Saturday, February 27, 2010

Garifuna Heritage Foundation of St Vincent to Receive Award

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 that the Garifuna Heritage Foundation of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) will be presented a Garifuna Heritage Award, during the First Annual Garifuna Heritage Awards and Cultural Night on March 13th 2010 at 7 PM at the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture, 450 Grand Concourse Bronx, NY 10451.

The Garifuna Heritage Foundation (TGHF) was selected in recognition of its grassroots activism and contribution to support the Renaissance of the Garifuna Heritage and Culture in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. During the Garifuna Reunion last July TGH signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc., St. Vincent and the Grenadines Organization of Pennsylvania, Inc. and the Garifuna American Heritage Foundation United, Inc. (GAHFU) of Los Angeles California, to promote the Garifuna Heritage and Culture in all parts of the Garifuna Diaspora as well as to 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.

Furthermore, it joined with the Rose Hall Cultural Development Organization to bring together seven traditional Garifuna communities to share knowledge, discuss ideas and formulate strategies for the promotion of the Garifuna culture and heritage, under the theme, ‘Exploring our Garifuna Heritage from past glory to future success.”

It also sponsored a regional symposium under the theme “Research and Practice of the Garifuna Heritage and Culture as a Reflection of Caribbean Indigenous Experience,” as well as an exhibition on ancient Vincentian artifacts under the theme “From the Orinoco to Exile”. It also plans to hold a round-table discussion in St. Vincent and the Grenadines with Garifuna organizations from the Diaspora, to further facilitate this process of Garifuna renewal. Mr. David Williams, president of the Garifuna Heritage Foundation will be present to receive the award.

The first Garifuna Heritage Awards will honor those who have made outstanding contributions to the preservation and promotion of the Garifuna Culture. The annual event, which is a flagship event of the Garifuna Coalition, celebrates the contributions, legacies and future of those of Garifuna heritage.

A dynamic cultural stage production will feature James Lovell and the AfriGarifuna Youth Ensemble, Hamalali Wayunagu Garifuna Dance Company,Chief Joseph Chatoyer Garifuna Folkloric Ballet of NY, Paula Castillo and Hechu Garinagu and a grand finale directed by Mr. Crisanto Armando Meléndez.


The Garifuna Heritage Awards and Cultural Night is an integral part of the Garifuna Heritage Month 2010. The proclamation will be presented by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr and New York State Governor David A. Paterson’s office during a press conference in the Rotunda of the Bronx Borough President’s Office on Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 11:00 AM. 851 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY.

info@garifunacoalition.org


The Vincentian

The Vincentian will be running a website that will have pretty much the same content as the newspaper. Since it will be available to the same audience as this blog is, I won't attempt to repeat any of its content. What I will do is publish a note here if I see anything that I find interesting, reminding the reader that the full story will be available at "theVincentian.com".

Friday, February 26, 2010

“The Best Kept Secret In Caribbean

From The Vincentian Published: 02/04/2010

These were the words of one delighted cruiser visiting the Grenadines to attend the Bequia Mount Gay Music Fest for the first time.



“I’ve been up and down all the islands,” she explained, “and to all their music events, but this one here in Bequia has to be the best of all – and the best kept secret in the Caribbean!”



That sentiment was repeated throughout the weekend as music lovers from all over the world, from neighbouring Caribbean countries, from Bequia, the mainland and the Grenadines came by sea and air to enjoy a long weekend of top-class musical entertainment.

Those who could not attend enjoyed a live broadcast and internet stream of all the performances on Cross County Radio and Nice Radio, reaching a truly global audience.



Attendance at the four-day event was noticeably up from last year. Music Fest Co-Directors “Uncle” Louis O’Neil and Wilfred Dederer put together a programme of music which catered for all tastes and all ages, ranging from blues to jazz to reggae to hip hop to rock to soca. The event was attended by Minister of Culture Rene Baptiste, Tourism Authority CEO Faylene Findlay-Scrubb and Director of Tourism Vida Bernard.



“It was fantastic!” said Findlay-Scrubb. “The appeal for domestic and international tourism on Bequia is incredible. The Music Fest offers visitors to the island a superb blend of music as well as the opportunity to indulge in one’s passion, be it the cuisine or just soaking up the sun at Lower Bay or Friendship Bay while taking in the performances.”

Non-stop music



After Thursday’s opening night at the Frangipani Hotel when the Elite Steel Orchestra from St. Vincent played to a record crowd, the event moved to the main venue in Lower Bay where the event organizers and the management of De Reef had created an impressive entertainment venue with high-tech, all black stage and an informal outdoor liming area complete with a huge projection screen which relayed the acts live to those who preferred to sit under the stars.



The Friday night performance of Mustique Blues Festival’s Dana Gillespie and her London Blues Band with guests Ian Siegal, Chris Jagger and Dino Baptiste, has already been described by some as the best ever. The appreciative audience of visitors, yachtsmen and residents of Bequia and St. Vincent enjoyed outstanding performances all round, topped by an extraordinary duet by keyboard maestros Dino Baptiste and Julien Brunetaud who tempted the other musicians back on stage for a stunning impromptu encore finale just before 2 am.


Basil Charles’ Mustique Blues musicians generously volunteer their performance in Bequia in exchange for a substantial donation by the event organizers to the Basil Charles Education Foundation.



Music Fest sponsor Bequia Beach Hotel provided the perfect venue on Saturday afternoon for a relaxing afternoon of jazz and blues by the beach under the shade of the palm trees, led by Louis O’Neil and his partner Jan Smith. With no admission charge and the perfect setting to draw the crowds, over two hundred people gathered to eat, drink and enjoy the music.



Saturday night saw the climax of the event with outstanding performances Amanda Gooding, Kyron Baptiste, Jamaica’s TRN band, Bequia’s world famous Papa Winnie, legendary guitarist Toby Armstrong with the Mount Gay Blues Band, and the hottest new band from Barbados, NEXCYX. This extraordinary group of young musicians fully lived up to their reputation with a thrilling closing act shortly after midnight. Lead singer Mahalia Phillips - and indeed the whole ensemble - displayed the kind of talent which leaves the audience in no doubt that they have seen future superstars in the making!



Sunday afternoon at De Reef in Lower Bay saw a relaxed and delighted crowd enjoy the Mount Gay Surprise Party with great performances by the Denzil Bacchus Blues Band from St. Vincent, joined by award-winning guest blues pianist David Maxwell, Bequia’s Kings of String, The Country Relatives and the Bequia Blues Band. As the sun went down, there was a surprise performance by NEXCYX before the closing set by the hugely popular RoadHouse from Barbados with a guest appearance by Toby Armstrong for a session of duelling guitars with the band’s lead guitarist Scott Zimmerman and acoustic guitarist Garvey Griffith.



No way without the sponsor



Widely declared by those who attended to be “the best ever”, the Bequia Mount Gay Music Fest clearly has a winning formula, bringing together great musicians for a four-day weekend of great music.



The Bequia Tourism Association and the Bequia Mount Gay Music Fest organisers wish to thank headline sponsor Mount Gay Rum (Barbados), and major sponsors Basil Charles, Karib Cable, CRS Music & Media, Barbados, SVG Tourism Authority, Hairoun Beer, Admiralty Transport, IK TV, Quik-Print (St. Vincent), Bequia Beach Hotel, Frangipani Hotel and De Reef, Bequia.

Thanks too go to all the Bequia and St. Vincent businesses and individuals who supported the Music Fest in so many ways, and to all the musicians who made the 2010 Bequia Mount Gay Music Fest one which will be remembered for years to come.

http://thevincentian.com/dcmain.aspx?p=247&i=4190&skin=54&tID=197


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fairtrade Fortnight

BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- Fairtrade Fortnight 2010 started on Wednesday with an event at Stormont Parliament, organised by the Fairtrade Belfast Committee and sponsored by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM), Junior Ministers.

The ceremony was attended by Ministers, MLAs, Central and Local Government, Charities, Fairtrade Groups, Statutory Bodies and invited guests, including the main speakers: Robin Newton MLA, Junior Minister – OFMDFM, Professor Gerry McCormack, Pro Vice-Chancellor – Queen’s University Belfast, Dr Christopher Stange, Chair of Fairtrade Belfast and Consul of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The theme of this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight is the “Big Swap” whereby we are encouraging all sections of the population to swap their normal goods and produce to a Fairtrade variety. When consumers choose Fairtrade products, the price they pay covers the cost of sustainable production but also provides a premium that is invested in social, environmental and economic projects in developing nations.

