Monday, July 27, 2009

The Renaissance of Garifuna Culture

The Renaissance of the Garifuna Heritage and Culture in St. Vincent and the Grenadines "Yurumein"


Contacts:  José Francisco Ávila (718) 402-7700
 
New York – The Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc. a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization is happy to announce the successful conclusion of the Garifuna Reunion in St Vincent and the Grenadines "Yurumein"
 
The Garifuna Reunion was part of the Vincy Homecoming 2009 spearheaded by the Regional Integration and Diaspora Unit/Office of the Prime Minister (RIDU) aimed at unifying and educating while identifying the unique Vincentian Identity and designed to be a catalyst to generate support for the aspirations of the Vincentian people  and as  the driving force for Vincentians across the world to come together with a common objective of recognizing, uplifting and revitalizing the essence of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. According to Dr. Adrian Fraser "The story of the Garifuna people is a unique one that needs to be told, since among other things, it is pivotal to understanding their position in Central America and also the history of St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and indeed the rest of the Caribbean region in which St. Vincent was one of the last outposts of Carib resistance.” The Garifuna Reunion represents the next chapter in our unique story, said rejil Solis, President of the Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc.
 
The Garifuna Reunion provided an opportunity for Garifunas to become the subjects of their own history rather than objects of someone else's, as they inevitably have been when others have told their story as a footnote to theirs in their own way and for their own purposes. Among the highlights of the Reunion, was the first ever Bilingual English Garifuna Mass at the Cathedral of the Assumption; the laying of a wreath at the Chatoyer monument, an obelisk in Dorsetshire Hill,  where Chatoyer fell 214 years ago; the presentation ofa Commemorative Certificate by the Garifuna Heritage Foundation featuring  a 1770 survey map on the background, developed by a team to surveyors for lands sent by King George III, during England's claim to the islands.

Furthermore, they reconnected with their people through  a tour of the Leeward Side of the Island with cultural interchanges in Rose Bank, where they met  the son of the last Carib Chief of the village, and Greggs, where many Garifunas remain, as well as    a tour of  “Carib country”, the communities in North Windward, on the northeastern-most tip of St. Vincent, where local Garifunas are concentrated and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding among The  Garifuna Heritage Foundation of St Vincent and the Grenadines, The Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc., St. Vincent and the Grenadines Organization of Pennsylvania, Inc.  "SVGOP” and   the Garifuna American Heritage Foundation United, Inc.  "GAHFU”of Los Angeles California, to cooperate in the future to promote the Garifuna Heritage and Culture in all parts of the Garifuna Diaspora as well as seek to work with all our indigenous brothers and sisters; That they will collaborate in practical ways to support the Renaissance of the Garifuna Heritage and Culture in St. Vincent and the Grenadines "Yurumein" the Ancestral Homeland of the Garifuna people.The reunion concluded with a farewell Reception at Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves' Residence. “The Garifuna Reunion represents the beginning of the Renaissance of the Garifuna Heritage and Culture in St. Vincent and the Grenadines "Yurumein," said Dr. Cadrin E. Gill, member of the Garifuna American Heritage Foundation United, Inc. 

  Garifunas have proven that modernization need not involve a sacrifice of all that is dear, yet neither must people be excluded from the benefits of the modern world, because they refuse to give up all their traditions. The Garifuna Reunion gave us the opportunity to contribute to the cultural enrichment of the Vincentians, while uplifting and revitalizing the essence of St. Vincent and the Grenadines  by launching the Renaissance of the Garifuna Heritage and Culture in St. Vincent and the Grenadines "Yurumein". The next Reunion is planned for 2011 when the Argyle International Airport is scheduled to open



José Francisco Avila
, www.newhorizoninvestclub.com

Friday, July 24, 2009

Garifuna Reunion 2009

The Renaissance of the Garifuna Heritage and Culture in St. Vincent and the Grenadines "Yurumein"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 24, 2009

Contacts: José Francisco Ávila (718) 402-7700

New York – The Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc. a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization is happy to announce the successful conclusion of the Garifuna Reunion in St Vincent and the Grenadines "Yurumein"

The Garifuna Reunion was part of the Vincy Homecoming 2009 spearheaded by the Regional Integration and Diaspora Unit/Office of the Prime Minister (RIDU) aimed at unifying and educating while identifying the unique Vincentian Identity and designed to be a catalyst to generate support for the aspirations of the Vincentian people and as the driving force for Vincentians across the world to come together with a common objective of recognizing, uplifting and revitalizing the essence of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. According to Dr. Adrian Fraser "The story of the Garifuna people is a unique one that needs to be told, since among other things, it is pivotal to understanding their position in Central America and also the history of St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and indeed the rest of the Caribbean region in which St. Vincent was one of the last outposts of Carib resistance.” The Garifuna Reunion represents the next chapter in our unique story, said rejil Solis, President of the Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc.

