MP for North Windward, Montgomery Daniel. (IWN file photo)

Member of Parliament for North Windward, Montgomery Daniel, wants Britain to contribute the EC$18.5 million that it would take to complete the Joseph Chatoyer National Park and operate it for five years.

The park, which was originally the Rabacca National Park, was renamed on Wednesday — Emancipation Day — in honour of St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ National Hero.

Daniel said that a consultancy done after the park was established in 2007, concluded that it would cost EC$13.5 million to complete.

“But prime minister, I want to seek leave of asking that you ask the British government to fund the establishment of this national park, together with a five-year operations cost of some EC$18.5 million,” Daniel told the event at Rabacca.

“I do so, prime minister, understanding that as part of the reparatory justice for the Garifuna people, that this country seeks from the British those sums of monies for this development.

“I recall the massacre, the inhuman treatment meted out to the indigenous people of this country and I think it is just right and proper for the British government to finance this project.

Chatoyer, who died March 14, 1795, was a Garifuna chief who led a revolt against the British colonial government of St. Vincent in 1795. He is now considered a national hero of SVG, Belize and Costa Rica.

Daniel said: “I believe this is a worthwhile cause for such compensation will make the wrong right. I made that plea and I made that call,” Daniel said.

Daniel, a descendant of the Garifuna people, a mixture of black and indigenous Vincentians (“Caribs”), said he was happy the park was being named in honour of Chatoyer – the first place in the country to bear its national hero’s name.

“There are those who boast of a Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force. Tell me: what is royal about a police force? I also ask the question, that there are some who embrace a “Her Majesty’s Prison’. What is so majestic about the prison that houses inmates?

“I believe it is high time that we shake the shackles off of our mind and create an environment of our own and to move to a greater height, embracing what is noble and what is just to the future of the existence of our own Caribbean civilisation.”

He said Wednesday was “another great day for Vincentians.

“Today adds another page to our historic archives for what we will reveal today, a native, a son of the soil, is being honoured for his great contribution.”

He noted that in March 2002, the Unity Labour Party government of Prime Minster Ralph Gonsalves officially recognised the great role that was played by Chatoyer and declared March 14 National Heroes’ day and Chatoyer as the nation’s first national hero.

Daniel said that, in 2007, when the Rabacca Bridge was opened to the public, the prime minister announced that the area would be designated a national park.

“And so, today, we are here to honour that commitment that he made in 2007.”

He said that since the prime minister’s announcement, work on the national park has been on-going.

The minister said that a consultancy was completed in 2009 and had various components.

He said that the site of the rally would be left open for national activities such as the one held there on Wednesday.

Above the road, where BRAGSA now occupies, will house a replica of the Botanical Gardens in Kingstown.

“Dominant plants here would be [sea] grapes and fat pork and Rabacca is well known for its grapes and its fat pork (a coastal species fruiting plant). And so, all of the grapes and fat pork would also be dominant in that part. “But there will also be other plants, other flora and fauna that will be cultivated to ensure that the park is one that is admirable and sustainable,” Daniel said.

Daniel said the park will also have footpaths, with a statue of Chatoyer “and other distinguished individuals who … have made their contribution over time”.

The minister said a playground for children will be set up in that area.

“So that when you come to the national park, you can come to be entertained and also you can bet your bottom dollar that your children will be taken care of.”

He, however, said that BRAGSA would have to be relocated from the north-western side of the area “to make sure that we have what is required for the national park, for the botanical gardens that will be placed there.”

BRAGSA, a state agency responsible for construction, road maintenance, etc., would also be responsible for ensuring that the river is cleared, periodically, of excess debris.

On the north-eastern side of the park, there are a number of squatters in the area called Drip.

“All those who are squatting on that side would have to be removed. That area is designated as one that will replicate what is at Owia, where you can go, as locals, you can do your goat cook, you can have your fireside, you can roast your breadfruit…”

Three shops will also be placed in that area.

Just westward of a shop that is in the area has been identified for extended parking and a playing field.

Daniel said he met recently with the families and individuals to let them know what would be the transformation there.

He said that, soon, through the Ministry of Housing, Informal Human Settlement, Physical Planning, legal instructions would be issued for the removal of the squatters in the area.

The minister said that when the consultancy was done in 2009, the data showed that nine structures and three families were in the area.

“But despite my own plea and several pleas, and despite several notices from the physical planning department, a number of individuals … have gone in and squatted, hoping that if lands are given, that they would get lands. Well, I want to say to you that I can only do my best in a plea at the Cabinet level. If the cabinet so approves, so be it. I want to say to you, the Cabinet decision is final.

“So, as we come to this historic occasion and to declare this park Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer National Park, I am honoured and delighted as the representative of this constituency to be part of this historic transformative process.”

Daniel was optimistic about the future of the park.

He said that he passed in the area Tuesday night, and saw the area is already “beginning to look very scenic, and the ambiance seems to be real gratifying.

“I know that Rabacca over the years … has attracted many Vincentians and tourists as well to come here. But I believe with the national park, we will have more and more people coming here.

“So, today, I am happy. I believe the nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is happy. They are happy for this historic moment. They are happy for the further honouring of our first national hero, Joseph Chatoyer in declaring this park, Joseph Chatoyer Park.