In doing so, Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers, primarily from African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and improved terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.

Dr Stange explained: “Fairtrade sales are currently £2.4 billion, assisting 562 producers across 3 continents in 60 different countries, particularly the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) region. This translates into more than 1.5 million producers, about 7.5 million people, including dependants, who are benefiting directly from Fairtrade. More can be done regarding other towns, churches and schools seeking Fairtrade accreditation, as well as, central and local government leadership relating to procurement, including and/or expanding Fairtrade options, throughout Northern Ireland.

The event concluded by recognising the work of those primary schools who are championing Fairtrade across Belfast via the Primary School Fairtrade Poster Competition Awards. Fairtrade prizes were awarded through the generosity of the Co-operative and Oxfam Ireland.


http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/news-21705--14-14--.html


Dry Season

The dry season is well and truly with us, and throughout the Caribbean the complaint is the same - scarcity or lack of water. The spreading drought represents yet another natural disaster to which the Caribbean region is so vulnerable. While the severity of the situation is just beginning to dawn on us here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (see story with rainfall figures), other islands, Jamaica being the prime example, have been suffering in this regard since last year.

So while we complain, we can at least thank our lucky stars that we have not felt the worst effects of drought as some of our CARICOM neighbours. Indeed, to go further than drought, the destruction in Haiti from the earthquake and the continued eruption of the Soufriere hills volcano in Montserrat should remind us both of the vulnerability of the region as a whole and our own relative good fortune in St Vincent and the Grenadines.



We live in a world where there is now indisputable evidence of climate change. Whether one agrees with the causes, there is no doubting the fact that this is occurring, and small-island states like ours are areas of high risk, given our natural environment. This ought to be all the more reason why we should pay particular attention to such developments, and why, for us, environmental consciousness ought to be a priority for all our people. Given our strong dependence on our natural environment for a livelihood, whether in the form of agriculture, fishing or tourism, the state of our environment and disaster mitigation must rank high on our collective agenda.



Sadly, that is not the case. A quick perusal of the headline news throughout the region and a check on the rapid depletion of our natural resources would reveal that we are far from serious where our environment is concerned. In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Forestry officials inform us that several of the bush fires now devouring our countryside are caused by humans - men in the vast majority of cases, in the illegal search for wildlife. In St. Lucia, the government has issued a stern warning of firm action against those who waste precious water resources in this dry season. It is as though we live in a world of our own, for there is ample evidence, in California, Australia, Spain and Portugal, to name a few, of how destructive bush fires can be when the hills and valleys are like tinderboxes. Must we wait for a similar disaster to hit us before we awaken from our environmental slumber?



Bush fires, whether deliberately or accidentally set, not only do great damage to lives and property, they also consume scarce water resources, water which we can ill afford in the dry season, to extinguish them. This waste of water resources also takes place daily, with individuals placing the appearance of their vehicles or lawns above the water needs of the society as a whole. If the people on the island of St. Vincent are not yet fully appreciative of the value of water supply, then we should let our sisters and brothers in the Grenadines, for whom this is a harsh fact of life, teach us all about it. It is not by chance that prominent global economists and social scientists have described water as “the oil of the 21st century” around which wars will be fought.



The same carefree attitude we display to water use is exhibited in respect of matters pertaining to the preservation of our land, air and marine resources. Waste disposal in particular is a chronic problem. Nationally, we have made strides in regard to governmental action over the last decade, thanks to the Central Water and Sewage Authority, and its Solid Waste Unit in particular. But on an individual level, there is little to show that we take it seriously. We discard waste anywhere, from the schoolyard to the home, from the street to the workplace, with scant regard for the consequences. The bad habits of us, as adults, are quite naturally adopted by our young ones. Environmental legislation is in dire need of upgrading and strengthening, while we are yet to make environmental science an essential part of our education at all levels, including public education.



The natural resources which we are so lucky to enjoy are susceptible to permanent damage if we do not take care of it. Our children’s future can be jeopardized by our own irresponsibility and recklessness.

http://www.searchlight.vc


SPORT FOR LIFE!


SPORT FOR LIFE! CENTRE LAUNCHED AT ARNOS VALE
February 24, 2010

The Prime Minister, Dr. The Hon. Ralph Gonsalves, today launched the Sport for Life! Centre at Arnos Vale.

Located in Arnos Vale’s media conference centre, the Sport for Life! Learning Centre will provide sport, education and healthy lifestyle training to disadvantaged children who are failing to reach their potential at school and in society.

It forms part of the Legacy Programme of the Cricket World Cup 2007 and originated in Barbados. Similar centres have been opened at the Queen’s Park Cricket Club, Port of Spain, Trinidad, Beausejour Cricket Ground, St Lucia and the Kensington Oval, Barbados in 2009.

The Centre will have an IT suite equipped with 16 computers and a whiteboard with projector. Children aged 10-14 will come to the Centre for a three hour session on Saturday mornings which will be split between learning and sports coaching. The learning component will include specially developed curriculum material in key subjects such as English, maths ICT and science, along with healthy lifestyle and leadership modules. Cricket coaching will also be provided in association with the Saint Vincent Cricket Association.

Sport for Life! Inc. is a Saint Vincent registered not-for-profit organisation. Initial funding for the project has come from private individuals, who are equipping the Centre, and Microsoft is providing software free of charge for Sport for Life! Learning Centres across the region.

The programme has the active support of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Commenting on the launch, Prime Minister Gonsalves said:
“I am delighted to be able to open the Sport for Life! centre. I believe that every child in Saint Vincent deserves the best possible education. By combining cricket and the chance to study using the latest IT equipment, Sport for Life! will give all the pupils who take part the chance to really develop their sporting and academic skills. This in turn will help them develop to their full potential and make a success of their lives.”

The Saint Vincent Cricket Association joined the National Sports Council in saying:
“Cricket plays a central role in Saint Vincentian society. Sport for Life! gives us the opportunity to expand that role and help many children in the country who could be making more of their lives. Arnos Vale is a tremendous facility and Sport for Life! will ensure that it fulfils its purpose as a centre for community activity as well host to world class cricket matches.”

Lord Richard Newby, UK Director of Sport for Life! Inc said:
“Sport for Life! has the potential to fundamentally change the lives of many children both in Kingstown and across the island for the better. We are immensely grateful to our sponsors for getting us to this point and will now be looking for additional resources both internationally and domestically, to enable the project to develop and expand.”

http://www.crickettribune.com/sport-for-life-centre-launched-at-arnos-vale/


History on Government House

A Brief History on Government House, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

The Governors of St. Vincent and the Grenadines lived in several different houses over the years.

In 1791, Government House was situated somewhere in the area of Calliaqua. When the Governor and staff took refuge in Forte Charlotte in 1795-1797 during the second Carib War, Government House was situated at Montrose. That abandoned house fell in disrepair after the Karib Wars and a new Government House was built in Kingstown on that spot now occupied by Barclalys Bank. This allowed the Governor easy access to Government offices situated in a nearby building.

In 1828 another Government House was constructed on three acres of land in the Botanic Garden. That building also fell into disrepair. The present Government House was built in 1886 presumably on the same location. It has a tripartite gable roof. The walls of the lower storey are of rubble masonry and the upper floor of wood. Entrance to the upper floor is by way of the external masonry staircase.

Thanks to: Nathalie Sampson-Davis

Private Secretary to H.E. The Governor-General

Tel. No. (784) 456-1401

Fax No. (784) 457-9710


GG's Grand Tea Party


Once again the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Children’s Welfare Fund Committee will be hosting its annual Grand Tea Party on Saturday 10th April, 2010 at Government House from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

The Welfare Fund is a voluntary organisation. Its main function is to source and disburse funds annually to the Operators of Day Care Centres and Institutions which take an interest in the care and welfare of the disadvantaged and needy children of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The Committee would be most pleased to solicit any contribution you may wish to make.

Tickets for the Tea Party are priced: Adults - $20.00; Children - $10.00.


Engineered Pan at UWI

The Faculty of Engineering at UWI is proud to announce the first workshop on steelpan tuning for students registered in Science and Engineering. The first workshop was held on February 4. The workshop is a substantial part of the course, ENGR3000 The Technology of the Steelpan, which has been offered to students of the University since 2000. Workshops are held every Thursday afternoon from 4 pm to 7 pm. In previous offerings of the course, the workshop component was conducted by tuner Jimi Phillip, who now tutors in the Pan in Schools programme. Students were simply required to observe and record the process.

