Sunday, June 28, 2009

Vincentian Fiction

A Runaway Negro is a short story taking place in St. Vincent in the period before the second carib war. It is interesting in the way it portrays life and attitudes toward slaves and caribs.

Brought to my attention by Rudi Daniel

Bequia Blurb

Somebody likes Bequia!

Finding Tranquility In Bequia
Published by blogger
on June 29, 2009

St Vincent and the Grenadines comprises 30 islands which extend like a kites tail across the Caribbean. Among the white, sandy islands of The Grenadines are Mustique, with its fabulous Spa; Tobago Cays, which are 5 spectacular, uninhabited islands; St Vincent, a lush green island; Canouan, with its world class golf course and Spa and the safe, secure and friendly Bequia Island.

Bequia has a population of just over 5,000 and is the largest of the Grenadine islands (after St Vincent itself). Its land area is a mere 7 square miles, and it is bathed in a cooling trade wind for most of the year. The summer temperature can reach 32C (90F) although the yearly average is nearer 27C (81F). There’s strong evidence of Bequia’s sea faring heritage around the island, ranging from boat building to local fishermen bringing their catch to harbour, mingling with yachtsmen sailing the Caribbean seas.

A large proportion of the Bequia land is covered with verdant green hillside slopes, which overlook local islands, and it is well known for offering seclusion for those wishing to get away from life’s stresses. The white sandy beaches are surrounded by palms, and peace and tranquility are never far away.

Visitors can take a restful walk around the island to make the most of the sedate pace of island life, or take a taxi into Port Elizabeth to sample local delicacies at the many restaurants. A vegetable market provides a flavour of local life, and fish can be bought straight from the dock. Beautiful yachts can be viewed at Admiralty Bay, as sailors find a safe mooring.

If visitors wish to pursue a more active lifestyle, there’s plenty to Bequia to keep them occupied. The pure clear waters offer wonderful opportunities for diving and snorkeling, with bays surrounded by coral reefs and interesting caverns. There are at least 30 dive sites which are easily accessible and are rated amongst some of the best in these waters. The trade winds afford exciting conditions for windsurfers, and fishermen seek out many challenges among the tuna, marlin and barracuda.

There is a wide range of accommodation available in Bequia, ranging from beachfront guesthouses to a luxury hilltop villa. One of the options becoming more popular is to buy land for sale in Bequia, allowing holiday makers the opportunity to purchase their own Bequia property built to their exact specifications. Wherever they stay on the island they will be guaranteed a deeply relaxing time away from the bustle of the main islands. For those not so quiet moments the culture and adventure are easy to find too.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

James on Cricket

One of the advantages of Amazon is its policy of marketing used books that are located in obscure second hand bookshops, because that gives you access to books that aren't in print and are on obscure topics. In this case the book is C. L. R. James' book on cricket, "Beyond A Boundary". It is a joy to read, and I may have more to say when I finish it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Barrouallie Whalers Brochure

The Barrouallie Whalers

Follow up message
A group of retired Caribbean longshore whalers from St. Vincent and the
Grenadines known as “The Barrouallie Whalers” have received an invitation
to participate in a major international maritime festival in Paimpol,
France (Festival international des Chants de Marins) this August. These
whalers, who are among the last traditional whalers and sea chantey
singers (see attached brochure), rarely have a chance to bring their
interpretive and entertaining program of whaling lore and music to the
international audiences.
The Barrouallie Whalers cannot advantage of this special opportunity
without additional support, however, because the festival can provide only
a portion of their airfare and other travel expenses. The costs of
obtaining French visas, which require inter-island travel and processing
fees, exceed what the festival has allocated for these unique performers.
They face a budget shortfall of about $4,500.
The Barrouallie Whalers Project, Inc., a nonprofit corporation sponsoring
this venture, urgently requests your help in spreading the word and
donating whatever amount you can to help them defray costs, as soon as
possible. Donations are tax deductible. The attached brochure includes a
donation form. Please help if you can; the men will be most grateful for
your support.
Thank you very much for your consideration
Dan Lanier and Vince Reid, Directors
The Barrouallie Whalers Project, Inc.

