Monday, December 29, 2008


Re: Appeal for funds to supply microscopes to the St. Vincent Grammar School
Dear Friend of the Grammar School:
The Grammar School is in urgent need of a new set of microscopes for its biology lab so Dr. Julian Duncan (Vincentian-born, Emeritus Professor of Botany, UWI, St. Augustine) has sent out an appeal to alumni and friends to support the purchase of as many scopes as our contributions would allow. The expressions of interest to date have been most heartening. Many persons have asked how and where/to whom they should send their donations. Dr. Duncan has opened a Roytrin account jointly with Dr. Don (Clement) Iton (a Vincentian resident here in Trinidad) to which donations may be sent.

Should you be desirous of making a contribution, such may be sent to Dr. Duncan at the following address, made out in favor of the account below or you may send it directly to the bank.

Dr. Julian Duncan
8 Whinfield Place
St. Augustine
Trinidad and Tobago

e-mail :

J. Duncan & C. Iton - Account No: RBL 881012047
RBTT – St. Augustine Branch
Trinidad and Tobago

Thanking you for your kind consideration.
Yours sincerely,

Thursday, December 25, 2008


You Tube has videos of SVG officials at the UN on

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Nine Mornings

There is a slide show at:

Thank you, Cheryl King for bringing it to my attention

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Christmas

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Listen to the De Paur Chorus singing a Caribbean Cristmas Carol:

Mary's Boy Child

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ugly American Travel Note

It is interesting to see that there are still Ugly Americans traveling around and giving us a bad name. I suppose that's why many people still think of us as Canadian.


St. Vincent, Bequia and the Tropic Breeze
By Lee | December 16th, 2008 |

After leaving Grenada for that early morning flight up to St. Vincent, the plane flew straight over the gorgeous and untouched Grenadine Island chain. It is a chain of mostly forgotten islands and their slogan is “the Caribbean the way it used to be”. The view from the small prop plane made me excited to get out to Bequia. But not until enjoying a liberating nap in St. Vincent at one of the worst hotels I’ve ever stayed at, the Tropic Breeze-more about that later.

I caught the 11:30am boat out to Bequia, which is an hour away from Kingstown-the capital of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). Bequia is the largest of the Grenadine dependencies and a true treat. Unspoiled is the best way to describe the island. It had gorgeous deserted beaches, no industry to speak of and the nicest people imagineable. I kind of felt like I was on an Italian island because of the little hairpin turns with stone walls on either side of the skinny roads but that was as far as it went.

The way I know I really like a new place is if I can’t think of anything else to compare it to and Bequia was that for me. It was very refreshing. I wish I could say I did something wild or crazy to celebrate the new discovery but I just laid on the gorgeous white sand beaches all day and had some local island food before heading back to St. Vincent for the night. It was a truly wonderful day and if you are ever in SVG-check out Bequia or one of the other islands.

The main reason is that there is really nothing to do on St. Vincent. Everything is lacking in selection including hotels. So I ended up booking a hotel-if you want to call it that on So I show up and they have no record of my reservation and even after I present them a confirmation code and receipt, etc. it’s not enough to convince them that I actually paid my $90-which is a complete ripoff but a man has to sleep.

Anyway, I arrive back at the hotel around 7pm to chill out and watch Monday Night Football-keep in mind there is nothing to do on this island. I get a knock on the door and I knew it was one of the idiots that work at the hotel to bug me about the room charge. The simple fact is that they are retarded and do not know how to use service and they said they didn’t even know they were on it. So they ask me how they can find it and I am like, do I look like I know anything about this crap-I just book the hotel and stay at it. It’s your hotel that is listed and I have the confirmation code, receipt, etc. So it’s not my fault.