As of this year, 2010, students are now required to fabricate their own steelpan—one that they will be able to take away at the end of the course. These workshops are conducted by master tuner Denzil Fernandez, creator of the Bore Pan. The practical workshop is complemented by weekly two-hour lectures covering key aspects of current knowledge in steelpan technology: metallurgy, geometry, acoustics, vibration characteristics inclusive of modal properties, stick technology, construction and manufacture. The very first lecture included an introduction to steelpan music history and was presented by Dr Kim Johnson. The course ends with a look at significant recent developments.

According to course leader, Prof Brian Copeland, co-ordinator of the Steelpan Initiatives Project (SIP) and chairman of Panadigm Innovations Ltd, makers of the G-Pan and PHI precision musical instruments, ENGR3000 is in keeping with the primary aim of developing a strong and vibrant steelpan industry in T&T and the wider Caribbean. He noted that while the SIP’s emphasis had, thus far, been on the critical technological aspects, there was an urgent and immediate need for the nurturing of a cadre of young tuners who, as is the case of tier foreign counterparts, are highly qualified in the arts and sciences. Copeland also noted that the course has been high in demand since it was advertised in January 2010; however enrolment was restricted to eight students, given the hands-on nature of the course and the need for individual tutoring by the Master Tuner.

Further details on ENGR300 are available at the course website http://www.eng.uwi.tt/depts/elec/staff/copeland/fe30b/fe30b.html.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Untitled

Polly, Pretty Polly, our new puppy, is spending more time outside the house. (And spending less time pooping in the house. Hooray. I walk over in the dark to make coffee in the early morning.)


Still more Orchids

Orchids currently in bloom in our yard


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Destination Bequia

by Patricia Burstein
March 2010 Issue All At Sea Magazine

Nine miles south of St. Vincent in the Grenadines, Bequia, an island of just under 5,000 people, friendly and forthcoming, is steeped in seafaring traditions - fishing, whaling and boat-building - that endure to this day. Its perfect U-shaped Admiralty Bay harbor is encompassed by small mountains, like haystacks, with dense forests of green and golden hues from the cedar trees after the rains.

Brightly painted boats - from old-fashioned wooden double-enders to sloops, ketches, catamarans and moderate-sized yachts - greet sailors arriving at the capital, Port Elizabeth. Unlike St. Barth farther north in the Antilles with mega-yachts parked, like so many limos lined up on New York City's Fifth Avenue, Bequia has a conspicuously unpretentious affect.

One of about 30 moorings can be arranged by calling the proprietors of two water taxis, Phat Shag and African Pride, at VHF channel 68. "It's $20-a-night for a mooring," 39-year-old Winston Simmons, owner of the African Pride, an 18 ft. school bus-yellow motorboat with a green awning, says. "I'm willing to negotiate for any duration over two days. Otherwise you have to drop anchor and hope it holds or doesn't get stuck in coral." The centerpiece of the harbor is the waterfront Frangipani Hotel, the first on the island, an ideal place to sip a rum punch in deck chairs while watching the sun slip into the sea at twilight. Its restaurant menu includes a mouth-watering coconut desert ($16.50 EC) bathed in tropical fruit sauce with a suggested scoop of banana, coconut or vanilla ice cream. In a cluster of pastel-colored wood frame stores in the capital, redolent of the old Caribbean, are three model boat-builders' workshops and the Bequia Bookshop with nautical charts, maps, scrimshaw, postcards and sea stories for children.

Over the centuries Bequia, which means "island in the clouds" in indigenous Carib, came under both French and English rule until the latter eventually lay claim to the island in 1783. As part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the island gained its independence from the Crown in 1979.

Despite Bequia's moniker, Big Little Island, it is actually a compact nine square miles, navigable in under a day by boat or taxi (fares negotiable), dollar van or rental car located by the ferry dock, next to the almond tree.

("Under the almond tree" is a favorite venue for events like a children's steel pan orchestral performance during the recent Christmas holidays, when melodic calypso voices fused with haggling going on in the open-air vegetable and fruit, a.k.a Rasta, market.)

Many of the island's waterfront restaurants have dinghy docks. L'Auberge, just outside Port Elizabeth, offers a prix fixe dinner of callaloo soup, a rich, creamy Couquille St. Jacques, and a banana flame finale. ($30 US). Or try Fernando's Hideaway above Lower Bay, with fresh fish caught daily by Fernando.

On any night of the week, you can hear music, whether blues, reggae, calypso or country, on the island. Check the free "Bequia This Week" publication for listings.

The best beaches, Lower Bay and Princess Margaret, both on the Caribbean (west) side of the island, are reached by dinghy or water taxi. De Reef, a lively restaurant and bar on Lower Bay offers fresh fish and a Sunday afternoon music jam not to be missed.

For a panoramic Kodak moment, head to Mt. Pleasant, on the rugged east Atlantic coast about a half-hour drive from the capital, past pink, yellow and mango-colored houses with bougainvillea draped over white picket fences and wrought-iron gates. En route is the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary. Here Brother King cares for over 200 endangered Hawksbill turtles until, he says, they can navigate the "wild blue yonder" on their own. Also in the vicinity is Industry beach, wild and wind-swept and, depending on currents, excellent for snorkeling.

To say farewell to jasmine-scented Sweet Bequia, as some call the island, stop in at the Mary's Anglican Church, a soothing blue limestone building with memorial tablets recounting Bequia's seafaring heritage and an oil portrait of Our Lady of the Sea. Count your blessings for days spent here, and pray for a speedy return.

Arriving and Provisioning

Port Elizabeth on Admiralty Bay has a one-stop Customs and Immigration building across from the ferry dock. Boaters' amenities - ice, water, gas, three internet cafes, two laundromats, two banks and Wallace chandlery - are within walking distance. Also you'll find basic provisions at Knights Trading, fresh bread daily at Kaybee's, and gourmet delicacies, imported cheeses, chocolates, pates and wines at Doris' Fresh Food. Take your yacht garbage to the fish market jetty area next to the vegetable market, or have it collected by water taxis for $3 to $5 US a bag.

Bequia Easter Regatta: April 1 - 5

More than 50 boats are expected for this year’s holiday event under the auspices of the Bequia Sailing Club. Race headquarters in the Frangipani Hotel. Come to compete or just to enjoy the festivities, including lay day fun on Sunday, April 4 at Lower Bay and Friendship Beach. For a complete schedule, NOR and Pre-registration form: www.begos.com/easterregatta

Patricia Burstein is a journalist and an author who began her career at the "San Juan Star" and now divides her time between New York City and St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications including "The New York Times" and "Harper's Bazaar."


Visiting one island a day

By Margaret Swaine, National Post
http://www.montrealgazette.com/story_print.html?id=2343110&sponsor=

My wildest adventure in the Caribbean recently was in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where I visited seven gorgeous islands in seven days travelling by local boats and planes. SVG comprises 32 islands in the southern Caribbean -- the last stronghold of the Carib Nation, and thus the last to be settled by Europeans and absorbed into the plantation system. They are the final stretch of Caribbean islands to embrace tourism. Here are my best discoveries.

St. Vincent

Mountainous St. Vincent, the largest island, boasts La Soufriere, an active volcano, and lush green crops of exotic plants. A visit to markets teeming with breadfruit, cassava, christophine, paw paw, sorrel, yams, nutmeg, bananas, soursop and dasheen is a must. And don't miss a visit to the Disney set where scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean were shot. We used a Fantasea Tours (fantasytours.com) powerboat (though there are plenty of other powerboat rental firms) and also took in Petit Byahaut, home of the treasure cave in the movie. I recommend Grand View Beach Hotel, a 19th-century cotton drying house, located on eight acres of tropical gardens overlooking the Caribbean.

Canouan

Canouan is a mere three-square miles of green hills and secluded beaches sheltered by one of the worlds' largest coral reefs. Raffles Resort Canouan is the spot to loll about and golf, gamble, spa or swim. The secluded western side of Canouan, in a protected bay, is a playground for the wealthy.

Palm Island

Palm Island is a small privately owned island. The only place to stay is the charming all-inclusive Palm Island Resort, which features thatch and stone cottages that dot the beach. The topography is all sand and palm trees (over 1,850 of them). I felt like Robinson Crusoe washed ashore when I was dropped off at the wharf.

