It is a national heritage site but the Chateau Margot Chimney, which has been around since the 19th century, is in the hands of the private land development company which ordered the gates locked.The Chateau Margot chimneyOver the weekend, concerns were raised about the appearance of a sign on the gate of the site, which stated that it was owned by Nadia Gardens Housing Development Incorporated and directed all queries to RK Security proprietor, Roshan Khan.When this publication contacted Khan on Saturday, he confirmed that the Chateau Margot Chimney was in the hands of the private development company. However, Khan made it clear that they would not deny anyone who wishes to access the chimney for educational or tourism purposes.The sign that now graces the gate leading to the chimney“It is a private development… The land is owned by them. But they normally allow people who want to go in and visit for tourism. But recently, the gates were open for a long time and some guys go in and tried to steal the Chimney blocks. They were using drugs,” Khan claimed.“We will allow access to anyone who wants to enter the compound for tourism, educational purposes, school tours. You just can’t leave the gate open permanently because of criminals, vandals, thieves and delinquents. I’ve just been appointed to stop, control the vandalism and the criminal [trespassing].”National TrustMeanwhile, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Trust, Nirvana Persaud also confirmed that the land is in private hands. She acknowledged that the historical landmark is under the Trust’s protection and they maintain the immediate surroundings.“But we do access the site and we do take care of the immediate surroundings of the chimney. Not the entire complex. But the chimney is within private property. Not all heritage sites are owned by the National Trust. Chateau Margot is one such.”It is understood that the Chateau Margot Chimney was built and completed on July 1, 1889. The structure is a well-known landmark that identifies when one has reached Chateau Margot on the East Coast of Demerara.It is all that is left standing of a former sugar factory which, according to an 1883 contemporary description, “boasted the finest cane land in the colony of British Guiana during the nineteenth century, operating successfully on the vacuum pan process for many years.”The chimney itself was constructed by Antonio Gordon, a bricklayer from Buxton and stands on a huge concrete base of red bricks. Besides its industrial function as an important part of the sugar factory, the chimney also served as a beacon to ships approaching Port Georgetown.This is the case even after the factory was demolished, with reports indicating that the structure is still being cited in the Caribbean Shipping Association’s landmarks for Georgetown along with the lighthouse beacon.