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Vincentian writer documents ‘Union Island – the Caribbean Paradise then and now’

Vincentian writer documents ‘Union Island – the Caribbean Paradise then and now’

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Vincentian Josiah Stewart is aiming to fill what he thinks is a serious void, and has put pen to paper to make sure that the history of his place of birth is recorded.{{more}}

Stewart, who hails from the Grenadine island of Union, said that at a very early age, he realised that there was not much written about the history of Union Island; hence he set out to correct this.

And, last Sunday at a book signing at Café Omar on Nostrand Avenue, in Brooklyn, New York, Stewart launched his publication: “Union Island Caribbean Paradise Then and Now,” detailing the history of the island from 1970 to the prsent.

The Vincentian national, who left the shores of Union Island, at only three months old, with his parents, for the neighbouring twin island republic of Trinidad and Tobago, said when he returned at the age of six years, it was then that the idea of the book, albeit unplanned, came to him.

“…That very day I went back to Union Island, they took me to visit my great grandmother. I was there and I had my hand on my head and she told me to take my hand off my head, [asking] if I wanted to kill my mother. I didn’t understand what she was saying. Then she also spoke about a slave who was buried alive in Union Island and how despite the slave saying he wasn’t dead, they still buried him and as I listened, I began thinking,” Stewart recollected.

Committed to ensuring that his dream became a reality, Stewart began, four years ago, to carry out extensive research, cross references and interviews with some of the older people who live on Union Island.

This meant that he had to travel back to Union Island on a number of occasions.

However, work on the publication had to be put on hold for two years, as he pursued a course as a surgical technologist – his current profession.

Stewart would very much like to see his book used in school as part of the curriculum, and in pursuance of this, he has already written to the Ministry of Education.

He thinks that unlike when he was in school on the island, learning about England, Drake and Christopher Columbus, students “need to know the history of the country and keep it alive.”

Stewart noted that thus far, he has received positive reviews of his efforts and has planned “to make the book stronger.”

The son of Sheila and the late Garfield Stewart, Josiah plans to have a revised version of his book in January 2015, where he will add “people’s analysis” and other updates.

Presently working on his second book, the author, who likes to read, plans to continue to further promote his first publication, by having launches in Canada, Washington and other states in the USA.

The book is available in SVG at Jujube and Gaymes Bookstores, online at unionislandbooks.com and on Amazon.

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