Union Island

Union Island is the unpolished gem, scruffy even, but vibrant with life. Most of the workers from Palm Island live here and so do their goats, chickens and donkeys, which wander the roads. One of its most prominent features is Mount Toboi, at 1,000 feet the highest point in the Grenadines. Union Island is the place to nosh on lobster and conch.

Mustique

Tommy Hilfiger, Mick Jagger and Bryan Adams are just some of the stars who have purchased a spot on this private island. The Firefly bar is the place to visit; they have both a Champagne and a Martini Club wherein members get recognized with a T-shirt once they've consumed every version of Champagne or martini cocktail on offer. Guests have been known to earn their T-shirts after an extended 14-martini lunch. (Pierce Brosnan, I hear, wanted to earn a T-shirt, but unlike 007, he doesn't drink martinis. He left the task to his son.)

Bequia

Bequia is very laid back but the watering holes, busy in mid-afternoon, prove this place can rock. Its traditions of boat-building, fishing and whaling are still evident -- there's even a joint or two that uses whale bones to decorate the bar.

Young Island

Young Island Resort is a rock skip or two from St. Vincent via a three-minute ferry ride across 200 yards of water. It's just 35 acres, and it's possible to rent the entire island and all its 29 double-accommodation cottages for a wedding celebration.

© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service


Mammoth convention

:The ruling Unity Labour Party of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) dealt a massive political body blow to the opposition NDP Sunday; and at the same time, signaled its resolve to do what it takes to move forward to a third term victory in the upcoming general elections.

At the 16th Annual Party Convention, held Sunday, the upbeat mood was reminiscent of the massive ULP rallies back in the 2001 general elections campaign. Close to 2000 persons - more than 800 of them Convention delegates - packed the the hall.

The Opening Session, heard spiritual messages and prayers from Ministers Rene Baptiste (Culture and Labour) and Girlyn Miguel (Education) which set the tone and tempo for the regional and international orators who followed. They included: Cynthia Forde of the Barbados Labour Party; David Commissiong (Barbados) of the Caribbean Pan-African Movement; former St Lucia Prime Minister and now Opposition Leader/Leader of the St Lucia Labour Party, Dr Kenny Anthony; Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sir Louis Straker; and champion of Caribbean unity, party leader and Prime Minister, Ralph E Gonsalves. The Session was ably chaired by Party Chairman Edwin Snagg.

With chants of "Labour calls for action and we're ready for the fight" coming from the crowd, speaker after speaker praised the Prime Minister and his government for the development brought to SVG in nine short years, which followed close on the heels of 17 years of corruption, mismanagement and economic decline from the James Mitchell/Arnhim Eustace NDP.

The overseas speakers also compliment Dr Gonsalves and Vincentians for their enviable economic record and magnificent foreign policy, which not only benefits SVG, but the entire Caribbean region. Dr Gonsalves was also praised for his outstanding leadership in the Caribbean region and farther afield.

Dr Kennedy Anthony in his address, called on party supporters to defend and support their leader against the lies and deceit of the opposition party and his critics. He offered statistics which showed that SVG's economy was performing best of all countries in the OECS.

In his spirited address, Prime Minister Gonsalves said Eustace was "basody" on the International Airport. He chided Mr. Eustace for opposing the International Airport Construction and for badmouthing the leaders of countries that are assisting in its construction.

Yesterday's Mass Rally-like Convention, sent a clear message to the NDP and CSL that the ULP troops are fired up and ready to hit they hustings to return Comrade and the ULP to continue their magnificent record of providing good government to SVG.

Cde. T Wade Kojo Williams, Sr

http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/news-21634--7-7--.html


Monday, February 22, 2010

Former St Lucia PM helps appeal for a new mandate

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent, CMC: Former St Lucia prime minister Dr Kenny Anthony on Sunday appealed to Vincentians to maintain the status quo by returning the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) to office and not place the country in incapable hands at the upcoming general election.

Addressing the 16th convention of the ULP, Anthony said the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines should not follow the mistake of St. Lucians and elect a government that has no idea how to deal with the socio-economic crisis facing the country.

He said St Lucian voters had removed his administration in 2006 despite it having improved the economy and infrastructure on the island in favour of the United Workers Party (under an 81 year old leader, who died within weeks of his accession to office) and since then it has become increasingly clear that the people of St. Lucia have paid a price for their decision.

"Today, our economy is floundering hopelessly," said Anthony, who was recently re-elected as leader of the main opposition St Lucia Labour Party (SLP).

In cautioning ULP supporters to learn from the demise of the SLP, Anthony said the party needs to rebuild a relationship with supporters who have become disappointed or disaffected.

Anthony said that the present international economic crisis is also presenting a challenge to the ruling party as it seeks a fresh mandate from the population.

"The new centre of economic power and wealth is now the Asian sub-continent. Latin America, led economically by Brazil, is quickly asserting its continental ambitions," Anthony said, noting that a new and different type of consumer is likely to emerge from this economic debacle.

"This will not be the consumer that a recovering economy will want," Anthony said, noting that the real question is whether the Caribbean can cope, or be ready for the inevitable paradigm shift that will follow.

"What I'm trying to tell you, is this, it cannot be politics as usual; it cannot be business as usual. This ULP, this St. Lucia Labour Party, the PNP (People's National Party) in Jamaica‚ wherever Labour parties are in office, every single one of them have to be prepared to govern differently from the past.

But Anthony warned that such a situation should not mean that the labour parties have to abandon their fundamental tenets.

"First, you must not be discouraged or daunted," he said listing seven points for the supporters and party to consider.

"We must remember what makes us Labour. What makes us wear this red shirt with pride and dignity," he said.

In his address, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said that since the party came to power a decade ago, the country has developed significantly with many more people being employed and moving away from poverty.

"We don't have to shy from our record," he said, adding that "the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines today in every material respect are far better off than they were in 2001 when we came to office"

General elections are constitutionally due here next year, but political commentators believe that Gonsalves will call a general election later this year.

SVG Today


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cuban medics will carry out genetic studies in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

The Cuban medical brigade that will carry out genetic studies in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is getting ready for this task.

The brigade, which will leave for these islands on February 24 and that is made up by 36 experts in genetics, psychology, computing and statistics, among other specialties, met on Friday with Cuban Health Minister Jose Ramon Balaguer.

During the meeting, Balaguer pointed out that these men and women represent the solidarity of the Cuban Revolution with human beings who have never received this type of specialized treatment.

With their work, and with this system of international health cooperation that has been present since 1963 in over 100 countries, he added, they’ll contribute to increase the quality of life of thousands of patients and their relatives.

Juan Miguel Perez, a Master of Genetic Advice and a member of the brigade, told ACN that the main task of this psycho-social, pedagogical, clinical and genetic study is to identify people with disabilities, in order to carry out more accurate research works and medical consultations.

The specialist, who was part of the Manuela Espejo Mission now performing a similar task in Ecuador, underlined that Cuba was the first country where this research work was made, now extended, in various stages, to Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua.

Source: ACN


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Nobel Prize Pictures

Pictures relating to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama can be found on:
http://www.jackandjillpolitics.com/2009/12/the-president-receives-the-nobel-peace-prize/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+JackAndJillPolitics+%28Jack+and+Jill+Politics%29

Brought to my attention by Cheryl King


Friday, February 19, 2010

Vincy Culture to Raise Funds

Vincy Culture to Raise Funds for Needy Children in SVG and Haiti

By High Commission for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on 2/19/10

HIGH WYCOMBE, February 2010: The Sands Seventh-day Adventist Men’s Christian Fellowship (Sands SDA MCF) have organised another Spiritual/Cultural Fundraising event which will take place in High Wycombe.

The event will celebrate St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) National Hero's Day and raise funds for needy Children in SVG & Haiti.

It has been organised in association with High Commission for SVG.The evening of spirituality and culture will start with a Thanksgiving Service commencing with the entrance of SVG's national flag.

After a short recess, when traditional Vincentian cuisine will be available for purchase, the Cultural section showcasing performances by various talented International and Vincentian Diaspora groups/individuals will begin.

A representative for the Christian Fellowship said "It has always been our intention to raise money for children in need in SVG and other parts of the world.

We want to show that we as Vincentians in the UK are willing to help our fellow brothers and sisters in the Caribbean.