The Garifuna Reunion provided an opportunity for Garifunas to become the subjects of their own history rather than objects of someone else's, as they inevitably have been when others have told their story as a footnote to theirs in their own way and for their own purposes. Among the highlights of the Reunion, was the first ever Bilingual English Garifuna Mass at the Cathedral of the Assumption; the laying of a wreath at the Chatoyer monument, an obelisk in Dorsetshire Hill, where Chatoyer fell 214 years ago; the presentation of a Commemorative Certificate by the Garifuna Heritage Foundation featuring a 1770 survey map on the background, developed by a team to surveyors for lands sent by King George III, during England's claim to the islands. Furthermore, they reconnected with their people through a tour of the Leeward Side of the Island with cultural interchanges in Rose Bank, where they met the son of the last Carib Chief of the village, and Greggs, where many Garifunas remain, as well as a tour of “Carib country”, the communities in North Windward, on the northeastern-most tip of St. Vincent, where local Garifunas are concentrated and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding among The Garifuna Heritage Foundation of St Vincent and the Grenadines, The Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc., St. Vincent and the Grenadines Organization of Pennsylvania, Inc. "SVGOP” and the Garifuna American Heritage Foundation United, Inc. "GAHFU” of Los Angeles California, to cooperate in the future to promote the Garifuna Heritage and Culture in all parts of the Garifuna Diaspora as well as seek to work with all our indigenous brothers and sisters; That they will collaborate in practical ways to support the Renaissance of the Garifuna Heritage and Culture in St. Vincent and the Grenadines "Yurumein" the Ancestral Homeland of the Garifuna people. The reunion concluded with a farewell Reception at Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves' Residence “The Garifuna Reunion represents the beginning of the Renaissance of the Garifuna Heritage and Culture in St. Vincent and the Grenadines "Yurumein, " said Dr. Cadrin E. Gill, member of the Garifuna American Heritage Foundation United, Inc.

Garifunas have proven that modernization need not involve a sacrifice of all that is dear, yet neither must people be excluded from the benefits of the modern world, because they refuse to give up all their traditions. The Garifuna Reunion gave us the opportunity to contribute to the cultural enrichment of the Vincentians, while uplifting and revitalizing the essence of St. Vincent and the Grenadines by launching the Renaissance of the Garifuna Heritage and Culture in St. Vincent and the Grenadines "Yurumein". The next Reunion is planned for 2011 when the Argyle International Airport is scheduled to open

Posted by Garifuna Coalition at 9:18 AM at http://garifunacoalition.blogspot.com/

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Renewable Energy

St. Vincent & the Grenadines Government to hold multi sector consultation on National Energy Policy
The ULP Administration will convene a major consultation on the national energy sector next Friday July 31st, at the Methodist Church Hall in Kingstown.
 
It is being coordinated by the Office of the Prime Minister, in conjunction with the Organisation of American States, the OAS.

The Consultation is part of the project “Increasing the Sustainability of the Energy Sector in the Caribbean through Improved Governance and Management”, which the OAS is carrying out in partnership with the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), the CARICOM Secretariat, and the Caribbean Energy Utility Services Corporation (CARILEC).

The project is also known as the Caribbean Sustainable Energy Program (CSEP).

According to Leonard Deane, the head of the Energy Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister, the consultation will bring together a number of multi-sector stakeholders, including government and civil society, to look at formulating an action plan towards the implementation of the National Energy Policy.

Deane says that this process is very important, to advance the long term sustainability of the energy sector in the state.

The official ceremony for the consultation will hear addresses from head of the local OAS office, Melene Glynn, Minister of Telecommunications, Jerold Thompson, and Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.

During the consultation, several top level speakers will address the audience on issues related to sustainable energy, energy project objectives in St.Vincent and the Grenadines and the Caricom Regional Energy policy.

A number of officials from sectors responsible for energy, finance and banking, government and agriculture are expected to attend the consultation.

Poverty Assessment

The poverty assessment report

24.JULY.09

The contents of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Poverty Assessment Report, the subject of a National Consultation last week, make very interesting reading. The words "poverty" and "poor" are much bandied about in the political arena in St Vincent and the Grenadines, with their interpretation and implications depending on the perceived political fortunes of those raising the issues. Yet, as the study, one of several conducted through the Caribbean countries, demonstrates, facts are facts and do give an indication of the true state of affairs in any country.

As it stands, the study of "Living Conditions in St Vincent and the Grenadines 2007/08 reveals that the country, and the Government, can take some pride in progress made to combat poverty, reverse its spread, reduce its prevalence, and hopefully be on the road to poverty eradication. The statistics speak for themselves -

* Overall, the incidence of poverty has declined from 37.5 in 1995/96 to 30 per cent in 2007/08.
* Even more impressive is the drastic reduction in the indigence level, from 25.7 per cent in 1995/96 to a mere 2.9 per cent in 2007/08.
* Inequality in the society, according to the yardstick of measurement, fell by nearly 30 per cent in the same period.
* There were improvements in the living conditions, based on the reduction in the size of households, number of children, persons occupying a bedroom, prevalence of pit latrines and access to electricity.

Undisputedly, these indicate that basic living standards have indeed risen over the 12-year period. That is good, and a plus for the government, but we cannot rest on these laurels. Much more needs to be done. On the downside of the fact sheet, we cannot be happy that in terms of the United Nations Human Development Index, our country was last in CARICOM, except for Haiti. We are way off track in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Similarly, we cannot be satisfied or complacent about the levels of unemployment, put at almost 19 per cent, or that 12 per cent of our people lack electricity, while more than 30 per cent still have pit latrines, or worse. We cannot be satisfied with the grave socio-economic situation where mothers admit to having sex to help provide for their families, or that sexual preying on young girls is very much in fashion. A sobering fact that one must bear in mind is how vulnerable we are in this open, underdeveloped economy, with the vulnerability index almost 50 per cent.