It actually got pretty funny as the old British owners, a married couple who clearly had been on the island most of their 60 or so years with those accents start shouting at me to pay them the money, especially the man. I stayed highly calm as he continued to shout without having any clue what he was talking about. I was asking him nicely, repeatedly to stop shouting
at me and listen-I felt like I was dealing with a crazy ex girlfriend. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore and shouted back at him directly and pointed at him to shut up and listen to me. The jackass then goes “I am going to call the cops if you don’t pay immediately”. Obviously my natural response was to say “I’ll call the cops on you for being an asshole”. This was actually
hilarious as he ran away as if trying to get himself together (because apparently nobody had ever told him what he was before) and call the cops but then he realized he had no reason to and he was being ridiculous. So I turn to his lovely wife and calmly alert her that her husband is a jerk (as if she didn’t know) and if she would simply listen we can figure out what happened with the hotel charge by making a quick phone call.

The bottom line was that she wasn’t thrilled to deal with me but I called AMEX on their lobby phone and got everything squared away. Afterwards she was happy that the situation was resolved and she said she wouldn’t even charge me for the phone call to AMEX. I said, wow that’s kind of you but it was a collect call from outside of the country and they accept all
charges and then in the ultimate cheeseball James Bond line I say “membership has its priviledges” as I almost choked on my own cheesiness.

As he noted St. Vincent and the Grenadines is still "unspoiled", but at the same time he expects it to be full of Disneyland-type
amusements and the facilities to be at the most sophisticated technological level. Americans are not likely to understand the
contradition involved, and St. Vincent needs tourist income, so try to be patient with tourists, even Americans.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Lancelot "Da Vincy" Chapman

Lancelot "Da Vincy" Chapman has been making music in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for quite a while and has to his credit two stints on record at the Mustique Blues Festival. He has his own recording label and a 45rpm solo effort.

He has never been fortunate in the Island's Calypso Competition, still he has been part of that scene for a number of years and has been the Calypsonians Association Public Relations Officer and also the Associations Sectetary.

He plays Guitar, Mandolin, Piano, and at present he is engaged in pursuit of proficiency with the Saxaphone.

A sample of his music can be found on

Any additional information, on any Vincie calypsonians, will be received gratefully at

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Island Hopping


Let's go island hopping


With their great beaches, sunny weather and laidback charm, Windward Islands such as Mayreau, part of St. Vincent & The Grenadines, are a great escape from winter. (Toronto Sun/Robin Robinson)

Few Caribbean countries offer as many opportunities for island hopping as St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
On a recent one-week trip we visited 10 islands, and spent the night on four of them without ever feeling rushed. The experiences ranged from quaint islands such as Bequia, to the private retreat of Palm Island, as well as uninhabited cays where we swam with tropical fish and relaxed on the beach.
What makes island hopping here so easy is the close proximity of several of the Grenadines plus a frequent ferry and air service.

It may not be known for its beaches (for that visit the Grenadines) but St. Vincent does offer amazing scenery, best explored on a road trip on the windward or leeward sides of the island (both are equally rewarding).

Look for turnoffs to waterfalls, hiking trails and native petroglyphs. Add to that the oldest botanical gardens in the Western Hemisphere, and many early 19th century buildings in the capital Kingstown -- including Fort Charlotte. No mega resorts here but you will find St. Vincent has reasonably priced lodging and is a good base from which to visit other islands.

Legend has it a Carib chief who admired a horse owned by the British governor of the day, Sir William Young, swapped the island for the animal! There's no sign of a horse today, but it is possible to see agoutis, iguanas, lizards and the endangered St. Vincent parrot on this private island just 182 metres from St. Vincent.

There are 29 cottages set in lush tropical foliage but if not staying the night, come for the day (visitors are welcome with prior arrangement) and enjoy lunch, laze on the beach, play tennis, wind surf, snorkel or walk around the triangular-shaped 14-hectare island. The 24-hour ferry service runs on a demand basis. Young Island operates two yachts, which can be chartered for a day sail to Bequia or Mustique.