We are hosting this Cultural Concert in aid of children in need in SVG but we are particularly focusing this year's event to raise funds for Haiti, especially the displaced Children from the terrible disaster.

We want to encourage everyone to support this event with their prayers and monetary donations‚"

H.E. Mr Cenio E. Lewis, High Commissioner said "I am immensely proud of the Vincentian Diaspora in the UK within hours of the unfolding tragedy caused by the earthquake in Haiti our Mission received a numerous enquiries from the diaspora requesting advice on how they as individuals and groups could help Haiti.

Many of the Vincentian Associations quicklydonated a portion of their reserves or raised specific funds and are continuing to do so.

In addition The Mission has been told by some of SVG Association Chairs that a portion of their fundraising activities will be donated to what will be an ongoing and long term appeal of assistance for Haiti."

The Spiritual Cultural event organized last year by the Sands SDA MCF raised in the region of ¬£1100 which was donated to the High Commissioner's Special Fund which assists school children in need in SVG.This year's event will take place at St. Andrews Church, Hatters Lane, High Wycombe, Bucks, HP13 7NJ. The Thanksgiving Service will commence at 18:30 Tickets are available in advance £5.00 per ticket, and £3.00 under 16s and pensioners. For more information and tickets please contact 01494 533905 or email: svg2haiti@me.com.


Buy A Grenadine?

I ran across this on the 'net.
...........

Island purchase opportunities in St Vincent and the Grenadines are rare, therefore when one comes on the market I feel it's important to share it with you all.

Petit Nevis is a beautiful 71 acre private island.

There is a natural harbor in front of the island that is frequented by the many yachts that cruise through the Grenadines each year. The island is unoccupied and perfect for commercial development. There are great dive sites surrounding this Caribbean island and the nearby reefs are ideal for snorkeling.

Petit Nevis is located far enough south to escape the onslaught of major hurricanes. This part of the Caribbean is a haven for sailors and yachtsmen and some of the most beautiful boats in the world can be seen here. So, it's a perfect location to cater to a very high-end clientele.

Price 15-million US


ECCB Responds

BASSETERRE, St Kitts, February 19, 2010 – The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) is staying firm in its position that the institution followed the right procedures when it intervened at the Bank of Antigua (BoA) last year, after charges were laid against owner Allen Stanford.

The St Kitts-based bank issued a statement yesterday outlining the facts surrounding the BoA intervention, in response to a class-action lawsuit in which the Stanford Victims Coalition (SVC) claim the ECCB acted illegally. The ECCB said it had the legal authority to intervene following the run on the BoA when news spread of Stanford’s legal troubles.

“The run threatened the capacity of the Bank of Antigua to remain a viable entity and in the process put at risk the interest of depositors and creditors of the bank, the great majority of whom were citizens of Antigua and Barbuda,” the statement said. “The possible failure of the Bank of Antigua also had the capacity to destabilize the banking and financial system in Antigua and Barbuda, and by extension that of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) because of its participation in the clearing and settlement system.”

It said that to avoid a financial crisis it did what any banking regulator would do.

“This is the classic role of a banking regulator or lender of last resort conferred on central banks from time immemorial. In recent times, in the current crisis this is a familiar occurrence in the United States where many financial institutions have been taken over by the regulatory authorities to prevent financial meltdown and to protect depositors and creditors,” the ECCB said.

A management company, Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Financial Company Ltd was appointed to manage BoA on behalf of the Central Bank and return it to normalcy. The company comprises representatives from the indigenous banking sector, namely Antigua Commercial Bank Ltd, East Caribbean Financial Holding Company Ltd, National Commercial Bank (SVG) Limited, National Bank of Dominica Ltd and St Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank Limited and, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda.

“Contrary to the alleged claims by the group, the Central Bank has not sold or otherwise disposed of the property, assets and undertaking of or any shareholding of the bank. The Central Bank has continued to support the institution while the management company continues to nurture the bank back to health under the direction of the Central Bank,” it said.

According to the ECCB, it has been in regular contact with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) which filed the charges against Stanford and Ralph Janvey, the US receiver of the Stanford Estate, and neither party has challenged the legality or propriety of the Central Bank’s assumption of control of BoA.

The ECCB said that is now engaged in carrying out the legal and financial arrangements to bring a satisfactory closure to this matter.


http://www.caribbean360.com/News/Caribbean/Stories/2010/02/19/NEWS0000010437.html


Grenadine Air Alliance

A small-format airline magazine that is produced for the small airlines that service the grenadines: TransIsland Air, SVG Air and Mustique Airways. It has guide articles and features relating to the Caribbean and especially the Grenadines

wip@candw.ag


Ins and Outs

A yearly magazine formatted guide to St. Vincent and the Grenadines published by the Hotel and Tourism Associaion. You can get a free copy at places that have ads and also at the Tourism Office in the Cruise Ship terminal.

It is a well produced guide with good color printing and accureate content. We have been following it for several years now and are always happy to have a copy on hand.

insandoutsofsvg.com


Ganja found

A HAIRDRESSER from St Vincent and the Grenadines was fined $2,500 on Wednesday after pleading guilty to possession of marijuana.

Kaytura Creese, 29, was arrested on Carnival Monday along St Francois Valley Road, Belmont after WPC Edwards, of the Belmont Police Station, saw a clear plastic bag protruding from Creese’s right bra cup.

Creese, who was wearing a bathing suit was searched and the drugs weighing five grammes was discovered in the plastic bag.

Creese told Senior Magistrate Lucina Cardenas-Ragoonanan that she was heading to the beach and was going to smoke with some friends. The mother of one added that she arrived on February 1 and would be leaving on March 15.

Creese, who was represented by attorney George Lamming, was ordered to pay the money immediately or face nine months in jail.
.......
Motto: Tuck it in.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

ECCB sued by Sanford investors

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts: LEGAL action has been brought against the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), five regional banks and the government of Antigua and Barbuda by a group of Stanford investors who claim they lost big after the "unlawful seizure" of the Bank of Antigua.

The Stanford Victims Coalition filed a class-action lawsuit in the US District Court in Dallas, Texas against the Caribbean financial institutions, complaining that the ECCB's intervention in the Bank of Antigua was unlawful because the bank was of significant value to the victims.

Regional banks include the Antigua Commercial Bank, the St Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank, Eastern Caribbean Financial Holdings (Bank of St Lucia), the National Commercial Bank (St Vincent and the Grenadines) and the National Bank of Dominica: institutions that joined together to run the affairs of the Bank of Antigua after its Chairman Allen Stanford had been charged with fraud by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on February 17, 2009.

The lawsuit was filed by New York firm Morgenstern & Blue, LLC and in an SVC statement made on February 16, Attorney Peter Morgenstern noted that the victims are seeking compensation for the value of the Bank of Antigua when it was seized a year ago.

In sharp criticism of the ECCB's intervention Morgenstern said,"Instead of acting as a legitimate central bank, the ECCB became a partner in crime with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda when it seized the Bank of Antigua, a viable and valuable financial institution.

"The Bank of Antigua was, and remains, enormously valuable. All of that value rightfully belongs to Mr Stanford's victims," the attorney said, making reference to loan receivables from the government of Antigua and Barbuda worth tens of millions of dollars or more.

There has been no official statement made by the central bank or the SKNA National Bank as yet, but Antigua and Barbuda’s Attorney General Justin Simon told a local radio station that neither the victims nor the Stanford investors seemed to realise that the ECCB had saved the Bank of Antigua from collapse.

"To accuse the ECCB of thievery and of stealing the millions at which the Bank of Antigua is valued is more than preposterous and ludicrous. The ECCB actually pumped EC$89 million (US$32.9 million) to save the Bank of Antigua.

"That $89 million is money which is guaranteed in terms of repayment to the ECCB by the various other indigenous banks who themselves form part of the ECCB banking sector, so there has been no stealing, there has been no thievery, there has been no expropriation," the Antiguan AG informed.

Simon said he is "very upset" with the court action, as he opined that it came from "the uninformed and is itself unbelievable". According to him, the OECS territories would have been exposed to severe risks if the ECCB had not intervened.

The SVC did not stop at challenging the institutions, but also have been involved in leading a campaign for a boycott of Antigua and Barbuda. Dubbed "Anti-Crime, Anti-Antigua", the campaign calls on international travel professionals and investors to boycott hotels and resorts in the island, cruises to Antigua, investments in Antiguan financial institutions or in companies or ventures based in Antigua.