So, even as we measure progress, for which the government must be highly complimented, we are reminded that there is much work to do. While we chatter on radio, on phone and person-to-person, we need to keep the focus on not only rolling back poverty, but, given our vulnerability, on being able to sustain progress. A number of recommendations have been set out in the Report in this regard. However, the success of these depends on the extent we can place national interests above selfish ones, and conversely, how we can ensure democratic, participatory governance, justice for all, and prioritize initiatives to lift those in deepest trouble economically out of it, while providing opportunities for the enterprising.

From The Searchlight, Thursday, July 23, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Blog on SVG

http://treksully.blogspot.com/2009/07/scotts-travel-newsletter-20.html

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Garifuna Music

http://garifunacoalition.org/music
 
The desire of the Garifunas to reconnect with St Vincent has been demonstrated over the years by the re-enactment of the exile of the Garifunas from St. Vincent and their arrival to Central America, as part of the Garifuna Settlement Day festivities celebrated on April 12thin Honduras, November 19thin Belize, where it has been celebrated since 1941 in Stan Creek (Dangriga) but observed nationally as a public and bank holiday across Belize since 1977; November 26thIn Livingston (Labuga), Guatemala and while the exact date of their arrival in Nicaragua is still not certain, since1994 the Garifunas have celebrated November 19 as Garifuna Day.[1]Furthermore, in 1861, the religious leader Juan Sambola founded the first permanent Garífuna village on the western shores of Pearl Lagoon, north of Bluefields in Nicaragua, baptizing it with the historic name of San Vicente (St. Vincent).[2]

This desire has been romanticized in songs such as the classic “Yurumein”, which is
recognized as the national anthem of the Garifuna Nation and the best interpretation in my opinion is by Aurelio Martinez in his now classic CD Lita Ariran. During an interview in 1996, the late Andy Palacio was interviewed and asked, “Your song “Keimoun Yurumein,” which moves between English and your language—it sounds quite
celebratory to me. To which he responded, “Keimoun Yurumein,” simply put, means “Let’s go to St. Vincent.” There is a deeper meaning though. It is about satisfying that Garifuna nostalgia for our original homeland. Hence I wrote: The voice of my ancestors. Calling calling. From the land of my forefathers. Calling calling. Keimoun Yurumein!”[3]

To paraphrase a great Belizean writer, in an existence parallel to Alex Haley's Roots,
212 years later we are returning to our immortalized St. Vincent, the place songs and
stories had told us was our home by birth right. St. Vincent is no longer a legend,
existing only in the dying words of elders, being passed on to the young, but very much a tangible reality with a tragic lesson of culture lost.[4]

[1]Chavarría, Luis G. Sons/Daughters of Africa Celebrate Their Festival Day, El Nuevo Diario,
November 10, 1999
[2]Idiáquez, José, The Walagallo: Heart of the Garifuna World, Revista Envio # 145, August 1993
[3]Cozier, Christopher, Bomb Magazine, Issue 94 Winter 2006
[4]Dreddi, Garifuna Cultural Survival, Belizean Journeys

The Garifuna Reunion In Yurumein

The Garifuna Reunion In Yurumein
 
A Journey to the homeland of the Garifuna culture
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 13, 2009

Contacts:      José Francisco Ávila   (718)
402-7700  info@garifunacolaition.org
 
New York– The Board of Directors of the Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc. a, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) tax-
exempt nonprofit organization is pleased to announce The Garifuna Reunion in St Vincent and the
Grenadines on July 18-23, 2009.

St Vincent and the Grenadines is the homeland of the Garifuna people, who
defended it against the colonizers intwo so-called Carib Wars of 1772-73
and 1795-96. The struggle against the rapacious French and British
colonials, resulted in the Caribsin St Vincent being the last of the indigenous
people in the region to hold out against rampant European imperialism.
Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer, first National Hero of St Vincent and the
Grenadines, is the most visible symbol of that struggle to maintain the
sovereignty of lands.

Chatoyer was killed on March 14, 1795, after his death, approximately 5,000
Garifunassurrendered and were subsequently interned on Balliceaux, a
small island off the mainland. Disease, melancholy and starvation reduced
the population to 2,500 when the remainder were rounded up in British naval
ships and, under the leadership of Captain Barrett of the HMS Experiment,
were exiled off to Roatan Island off the coast of Honduras, there to begin a
period of wandering and subsequent settlement in many Central American
republics, including Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaraguaand Belize. The
survivors of British injustice formed the nucleus of the modern Garifuna
community in the Diaspora.

Members of the Garifuna Diaspora will be returning to their homeland St.
Vincent and the Grenadines (Yurumein!) after 212 years,during the Garifuna
Reunion, which will include with government officials, as well as a
pilgrimageto Balliceaux dubbed “A journey of spiritual remembrance”
intended to pay tribute to their ancestors who died there. In addition, they
will lay a wreath at the obelisk on Dorsetshire Hill, overlaying Kingstown,
where it was believed that Chatoyer was ambushed and killed, as well as a
Garifuna memorial mass at the Cathedral of the Assumption. They will also
hold a town hall meeting in the Garifuna community of Sandy Bay.