Becoming West Indian

Dr. Kenneth John lent me a book about St. Vincent and it was so interesting that I wanted the opportunity to study it. I let Amazon search it out and there was a second-hand copy for sale in the Bronx. I had Amazon send it to our address in Massachusetts and now that we ourselves are up north I can reclaim it and study it in depth.

The book is Virginia Heyer Young's "Becoming West Indian: Culture, Self and Nation in St. Vincent"; part of the Smithsonian Series in Ethnographic Inquiry, published in 1993.
I suspect it will be the basis for some future entries in this blog.

Brief History

When I noticed Tomas Avila's book on Amazon I noticed a number of others as well. Amazon's move to market second-hand editions located in obscure bookshops makes a whole library of out-of-print books available to the people who are interested in them. I got a copy of Jan Rogozinski's "Brief History of the Caribbean" that way.

The Garifuna Compilation

Tomas Alberto Avila has compiled a collection of essays about the Garifuna in the form of a 382 page book. I have run across some of these on the internet, but it is extremely useful to have them in the form of a single publication. It includes the 1972 edition of Kirby and Martin's "Black Caribs", Lennox Honychurch's essay on Agostino Brunias, an essay based on Dr. Jim Sweeney's Ph.D. thesis on the Second Carib War and a number of shorter contributions on Garifuna culture that I had not found elsewhere.

This should be in the library of anyone who is interested in the Garifuna or, for that matter, the history of the Caribbean peoples.

Garifuna in Cuba

Roots and Identity in Santiago de Cuba at the Festival del Caribe

Santiago de Cuba will host the 29th edition of the event.
Festival del Caribe, Santiago de Cuba.

It was in 1981 when the idea came to fruition: the creation of a Theatre festival that would revitalize the inheritance left in this land by Haitians, Jamaicans, French or Spaniards. It was in the second of its official announcements when it was the venue for other artistic expressions, and in 1983 when it inaugurated its international character. Since then, it has promoted regional culture and strengthened the bonds of friendship with various Caribbean countries.

It’s a Festival of creeds, idiosyncrasies and traditions. It is, simply, the Fiesta del Fuego. A celebration of colors and culture, whose relevance goes beyond its traditional and famous conclusion of burning the devil. It is Santiago de Cuba that claims all the attention for an event that, apart from celebration, becomes a tribute. We are talking about the Festival del Caribe, the festival of roots and identity.

With its origin in Santiago de Cuba, the city considered the capital of the Caribbean, the July Festival is also a cult to African and indigenous roots that tinge a good part of the culture of American countries. From the orishas of the Yoruba pantheon of Cuba and other regions, passing through subjects linked with history, and up to reflections about the economic sphere, the Festival covers a mixture able to gather together all the complexity of identity of this area of the world. During this period, Santiago de Cuba seethes and succeeds in shaking the present with remembrances of our genesis, with tribute and jubilation.

It was in 1981 when the idea came to fruition: the creation of a Theatre festival that would revitalize the inheritance left in this land by Haitians, Jamaicans, French or Spaniards. It was in the second of its official announcements when it was the venue for other artistic expressions, and in 1983 when it inaugurated its international character. Since then, it has promoted regional culture and strengthened the bonds of friendship with various Caribbean countries.

Nowadays it is an artistic, academic and community spaces event. Celebrated every year and always in the first week of July, it is backed by the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba, the Ministry of Culture and the Casa del Caribe, the sponsoring institution par excellence of the festival.

The Caribbean that unites us, an international colloquium provided within the context of the event, makes inquiries into the questions related with all artistic manifestations of the Caribbean territory: religion, patrimony, identity, history, economy and society. By the same token the merrymaking adheres to the academic conferences, panels and workshops covering broad expectations.

This year the 29th edition of the event will be held from July 3rd to 9th and dedicated to Honduras, the first Central American country as the guest of honor. In a closer relationship that goes beyond the folkloric, the celebration proposes a dynamic and multitudinous meeting that takes over plazas, parks and communities.

