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Bringing dignity to master Black Fish

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Two weeks ago, when ah was leaving de “Everything Vincy Expo” someone asked me if ah had sampled de original flavoured “Punch de Crème.” Actually ah did not, and ah must add-myth, wid apologies, dat in my last minute haste to cover de Expo on de final night, ah missed a number of exciting displays, including de Barrouallie Technical Institute (BTI) Students Booth dat presented some very interesting items, like Cucumber Cookies, Spicey Pumpkin Cookie Sandwich, Rosemary Shortbread, Stimulating Ginger Hair Oil, Coconut and original flavoured ‘Punch de Crème’. Doc Fraser Sr., whose middle name is Black Fish, will eat his heart out when he hears dey also had: “Stripped Dry Black Fish and packaged Blackfish Crisps!”

My attend-shun was drawn again to dis same Booth when ah read ah lovely letter “Thank You, Invest SVG” in de Searchlight, written by Mrs Pearlette Primus-Hannaway, Principal of Barrouallie Technical Institute (BTI), in which she gave Kudos to eight past Trainees of the BTI who, upon de invitation of Invest SVG, made it big at “Everything Vincy Expo.” Five of de students are in de Commercial Food Preparation Level 1 Program, and three in de Garment Production Program. And dey are all proud students of de BTI’s Small Business Program, an initiative of de Centre for Enterprise Development (CED). Ah remember when Lewis was struggling to get dat CED program off de ground.

“Stripped Dry Black Fish and Packaged Black Fish Crisps.” So good to hear dat our youths taking de initiative in ah project to Dignify and Enhance de presentation of our aged ole Indigenous Black Fish meat. About ah month ago ah think ah heard somebody from de Go-venem-mint side say dat Jah-pan will be modern-I-sing de Black Fish Industry at Bagga. Anytime ah hear dat Far-rainers coming to help us in something dat we could do foh weself, ah does get suspicious, and ah does ask me-self who coming to help who, we or dem? Man ah would prefer Jah-pan help we wid anything else, but not Black Fish or anything dat is family to Whale. Ah say no more on dat! Why can’t we involve de Credit Unions into de Commercial Food Preparation Program at de Barrouallie Technical Institute; help dem Youths to improve on de processing and marketing of de Black Fish? As Lie-Za keep saying, every good thing we are blessed to have, our Go-venom-mints handing it over in ah platter to so-called far-rain Infestors.

However, toda,y Fry-dey, November 16th, de same set ah students of de Barrouallie Technical Institute, coming back to town to host dey own Exhibition in front Flow’s Office. Dis is an opportunity foh those ah we who didn’t see dey stall at de “Everything Vincy Expo” to pass-buy, yes pass and buy! Support de Youths.

DEM PEOPLE WHO DOH BOAST

At ah time when we are in need of our best nay-shun builders, we have said good-bye to Ken Minors. He was ah trusted Engineer/Businessman with integrity and dignity. Ah like to remember people foh de lickle things dey do widout looking foh material rewards. Back in 1991, during de early days of de Revival of de Nine Mornings Festivities; every lickle contribution was treasured. It was basically street concerts comprising impromptu performances (Patches, Muddy, Lance et al) held outside de Venezuelan Embassy, opposite de Carnegie Library Building on Back Street. Artistes simply turned up and did dey stuff foh free. We had no stage, no Christmas lights, no sound system. Dat first year we did not ask anyone for help, except de Venezuelan Embassy, who gave us/dem El Grupo Amistad, permission to perform in front de Embassy. One late afternoon ah noticed some wukers erecting a structure where we usually performed. Ah truck was parked along de side-walk wid a team of carpenters, On de ground was pieces ah timber and plywood sheets. De senior worker informed me dat Mr Minors had sent him to build a stage for us. In two hours de stage was finished, Stage completed, de workmen went next door to Reigate (now de Bank of St Vincent site) where Ken operated ah Night Spot. Dey did some electrical work, running wires wid large coloured lights on ah bulb-shaped tree on de Reigate compound; and instantly, like magic, de dark looking, Weeping Willow Tree turned into ah well lit Christmas Tree.

At 4 a.m next morning, we were on ah stage looking down on de crowd. Now dey’s always ah good woman next to ah successful husband; Ken’s wife Wendy, who was manager of Fed Ex, refused to be left out; she gave us ah Fed Ex sponsorship of $500, which was good money in dem days. So next month when yuh see all dem lickle children participating at Nine Morning Street Concerts thru-out SVG, remember Ken Minors was dey from de beginning.

Yes, dat Lie-Za asking me if ah ain’t hear dat ah Caravan ah Satan saints heading across to Heaven, so St Peter has recruited Ken as one ah de Engineers to build ah Done-all-Trump wall around Heaven. Dat Lie-Za! And wid dat is gone ah gone again.

One Love Bassy

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

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