Our version of history will soon be collected and documented – Mitchell
WHILE A “biased” history of SVG is still being taught in schools, our version of events will soon be collected from those who have dedicated their lives to preserving the country’s history.
Member of the St Vincent and the Grenadines National Trust Louise Mitchell-Joseph made the point about “biased” history still being taught in schools while she was delivering remarks at a ceremony to honour former member of the Trust, Baisden, held last Friday, Mach 6, and hosted by the National Trust at the Curator’s House in the Botanic Gardens.
Baisden has dedicated 51 years to preserving the history and heritage of St Vincent and the Grenadines, and was mentored by the late Dr Ian Ayrton Earle Kirby.
“It was always just amazing to me how much Mr Baisden knows and my only regret is that not enough of this has been documented,” Mitchell- Joseph stated.
As an example of the distortion in the history being taught in the schools, versus what individuals such as Baisden know, Mitchell-Joseph recalled a particular scenario involving students of the Sugar Mill Academy.
While Baisden, then a trustee, was giving the students a lecture on the history of the Amerindians, one of the teachers wanted to find out when the “Caribs” arrived in SVG.
The trustee recalled that Baisden had to correct the teacher, informing “There’s no such thing as Caribs.”
“The word ‘Carib’ is a derogatory word that should not be taught, should not be repeated and there are better words and more appropriate words that should be used,” Mitchell-Joseph explained.
Therefore, she sent out an appeal, particularly to the Government, which was represented by Minister of Tourism, Sports and Culture Cecil McKie, so that someone in authority at the Ministry of Education may sit with Baisden to find out what his version of the history is.
“There is a version of history that is still being taught in our schools which is completely biased by our colonial writers of history,” she reiterated, adding, “Our true history still is not being taught in our schools.”
She noted that the history that persons such as Baisden know, is the right one, and it is still not translated into the Curriculum.
“While we have treasures like Mr Morrison Baisden still with us. I appeal to the Government, I appeal to every one of you students here, find some time, if Mr Baisden would have you, and sit down with him, and ask him to tell the true history of St Vincent so that a more authentic history is developed for our students and for our identity as a whole,” she noted, also addressing the Secondary School students present at the event.
Speaking before handing over the award, Minister McKie acknowledged that one of the areas the state has fallen short on “across all aspects of life” in SVG is capturing the history.
He commented that the notion is that history is not a “sexy subject”, and therefore, “you have not as many historians as we should have in a developing country.”
However, aware of this shortcoming, in the year of the 40th anniversary of Independence, the Government has identified four Vincentians, — Dr Adrian Fraser, Dr Arnold Thomas, Dr Garrey Dennie and Dr Cleve Scott — and they have been tasked with the responsibility of capturing the history of St Vincent and the Grenadines, McKie said.
“They’ve indicated that they will do so in two series (volumes), and I’m absolutely sure, to satisfy the concern of Mrs Joseph that they will sitting with Mr Baisden to get an account as he sees it, as he experienced it, and he understands it,” he assured.