Though it measures just 8 km by 4.8 km, Bequia is the largest of the 33 islands that make up the Grenadines and after St. Vincent offers the most options for accommodation with at least 19 hotels and guest houses. We travelled by ferry (about an hour from St. Vincent) to this quaint island of 5,000 people. A bus tour took us to scenic lookouts, the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary, a whale museum, the Hamilton Battery, and a model boat builders workshop.
Later we strolled through the capital of Port Elizabeth and relaxed on a golden ribbon of sand known as Princess Margaret Beach -- one of several nice beaches on the island.

The following morning we flew to Union Island (20 minutes, $40 US one-way) and boarded an 18-metre catamaran for a day of sailing with Captain Yannis. Mayreau, our first stop, is rimmed by virgin beaches. Up a hill there's a one-road village, home to 254 people, a stone church and a great view of the Southern Grenadines. Most visitors hang around on the beach, swimming or snorkelling.
After some R&R we headed for the Tobago Cays, one of those idyllic spots where water shimmers in every shade of blue imaginable. The Cays, which are uninhabited -- unless you count the large green turtles and octopus I met after diving into the water -- include five islands near a barrier reef that comprise a protected Marine Park. Here you can swim with goatfish, wrasse and parrot fish among elegant fans, and coral.

By late afternoon we're deposited on another gorgeous stretch of sand, this one on Palm Island, where we'll spend the night. Though it's a private island, with 37 luxury cottages and suites made from thatch, bamboo and terra cotta, day visitors are welcome if arrangements are made in advance. It's worth the effort to see the sunset from Casuarina Beach and to walk the nature trails, where you'll likely encounter large Green Iguanas in the trees. At night, fall asleep to the sound of waves lapping on shore.

With white sand beaches and interior rolling hills, P.S.V., as it's known, is another pristine private island. The only way you can visit this gem is by staying at its only resort.
Owners Haze and Lynn Richardson have created a tranquil getaway with 22 secluded cottages ($495 US per night), where you are ensured prompt service (two staff members for every guest), and tasty meals using local organic produce. There are no phones, TVs or computers. Instead guests communicate by raising a yellow flag for service. Activities include snorkelling, sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, water skiing or doing nothing at all.

Our next stop is Union, this time for a short tour of the island where, in the 18th century, the French and later the English were involved in the slave trade. Today Union is a stopping off point for yachtsmen, and its airport is the main gateway to the smaller Grenadine islands.
Union is distinguished by its near vertical peaks -- 304-metre-high Mount Toboi is the highest in the Grenadines. Attractions include 17th-century Fort Hill plus lagoons, reefs, beaches and bays. Union is ideal for a day cruise to the neighbouring islands of Mayreau, P.S.V. and the Tobago Cays, none of which can be accessed by air.

After a night in St. Vincent we fly to Canouan, a former farming and fishing community home to about half a dozen hotels and guest houses including one of the finest resorts in the Caribbean -- the 156-room Raffles Resort. Before entering this five-star property, however, we are forced to stop our vehicle several times for turtles. A few wayward critters had wandered onto the road. It seemed a fitting encounter on Canouan, a Carib word meaning "turtle island." The spacious grounds, which you traverse by golf cart, include an oceanfront spa, a casino, infinity pool, two lovely beaches and the Trump International Golf Club. No matter where you look, the views -- usually of the ocean and tree-covered hills -- will put you at ease.
My only regret is we didn't make it to Mustique due to lack of time and money. I wanted to see the villas of the rich and famous, including Brian Adams, David Bowie and Mick Jagger. Then I remembered that line from the Rolling Stones: "You can't always get what you want ..." But you can try!

For more on St. Vincent and the Grenadines check

This story was posted on Thu, December 11, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Art Sale-2008

I got this as an EMail. You'll have to hurry!


Looking for an original gift made here at a reasonable price?

In Kenmars Mall, Back St. ,opposite Scotiabank, Kingstown

you will find it!