"I really resent the allegations which have been made in that claim and also resent and regret the call for a boycott of Antigua and Barbuda," Simon added.

Attempts made to contact a member of the Corporate relations Department at the central bank proved unsuccessful.

From St. Kitts News Service


US Consular Officer to visit SVG

A notice for ex-pats like us: the US Embassy in Barbados will provide consular services for one and one/half days in March. If, that is, you write for an appointment and can find the Peace Corps office over in Montrose. Evidently the US State Department doesn't believe in spoiling US citizens who find themselves in SVG.


Published on Thursday, February 18, 2010

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados -- A Consular Officer from the United States Embassy in Barbados will visit St Vincent on March 8-9, 2010.

Office hours are as follows: Monday, March 8, 9am to 12pm and 1pm to 4pm. He will be available Tuesday, March 9 from 9am to 12pm. Both days appointments will be held at the Peace Corps Office in New Montrose, Kingstown. An appointment is required to meet with the Consular Officer. To make an appointment, please e-mail the Embassy at consularbridge2@state.gov and include in the subject line the words “ACS Appointment - St Vincent”. The Consular Officer will be providing American Citizen Services and taking applications for US passports, and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad. Visa cases will not be discussed.

Fees are: Child’s passport (under 16) US$85, first adult passport US$100, CRBA US$65. Persons seeking to renew a ten-year passport issued less than 15 years ago, and who can present the expired passport, may apply by mail directly to the Embassy; the fee is US$75. (Fees are payable by international money order or bank draft, made out to “US Embassy, Barbados”). All passport applicants who cannot present a previous ten-year passport issued less than fifteen years ago must appear for an interview with the Consular Officer. Both parents must appear with a child under 16 if both are listed on the birth certificate.

All passport applicants must provide a completed passport application and proof of US citizenship; such as previous US passports, US birth certificates, or US Naturalization Certificates. Bring current passports, birth certificates, parents’ passports (along with photocopies of descriptive data pages of parents’ passports) and two passport-size photos. A prepaid air waybill (FedEx, DHL, QuikPak, etc.) is required in order to post passports back to St Vincent.

Reprinted from Caribbean Net News
caribbeannetnews.com


Travelogue SVG 2

video

Travelogue 1

video

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Roy Cayetano presented Award

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 that Mr. E. Roy Cayetano will be presented a Garifuna Heritage Award, during the First Annual Garifuna Heritage Awards and Cultural Night on March 13th 2010 at 7 PM at the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture, 450 Grand Concourse Bronx, NY 10451.

E. Roy Cayetano, is an educator, a linguist and an anthropologist who has contributed to the Preservation of the Garifuna Culture through the People`s Garifuna Dictionary and has served as a consultant in the effort of the Government and the Garifuna people of Honduras to develop a Garifuna language program for the schools of that country. He is also committed to the collection and preservation of songs as well as the promotion of various aspects of the culture. He is the author of the poem "Drums of My Father", which is one of the better-known Belizean poems.

On May 18, 2001 UNESCO recognized the Garifuna Culture as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity. This designation means that it is an important culture that should be preserved, promoted, and celebrated. Then National Garifuna Council president Roy Cayetano, compiled and submitted the candidature file to UNESCO. Mr. Cayetano has also served as Secretary General of the Belize UNESCO Commission, chief executive officer in the Ministry of Rural Development & Culture, Deputy Minister of Culture in Belize and as a Senator.

The first Garifuna Heritage Awards will honor those who have made outstanding contributions to the preservation and promotion of the Garifuna Culture. The annual event, which is a flagship event of the Garifuna Coalition, celebrates the contributions, legacies and future of those of Garifuna heritage. A dynamic cultural stage production will feature James Lovell and the AfriGarifuna Youth Ensemble, Hamalali Wayunagu Garifuna Dance Company, Chief Joseph Chatoyer Garifuna Folkloric Ballet of NY, Paula Castillo and Hechu Garinagu and a grand finale directed by Mr. Melendez.

The Garifuna Heritage Awards and Cultural Night is an integral part of the Garifuna Heritage Month 2010. The proclamation will be presented by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr and New York State Governor David A. Paterson's office during a press conference in the Rotunda of the Bronx Borough President's Office on Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 11:00 AM. 851 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY.



Prime Minister threatens legal action

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent, CMC:

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves is threatening legal action against a local radio station and two talk show hosts for statements relating to monies deposited at a state-owned bank.

Gonsalves, speaking on a local radio programme here on Tuesday night, said that he would take legal action against the two radio talk show hosts as well as the radio station which airs two advertisements sponsored by the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP).

He is promising also to sue "those who prepared the ad", noting "every time the ad is played it is a defamation"

Gonsalves has already won an EC$430,000 (US$164,000) award from the owners of the radio station for an earlier libel case.

Gonsalves told listeners that the parliament had passed anti-money laundering laws and had established the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which investigates suspicious financial activities.

He said persons depositing certain sums of money must file a source of funds declaration and the financial institution, even if satisfied with the declaration, "out of an abundance of caution", may report the transaction to the FIU.

"That is the law. That is the practice. But I was waiting on them, not saying anything, and let then talk because I know they would have overstepped the mark. Now that they have overstepped the mark, I am going to lead my counter offensive on them. I am going to sue captain right down to cook to add to my retirement fund".

The Prime Minister accused the London-based Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL) that conducts the NDP's elections campaigns of engaging in "a kind of Hitler tactics" to undermine the country's democracy in aid of supporters of the economic citizenship programme that is opposed by his government.

"We will make this country inhospitable to (SCL). The ULP is a mass political party with thousands and thousands of supporters. And when these people come here, they will feel the wrath of the ULP masses" he said.

Gonsalves also said that SCL employees cannot work in St. Vincent and the Grenadines if they enter the island as tourists.

"This is not a banana republic"

"They have to apply for a work permit and Ralph Gonsalves is the minister of work permit. They have to send it to me. Then I will decide whether I grant them or not grant them".


Book On Calliaqua

Dr. Edgar Adams has written a number of books about various aspects of the History and Social Geography of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This is one of the more recent ones. It focuses on the southeast corner that centers on Calliaqua, a town that was initially the main port and political center of colonial St. Vincent. Since this area is now the hotel and restaurant belt, and has the most swimmable beaches, it should be of interest to visitors to St. Vincent.

Locally, the book can be purchased in Dr. Adams' bookstore in the Cruise Ship Dock, or by mail. Email to yasada@vincysurf.com


Bequia

We took our guests from Taiwan over to Bequia on the ferry. We were a bit early at the dock so we took a stroll over to the cruise ship facility. I bought a copy of Dr. Adams' newest book (see the next blog entry) and we had some refreshment at the Time Out Cafe (457-1350). It looked like a nice place for lunch.

We strolled around Port Elizabeth for a while (its bookstore beats anything in Kingstown. They even had a copy od Stan Hugill's shanty book.)

We had lunch at Tommy Cantina (457-3770) because our guests missed the flavor of mexican food. (Taiwan has a lot of non-chinese restaurants.) They were pleased and so was I with my trial of their fishburger. So many places have a standard plate of meat, a starch and boiled veg. that a change in cuisine is nice, especially if it is tasty.

We only had a bit of a walkabout, so I presume that there are lots of places on Bequia that we could have gone but didn't. I'd appreciate it if you know of someplace you'd like to share, that you email me about it at karlek@mac.com

Sometime in the near future you'll see pictures of Bequia on my flickr page (karlek) and Chris' (ctsnow).


Monday, February 15, 2010

Restaurant Tips

I have been putting in little notes about the restaurants we have been eating in that we were pleased with. Normally we simply eat at home most of the time, but we have had visitors from Taiwan and the US over the Chinese New Year period. So I figured it would be a good opportunity to mention the places where we would be willing to go again. There are other good restaurants other than the ones I mention but some are too crowded and others too expensive; so if I don't mention a place it isn't necessarily because it isn't good.

If anyone has other recommendations, feel free to write me at karl@karleklund.net


Sunset Shores

Our visitors took us out for dinner and we ate at Sunset Shores. Everyone was pleased with their entrees (Fish, Lamb, three different styles of chicken). One thing that puzzled us, however, was that the table setting, which was quite formal in the english style, included a bread plate with a pat of butter, but no bread was served! Very strange.