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

      Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc.
Garifuna Pride - Our Voice - Our Vision
        www.garifunacoalition.org 
http://www.myspace.com/garifunacoalition

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Mitchell in Honduras, 1997

Address Delivered By the Honorable James Mitchell
Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines
La Ceiba Honduras, April 11, 1997

Contributed to www.garifunaworld.com by Godsman Ellis
April 20, 1997

Representatives of the government and the people of Honduras, and of the cities of Honduras, representatives of the Garifuna people and the black organization, Garifuna people, people of Honduras, I am very pleased to be here. It is the first time I have come to Honduras. I have visited other parts of Central America - Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua.

The most important job I have done in Central America was when I helped to supervise the elections in Nicaragua when Violetta Chamorro took power from the Sandinistas. I more recently worked in West Africa to help the transformation of a military government in the Gambia to a newly elected government in the Gambia.

As I travelled from St Vincent yesterday - and it took me only one day - on the plane, I reflected on the history of the Garifuna people, how difficult it must have been for you coming across the sea 200 years ago. It is very funny - as it were -- that we are the only country in the Caribbean that has a human link with a part of
Central America in the Garifuna people, between St Vincent and Central America.

I bring you greetings from the government o and the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines. I want to let you know what caused you to be here. Your ancestors fought very hard in St Vincent, then called Yuremei, against the British, and you lost the battle because of the superior naval power of the British. You had friends
among the French but they abandoned you. You put up a heavy fight that the British decided they could not let the Garifuna people remain in St Vincent. When your chief, the Carib Chief Chatoyer died in battle, then the Garifuna people, in the struggle, were demoralized. But however, some of the Garifuna people hid in various parts of St. Vincent and they are still there today to create a link with you the people of Central America.

Now, I want to let you know that the remaining people whom we call the Caribs, were given, by the British, some very isolated and difficult lands on which to live. My political party was founded on the principle of land for the landless and when we took power in 1984 we did the same thing One of our largest plantations was for sale, and it was to be sold to a foreign company. I refused to let the foreign company purchase those lands, and working within the framework of the constitution we purchased those lands. Then we set about getting the lands to the people.

The secret is very simple. A government always has time, and a country is forever. A government has got to find a way to use time to give substance to the people. Therefore we raised bonds, and with our taxes we were able to purchase those lands.



Our government could not afford to give those lands away, but we could afford to give time away. So, we found a framework where all the lands were given to the people and a framework given of time for them to pay for them.

Following that, we were able to get a great deal of international support to develop those lands. I was very pleased that we were able to distribute one-third of the lands to women. Today, all of those communities where we have done our land-reform program are thriving communities, with people having their own homes, good
quality homes with electricity and telephones. When we took over those lands, also there were no roads, and that transformation began in 1984, and it is a success in a very short space of time.

I have one message to give you, the first is that it is necessary that secure economic and intellectual independence. That is the way to success. By that I do not mean going to school. You have got to work hard, and discipline yourself. If you are at the bottom, you will never get on the top without discipline. It is important that you understand that, when once you have education, you do not have to be rich. But, if you are rich in your mind, and you are productive, everybody in Latin America will respect you.

At our Independence celebrations this year, we will be establishing, for the first time our national honours. We did not do it before because we were contemplating working with creating a new country united among other islands in the Caribbean. We already have honours which we receive from our sovereign, the Queen, and our national honours will co-exist with the international honours which we receive in our country. In this process, and, to respect the historic origins of our country we will be recognizing the first Garifuna Chief, Chief Chatoyer.

You cannot, in this country, forever live in the past. Nor could we, in our country live in the past. But it is important that we use our history to guide us in the future. For, if you ignore history, it will repeat itself.

Now the future of our region is tied very much with the American Free Trade Area, organized already between Mexico, the United States and Canada. We attend the meeting in Miami, and we are part of the process of preparation for the free trade of the Americas to come into being in the year 2005

While we are working at organizing trade, I want you, the Garifuna people, to realize that we can create opportunities for you to have practical and profitable linkages with the Caribbean. And while it might be very far in the future, nevertheless we must understand what the future holds, and begin to prepare to secure some of that future.

I am very pleased with what I have seen of your organization. Your 200th anniversary has been a good focus of attention. I shall carry back a very important message to the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines, and it is that we have brothers and sisters in another part of the world who in their memories and in their songs and in their culture, think very kindly of St Vincent. While we know that our people came here, we were not aware that there is such a strong sentimental link between Central America, the Garifuna people and our people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

I am very pleased that I was able to bring a delegation from St Vincent with me, and the Minister who represents the Garifuna people is here with me today. Honourable Monty Roberts, will you please stand. And also the other members of our delegation. so, you could at least see what Garifuna people look like in St. Vincent.

I now conclude by letting you know that you are welcome to st Vincent. We have our Independence celebrations in October this year, and I would like to invite your Garifuna Organization to select people to attend our Independence celebration. As long as you arrive in St Vincent, you will be our guests.