During this round, artists, professors and groups will delight spectators and listeners taking as the fundamental raw material their traditions and thought and, moreover, endowing the city with that air of reaffirmation in whose atmosphere everything is imbued with the Caribbean.

In a kind of study and disclosure that contributes to the knowledge and recognition of all the components that identify what is American and Caribbean, the Fiesta del Fuego inserts itself as an experience-generating event, out of respect towards the diverse in tribute to continental wisdom. The Colloquium, this time, will debate subject matters associated with the history and culture of the region’s peoples, giving emphasis to proposals of regional integration, processes of unification in the contemporary world, artistic creation and the construction of identity.

With almost 30 years of contributing to culture, it is an event that displays the most authentic Caribbean panorama without spurning the roots which gave them origin. It is one of the Cuban celebrations of deepest importance and popular meaning.

More than 50 locations will play central roles for the events of this Caribbean meeting, 32 of which are open natural stages, worthy of a much more ample interaction with the public.

The offers this year will be distinguished by the presence of the Ballet Folclórico Garífuna of Honduras, one of the most renowned artistic groups of that country and whose members are considered cultural ambassadors. Likewise the delegation of the invited country exceeds one hundred people between artists, researchers and other personalities. This meeting also serves to strengthen solidarity between countries in the area, from where one thousand people from over twenty nations have confirmed their participation.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Garifuna Reunion in Yurumein

The Garifuna Reunion in Yurumein

Garifunas Journey Back to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (Yurumein)


Contacts: José Francisco Ávila (718) 402-7700

New York – The Board of Directors of the Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc. a, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization is pleased to inform that final preparations are being completed for The Garifuna Reunion in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on July 18th – 23rd

According to the Board of Directors,although the global financial crisis has had an impact on the expected number of participants, a Garifuna contingent will be traveling to St Vincent and the Grenadines on July 18th and final preparations are being completed in conjunction the Regional Integration and Diaspora Unit (RIDU) Office of the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines to ensure that we have a full appreciation of our homeland, St. Vincent and the Grenadines (Yurumein).

As descendants from shipwrecked Africans who sought refuge in mainland St. Vincent and intermarried with the Caribs and Arawaks, the Garifunas or Black Caribs, are part of the unique cultures and melting pot of ethnicities that have their roots in the Caribbean . 212 years ago, everybody wondered if the Garifunas were going to survive as a people and live a long healthy life. Two years after the paramount Garifuna Chief Joseph Chatoyer was killed on March 14, 1795, the Garifuna people were exiled from their native land of St Vincent (Yurumein!) to the island of Roatán, off the coast of Honduras from where they dispersed along the Atlantic coast of Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and Nicaragua.

“This will be a historic event as we journey back to our homeland, Yurumein! Said Rejil Solis, president of the Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc.

José Francisco Avila

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Letter From Garifuna Of Los Angeles, CA

On Saturday, June 13, 2009, GAHFU’s Garifuna Culture and Language School started its third 8-week session of the year with a vibrant group of students. One new class was added for those interested in learning Garifuna Dance and the long awaited Drumming Class was brought back by popular demand.

The Garifuna community of Los Angeles young and old responded in numbers by attending our opening session. The Garifuna Culture and Language class started at 10:00 am and ended at12:00 noon followed by the Drumming and Conversational class and the Garifuna Dance classes from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm. The Blazer Learning Center is the home of our school. The Blazer learning center is located at
1517 West 48th Street Los Angeles, CA 90062
(323) 898-6841. The two sessions of language and drumming were broadcasted live on 3 of the most popular Garifuna websites:, www.garitv.comand

Thanks to the hard work that the teachers and staff have put into this project, we have been able to celebrate one year and three months at the Blazer location. GAHFU, Inc. would like to thank our Teachers and Founding Fathers Clifford Palacio, Sidney Mejia, Ruben Reyes, Carlos Domingo Alvarez, Melecio Gonzalez. We also want to thank Mr. Benny Davenport, Carlton Davenport and the staff from The Blazer Learning Center for making this project possible. A big thanks goes to Nichole Martinez our Secretary and to Ms. Helen Laurie, Community Liaison. In addition, our gratitude goes to our funding source The Alliance for California Traditional Arts. We couldn’t forget the people who have given their donations through our website

