Barrouallie: Tales of different eras
April 26, 2013
Political tales

Well, I am heading into the final stretch of these articles and, hopefully, we should be finished in the next two weeks. However, you may be able to get a “hard” or “soft” copy in the not too distant future (wink). It has been a rewarding exercise. I too learnt a lot. I hope that you’ll be able to at least visit some of the places of interest here.{{more}}

For this week, I want to touch a bit on politics….Oh oh, it is not what you’re thinking. I am not going to expound on this modern day political era, not me! However, I’ll pen some brief general observations. Politics in SVG these days is a “touchy” affair; one has to be mindful of what one says/writes lest he or she offends someone…that’s where we are.

We are fast becoming “colour-coded”. I couldn’t believe it when someone needed to be represented by legal counsel about two years ago and that person named who the “red” and “yellow” ones are, and, the ones he was avoiding, based on his political persuasion! I was dumbfounded. I would think that one would take the best counsel, regardless. Politics in SVG today has reached a certain altitude, where we appear to be forever in the “voting season”. In political circles; “hate” for some is an “insatiable passion,” which seems impossible to curb. Those are general observations; now let us turn our attention to Barrouallie a bit.

There was a time when the political season was laced with humour. I remember the days when persons were called by “names” and were given the “food” to suit. I recall a few years ago, seeing iron pots filled with green bananas and breadfruit and arranged along the streets here in Barrouallie, as one of the major parties passed through with the customary motorcade. That scenario back then evoked laughter. Then, on the reverse, I saw bundles of grass stacked and in some instances, “offered and fed,” to people at the roadside, when the other major party passed through.

Some in earlier eras remember that sometimes neighbours traded words back and forth, but when the season ended, so did the words, and everything returned to a state of normalcy. Many remember when “floors were crossed” and how they felt betrayed by the politician in whom they had placed their confidence.

Some recall that year when the results were tied 6:6 and how they panicked and waited patiently, yet uneasily, for a decision. They remember how that year had many short-lived celebrations on both sides, only to be told that it was a false alarm several times before the real decision was made public. That year, as the rumours spread like wild fire, toilets became man’s best friend and were always occupied (know what I mean); funny, isn’t it? People took their politics to heart but, in many instances, the “hype” ended when the political season culminated.

Back in the day, in the era of the 1930s, estate owners and business people had “more say” in terms of representation. Like today, songs were used by some persons to get their message across and to woo voters. I was told that there was one businessman who owned property here in Barrouallie and who tried his hands at politics, H.A. Davis was his name. Many remembered that he operated a dry goods business. Whenever he rolled into Barrouallie his song could be heard “belching”:

Girls, ah who yo voting for?


Girls, ah who yo voting for?


There are a few others here who ventured into the field of politics and we may be able to catch up with them one of these days.

A look back in time shows that some eras seem not to be too far removed from what exists today, though. I was told that there was a certain priest in the 1950s who, apparently, was a supporter of one of the politicians at the time. Well, he found himself on the wrong side of those who were supporting the opponent. Apparently this priest, who was attached to one of the ‘traditional” churches here in Barrouallie, was, in some persons’ opinion, getting too involved. Well, he was sent a letter, presumably by some community folks.
The contents of the letter were intended to be a prank, but the priest reacted in the strangest of manner: The residents of Barrouallie had retired for the night when they were jolted from their sleep by the ringing of the church bell. Since it was customary to use the bell to alert people whenever a storm was approaching, many residents felt that maybe a storm was brewing, so they left their homes to get more information, only to discover what the matter was – politics. Soon after, the priest packed his belongings and left St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Well, we too will get off here, until next week, God’s will.