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Full marks foh de Ashton assembly

Full marks foh de Ashton assembly


Ah visit by me to Union Island was overdue, and so ah grasped de opportunity to accompany Pastor Isaacs in response to an invitation from de members ah de Gospel Hall Church at Ashton to attend de dedication of dey new Temple at Ashton. Bright and early Tuesday morning ah was on de first flight; Ah does feel uncomfortable whenever ah ha to fly pon dem small plane, so much so, dem children foh me does join wid dey mother when she say “ yuh father fraid plane!” On dis particular flight one ah de pilot was ah female; but to be honest is de nicest flight ah ever had pon one ah dem small plane to de Grenadines {{more}}

Fuss to begin wid, ah recommending dat dey name de Union Island Airport after King Mitchell now 99 years, and healthy in body and mind. Should he mek de 100 on August 31, dah will be de next biggest celebrations on Union Island! Cappen King is ah statesman who served Union Island and mainland SVG well, as boat owner and captain of no less dan nine boats including Princess Louise and Flanders, ah businessman still running Hotel and Hardware Store. Ah got to see my good Unionite friends, Adina and her daughter, Lorna still dey to receive yuh at de lickle Airport Bar. Lambi, de mayor, still flam-buoyant, lively but unhappy. We didn’t get to talk much, but he hinted dat in all his days in de tour-is-him business, tings have never been so bad. Better days are coming Lambi boy.


We arrived at de church in Ashton at 1:00 p.m on de dot. Ah half hour late start, but no fault ah de organizers, dey were ready. De Temple is ah beautiful structure, designed by Architect, Moulton Mayers.

De ground floor is de main assembly area, lots ah space, ah serious challenge awaits de members to fill those benches wid new converts. Dey’s an office and washrooms. Upstairs contains a two bedroom apartment for guests.

Resident Pastor, Leroy Thomas did ah good job ‘cheering’ de Dedication Service in true traditional Gospel Hall style, ley me put it de young people way, dey not firey, but dey solemn. Lickle ten year ole Timothy Gellizeau, really delivered in his two piece dark coloured suit, as he tackled de Scripture Lesson from Second Kings, good diction, clear and fluent. Next was ah comprehensive report on de project presented by Bro. Gellizeau. He did not only account for de $376,000 spent to date, but took us down memory lane wid de Gospel Hall movement in Union Island from 1920. We learned dat in 1828, under de leadership of ah Brother Pelican – Airport or not back den, ah guess wid dat name he flew into Union Island – dey erected de original church on lands donated by Marta Joseph and Evan Stewart. It was ah timber structure from Canada. But after seventy-five years, de timber walls and ceiling had become over-subscribed wid termites and in 2003, de members opted for ah completely new building. De project was completed in ten years, record time considering de size of de project and de small membership. Dey obviously went on an aggressive fund raising exercise, wid donations, some ah dem hefty, coming from all quarters including ah sister church in Scarborough, Ireland. Self help played ah significant role and nuff kudos went up foh de Sisters wid regular Bar-B-Q and umpteen cake sales, cakes reaching as far as Grenada, Mustique and mainland St. Vincent.


Den it was de turn ah de visitors to deliver greetings. Of course dis is de moment way de Politicians does mek dey bidding foh de next elect-shun. De Hon. Terrance Olliverre and his archrival in politics, Edwin Snagg sat up front side by side, next to de Altar; dey couldn’t find ah better place to seat dem, den dey gave dem one Song Book to sing from, yuh should ah see both men looking jittery, hoping to avoid another Kodax Moment. My Union Island version of Lie-Za tells me is like dey does tag each other at every function, pull-it-tek-all twins, if yuh see Snaggy, look out foh Terry. How Snaggy was dey in ah corner hiding when de Cameraman zoomed on Terry on de dance floor letting off some steam during de Easterval Fete. Interestingly both men made significant contribution in dey tributes, sending out challenges to de Church to play its part in de restoration of Law’n’Order within de society dat has lost its moral fibre. Snaggy made good humor of de fact dat he and Terry were not only sitting together in church, but singing from de same song sheet. “And dis is how it ought to be” he said. Dey was one hitch maybe foh good reason, dey had to shorten de time allotted to de two Guest Preachers, Pastor Theo Cato of Carriacou /USA, and Pastor Fred Coplan of Ireland. Both speakers however, revisited de challenges awaiting de members of de Assembly; cheerman/Pastor Thomas summed it up nicely “we must enhance dis beautiful Temple wid beautiful behavioural pattern.” Den ah had to catch me 5:00 p.m. flight; so ah missed de items by de ladies choir, smartly dress-up in dey new uniforms just for de occasion. And ah miss ah very important part ah de function, de Love Feast: Mutton! Pork! Fish! May de Lord richly bless de efforts ah de folks in Ashton. Ah must go back.

And wid dat is gone ah gone again.

One Love Bassy

Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.