GAHFU, Inc. also welcomes our new staff to the school: Ms. Anita Martinez, Georgette Lambey and Luisito Martinez. Ms. Martinez will be teaching a new class in Garifuna History and Culture in the month of July 2009. Anita brings to our organization years of experience working with our youth as the President and Founder of Wagia Meme Dancers. Wagia Meme Dance Group is a non-profit organization and it has performed in such events like the annual Bob Marley Day Reggae Fest in Long Beach, CA. and many others. Ms. Georgette Lambey has been involved in cultural events in the Los Angeles area for a long time not only as a singer, dancer and drummer but also as a teacher. She has choreographed cultural groups for presentations all over Southern California. Georgette has recorded three albums as a solo artist and along with Belize’s finest Nuru. Luisito Martinez came to us via New York where he danced for Wanichigu Dance Group. He was part of
Giriga Impacto punta rock band which traveled all over the United States in numerous performances. Then, he moved to Los Angeles and joined the well-known local band Punta Cartel.

Arufudahati Ruben Reyes is so dedicated to this noble cause that he has spearheaded the opening of a Garifuna Museum on site. The Garifuna Museum is planning to have not only Garifuna artifacts but also books, photos and any other valuable objects that can be displayed to the public. So far, Juan Martinez has taken it upon himself to build a life size Wanaragua dancer dressed with an attire that was tailored in Honduras. For more information about the Garifuna Museum of Los Angeles and if you are interested in donating or lending a piece that can be displayed, you can contact Mr. Reyes (323) 864-1007.

We would like to share some of the pictures taken during our grand opening of our third session for 2009. If you are interested in attending classes, please contact GAHFU, Inc. You can also participate in our sessions via internet every Saturday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Pacific Standard Time. Please make a donation! Your kind contribution will play a vital role in preserving the Garifuna legacy and help us make this project grow and reach out to more people.

Date: Monday, June 15, 2009, 12:11 AM

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Second Carib War

I just got a couple of copies of Dr. Jim Sweeney's thesis on the Second Carib War. I am enjoying reading it and I will be putting selections on this blog.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

GG gets Hon Dr.

At the Cave Hill Campus, Sir Frederick Ballantyne GCMG (Knight Grand Cross),
Governor General of St Vincent and the Grenadines, will receive an Honorary
Doctor of Sciences degree. Sir Frederick has been in this office since September
2nd, 2002, and was knighted in November. He replaced Monica Dacon who had
been interim Governor General after the death of Sir Charles Antrobus. He has had
a long and distinguished career as a Medical Doctor, Educator and Administrator.
He has also been a successful entrepreneur in St Vincent and the Grenadines with
several business enterprises, including real estate, marina operations,
pharmaceuticals and the hospitality industry.

More Health Details

We got back to Massachusetts in the evening of 28 May, and we did grocery shoppng the next day. By Monday I was feeling poorly and got worse so I went to a nearby hospital on Wednesday 3 June.

I went in because I had pneumonia and they gave me steroids and a powerful antibiotic.

Then I started having a heavy Diarrhea which turned out to be blood. They moved me to the cardiac ward and put a heart monitor on me to look for stress effects from the blood loss.

Then they put a scope down my throat but didn't find the bleeding. The next day they put a scope in my colon and found polyps they cut off and cauterized so they stopped bleeding. Today 9 June they let me out.

It seems like I'm more-or-less all right. We go to our regular doctor tomorrow to have him look us over. But it is cold inside the house and cold and rainy outside and I already want to go back to St Vincent

SVG Blogs

A couple more that I ran across:

Bluechocolate Dairies

Life of Brian


I've been in the hospital in Fall River, Mass, for the last week with pneumonia and gastric bleeding. I'll eventually catch up with the blog.