“And to those of us who are descendants of the indigenous people of this country, I say thanks to the government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for this noble cause. Today we are proud. Long live the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines! Long live the indigenous people of this blessed land, Hairouna. Long live all of us!” the minister said.

14 replies on “Minister wants Britain to fund Chatoyer National Park”

  1. A load of nonsense:

    1. It is the government of France that should fund the park because Chatoyer was working for them to defeat the British so SVG could revert to a French colony. Comprende?

    2. Nobody inside or outside SVG was asking for this park, which is only being built to ensure Labour Party support, so why should any outsiders fund it?

    3. If any of our other government recreational sites are an example, when and if this national park is ever completed, it will be a cut-rate, underfunded facility that would be allowed to quickly deteriorate.

    4. A replica of our Botanical Gardens, a facility that is a laughable version of the gardens of yesteryear? This is a cruel joke, right?

    5. No Labour Party-supporting squatters would be removed. After all, every vote counts.

    1. Jamal in Mespo says:

      You are seeing things for what they are. Too bad so many Vincentians let themselves mimic sheep on a chain and instead believe what the politicians in control want them to believe. Too many are unable to think for themselves. This also includes many or the “educated”.

  2. This “apple” (a term used to describe indigenous people who are red on the outside but white on the inside just as the term “oreo cookie” is used as a synonym for Uncle Tom black people) is opposed to the repatriation to SVG of his Garifuna brothers and sisters exiled to Central America after the death of Chatoyer even though this is implicit in the call for repatriation to Africa of the descendants of slaves who wish to return to their ancestral homeland, a demand contained in the Caribbean Reparations Commission ten-point action plan our very own Dr. Ralph Gonsalves was instrumental in conceiving and implementing.

    Stand up for your people, sir, and demand that the Prime Minister allow any Garifuna who wish to return to their ancestral homeland, Hairouna, be allowed to do so. But you dare not do so, right?

    Talk about hypocrisy.

  3. I’m guessing the park was “renamed or even re-branded” and not remanded as included.

    I was told by Admin to point out the errors so voila.

    1. C. ben-David says:

      This is certainly not my “reparations nonsense;” it is the “reparations hypocricy” of Ralph Gonsalves and his Garifuna quisling, Montgomery Daniel.

  4. A load of horse crap. I have yet to see a well maintained park of any sort in St. Vincent and doubt this one would be any different. And this reparation talk is a bit overdone. Nuff said.

  5. David you are correct! Where was the minister when Ralph refused to recognize the Garifuna people in Central America as Vincentians nationals?
    Next point: The government allows folks to seize people’s properties if they have been squatting there for several years, but if it’s government lands they are removed.
    The referendum failed because Vincentians saw through Ralph’s hierarchical plans. I hope the CCJ will soon explain to the Caribbean people why it’s needed and how it will serve them, so that we don’t have corrupt leaders who become dictators.

  6. true slave mentality from some of the above ………….so when so called Jews asked and gotten their reparations for WW2 for being in slave camps and murdered, everything is great right lol……..but blacks ask for the same and its a problem ,,……. we will always be enslave mentally …..divide and conquer

    1. Hello person who doesn’t understand nuance, and that there are particulars to every situation, and that blanket solutions are lazy and expose a lack of critical thinking.
      Germany agreed reparations for Jews in 1952, 3 years after the end of the war. The actual aggressors were made to pay fo their crimes. Of course the British public owes us nothing for a transgression nearly 200 years ago.
      My father’s sin is not my own, so why should I pay for it? Would you pay? You’d be crazy to pay for something you’re not responsible for. Check yourself bro.
      True slave mentality is shackling yourself to an event from 2 centuries ago and going to Masa with the begging bowl, crying like a petulant dependent about how you were wronged, looking for handouts.

      1. you sound like a true house n**ger or a true right-wing fascist that you are trying desperately to make excuses and validate your wrongs.
        You better take your own advise and check your damn self clown .

  7. Hey there are only a hand full of Jews left from the concentration camps and just for your info they didn’t ask for anything except acknowledgement it happened! If you can name one family member in the last 100 yrs to maybe
    that that were shackled and sold and impacted your family so profoundly then yes you deserve some sort of compensation…the question is from who? And if you were not directly impacted then why do you use slavery as an excuse to be lazy? You enslave your self just as anyone does…. There is work in SVG u just got to go get it because it won’t come to you!

  8. LOLS …..I know when i mentioned the so called Jews that would pull a nerve ……lmao
    oh please !!……they didnt ask for anything except acknowledgement it happened LMFAO !!!

    To be clear I personally dont have noting against “so called” Jews or any other race . I actually admire their strength and unity for one common goal . My problem is that why anytime our race raise a debate or questions surrounding reparations or some form of compensation , we get chastise like its the ultimate sin or dont have legitimate reasons to do so.
    FYI I’ve own and operated seven past and resent businesses in the past 25 years and six was a successful . they also may not have been fortune 500 companies but I never begged anyone or stole and always supported my own self and child honestly …….put that in your pipe and smoke it , eat it I dont give a damn .

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