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Are Yuuh sure Mr Peter Williams

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In 1776, Land Surveyor, John Byres produce ah Map of SVG in which he sub-divided mainland St Vincent as well as each of de Grenadine islands into estates.

Ah had not seen dat Map since ah left de Surveys Department in 1981. Thanks to John Horne my classmate, ah was able to revisit dis precious historical document dat Byres produced, using de available tools den, dat would be regarded today as primitive surveying equipment. Byres did ah fantastic job.{{more}}

Ah feature on de map is de Carib Country, an area clearly demarcated foh Caribs on the northern side of the island. Basically the territory was limited on the south from de Byrea River mouth on de east coast, across de island to Wallibou/Richmond on the west coast. All lands north of this imaginary limit up to the Fancy, including de La Sue-Free Volcano was Carib Country. Up dey was like ah dumping ground. Desert sand from de smoking and rumbling La Sue-Free, shaking at times as if to remind de Caribs to behave demselves. There were about ah dozen estates dat include Grand Sable, Mt Bentick all de way up to Fancy. Needless to say dat Sugar was king, Rum and Molasses rained supreme. Even Bequia wid eight estates was producing close to six hundred thousand ponds ah sugar annually.

Nineteen years after Byre’s Map was registered, Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer was murdered in 1795; and in 1797, two years after, de Black Caribs were expelled from dey homeland. Seems like dat exodus of de Black Caribs had its effect on production levels as dey went into decline. Naturally estate owners were complaining. Ah came across a document wid startling production figures foh Sugar, Rum and Molasses foh the years 1827 to 1829 nearly 200 years ago. The Carib Estates dat totaled some 5,370 acres, worked by 3,020 slaves had de average annual production of five million pounds of Sugar, 18,000 gallons of Rum and 20,000 gallons of Molasses.

Just last week ah had de pleasure to visit Carib Country as far as Overland, but when ah reached near to de Tie-One-knees Agric Mission way ah could ah see La Sue-Free Volcano staring me straight in me face, ah swear ah heard ah rumbling like words coming from de mountain. De voice asked: “ Bassy way going on, time yuh say something!” Straight ah was looking foh de nearest toilet. De voice continued to explain dat foh years he sitting and watching way going on. In 1812 when he realized dat dey murdered Chatoyer and deported all de Black Caribs from dey homeland, his blood pressure went sky high and buss ah blood vessel. Dat devastation changed nothing, in fact de blatant exploitation of de Caribs got even worse, so he got Mt Pele in Martinique to team up wid him and blood vessels buss like balloon. Still de exploitation of de Caribs refused to cease, so in 1979 he bus another blood vessel and tun de place upside down.

But in 1984 Mitchell appeared, he rightfully cut up de estates and shared it all out to de people foh whom Chatoyer fought. “Lo and behold” de voice continued: “After 218 years, ah see Chatoyer picknee, de Garifuna reach back, who ain’t fighting against dem, insisting tug-o-war among dem.

“While dey all over de USA, Belize, Honduras, rather dan educate and equip demselves, get involved in modern technology to really and truly own de country, but not so, dey fighting among each other foh crumbs, while de Whiteman is back wid ah vengeance.” By den ah figured dat ah was visited by Chatoyer himself. He explained how dey push de Caribs back to meet de Sue-Free hoping dat when it blow dat will be de end. But out of evil cometh good. We learning now dat de La Sue Free Volcano, dat does kick up like ah jack-as when his pressure goes up, got ah weak spot. Find de spot, punch ah hole and pour cold water inside and Voila. Dat lickle hole could turn around things foh dis country. It could mek de difference between more light and less darkness, produce energy to run factories dat will manufacture our raw material. We could den compete wid countries wid access to cheap energy; over time vehicles, cars, boats even planes will operate using energy captured as ah result ah dat likcle hole in de Sue-Free. So we must not surrender our country, do not sell out de heritage of de unborn generation to no man, let de land stop dey till de next generation come.

Ah want to thank Peter Willians de CEO of Him-error sorry, Emera foh his response to my concerns at Vinlec. He has denied any truth about his company negotiating to buy-out Vinlec. I hope de situation does not change overnight. Ah thanking him foh his willingness to invest US$82 million into de project, clearly it makes us wonder what is in it foh dem!

Chatoyer saying dat Peter’s response reminds him of de story wid de fellow whose dear friend was about to be executed, when he was called upon to identify wid his dear friend, he denied any knowledge of de Man. Chatoyer den said de man’s name was Peter 2 oops, Peter also.

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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