It is important that we establish permanent working relations between the Garifuna organization and the organization in St Vincent and the Grenadines. I wish finally to thank the mayor of La Ceiba, I want to thank you, Madam, for your hospitality in your city. I want to thank you to pass on our greetings to the
President and Vice Minister, and all of those who made our visit here so welcome.

And I wish to congratulate all those people who have used their leadership ability from the United States Garifuna and here in Honduras to put this show together.

Long live! Thank You

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Vincentian Pioneers

I just got this press release from Cheryl King:

KINGS-SVG Publishers is pleased to announce the republication of “Pioneers in Nation-building in a Caribbean Mini-State” by Sir Rupert John with a new Foreword (a biography of Sir Rupert) by Karl John. The new edition is edited by Baldwin King, Cheryl L. A. King and Karl John. The original book was published in 1979 by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

In the preface to the original edition, Sir Rupert stated that the book was “an attempt to consider in one small volume the lives of twenty-two Vincentians and the contributions they made during the earlier years of the twentieth century to the political, economic, social or cultural development of their native land”. The individuals profiled were George McIntosh, Herbert A. Davis, Ebenezer Duncan, Alfred C. DeBique, Benjamin N. Bacchus, James R. Cato, Thomas W. Clarke, Christopher W. Prescod, Darnley E. Williams, Robert M. Anderson, Joseph B. Bonadie, James E. Sprott, Owen D. Brisbane, Walter M. Grant, Joseph M. Gray, Alexander M. Fraser, Donald C. McIntosh, Arnold M. Punnett, Simon S. Garrett, James A. Providence, Henry Crichton and Robert T. Samuel. .

The retail cost of the book (paperback, 257 pages, ISBN: 0-9778981-3-X) is US$29.95 plus shipping and handling (approximately US$5 in the US, US$6.50 to Canada and US $10.00 to the Caribbean and the United Kingdom, by airmail).

If you would like to have your book signed by one or more of the editors, just send us the relevant information.

To order, please send us your name, address and payment (check or money order payable to KINGS-SVG) to: B. King, P. O. Box 702, Madison, NJ 07940. U.S.A . You may also place your order through our website:http://www.kingsinn-svg.com. (Click on Bookstore). Our email:kingba@aol.com.



BOOK WILL BE MAILED UPON RECEIPT OF ORDER AND PAYMENT.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Hurricane of 1831

From SVGAncestry

THE HURRICANE OF 1831 IN ST. VINCENT; BY AN EYE-WITNESS
Edited by Mary BROWNE* (see source at end of article)

The month of August is considered one of the hurricane months, and although this island had not for half a century experienced anything of the kind (or whilst other islands have suffered materially, St. Vincent has invariably escaped) yet it is usual for all the merchant vessels to leave on or before the 1st of August, otherwise the insurance is doubled. On Monday, the 1st of August, I left Kingston [Kingstown] and at 12 o’clock wheeled my horse’s head homewards.

Passing the Bay of Calliaqua, and which is 3 miles from Kingston [Kingstown], I observed several of the merchant vessels getting under weigh for England. During the preceding week and up to within a short period of its occurrence, we had nothing to indicate the approaching hurricane. On the Wednesday evening it was perfectly still, calm, and serene, and we had taken a drive to Langley Park, as if to take a last look at the beautiful scenery — the luxuriant fields of canes promising an abundant harvest. We remarked on our return that the weather was close and sultry. After midnight the wind began to rise, and with the earliest dawn of the morning, about 5 o’clock, I looked

page 55
from my window and observed the sea running high, and the smaller boughs of the large almond tree near our house breaking off and falling to the ground, but as the wood is particularly brittle it occasioned me no alarm. From this period the gale increased in strength almost every moment, larger limbs were broken off, the sea began to run mountains high, and to present the grandest and most awful appearance you can well imagine; the waves rising to such an astonishing height that it appeared as if the ocean would swallow up the island, and the wind, blowing in a slanting direction across them, caused the spray of each wave as it broke to be thrown up in the air nearly twice its own height, curling, fretting, and foaming, in vain efforts to oppose the violence of the wind — a complete conflict of the elements.

But I was soon called from my brief contemplation of these sublime objects to the nearer danger which threatened us, and to my situation in these trying circumstances, with 700 individuals looking up to me for protection, amongst these the members of my own household – my wife and children — and besides, my residence, the various buildings, my horses, cattle, mules, sheep, and every living thing that might suffer from the violence of the storm, for as yet I had no suspicion that a hurricane was advancing onwards. The first thing that began to awaken my fears was on looking out of my room to observe the overthrow of the carpenter’s and cooper’s shops. I hastily threw on my clothes, and while doing so intelligence was brought me that the mule and cattle shed had fallen in upon the animals, upwards of 30 in number, and fears were entertained that many must be killed. Down the hill

page 56
I posted, through torrents of rain accompanied by one of my drivers, and on reaching the spot I observed to my surprise, but to my great relief, that the roof had given way in the centre, and as it fell the mules had fled to one end, and the cattle to the other, where they were separately cooped up, unable to move but not having suffered any injury. The sides of bamboo I ordered to be removed so as to admit of their coming out into the pasture, and a pen to be enclosed adjoining an empty megass house (where the canes after the juice is expressed are dried for fuel) that they might take shelter there, as it was composed of substantial brick-pillars, pitch-pine rafters, and a good roof; fortunately however, before my orders could be carried into execution, that building, amongst the ruins of which they must have perished, was itself hurled down by the increasing violence of the gale.

