About Us

Moray House Trust was conceived and set up as the legacy of the late David de Caires by his children, Isabelle and Brendan and his widow, Doreen. It is based at Moray House, the de Caires family home in Guyana.

Our Mission

The Moray House Trust is a private, non-partisan, not-for-profit, cultural initiative to foster national pride in Guyana’s diverse heritage, to enable all forms of artistic expression, to promote conservation, civil liberties and sport in our society, and to stimulate the sharing of knowledge and ideas within a vibrant public sphere.

Our Vision

We believe that:

  • There is a need to preserve and extend Guyana’s cultural heritage and to provide more opportunities for current and future generations to engage with it;
  • The health of the nation, in the broadest sense, depends on a vibrant and varied local culture;
  • A culture thrives and develops where ideas where ideas circulate and are robustly debated and interrogated;
  • A culture matures as different forms of expression (literature, the arts, civil liberties, conservation and sport) are nurtured and proliferate;
  • Youth should be enabled & supported to be vision-carriers, innovators and champions of our culture in all its forms.

We aim in some small way to facilitate and contribute to the growth, appreciation and expression of a dynamic and diverse Guyanese culture.

Background

Moray House, at the corner of Camp and Quamina streets in Georgetown, was the family home of David de Caires (1937-2008). Although better known for his role in founding the independent local newspaper, Stabroek News, David also had a strong and abiding interest in literature, the arts, music and sport.

David de Caires
David de Caires

He was a compulsive reader, happiest when reclined in his Berbice chair surrounded by precarious piles of books and periodicals. He was fascinated by the movement of ideas, by the way they germinated, grew and changed as they travelled from person to person and place to place. He was widely read and had a particular fondness for the poetry of his lifelong friend, Martin Carter. Like Carter and Miles Fitzpatrick (David’s legal partner), David’s reading bred a homespun, self-taught intellect, a typical product of its time, conscious of its boundaries and gaps, hungry for new knowledge and fuelled by the exchange of ideas with a small circle of his contemporaries. The regional magazine, New World, co-edited by David in the 1960s, was an early, if short-lived, embodiment of this type of learning. It could be said that the editorial tone and letters pages of Stabroek News were, under his editorship, a sustained attempt to engage the Guyanese nation in conversation.

In the last twenty years of his life, David and a group of friends including Carter, Fitzpatrick, Lloyd Searwar and Ian Mc Donald met, about once a month, at each other’s homes, for dinners where a similar spirit of debate, characterized by animated discussion and light-hearted interludes, prevailed. Kenneth King, Rupert Roopnarine, Hugh Cholmondeley, Major General (rtd) Joseph Singh and Brigadier David Granger joined the group in the course of time.

Dr Ian Mc Donald reminisces about these gatherings

Major General (rtd) Joe Singh remembers the gatherings

In other respects David’s tastes were fairly mainstream. He had a special fondness for musicals and patronised the London theatres for half a century. He enjoyed jazz and the blues, though he learned to appreciate classical music and opera under the tutelage of a childhood friend. His love of sport, virtually all-embracing, was that of a participant, a spectator and a social observer, aware of its transcending power to unify, to uplift and to integrate.

Over the years, David acquired a small collection of paintings by local artists. When times were hard, he purchased art supplies overseas for a few artists such as Stephanie Correia. He also hosted gatherings at Moray House to commemorate the work of Guyanese cultural icons such as Martin Carter and the painter, Aubrey Williams.

David and Doreen de Caires sitting on the steps at Moray House

In the mid-1990s, he organized, in collaboration with the Faculty of Arts of the University of Guyana, a series of lectures on selected writers at The Playhouse, home of the Theatre Guild in Georgetown. He also initiated the “Camp Street 2000” millennium project to rehabilitate the avenue in Camp Street and subsequently organised a series of public talks in the avenue on topics ranging from astronomy to Shakespeare. He was team leader of the local organising committee for the Caribbean Media Conference in Georgetown, also in 2000. And, on the approach of the Caribbean Festival of the Arts – Carifesta – he presided over the refurbishment of the Theatre Guild Playhouse, shortly before his death.

In sum, David’s contribution to the cultural life of Guyana, though modest, was symptomatic of his belief in the need to nurture the cultural and intellectual health of a nation in danger of losing its most precious resources – its people – through mass emigration.

David’s family and friends now pay tribute to him by forming a Trust to endorse these interests and continue activities of this kind.

Martin Carter [1927 – 1997] Kenneth King [1929 – 2008] Hugh Cholmondeley [1939 – 2012]

 

Aims

We aim to achieve our mission through a variety of activities and, in particular, we aim to:

  • Organise cultural events for the public such as talks, debates, exhibitions and film shows.
  • Support and facilitate live local cultural entertainment in areas such as dance, music and story telling.
  • Produce cultural products such as books, DVDs, recordings.
  • Bring creative artists together with peers, experts and an informed audience to advance local talent.
  • Promote hobbies and pastimes such as reading and music appreciation and cultural interests through our cultural programme and workshops.

Venue and Hospitality Services

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Moray House is a traditional, wooden “heritage” house located in the heart of Georgetown. The beautifully appointed ground floor includes a reception room, a bar area, an open plan dining and living area, a remarkable art collection and a well-kept garden. The ambience is spacious yet intimate, traditional yet modern, and, truly Guyanese.

The Trust is also pleased to make these lovely surroundings available for a range of events and small gatherings, including:

  • Lunches and Dinners
  • Business Meetings
  • Book Club Meetings and Book Launches
  • Workshops & Training Sessions
  • Round Table Meetings / Small Conferences
  • Presentations / Lectures
  • Tea Parties
  • Cocktail Receptions

For further information on bookings and rates, please contact MorayHouseTrust@gmail.com

 People

Trustees

       
Doreen de Caires Isabelle de Caires Dr Yesu Persaud Major General (rtd) Joe Singh

Board of Directors

Nikhil Ramkarran
Nikhil Ramkarran

 

 

 Elizabeth Alleyne
Dr Joyce Jonas
Thi Fernandes

Administrator

Joan_profile

Joan Mc Donald

 

 

 

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