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Prayers not praise foh Rabacca Bridge


Rabbacca Dry River will be all fire-works next When-is-day as a Bridge that was donated and constructed in the river-bed by de Tie-one-knees will be officially opened. So much pull-it-tek-all buy-play surrounds dis Bridge dat it meks me wonder if we doing it right. Yes we remain indebted to de donors and all who mek dis long over-due monument ah reality, but why all ah dis fan-fear, motorcade stretching from Kingstown to Rabbacca, declaring ah national half hollow-day to mek sure every Vincentian turns out to mek dis occasion de largest single gathering ever in de country’s his-story. Shouldn’t we be ah lickle more reverend about de whole exercise, shouldn’t we be placing more emphasis on securing from de Lord ah Blessing and Protection for de Bridge? After all Rabbacca has ah history of unpredictable bad behave-yah, ah legacy of overflowing banks, looting and ravaging everything in its path, animals, trees, trucks as it generates momentum from high up in de mountain down to de sea, {{more}}

Years ago before ah ever dream to cross de Rabbacca, de late Charles Joyette, ah pure-blooded Carib who was born above de Rabbacca, evacuated as ah kid and came to town during de 1902 eruption. He took to his trade early and later became one of PWD’s master-builders in de 1930’s and 1940’s, retired as Foreman of the PWD Carpentry Shop. In our village he was held in high esteem by all, de adults called him “Skipper Jew” and we de lickle ones affectionately called him “Pappy”! Pappy uses to tell us ah lot ah ole time stories about his Carib Ancestry. One Nancy Story night he told of his personal experience of the eruption of de La Soufrere in 1902. De Volcano was acting up foh days and as ah precaution, his father instructed his mom to take him and his brother down to town, dis dey did on foot. When de Volcano was less turbulent dey went back up to Sandy Bay. He recalled having to evacuate ah second time and den going back up. On de third occasion de Volcano was erupting foh real; by de time his parents decided to evacuate, small (flaming) stones and hot ash were raining down, dey had to use de dining table to shelter de falling debris, head foh de beach and catch ah Canoe and head out to sea. But at Rabbacca it was ah sad sight, de majority of the Carib community was trapped at de edge of de River where de water was flowing much too heavily to cross and de temperature had already risen above boiling point. Dey were too late.

After some massive explosions Larva started flowing down de River making it totally impossible foh anyone to escape, and hundreds of our Native sons and daughters perished above de Rabbacca! Later in life when ah worked as ah Surveyor on de Orange Hill Estate, ah came across ah tomb with ah list of names of one of de noble families on de estate who were having supper at de time of de eruption and dey all perished around de dining table.

Dis is ah good human interest project and ah feel glad foh de folks living above de Dry River, hopefully dey will now be able to cross de D-red River whenever it comes down. However my personal experience with Rabbacca, and stories I have heard about its ruthlessness leave me with ah bit ah reservations, ah hope de Bridge will withstand de tests when ever… And maybe rather dan making de occasion ah Carnival like festivity, we should commit de Bridge to de mercies of de Almighty. Let there be more Prayers and less (self) Praise on When-is-day!


Ah met de good lady Mother Enda de Nun, de legend. She was at St Mary’s Tea and she walked up to me with her fist folded – dat fist is as big as any man’s, no wonder her licks were so hot – den she said to me with her Irish accent: “Where do you want this punch”?! She smiled and gave me ah big hug and ah gentle kiss on my cheek. She looks like Agnes Cato twin sister. In our lickle chit-chat, she wants no publicity but described her stint from 1941 when de school opened as very challenging, but she will do it all over if she had to. She wants to see as many of her former students who are around, she remembers de very bad boys and de very good students “and there were some bad girls among the bunch” she interjected. She fondly recalls names like Jus Edwards, Molly Arthur, Owen Joyette (deceased) Horace Lewis, Ralph Clarke, de Bibby Boys, Ah say she say she remembers de very good and de very bad ones, she didn’t say which is which, your guess is as good as mine. At ah Concert held to commemorate de 200 Anniversary of de Sisters of Cluny, de MC jokingly announced dat Sis Ivy was leaving and dey wanted Sis Enda to return as Principal, de whole church went in an uproar as she jumped from her seat, threw both hands in de air like how Lara did when he broke de world record. She is lots ah fun, so all yuh past students go and look foh all yuh head-teacher, ah shouldn’t tell all yuh dis, but ah did hear she say she still has her ole leather strap and she got some licks dat is outstanding foh ah few guys.

Buy de way, ah got me-self ah copy of Sir James’ latest book his autobiography. Ah real masterpiece, ah will comment on it later. And wid dat ah gone again.

One Love Bassy