As I ascended the hill to look after the security of my own family and the house, which was a frail fabric built of wood, but in a more sheltered situation, another messenger overtook me to inform me that our magnificent wharf which was 200 feet in length and had cost L3,000, was in danger from the height at which the waves were running into the bay, and recommending that measures should be taken to secure the new iron crane placed at its extremity. I despatched two overseers and a company of negroes with directions to fasten the hawser to the crane, and to bring it on shore, and make it fast to a tree, that should the wharf give way we might ascertain where the crane fell and afterwards recover it. I stood at the window looking at this new peril, and to observe how my directions were carried into effect. I saw with an anxious

page 57
eye a wave of unusual size rolling on majestically towards the wharf and crane on its extreme point — they were then both perfect and uninjured — onwards it rolled, mounting higher and higher — it towered far above both crane and wharf — it fell with tremendous violence upon them, and when it subsided the next instant, not one vestige was to be seen. The poor overseer had reached the spot just before, he led the way and had attained the middle of the wharf, when a shriek from the negroes who earnestly besought him to return, as it was giving way, caused him to turn round and speedily retrace his steps, and he did so most providentially, for a foot beyond where he stood the wharf separated, and was in an instant swept into the ocean. The remainder immediately after, with the two storehouses on the beach, following it into the troubled abyss of the waters.

But there was no time for reflection. I heard that no lives were lost, and my attention was drawn back to things nearer home. The cloth had already been laid on the table in our large dining-room, and every preparation had been made for our family prayers and breakfast, but the wind blowing in such gusts as to threaten to burst the windows and doors open, we thought it safest to remove all the crockery ware, glass, and other frail materials into the back rooms. We had scarcely done so before our attention was called to one of the north windows which shook violently and appeared as if it were every instant about to burst in. My wife, myself, and two eldest sons in vain exerted our utmost efforts to retain it in its place, but found it overpowering our comparatively puny strength and deemed it wise to make a timely retreat, when the whole frame, window

page 58
and all burst in, overthrowing the sofa which had been placed against it and falling with violence on the dining-table in the centre of the room. The folding cedar doors on that side of the room then began to shake violently and, bursting the locks and bars, flew open with the greatest violence. We immediately brought two immense boxes I had made to pack my books and linen in, and we succeeded in again closing the doors and placing one box upon the other against them, which resisted the efforts of the wind as long as it continued in the direction of the north-east.

Still I entertained no idea of its being a hurricane, and, as the bursting in of the window admitted both rain and wind, we continued with great presence of mind to remove the books from the ledges round the room and bow window in front, and every article of furniture, with few exceptions, into the back room which was separated from that in front by other folding doors. In the midst of our occupation there was a brief lull in the storm for a few moments, during which on looking out I observed a kind of whirl-wind in the air and various light materials carried up to a great height with a rapid spiral motion, and then in an instant after the wind wheeled round to the opposite point of the compass — south-west. This brief lull, this sudden change — were too sure indications of a hurricane to admit of a doubt, and I became sensible of the dreadful reality; but without communicating my opinion or my fears to the rest of my family. The former wind from the north-east was a slight gale — a mere sportive breeze — compared to that which now succeeded. It blew, it raged, it raved, it roared; gust after gust, so awful and so terrific, like the explosion of cannon or the bursting

page 59
of huge waves against the rocks! The folding cedar doors on this side defied every effort to keep them closed — locks, bolts, bars; the table, side-board and sofa that were ranged against them all were swept aside, and they flew open in mockery of our puny efforts and various contrivances, the wind having free course and raging with the fury of a bursting cataract through the opening it had made. Many of my valuable books (you know what pains I took in their collection, and how carefully they have been always preserved), and several articles of furniture were still unremoved when the room began to shake violently and I perceived that all this part of the building must inevitably fall. I stood at the door between the inner and the front sitting rooms, and watching every opportunity rushed forwards, seized an armful of books, retreated to the doors and placed them in the hands of my wife and family to convey backwards and then returned. One mulatto domestic only followed me, and as I sometimes stood half way in doubt whether to proceed, I turned round and saw him trembling from head to foot with fear, and as pale as death. Again and again I darted forwards — closing the doors on my retreat as gusts rose — and thus I fortunately succeeded in carrying off every book, and most of the furniture. We then aimed for the large dining table, sofa, and remaining chairs; but it was too late. The room began to rock like a cradle, the panes and frames of the windows to crack, and we hastily drew back to the chamber doors, which opened from the inner room, and there stood for an instant at the entrance: — it shook more violently — the rafters, beams, pillars, posts, all gave way with one tremendous crash, amidst the…..

((to be continued…page 60 – 80 still under transcription)).

* This paper consists of a letter, dated St. Vincent, W. I., Nov. 13th, 1831, from a clergyman who was then the owner of "Grand Sable" in that island. It has been placed at my disposal, and edited, by Miss BROWNE, the granddaughter of the writer. — Ed.

