It is heartening, but most unusual — to see our news publications, whether the press or the electronic media, championing the cause of our built and natural heritage. The usual diet served to the Grenadian public is one of politics, crime and sports, and in the area of politics, seldom is there a persistent and critical analysis of the performance of our politicians in the post-independence era, hence the dire economic situation in which we now find ourselves.
The Caribupdate Weekly editorial: Georgian Charm and Market Hill, of 12 June 2015 gave a glimmer of hope for the foreseeable future, when the editorial appears to be taking up the mantle on behalf of our fast disappearing cultural heritage.
What is a country which does not know its history and which does not recognize, and therefore cannot appreciate the sacrifices and achievements of their ancestors?
The editorial has partly answered the question when it reminded us of the “many hundreds of African who were enslaved, beaten and brutalized and killed in building the city and putting up the physical structures”. Indeed, it is for this very reason that those “important” structures which came into being with the slave labour of our ancestors should be preserved in memory of them.
There are many such heritage buildings in our capital city which fall into this category, namely: York House, the Public Library, the desecrated Market Square, where slaves were sold, beaten and hanged, Fort George, the Sendall Tunnel, the Churches and what is usually referred to as the HISTORIC VILLAGE. The buildings within the village are situated from the western end of the Carenage up to NAWASA, the southern end of Young Street, Monckton and Matthew Streets up to the Southern entrance of the Sendall Tunnel, then up the hill where the recently constructed Tri-centennial Park is located — onto Fort George.
The development of a country as the Informer editorial asserted, is not a project by project affair, but a holistic psychological construct, an ideology, a vision — if you will, with a programme and plan of action for the road we intend to traverse in the process of becoming. The protection and enhancement of the built heritage is just one aspect of the ultimate goal, another which comes to mind is the eradication of poverty and destitution in Grenada and in our region, which is a matter for critical examination all on its own.
It is good to see that Caribupdate Weekly is attempting to draw public attention to the dynamics of nation building which the National Development Plan 2030, if executed as it ought to be, could be the beginning of a cultural and economically revitalized PURE GRENADA Isle of spice.
In conclusion tWRF embraces your proposal for the erection of a monument to our ancestors; but the ideal location for such a monument would be in the Market Square which resonates with their sufferings. But the square, sad to say — is no longer a place for public gatherings for the expressions of our political, cultural (carnival) and religious manifestations.
The need for a National Development Plan, a vision for the present and future could be beginning of the realization of our national maxim: clarior e tenebris (brighter out of darkness).
Norris Mitchell for the Willie Redhead Foundation
15 June 2015