Bartica: Located 19 miles outside Bartica is a spot known as Allsopp’s Point. To frequent travellers, the point is easily distinguishable. But to the casual traveller the location is just like any other: a dirt road surrounded by trees, perhaps memorable by its two-pronged fork in the roadway.
However, as of today, the identification of the spot is unmistakeable following the re-erection of a large road sign by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure to mark Allsopp’s Point.
While the location itself is unremarkable, the life and contributions of the man behind the name, Mr. Phillip Allsopp, is anything but.
At the age of 91, Mr. Allsopp was able to see the new sign when he was taken into the location with a team from the Ministry.
According to Mr. Allsopp, the visit was one that was long overdue – his last visit to Bartica had been several years ago.
On the drive into the town of Bartica, Mr. Allsopp quietly looks out at the landscape; it is much different than the one he remembers. Ever so often he would offer a comment: a quip on the state of the roadway, a compliment on a particularly pretty home, or wonderment at the view of the Essequibo River from Mongrippa Hill.
He explained that Bartica had been an instrumental part of his career, since the beginning of his time at the then Ministry of Public Works.
“My first assignment with the Ministry of Public Works was to work on surveying the Bartica-Potaro Road,” Mr. Allsopp said.
From there, he made other significant contributions to the region, including the construction of the airstrip and the routing of the road which would eventually lead up and beyond the point now famously named after him.
He recalls receiving the instruction from then President L.F.S. Burnham to have the roadway constructed. He shared that while the US Army had suggested another location, this proposed location was not satisfactory to President Burnham who later asked Allsopp to bring his expertise to the table.
The rest is now history.
Outside of his contributions to Region 7, Mr. Allsopp has done laudable work throughout Guyana. The former Chief Works Officer at the Ministry of Public Works, Mr. Allsopp was responsible for designing and overseeing the construction of the Linden-Soesdyke Highway, played a critical role in the realisation of the Takutu Bridge, and oversaw works undertaken on roadways in Essequibo. He also played an important role in negotiating funding for the Demerara Harbour Bridge during his time as the Technical Adviser at the Ministry of Economic Development.
The new Allsopp’s Point sign clearly indicates the route to several key locations, including Bartica, Sherima Crossing, and Mahdia.
Besides the presence of Mr. Allsopp, today’s simple ceremony saw the attendance of Region 7 Chairman, Mr. Gordon Bradford; former President of the Guyana Association of Professional Engineers (GAPE), Mr. Joel Trotman; Mr. Edward Gonsalvez, former Chief Works Officer at the Ministry of Public Works; Mr. Bernard Matthews, former Government Surveyor; and Mr. Allsopp’s daughter, Susan Allsopp.