SOURCE: Timehri: The Journal of the Royal Agricultural and Commercial Society of British Guiana by Royal Agricultural and Commercial Society of British Guiana, edited by Everard F. im Thurn – Volume 5, pages 54 – 78. Published December 5, 1886.

(Special Thanks to Joan Leggett for providing a copy of this article for transcription).

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Rock Art in SVG

Rock Art of St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Compiled by Kathy Martin

Profile of Zone:
The Rock Art of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) consists of a series of petroglyphs engraved into andesite basalts. Most are deeply incised and very well defined, a few are more delicate and
appear to have been made by abrasion or rubbing.
The sites are distributed coastally or along river valleys. They occur at a density of roughly 1 site per 25 km² over the country as a whole. They are distributed along the East, South and West of St. Vincent and one was found on Canouan in the Grenadines.

None have been found so far in the still volcanically active North of the territory.

Dating these sites is contentious. Some are believed to be relatively recent (1000 to 1500AD) while some conservative estimate dates back, according to contextual ceramic evidence, ca. 2000 years to the Saladoid. Some authorities believe they may be much older.

Links with other sites:
St Vincent has many small faces along with complex faces, anthropomorphs, zoomorphs and abstracts in keeping with the rest of the Lesser Antilles and the region as a whole. It also has some much larger glyphs, 2m long and more. This is reminiscent of the larger figures of Venezuela and the Guianas. The Yambou Petroglyph no. 2, glyph 1 is a large rayed head and is the only representative of the “Elaborate Type” Petroglyph in the Antilles according to Dubelaar. These designs occur in the Guyanas and in adjacent areas of Venezuela and Brazil. Swaddled figures such as found at Petit Bordel are also reminiscent of some on the continent.
Some of the Vincentian Petroglyphs are entirely different from anything else in the region and may bear closer resemblance to glyphs in Africa particularly in relation to sun god images and scripts.

Known Sites:
Petit Bordel
Barrouallie – Glebe Rock
Barrouallie – Ogam Stone
Peter’s Hope
Mount Wynne
Layou
Buccament
Lowman’s Bay
Sharpes Stream
Indian Bay
Yambou Valley- 6 sites
Colonarie
Canouan

Practically every beach has work stones or “polissoirs” (stationary mortars and sharpening stones)
often at each end of it. They are also present in many of the river valleys.

Cup holes are present in a number of locations, the most striking being the 13 stones on top of a ridge above Chateaubelair and below the Soufriere. One of these stones show signs of pecking and appears to be a geometric petroglyph.

Documentation:
Frederick A.Ober “Camps in the Caribbees”, Boston, USA 1880,
Daniel G.Brinton “On a Petroglyph from the Island of St Vincent, W.I.” Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 1889,
Alphonse L.Pinart « Note sur les Pétroglyphes et Antiquités des Grandes et Petites Antilles » 1890,
(Manuscript copy in Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde, Leiden, The Netherlands). 79
Karl T.Sapper „St Vincent“ Globus Illustrirte Zeitung für Länder und Völkerkunde 84, Braunschweig,1903,
J. Walter Fewkes “The Aborigines of Porto Rico and neighbouring islands” Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, 1907,
St Vincent Handbooks 1911 onwards,
Thomas Huckerby, “Petroglyphs of St Vincent, British West Indies”, American Anthropologist vol. xvi no.2 p. 238-48, 1914,
W.N.Sands “A newly discovered petroglyph” West India Committee circular, 1915, Thurn 1915,
Thomas A.Joyce 1916, Central American and West Indian Archaeology, London
Froidvaux 1920, St.Vincent (Colonial) Reports 1938-1965,
Van der Plas 1954,
Anonymous in the “Bajan” 1959,
I.A.Earle Kirby 1969, ‘Pre-Columbian Monuments in Stone’
Mario Mattioni 1971,
Fred Olsen 1971,”Petroglyphs of the Caribbean Islands and Arawak deities” Proceedings of the International Congress for the study of Pre-Columbian Cultures in the Lesser Antilles.
Leonardi 1972,
Fred Olsen1974 “On the Trail of the Arawaks”, University of Oklahoma Press
Henri Petitjean Roget 1975,
I.A.Earle Kirby 1977, “Pre-Columbian Monuments in Stone”
Ripley P. Bullen & Adelaide Bullen 1972, “Archaeological investigations in St Vincent and the Grenadines, West Indies” W.L Bryant Found. American Studies 8, Orlando,
Ripley P. Bullen 1973, “Certain Petroglyphs of the Antilles” Proceedings of the International Congress for the study of Pre-Columbian Cultures in the Lesser Antilles.
C.N.Dubelaar 1995, “The Petroglyphs of the Lesser Antilles The Virgin Island and Trinidad”
Uitgaven Natuurwetenschappelijke Studiekring voor het Caraїbisch Gebied 135, Amsterdam
Sofia Jönsson Marquet 2002 University of Paris
Claudius Fergus 2003 “The “Carib” Work Stones of Chateaubelair: curio or calendar system?”

All the known Petroglyphs have been photographed and are on file at the SVG National Trust headquarters. Kirby gives a complete record from the 1970s except for Peter’s Hope and Yambou 6.

The Bullens’ and Dubelaar’s publications are available in SVG and Fergus publication is on the web.

