January 23, 2018

Villagers urged to develop community as Victoria celebrates 178th anniversary

The Victoria Youth Development Organisation on Monday evening hosted a flag-raising ceremony to commemorate the 178th anniversary of the village.
The community, formerly known as Northbrook, was the first to be bought by freed African slaves in 1839 after they gained their freedom.

Social Cohesion Minister, Dr George Norton

Minister of Social Cohesion, Dr George Norton, in the feature address, commended the youths for efforts made to recognise the 178th anniversary and encouraged them to continue to work towards the development of the village.
“This evening, we celebrate the purchase of this village and those who struggled and pooled their meagre earnings to make it possible. I appeal to you ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, youths, do not let the struggle of your forefathers, the struggle to ensure a brighter future for you and your future generations to come. Let us not allow the struggle of your forefathers to go in vain,” Dr Norton said.
He noted that team-effort was pivotal for the slaves to achieve the purchase of the village and urged residents to adapt such principles.
“I want to urge you to become more cohesive. To break down the barriers that exist among the gender difference, among the age difference, the socio-economic difference, and let us all come together in whatever way we can to make Victoria a place that we all would be proud of.”
Minister within the Public Health Ministry, Dr Karen Cummings highlighted that the village was once an economic hub and charged villagers to reshape their focus. She also stressed the importance of agriculture and women’s involvement in those activities within the community.
“It is time to refocus our energies towards reestablishing a viable village economy for the welfare of our people. Let us redesign the village economy in line with the current national economic development programme,” the Department of Public Information (DPI) quoted Dr Cummings as saying.
The 178th anniversary celebration saw a number of cultural performances and presentations by villagers and Government officials, before concluding with the hoisting of the National Flag.
In 1839, 83 ex-slaves from five nearby estates – Dochfour, Anns Grove, Hope, Paradise, and Enmore – pooled their resources and bought Plantation Northbrook for 30,000 Guilders. As a result, each of the 83 owned one lot of land.
After its purchase, the village was renamed Victoria, presumably in honour of England’s Queen Victoria, though some suggest it might have been named after the victory of the slaves in gaining their freedom.