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Diamonites Community celebrates Heroes’ Day

Diamonites Community  celebrates Heroes’ Day

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On Saturday, March 12, the Diamond Community celebrated National Heroes’ Day with the Diamonites Community Organisation’s Annual Heroes’ Rally and Sensitization, themed “Embracing our History Reclaiming our Past.”{{more}}

The community gathered in Earlene’s Square to pay tribute to community builders and local heroes who have led to the advancement of the village through their dedication to the fields of education, sports, agriculture, health, and community development. Diamond Village celebrated the arts and culture of St. Vincent by watching performances by the Lowman’s Steel Pan Band, Sandy Bay Chatoyer Dancers, Diamond Government School, and Diamonites. The community organisation also sought to educate the public on the history and culture of the village with an exhibition.

The community awarded local leaders: Otto Sam, Gregory Matthias, Simeon Greene, Merla Ince, Keturah Horne and Bevlian Horne. Otto Sam was honored in the field of education for his years of commitment to the teaching profession and to literacy of the community, specifically the development of adult evening literacy classes. Gregory Matthias was honored for his commitment to sports. As the only trained football coach in the village, he has provided training to the local team and assisted in the development of the Diamond playing field. Simeon Greene, commonly referred to as Green-O, helped in the development of the Farmers’ National Union, which is today known as Windward Islands Farmers Association (WINFA). He has also assisted as a consultant for WINFA and the Fair Trade Banana Farmers, providing assistance in the growth of the farming industry. Merla Ince was recognized for her dedication to the field of health as a local nurse and caretaker of the community. She has stayed up late to assist in house calls and provide first aid assistance to local youth. Keturah Horne, or Ket, was honored in the area of community development for her work in the development of community-based organizations Diamonites, Rural Transformation Collective and the Walter Rodney Centre. She understands the importance of including women and education in development and worked to establish a sector of the Rural Transformation Unit that focused on development projects for women and helped in the establishment of the community library and literacy programs. Bevlian Horne, referred to as Aunty B, was honored in the field of community development for her commitment to early childhood development, specifically the establishment of a Diamond Village pre-school. These leaders have worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the members of the village and their larger Vincentian population.

The Lowmans Steel Pan Band brought the community together with the national anthem and pop songs. The community also learned a thing or two about Carib traditional dances by the performance from the Sandy Bay Chatoyer Dancers. The community also helped bring back traditional folk songs by the elementary school’s performance of Mack May and the Diamonites performances of Gypsy in the Moonlight and the song Moonlight. The student, Jadeka Williams, recreated the legendary Mack May with her straw hat, basket, and wardrobe.

The culture and arts exhibit featured information on the lifestyle of Vincentians at the turn of the century and the recent activism and development of the 1970s-1990s. The exhibit included traditional pieces, including the mortar and pestle, used for crushing and grinding, the easel chair, goblet and bath basin. The village also saw some of the traditional bush medicines and teas that were used to cure colds. Children learned the traditional games of top and how to use coconut vine to jump skipping rope to the tune hugsie.

The event brought the community together to celebrate the accomplishments of the past and set a clear vision for the future. On March 14, the people of St. Vincent celebrated National Heroes’ Day. The commitment that Joseph Chatoyer showed to his people in the battle against the British colonial government has served and continues to serve as a model for Vincentians. As we examine the progressive past of Diamond Village, we recognize that the same commitment and drive for independence, culture, and development is still alive.