Jönssen Marquet produced data sheets but no copy has been lodged with the public institutions in SVG.

Research:
The archaeology of St.Vincent generated little interest during the colonial period to save the notes in reports that documented engraved stones existed. Some archaeological work was done as referenced above. Thomas Huckerby appears to have placed the most value on Vincentian petroglyphs, giving them pre-eminence in the whole of the Antilles (P239).

During the 20th century the professional archaeologists largely confined themselves to work in the Greater Antilles. Research in the Lesser Antilles was done by amateur and self taught archaeologists.

The first comprehensive survey of rock art in SVG was produced in the 1960s by Kirby. He presented it to the scientific community at the Third International Congress for the Study of Pre-Columbian Cultures of the Lesser Antilles (Grenada 1969) under the title “The Pre-Columbian Monuments of St Vincent, West Indies”. His publication followed shortly after.

Several of the Vincentian petroglyphs are entirely different from those of the rest of the region. Kirby sought answers far and wide and eventually concurred with the ideas of Barry Fell that they were Amerindian copies of things they had learned at second or third hand from the Mediterranean. He recognised images of the sun god (especially on the Glebe stone and the Indian Bay rock) together with traces of Libyan, Punic and Cypro-Minoan scripts. This may well have been via free Africans who were known to have been so numerous in St. Vincent, as similarities with West and South African petroglyphs are marked. The Black Carib people, who gave rise to the World Heritage Listed Garifuna culture, originated in St Vincent from the admixture of these free Africans with yellow Carib. Kirby also reported the significance of time and date with regard to the orientation of the Layou
Petroglyph. At the winter solstice the last rays of the setting sun hit the rock with spectacular effect.
The Yambou 2 and 3 sites also appear vividly on December 21st but at noon. The late Barry Fell of the California Epigraphic Society translated the writing on the Ogam stone as
“Mab visited this remote Western Isle”. Mab is believed to be descended from the sea farers who ravaged the Mediterranean around 1200 BC., when St Vincent was inhabited by the Ciboney.
Claudius Fergus’ work on the thirteen stones at Chateaubelair involved measurements. He related them to spirituality and astro-archaeological ideas in the Orinoco and to the work of Fred Olsen, who also studied the Glebe stone and saw it as the sun God, noting its uniqueness in the Caribbean.

Protection: Legislation under consideration.

Conservation:
One site in SVG, and one only, has been painted. This site is Buccament and the paint was applied to the series of carvings there by a person with mental disabilities. It was decided that, as the base material is andesite agglomerate rather than massive andesite more harm than good would be done trying to remove the paint.

The Indian Bay rock has had additions crudely scratched around the main glyph. The rock lies between two popular beaches and tourist police now patrol those beaches.

The Canouan stone was moved during hotel development and has not yet been relocated.

Historically two stones at Barrouallie were rescued from building sites and placed in the Yard of the Barrouallie Secondary School for protection. Students at the school are trained to give information about them to visitors.

The SVG National Trust is negotiating with the International Airport Development Company over the future of one site which lies within the boundary for the planned new airport.

Management:
In keeping with a country which has been largely agricultural until the 1990s the management of rock art sites has been largely informal. Sites have been protected by laws of trespass on private property.

Any infringements are reported through small community networks and people generally have taken a pride in “the Carib stones”.
While we have not yet worked out how to measure the contribution of tourism to the economy it is clear that it is now playing a bigger role and is expected to increase substantially in the not too distant future. To facilitate the development of rock art sites to accommodate tourists and the visiting overseas
based Vincentian diaspora, in addition to use of the sites in helping to define a national identity, formal management plans will need to be developed.

The Layou site was purchased by Government in 2003. It has been fenced and signage erected. A gentleman is employed to maintain and monitor the use of the site. Visitors come mainly with tour
guides, but this is not mandatory.

Several of the sites are being cared for by local community groups. One of the sites is in use as a Shrine by the Roman Catholic Church.

Main Threats:
International Airport development.
International Hotel development.
Lack of awareness of the importance of some lesser sites by developers.
Lack of Funding required to protect and manage sites when, even if entry charges are instituted, the visitor numbers in the short term would not be sufficient to maintain economic viability.

Conclusions:
SVG probably has the highest density of rock art per unit area in the entire region. It is an outstanding place of long term aboriginal habitation and bridges the petroglyph art between the Guiana plateau/Eastern Orinoco and the Northern Antilles. Its potential to contribute to a regional nomination to the WH List is out of all proportion to its size. Several sites are worthy of special mention.

SVG has a population of just 110,000 people. So far no native Vincentian has been trained in Archaeology so we still have to seek out technical advice from abroad. One visiting home owner
became so fascinated by the sites here that she studied archaeology first to M.Sc. then to Ph.D.Level.
She now advises the SVG National Trust.

As tourism takes off it is becoming clear that several initiatives are required:

1. Establishment of proper museum facilities/interpretation centres;
2. Send nationals for training in archaeology/museum curation, conservation;
3. Develop formal management plans for heritage sites like the more special rock art sites.


*******
Prepared in response to request from ICOMOS. ICOMOS is an international non-governmental organization of professionals, dedicated to the conservation of the world's historic monuments and sites.