by Hudson George
I was born and raised in St Patrick parish, Grenada and I always know that the unique volcanic pyramid-shaped mountain in the parish overlooking Levera Lake is known as Piton Mountain because this is the name the older folks referred to it as.
Now, I am hearing a different name given for the mountain on Grenada news media report, whereby news reporters referring to it as Levera Welcome Stone. So, I am trying to figure out why it is now called Levera Welcome Stone and what is the reason for changing the name of that God-given natural beauty wonder in my parish.
Now if I am wrong, I am willing to accept correction but if I am right, I think it is very important for persons in authority to stop saying that the name of the mountain is Levera Welcome Stone. And if the authorities want to change the name, they should make it public for we the people in this beautiful parish to have an opinion on it, and they must also give us a good reason why they chose to rename the site.
Due to the fact that I do not know why the media news reporters are saying the mountain site is called Levera Welcome Stone, there is also a great possibility that the mountain is not even situated in Levera. There is a possibility that it is situated in Morne Fendue village because my youngest sister bought a piece of land property in Morne Fendue and the villagers who are living in the neighborhood close her property referred to the place as Levera and everybody in the parish referred to the area as Levera, while the property documents says the place is Morne Fendue.
In addition, I remember hiking up to the summit on Piton Mountain when I was 17 years old with a group of young people as myself with some elders as tour guides. I remember we started the journey at the foot of the mountain on Cedars side, after leaving Madeys junction and crossing Cedars Bridge over the river.
As we ascended up from the base of mountain there were a few houses not too far from where the colonial doctor’s house for the parish is situated. As we travelled higher up there were some farming cultivations. I remember there were some cashew nut trees with ripe fruits, mango trees with ripe mangoes, sugar apple trees, pigeon peas, sweet potatoes and some sugarcane.
Then as we elevated higher and higher the scenery was different. There were no farming areas to be seen again. But as young people those days we were excited to see the Welcome Stone because we heard about it from the elders and other young people our age who visited the summit of the mountain before.
However, before we reached the top of the mountain, we saw the Rose Hill village to the west of us. We saw Rose Hill playing field very clear and the houses in the neighborhood close to the playing field, including other villages further away.
When we finally reached the summit of the mountain everybody was excited looking for the Welcome Stone. Then one adult who accompanied us up the mountain knew the area where the stone was situated, took us to the spot. It was a nice experience. I remember very well. It was also a bright and sunny day and we were able to see some of the Grenadine Islands north of Sauteurs, including Carriacou in the far distance and those other islands on the east side close to Levera beach.
But the main attraction was the Welcome Stone. And the scary experience standing close to the Welcome Stone and looking down over Levera Lake overlooking a fallen edge gully.
When I think back about the experience standing at the summit of Piton Mountain, it was a similar feeling as looking down on earth through the window of an airplane while traveling at a high altitude.
So, I think it is important that persons who are at management position in the Tourism Industry should come forward to clarify, why they are promoting Piton Mountain as Levera Welcome Stone, when the mountain is known for hundreds of years since in the days of the French colonisation as Piton or Piton Mountain for us in our beautiful historical parish.
For the time being, I can only suggest that they are trying to promote the newly developed hotel industry in Levera to attract foreign visitors and knowing that the Welcome Stone is the main attraction at the summit of Piton Mountain, they are trying to capitalise on it by advertising the mountain as Levera Welcome Stone site.
Unfortunately, I personally think that they are going about it with the change of name in a wrong way. We the citizens of St Patrick are accustomed with the original name Piton Mountain. Therefore, based on human principle, it should be their duty to consult us if they want to change the name of the mountain.
Anyway, I am not anti-tourism or anti foreign investors coming to Grenada and creating jobs for citizens. However, I think changes must come with respect, even though I accept positive changes. We are not primitive people living in isolation in St Patrick. But then again, I am saying it loud and clear, if I am wrong I am willing to accept correction. And if I am right, then it is the duty for those who are in control of the Ministry of Tourism to correct their mistake because we always know this beautiful wonder site as Piton Mountain.
So, how can I be able boast again and tell my St Lucian friends that we have a Piton in Grenada similar to theirs?