These are the sentiments expressed by Cultural Preservationist and keeper of the Edgar Challenger Library and House Museum, Winston ‘Zack’ Nisbett, over the loss of his bag with work equipment and documents that was recently stolen from his premises on Central Street.
This bag is said to contain one laptop, 8 G Sanyo blue digital camera, two pen drives -one of which had on over 3,000 photos and documents, a LIME phone charger, paper work, letters, booklets, a small radio as well as small cassette tapes including one with the 1935 riot.
He is grateful however, that his DVD tape recorder was in a secure location.
This media house understands that the incident took place at approximately 5:30 pm last Wednesday. The laptop and camera were gifts donated to the historical unit by US visitors.
Recalling what transpired on that day, Nisbett, informed Newslink that he was about to leave home on a mission to interview 99-year-old Annie of Monkey Hill, St. Peter’s.
“It (the bag) was on the premises. It was on the veranda. It was heavy so I rested it down to give a neighbour piece of breadfruit. I was also waiting on the university students who normally come by to feed the animals in the zoo section,” he explained.
He continued: “I called my neighbour and she was upstairs (her house) so she said just come up the stairs. So I went up and came back down. As I came back down I saw the students parking up to come in so I opened the gate for them. By the time I went by the veranda everything was gone. I went up and down asking everybody…”
Nisbett said the stolen tools were used to record interviews with the senior citizens in the various communities among other things.
“So ... on a daily basis, I would go in the country side, in communities like St. Peter’s, Cayon, and Phillips to all those persons who would have made to their 80s, 90s and 100s. Sometimes two persons in a day,” he stated.
Nisbett shared that he did life stories on many persons including Mama Mazie reached the milestone of 100 years and for the funeral Mama Florence Baker who lived to see age 112.
“Everybody would see me daily mostly in the afternoons moving to and fro to various homes interviewing most of the old people; those venerable patriarchs who have made a contribution. I try to revive them in a sense as I have always been doing in terms of capturing their outstanding contribution to the development of our cultural heritage and tradition and that is still a part of me," he remarked.
He went on to speak about the benefit of the information of the older generation being passed on to the youth of today.
“So I recognize that those persons have something of importance to contribute towards the development of our youth and if we respect what they have accomplished, it will get the youth more involved and get them more dedicated in terms of contributing towards the community rather than getting involved with guns.
“I always have that passion that in the long run when I would have passed beyond the youth would have something there to substantiate the argument that these people would have paved the way for us and we should be thankful to them. So I thought of doing this on my own without any funding or anything," he shared.
Nisbett added, “These people are worth millions so you sit with them, you chat with them; you get the best out of them before they pass away so that we can have it to reveal to the younger generation.”
Speaking more about the theft, Nisbett indicated that he didn’t turn from his back for long.
“In that short space of time somebody took up the bag and it hurts me because that bag is filled with very important documentations; all sorts of things it has. I take time out every time I go out I walk with it,” he said further.
He revealed also that he started “looking up and down” until about 5:45 pm and could not find it and he then began telling people about it.
Immediately he went to the Basseterre Police Station to make a report.
Nisbett said he explained to the authorities the urgency of the matter “because of the level of material that is inside of the bag so that they need to work on it expeditiously….It’s too much information to go down the drain like that.
“I think the person(s) heartless because they see me with the bag all the time. I always have it. They know it is important stuff in there. It is stuff that I use to make a dollar and it is stuff for the country because it is not just my stuff; it is stuff that I have to relate to the entire populous,” he lamented.
He thanks the Head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Inspector Franklyn Belgrove and his team for their assistance in dealing with the matter.
“From the way they moved so expeditiously, I felt important. It was like they put themselves out of the way to expedite things and I was very grateful even though things didn’t turn out way I wanted it,” he said.
Nisbett is optimistic that someone would come forward with helpful information.