing the present and future generations to understand and appreciate the contributions he made toward the development of Den Amstel and to Guyana as a whole.