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Forum: Gouyave Talk
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West Indian Independence Day?

If we had stayed on course that we started back in 1960 we would be celebrating almost 60 years this year as The West Indies Federation. But then as Sparrow reminded us "it was Jamaica wey start it;" followed by Doctor Eric William's funny math, "1 from 10 leaves nothing." And so it was that our noble experiment dreamt of by our own T Albert Marryshow and others, fizzled away.

But are we not West Indians even without a country to show for it? Our cricketers continue to believe it. West Indians on the Parkway in New York, those in Toronto, and Notting Hill in London among others would rather die than not gather to celebrate their oneness.
That we are. And while Peter St. Paul is doing a fantastic job in bringing us Grenadians and specifically Gouyave folks up-to-date about our ancestry, I am suggesting that we spread our sights a little further in appreciating our being West Indians.

As I've said before, I have very little appetite for research. Let folks like Peter with that type of fortitude do the research so that we can rely on it to write our commentary.

Should we stop to examine some of our old calypsos, we'd be surprised how much of a learning tool about ourselves they were. We can use "Jean & Dinah" as the post-WW11 starting point of how we evolved into who we are.
Sparrow sang:
"Well de girls and dem feeling bad,
Not ah Yankee in Trinidad
They had to close the base for good
Dem girls have to make out how they could."

Chorus:
"Doh make a row,
The Yankee gone and Sparrow take over now."

Therein lies a microcosm of the changes that began to occur and helped shaped our lives throughout the Caribbean. As we regard the departing Yankee and the closing of Chaguaramas Base in Trinidad as a synonym for the departing Colonial masters, we soon found ourselves with little choice but to make out how we could on our very own. Socially, Sparrow took over, but Dr. Eric Williams did the same in Trinidad politics. Jamaica saw Alexander Bustamante and Norman Manley. British Guyana as it was called back then saw Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnham. Barbados saw Grantley Adams, and Grenada saw Eric Matthew Gairy. Throughout the colonial world the same thing was occurring. Among others Ghana saw Kwame Nkrumah, while Nigeria saw Abubaka Tafawa Balewa, and Kenya saw Jomo Kenyatta.

The question that those former colonists had to answer was, would they be willing to "take two shillings with a smile" or devise other ways and means to establish themselves as truly free and independent peoples. Nkrumah was kicked out of Ghana for embarking on a bold new path in answering that question. Patrice Lumumba lost his life in a similar attempt in what was then the Belgian Congo. And make no mistake about it the later attempt by Maurice Bishop and Bernard Coard in Grenada was also their answer to that question.

We were confronted with it then, as we are still continuing to figure out which direction we should follow. So while Peter St. Paul's research is commendable, and he seems to be suggesting that we take pride in those before us in order to understand our Grenadianism, we should take a step further and ask "Where do we go from here?"

Re: West Indian Independence Day? - by Peter St Paul - Jul 4, 2017 11:25am