The British should fund the development of Chatoyer National Park – Daniel
Now that the Rabacca National Park has been renamed the Chatoyer National Park, who better to fund its future development than the British?
This is the view of Parliamentary Representative for North Windward, Montgomery Daniel. He made the suggestion while speaking at Rabacca on Emancipation Day (August 1), at a ceremony which was held to rename the park.
Daniel, also the Minister of Housing, Informal Human Settlements, Physical Planning and Lands, said that the government’s overall dream for the facility needs $13.5 million in funding.
“Prime Minister, I want to seek leave of asking that we ask the British government to fund the establishment of this national park, together with a five-year operational cost… a total of some $18.5 million,” Daniel commented during his presentation last Wednesday.
“I do so, Prime Minister, understanding that as part of the reparatory justice for the Garifuna people, that this country seeks from the British those sums of monies for this development.”
“I recall the massacre, the inhumane treatment meted out to the indigenous people of this country, and I think that it is just, right and proper for the British government to finance this process,” Daniel further stated, adding, “I believe this worthwhile call for such compensation will make the wrong, right. I make that plea and I make that call.”
The Minister said that while the area is still far from what it is supposed to be, it is already very scenic, with a great ambiance that is gratifying.
“I am proud to be a part of this historic transformative project…for those of us who are descendants of the indigenous peoples of this country, I say thanks to the government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for this noble cause. Today we are proud, long live the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, long live the indigenous people of this blessed land, Hairouna, long live all of us,” said Daniel, noting that in the past, the park has attracted many persons and will attract many more in the future.
In response, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said that he has long called for reparatory justice. He said that while the British killed Chatoyer, we must not adapt the attitude that we want nothing to do with the British, as history ties us together.
The PM said that our legacy is positive, but also has negative dimensions, as we have a legacy of underdevelopment which can be traced to African slavery and to the British stealing the lands of the indigenous Kalinago and Garifuna peoples and carrying out native genocide.
“And from that colonialism, from that exploitation, from genocide, from the theft of the lands and from African slavery, we have, after all those centuries still the legacy of underdevelopment,” said the PM.
He noted that legacy of underdevelopment must be repaid, and that is why the administration of the Unity Labour Party (ULP) has taken the lead in asking CARICOM to the ask the Europeans for reparations.
Dr Gonsalves said that the reparations are not to put money in the pockets of individuals, but to address the legacy of underdevelopment to make the lives of people in the region better.
Plans for the Chatoyer National Park include, leaving part of the facility open to national activities, while the western end (currently occupied by BRAGSA) will be a replica of the Botanic Gardens. There is also a plan to cultivate various plants including, sea grapes and fat pork (Chrysobalanus icaco). Footpaths are also to be built, and statues of Chatoyer and other distinguished individuals erected. A playground for children is also in the plans.