Dec. 11,12 13 & 18,19,20 until Christmas

Thursdays & Fridays:12:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.,Sat.:11:00a.m.-2:00 p.m.


Cécile Comblen: prints, cards, landscapes in watercolours

Elizabeth Hariss: mirrors made with natural materials

Kingsley Roberts: photography

Book now for your wedding pictures (456-4957/ 455-1937)

Thanks for buying Vincie!

Info: 456-5707/528-8631

Monday, December 08, 2008

A Note on Union Island

Union Island

 November 18th 2008 by Rum Runner

After a fun week in Grenada it was time to set sail for the Grenadines (which in my opinion is the loveliest place in the Caribbean- with gin colored waters, abundant sea life, and many small islands to explore). Our first stop was Union Island in the Southern Grenadines. For the last couple of weeks we have used Union Island as a home base. Not only because Clifton, the main town in Union Island, has a couple of grocery stores and many fruit and vegi markets for all the provisions, but also a couple of great bars and restaurants to visit as well as a protected anchorage to weather out the occasional squall. It is also has the dive center and internet access and a post office. What more does one need? After gallivanting around the Tobago Cays or Myreau or Petite Martinique (other islands in the Southern Grenadines), we always return to this port to reprovision, relax, and have some fun.

But our favorite part of Union Island isn’t actually on land, but is a small island out on the reef called Happy Island. This is a great story. One of the locals, named Janti, decided that he wanted to clean up the town of Cliffton. There were piles and piles of discarded conch shells that were littering the beaches. So he collected them all and took them out to the end of the reef. It was enough conch shells to build an island. So with a little concrete, some sand, and a couple of palm trees donated by nearby Palm Island, he built himself an island.(Photo above) Today Janti lives on Happy Island, he has built a bar and a restaurant, and even a lobster pool. As you dinghy up Janti comes out to grab your line and always says, “Welcome to Happy Island” with a huge smile on his face. And in fact it is impossible to be anything but happy here. It is a great place to go to watch sunset, have a bar-b-que, or just chill with a rum punch. It is a very special island indeed.

Friday, December 05, 2008


Originally uploaded by Karlek
This is one of the new orchids that came out this fall. There are more pictures on the "Karlek" Flickr page.

More Peace Corps Blogs

For us ancient expats these blogs by Peace Corps Volunteers are interesting. Being not only younger but new to the island they see St. Vincent with a different viewpoint. It has been some years since Sally did applique and quilting lessons for a ladies group in Mespo along with a PCV and we've lost touch. But I'm glad the new ambassador is interested in having contact with their volunteers and the PC. I wonder if there are still any Japanese volunteers here?

Anybody know?


Another Peace Corps Blog

Hey everyone out there in Never Never Land.

Plenty of stuff since T-day and plenty coming up.

This past weekend, a few of the us in the village rescued and reclaimed some of the old steel pan drums that have been left to rot in a dilapidated shed. Perhaps 9+ years ago, there was a steel pan group--Pan Vibes--in the village. For reasons I am still researching, they broke apart. I am trying to reform some of the pan activity and fortunately there are other revival efforts going on within SVG. If I can prove there is sufficient community interest, we may be able to tap into deeper resources and expand our efforts. So far, all we have are 7 rusty and out-of-tune steel pan drums. Tomorrow afternoon, several of the kids, myself, and any adults (they seem to be the harder ones to motivate for now) will start sanding off the rust and trying to oil up the drums. Tuning will be a much harder issue and we'll need some technical help for that.

I've met with a member of a nearby Catholic Church parish; they own an old library/church building in the village that has been abandoned for quite awhile. The structure needs lots of work and I'm negotiating an opportunity to use the site as an annex extension for the pan music and other hands-on craft works and activities.

