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Vincentians mark Indian Heritage Day

Vincentians mark Indian Heritage Day

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People of East Indian descent in St.Vincent and the Grenadines have been urged by President of the Indian Heritage Foundation Dr. Junior Bacchus to remain steadfast in their patriotism as they strive to honour their ancestors.{{more}}

Indian Heritage Day was celebrated this year on Sunday, October 12, 2008. It was marked with a drive from Kingstown to Corner Rock at Argyle, followed by a rally.

On October 7, 1892, some 126 years ago, some Indians who worked on the Argyle Estate, in a mark of protest of the conditions under which they worked, marched to Kingstown and were arrested by the authorities in the process.

“Our foreparents came all the way from India, but we must always remember that we were born and bred in St.Vincent and the Grenadines and that makes us Vincentians. We are Vincentians of Indian ancestry and origin,” said Bacchus.

The Indian Heritage Foundation was established on August 6, 2005, at Indian Bay, at the home of Osley Baptiste. The Foundation then held discussions with the government and out of these discussions the Government declared October 7th Indian Heritage Day.

“In my mind, this is a great recognition bestowed upon the people of Indian Heritage, and as such we must thank the government most whole heartedly,” said Bacchus.

He also used the opportunity to thank Minister of Culture René Baptiste who he said has been unwavering in her support. He said that he would be delighted if Osley Baptiste, one of their elders who played an instrumental role in forming the foundation, could be recognised as its founder.

Dr. Bacchus urged the persons in attendance to also think of a brighter future for our nation and not only for the Indian community.

Burton Williams, a former Government Minister in the New Democratic Party Administration who once represented South Windward, a constituency with a large concentration of Indians, congratulated all the persons who have played a role in making the event a reality while giving greetings to the Indian community.

“If we don’t understand and appreciate the past, it is more difficult to chart the way forward,” said Williams.

“I drove into town because I intended to join the motorcade from Kingstown to come here. As I was coming back out, I saw a number of Indians driving into Kingstown and my first reaction was that it is a little bit ungrateful and disappointing on their part that there were persons of Indian Heritage who are commemorating a significant milestone in the lives of Indians in St.Vincent and the Grenadines and there were persons who could not care less,” said Williams, who said his grandfather is an Indian and his mother an half Indian.

The event culminated with persons enjoying Indian food and a reminder that in 2011, the Indian community will be celebrating Indian Arrival Day, marking 150 years of Indians in St.Vincent and the Grenadines. (HN)