Aside from that, a pleasant meal


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Mesopotania

Mesopotania or "Mespo" as it is commonly called, is the crater of an extinct volcano. The volcanic soil makes it a major source of exported agricultural products.

These photos were taken from a scenic view platform where the Mespo road crosses the rim.


The first photo looks back toward Arnos Vale, the others face toward the interior of the crater.


Pebble Beach Restaurant

We ate at Pebble Beach Restaurant last night and everyone in the group of eight was satisfied. I particularly liked the mushroom sauce on my scollops.

Right now it is not easy to get to, because it is on the shore side of the earthmoving for the new Argyle airport. But if you turn at the sign for Rawaku Beach on the Windward Highway, and then go beyond the actual beach (which is now enclosed in a fence), following the ruts in the roadway, you'll get there.


I do, again: Renewing wedding vows in paradise

By CHRIS AND DARA ROBINSON, SPECIAL TO THE TORONTO SUN

We recently renewed or wedding vows in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This is our take on the experience and the destination from a his and hers viewpoint:

HERS: I am searching for the right word to sum up St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

"Simple" implies a lack of complexity -- which understates the diversity you find in the 32 islands that make up this nation. "Unspoiled" is overused, and does not describe the extent to which it is untouched by tourism. "Pure" gets closer to describing the sheer beauty of the place and the authentic Caribbean experience that awaits the traveller.

And it sums up nicely the experience of our vow renewal, which was light on stress and strong on what really mattered -- no small thanks to both the breathtaking venue but also the caring, lovely people who facilitated the ceremony and became our family for the day.

HIS: There is an inverse relationship in travel between the ease of travelling to a place and the unspoilt nature of that place. And by "unspoilt," I mean the degree to which the destination remains true to its own culture and not homogenized into "Anywhere Ville."

And so St. Vincent and the Grenadines remains true to its Caribbean roots, the vibrant fusion of native, African and European peoples that epitomises what is so wonderful about this part of the world, and where we chose to confirm our commitment to each other after 30 years of marriage.

HERS: De-stressing is an important part of the experience. One St. Vincent hotel cheerfully told us that our toilet wouldn't flush as they were currently filling the swimming pool. Another apologized for the flooded pathway because whilst filling the swimming pool they had "forgotten to turn off the tap." In both cases the important thing was that the pool should be full -- time would take care of the rest.

There is no doubt that once you can shrug off life's inevitable hiccups you are a better person for it. And it was in a very relaxed frame of mind that we arrived at the private island resort of Petit St. Vincent for our vow renewal.

Our first wedding had taken place in Girton College Chapel in Cambridge University in the U.K. While a wonderful experience, I also remember stressing over the wedding present registry, guest list, bridesmaids dresses and the like.

HIS: This time around there was no doubt what I would wear. I am "Mr Tilley" when it comes to clothes. I live in this informal travel gear and my blue shirt and khakis were topped off with the crowning glory of a famous Tilley hat.

Dara also chose Tilley -- a simple white top and skirt fell un-creased from the suitcase after a week, and she looked gorgeous.
As for footwear -- it turned out that, despite Dara's womanly obsession with shoes, barefoot was the only way to go.

I'm a guy, and half British too, so a stiff upper lip normally sees me through occasions such as this. But here I am on a tiny sand cay called Mopion, in the middle of the Caribbean, hand-in-hand with a lady who has no business looking as beautiful as she does after 30 years of being married to me, and my Travel Show radio voice cracks as I renew my commitment to her in front of Father Andrew, our two witnesses and the gentle swash of turquoise waters on the pure white sands.

HERS: Stripped down to the bare essentials of a minister and two witnesses, the ceremony was quite lovely and very moving. The manager from Petit St. Vincent came along as a witness as did Janice, who did my makeup and also provided motherly hugs. There wasn't a dry eye on the island.

It's not that I took my marriage for granted after 30 years, but somehow you do take short cuts and rely on "of course you know." So making the effort to go to this beautiful, remote, romantic place and say out loud, in public, that you love each other is very special. And very pure.

HIS: There are trips and then there are journeys. Our journey had taken us by big plane to Barbados, by small plane to St. Vincent, by tiny plane to Union Island, and then by speedboat to Petit St. Vincent and the sand cay called Mopion.

Our other journey had taken much longer over time and space as our lives became ever more entwined and inseparable. Here on tiny Mopion, our two journeys came together in perfect unison.

For travel information, see disoversvg.com and psvresort.com.
http://www.torontosun.com/travel/international/2010/02/14/12874526-sun.html


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Garifuna Cultural School (Southern Cailornia)

An important stage in the institutionalization
of Garifuna Culture so it will be recognized in this bureaucratic age.

From: Cheryl Noralez <garifunaheritagefoundation@yahoo.com>

GAHFU: GARIFUNA CULTURE & LANGUAGE SCHOOL GOALS

1. To teach Garifuna language to Garinagu and non-Garinagu children, youths and adults.:
This includes the teaching of the basic skills of listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing and imaging.

2. To instill among Garinagu and friends of Garinagu an appreciation and love for our beautiful, expressive language, music, culture, beliefs, religion, folklore, crafts and our way of life and for things that are Garifuna.

3. To promote the idea of American patriotism with the knowledge that there can be a harmonious cultural diversity within the American cultural mosaic which enhances a dynamic Garifuna identity.

4. To nurture, promote, practice retrieve and document Garifunadu in due time before it is lost.

5. To continue the work and effort of the Garifuna conscientization process so that Garinagu will know where they come from, and to have a sense of where they are going as a unique group of people.

6.To explore the use of Garifuna native skills for the purpose of preserving and disseminating their music, dance, entertainment, craftwork, etc.

7. To facilitate, speed up, and to assist in the development and establishment of the first officially California-State-recognized Garifuna Culture and Language School in the Western United States .

8. To have very meaningful involvement and participation in the observance and celebration of the four major Garifuna events:

8 a. March 14, 1795 Chief Joseph Chatuye's Memorial. He fought against the British for his people and was killed on this date.

8 b. April 12, 1797 Arrival of all Garinagu to Honduras , Central America

8 c. November 19, 1802 Garifuna Settlement Day in Belize

8 d. November 26, 1802 Garifuna Settlement Day in Guatemala


Sailing Around SVG

Note: We don't do things like sailing and volcano climbing any more, so I like to post descriptions from people who do (as long as they write reasonably well!)


By Daryl Richel, FreelanceSeptember 14, 2009

It's Day 1 of our 11-day sailing adventure around this Caribbean country that comprises a group of islands located just west of Barbados. Our captain, Phil Hunt, my brother-in-law, is all smiles as he steers our chartered 46-foot sailboat through big waves.

I'm not having as much fun as Phil. The sun is warm on my shoulders as I bend over, staring into the beautiful blue water rushing along the smooth white hull. My breakfast has reappeared overboard, thanks to my first bout of seasickness.
All I can think of is how I'm going to cope with 10 more days of this living hell. Mariners say it's bad luck to start a sea voyage on a Friday ... it's a Friday.

Phil reassures me that this will be a long-remembered and spectacular holiday. The plan is to set sail every day (oh, please no) and head for islands ringed with white sand beaches, where we will snorkel with turtles, meet lots of friendly locals and eat great food. Sounds wonderful, except for the potential of spending my days coping with daily seasickness.

I want to have a good time here and so do the rest of my extended family (there are six of us). They all seem to be doing just fine in the boat's small cockpit. I bite my lip, pull up my bootstraps and do a little happy dance when, after a three-hour sail from St. Vincent, we arrive at our first island, Mustique.
Mustique is the quintessential Caribbean hideaway for the rich and famous. We drop anchor near what is reportedly Tommy Hilfiger's 100-foot yacht. Mick Jagger, Bryan Adams and Hilfiger have homes here.

As the sun is setting, we take our little zodiac to shore and the first thing I notice is the emptiness of the road. Every now and then a little golf cart putts by, but other than that, the street is deserted; it's just empty white sand beaches and palm trees.
Tonight we're eating at the Cotton House, an 18th-century cotton warehouse that has been painstakingly converted to a restaurant and hotel. The highlights of our gourmet meal include the fried seafood served in a brown paper bag and prosciutto sliced in the dinning room on a spotless, antique hand-cranked Italian meat slicer.

Although our first meal of the trip is in a high-end restaurant, most of the time we cook and eat on the boat. Life on a 46-foot sailboat may sound like a dream holiday, and for the most part it is. But there's work to be done, too.