Wednesday night after some of my other meetings, I went down to our beachfront with a few of the guy--to one of the local bars set for tourists. There I met a few new faces and listened to some really cool jams by a few steel pan players, who happened to be catering tunes for tourists from 3 anchored yachts. I stayed up there for a couple hours and had a good time...they even had me play a cow bell. I'm no musician by any means, but they seemed excited just to have me playing along with them. Too bad I didn't have my camera with me, however they are a usual group down there and I'm sure to go back in the future.

Meeting Meeting Meetings seem key this week. I met with one of our former trainers for tea and got a bit of a history lesson of my area. Turns out he used to live here for many many years--1 of which was the principal of our primary school.

Further planning for the tutoring/homework club is underway. I'm trying to get some of the local teachers together so I can get their input and advice--but it has been like pulling teeth. Seems the closer to Christmas we get....the harder it is to get willing attention. Either way, the homework club is starting up with their next term--January 5th. I also want to see about some sort of study camp over the break--just to keep them fresh and have something to do instead of wander the streets

The tourism group I'm a part of is still doing their usual thing and we don't cover much ground. However, we were reassured that our beachfront area of Cumberland Bay will should begin construction of the new tourism and recreation facilities in early January. Our community is very divided on certain aspects of the project. As of the moment, there is a large community square that is used for concerts and festivals. The project will be getting rid of the square and combining its use the sports field into a 'rec' field. There are many here that don't like that idea--myself included.

Recently joined an adolescence group that meets at our local nurse's clinic. Yeah, I know I'm not a youngster anymore...but I hope to get in well with them, since the youth of the village are the real fuel for my efforts of volunteerism and NGO activity for the future. Apathy is deadly.

Went to a sports association meeting...we're almost done with our football (soccer) competition here on the North Leeward side. The finals are this upcoming Sunday and there is expected to be a rather large social bash afterwards. ^_^

I've spent quite a bit of time in Kingstown today and yesterday on my latest little side project. It stems from kids approaching me with homework--this time around with civics questions. I knew the answers, but wanted to show them where they could find their own solutions. We went to the Spring library to help them with questions such as identifying the names of current politicians and positions within the parliament. I was appalled to find there was absolutely no information on St Vincent and the Grenadines. Sure, we have a very small and limited library, but I figured the easiest thing and most logical thing would be to have information regarding one's home nation. Therefore most of my past 2 days has had me running all over to find several of the ministries and departments and attempt to collect print information that would serve nicely in a Vincentian reference section of our library. Many pounds of paperwork and ping-pong attempts to locate the right offices has lead to a somewhat successful venture. Some of the offices I talked to are still putting together info packages to pick up at a later day.

On a completely different tangent--some of the people here say I'm looking a bit thin. Now, I am getting lots of walking down and sweat more than I did back home. I would like to say that I don't eat as much processed foods as I did back home--but that's arguable since I tried to eat rather well then too. However, I weighed 183 lbs when I first got to the Caribbean and 173 when I finished our 7 weeks of training. I visited my medical officer today to get weighed and measure out at 166 now--another 7 pounds for a total of 17 since coming here just over 3 months ago. Yes, I had a talk with her to make sure that I'm ok and I don't want anyone to fret about it.

More banana farming early Sunday morning, yeah!
Somebody just gave me a bag of 5-finger fruit (starfruit) earlier today. There certainly are advantages to living in a more rural community with lots of fruit trees. ^_^

Oh yeah, just about EVERYBODY is gearing up for Christmas. They have a festival called 9 mornings that involves all sorts of activities and I haven't met person here yet that isn't psyched up for it. Can't say too much about it yet--since this will be my first. Read from the links to find out more--of course I'll add my own thoughts as I experience 9 mornings for myself.
But holiday fever has gripped the radio networks and I can almost guarantee that there is at least one, if not more, station at any given time that is playing various Christmas music. I don't recall radio stations doing that back home....not nearly this much.

I see now that my post is very....'all over the place'. Oh well--lots to cover and I'm tired.
G'night all.
Stay well and be happy,
ciao tutti
~your local wannabe jedi