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A Library, Hall of Peace a Cenotaph, Euphemism?

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21.JUL.06

EDITOR: Nothing, absolutely nothing, would have been achieved until the people of this country acquire the necessary human capacity to establish in our minds the thinking of those in whom our civilisation is to be entrusted, as a prerequisite to ultimate decision(s) that can negatively change the course of events (socially and otherwise) which determine our destiny.

To fully grasp what is contained herein, many aspects of a mature Vincentian’s developed mind has to take its rightful place. Included in all that is the ability to laugh in a somewhat scornful way at the dumb and horrible irreparable damage our ethnic kin has wittingly or unwittingly participated in.{{more}}

It should not be necessary to remind Vincentians whom we have identified as educated and respectable that our tomorrows are only possible when there is a base on which to stand. It is from this perspective that the administrative life of the New Democratic Party (NDP) 1984 to 2000 needs to be very seriously reviewed in three areas (mindful that the Vincentian thing is to target the political leader. In this case it is the founder and then Prime Minister James F. Mitchell.) To do that is to allow to go unscathed the fact that in the government of the day there were lawyers, educators, and other professionals, our very own kit-and-kin.

A library (Carnegie), Peace Memorial Hall and the Cenotaph are the ones under review. In the case of the Carnegie library:

NB: “Carnegie then retired from business and devoted himself to the work of providing capital for social and educational advancement. Among these activities the provision of public libraries in the United States and Great Britain (and similarly in other English-speaking countries) was especially prominent; his method was to – build and equip, but on condition that the local authority provided site and maintenance.”

Build and equip on the part of Carnegie Foundation. Provide site (land) and maintenance on the part of the local authority. In 1906 the local authority (The Kingstown Town Board) duly elected by the people of Kingstown, received favourable response from the Carnegie Foundation to build The Library. In 1907, local authorities received a cheque of £2,000 sterling (E C$9,600) from the Carnegie Foundation. Construction then started and was completed and opened in February 1909.

Many chapters could and would be written in relation to the role our black brothers and sisters played in that Mitchell led NDP Government. Equally blame worthy are our historians. “Not a drum – was heard – not a funeral note.”

Peace Memorial Hall – After World War II (1939-1945), Vincentian women got permission from the authority for the site. They then proceeded to raise monies. That building suffered the same fate as did the library. Closed and allowed to rot.

It is note-worthy that the Peace Memorial Hall was built in memory of Vincentians who served in World Wars I and II and paid with their lives. One would have thought that the NDP government dominated by our ethnic stock would have had the basic civilization of respect preserved.

The Cenotaph – There was once seven of us, the simple reason is that the name ‘Nathaniel Quammie’ is not inscribed thereon; the names that are or were Vincentians who paid the ultimate price in World War I. “Desecration”: and nothing else is the only word to describe the removal of the cenotaph. Regardless of what DOG-TAGS the Mitchell-led government choose to place on the construction of that building which spans the entire width of Back Street to Bay Street, our erstwhile brothers and sisters need to know that they have robbed us of our right to choose. To say nothing of the knowledge of our History.

Stanley M. Quammie

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