When we're under sail, each of us has a job. Since I'm usually feeling a bit off during our crossings, my job is to cook for the family at anchor. Funny that the person with the most sensitive stomach is in charge of looking after everyone else's. The others are responsible for duties like closing hatches, managing lines and raising the anchor

Water is also a concern. We start the trip with 900 litres of fresh water and use it sparingly so we don't run out. Basically, each of us can use about 15 litres of water per day. In 10 days, I had one shower with soap -- on land, not on the boat.

Ten days and one shower might sound a bit scary, but we swim at least three or four times a day. After a swim, we stand on a dive platform on the stern of the boat and hose the saltwater off with a little fresh water. Very refreshing. I'm discovering that life on a sailboat is like camping with bed sheets and running water, except the campground never stops moving.

After our big night out at the Cotton House, we are all tucked into our private berths as the boat rocks back and forth. In the middle of the night, Phil and the rest of the family are suddenly all up yelling and screaming in the kitchen. Something is going very wrong. From the sounds of the calamity, it seems we've been boarded by a robber.

I jump up and discover the unwanted visitors are six or seven small bats flying wildly around the kitchen. The bats flew down the open companionway hatch and are feasting on bananas left on the counter. We clean up the banana shrapnel scattered over the highly varnished teak kitchen and try to get a couple more hours of sleep before we head off in the morning to our next island.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines is one of the few nations that doesn't have a military. You can see why as we arrive in Mayreau, a two-hour sail from Mustique. Mayreau defines the term "laid back" -- no police, 500 metres of paved road and about 300 residents.

The crossing to Mayreau is delightful so I'm starting to think my initial seasickness is behind me.

Tonight for supper we go to the Robert Righteous and 'de Youth Seafood Restaurant and Bar, a slap-dash eatery covered in hundreds of tattered posters of Mario Lemieux, the band Toto, Bob Marley and many more. Owner Robert Righteous has a booming voice and working-class hands.

Robert was born on Mayreau and worked on a shrimp boat for a few years: that explains the hands. He acquired the land to build the restaurant after he squatted on it until the government said he could just keep it.

As Robert works the room he says, "After five years of squatting, I told the government I was providing some work for the locals, so they sent a survey crew to look at the land and said I could keep it."

Robert and his kids ('de youth') run the restaurant. One of his boys is leaving the next morning to serve in the British military. There's a big party going on that has spilled into the street ... free beer and food for everyone!

The specialty of the house is rich and delicious conch fritters -- think escargot on steroids. Conch fritters are made from meat cut out of the huge conch shells found all over the Caribbean.
From Mayreau, we head to Union Island. The main city on Union is Clifton, from where we see car traffic for the first time since we left St. Vincent.

Many of the shops cater to foreign sailors looking to stock up on supplies. Frozen ricotta and mushroom metzaluna pasta, Camembert and calamata olives are available.

The most unusual restaurant and bar in the Grenadines is on a small fabricated "island" in Clifton Harbour, Union's main port. This is Happy Island and its owner and builder is Janti Ramaj.
"I built Happy Island," he says, leaning on his bar, "because I'm full of magic. I added lots of shells on top of a reef and then used cement to hold the whole thing together." He also added sand, planted some palm trees and built a little dwelling.
Happy Island is about the size of a four-car garage and it takes about 11 seconds to walk across, which means his project is probably the smallest land reclamation project in the world. Like Robert, he squatted on his Happy Island until the government said he could stay.

Janti smiles and says, "I have a good relationship with the government and I use solar power so I'm a model for sustainability."

Mass tourism would likely drive out small operators like Robert and Janti. Unlike almost every other country in the Caribbean, however, mass tourism is not king in the Grenadines. That's mostly because the islands are accessible only by smaller boats and aircraft; S.V.G. doesn't have an airport that can handle big jets, either.

As a result, small, locally owned hotels and restaurants abound, instead of the mega-resorts seen in places like Jamaica and Barbados. The Grenadines' most spectacular islands don't have a single hotel or restaurant.

The Tobago Cays is a national marine park made up of five small islands. The park's formula to preserve the area's coral reefs and marine life is simple: no development. Zero.

Once our anchor is firmly set in the soft white sand, we jump off the boat for our first snorkel in the cays. We're all hoping to catch a glimpse of a sea turtle and can't believe our luck when we see one on our first swim. A Hawksbill about the size of a stovetop is eating short blades of sea grass just three metres below us.

We thought how lucky we were to see a turtle the first time out, but discover that turtles are so common in the park it's almost impossible to go snorkelling and not see one.

On our last day we make a beeline from Bequia to St. Vincent. The boat is due back at the charter company by noon. S.V.G. and the West Indies region is famous for the trade winds that seem to never stop blowing (even at night!). That's why it's so popular with sailors.

The wind is blowing and I'm seasick again, this time even worse than 10 days ago. It's only the second time I'm seasick on the trip -- once at the start of the trip and now again at the end. Barfy bookends, but I'm happy to go through a little hell to get a lot of heaven ... and it's not a Friday.

IF YOU GO:

- Chartering a sailboat: Chartering a boat in S.V.G. costs around $3,500 per week. We used Barefoot Yacht Charters www.barefootyachts.com. If you don't know how to sail or don't have a friend or brother-in-law with an extensive sailing resume, you'll have to pay for a captain at $120 per day.

- Getting there: Air Canada flies to the Barbados via Toronto. From Barbados, the 45-minute flight to St. Vincent on a twin propeller Dash 8 that seats about 40 people is operated by LIAT Airlines and costs about $50 one-way. If you want an authentic meal while you wait for your flight to St. Vincent, you wouldn't find one at the airport. There's a funky rum shack right across the street from the airport that serves local specialties like macaroni pie and fried flying fish.

- Visas: Canadian citizens with valid passports are issued tourist visas at the St. Vincent airport.

- What not to wear: It is illegal to wear or import camouflage clothing in S.V.G. .

- Money: S.V.G. uses the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC) which is fixed to the U.S. dollar at a rate of $2.68 EC for one U.S. dollar. U.S. and Canadian dollars are also excepted at many businesses. Hotel and restaurant costs are about the same as in Canada.

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Volcano Hike


For an unusually complete record of climbing Mt. Soufrier, see Chris Snow's Flickr page at
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ctsnow/


Bequia

Bequia is one of the islands of St Vincent and the Grenadines, which is an independent country, west of Barbados and south of St Lucia. It is the northernmost of the Grenadines, a chain of islands stretching from St Vincent on the north to Grenada on the south.

It is a small island of five miles long and half a mile wide in size and the population of about 6,000. The population is mainly of African origin with some European and British ethnic groups.

The island is heaven for those seeking peace and quiet away from the rush of the big cities and the stress of their professions. Here life is relaxed and moves to a slow pace. You can walk the island by foot or hire one of the taxis with their friendly drivers that will satisfy any of your requests, always with a smile. The exotic beaches have attracted the Rich and Famous for many years.

Over the years the island has been in dispute between the French and the English, but for many years it was ruled by Great Britain. English is the official language, although the local dialect is sometime hard to understand the first time, until you get used to it.

Being so secluded makes it a little difficult to get there. There are many ways to reach Bequia.

By ferry: It's a short ride of about nine miles from the big island of St Vincent. The ferry will depart from the capital Kingstown.

By air: There are direct flights from Barbados that arrive to J.F. Mitchell airport.

Many tourists coming from all over the world arrive to the bigger Caribbean Islands like Puerto Rico, Martinique or Barbados Island and find their way through St Vincent to Bequia.

Bequia is a dream for many tourists coming from northern countries. The island is fully surrounded by white sand beaches, not crowded at all, with green hillsides and attractive villages.

There are many hotels and guest houses and here you can either mingle with other people or find total solitude.
Either you want total relaxation or you want to enjoy the most beautiful waters in the world for all kind of water sports like snorkeling, diving or sailing.

If you want to see some luxury yachts, go to the natural Harbour of Admiralty Bay. Some of the world's most beautiful yachts anchor there.

If you stay at a luxury villa or in any of the resorts, or in a more modest hotel or guest house, your tropical vacations in Bequia in St Vincent and the Grenadines will be a guaranteed success. It will be a difficult task to pack and leave.

Eddy Tuchman loves to share his Caribbean travel tips on his website le-caribbean-islands.com