Lie-Za was telling me dat de oldest date on record of an Erupt-shun of de La-Sew-Fray Volcano of Sin-Vin-Sin was in 1718.
She still wondering how de island didn’t split in two, because de blast was heard in T’n’T and Aunt-Tiga and de ashes fell as far as Hispaniola. Since de big one in 1718, we have had as many as twelve (big and small) Erupt-shuns but de massive (Explosive) ones were in 1812 and 1902; roughly one every 90 years. Den those of us who not so young remember de 1979 bomb, 77 years after 1902 destruct-shun. And as if de interval is shortening, dis year, 42 years after 1979, we having dis big one.
All of a sudden she knows so much bout Volcano history. How long ago not much warning of an Erupt-shun was available, ole people say de birds and animals uses to behave strange like dey were getting some kind ah vibrations: birds withdrew dey whistling contract; dogs barking strangely, and donkeys braying dey ear-nose off. But now-ah-days de science is accurate we get to know early. Like on December 29th last year, just after de Elec-shun, it was officially announced dat an Effusive Erupt-shun was taking place at de La-Sew-Fray. The alert level for the volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines was elevated to Orange. According to her, dis Effusive Erupt-shun is typical ‘St. Vincent style’ eruption. Serious with frequent and strong earthquakes before highly explosive erupt-shuns. And an Orange Level alert means Erupt-shun may occur with less than 24 hours notice.”
She lamenting dat after we were warned and fore-warned three and ah half months ago dat an Erupt-shun was almost inevitable, it appears dat dey was more talk and less act-shun in de preparation camp. Operate-shun Evacuation 2021is like ah replay of dat 1979 Shock and Awe scene. People had to be scrambling back and forth like 1979 all over again, and de late Great Shake Keane’s Poem on de Erupt-shun is as relevant today as it was in 1979: “Within minutes, people who had always been leaving nowhere began arriving nowhere, entire lives, stuffed in pillow cases, used plastic bags.”
WHAT ABOUT LIFE AFTER
Ah told her to ask Professor Robertson what he has to say after 3 ? months of warning, yet on April 9, when Evacuees from de Red Zone turned up at centres, dey were not ready foh occupancy, eg, inadequate toilet and sleeping facilities; ah simple temporary (galvanize) bath and toilets; plastic water tank. No Cots and mattresses; no provisions foh live-stock. She say de Professor would say dem DOTISH too.
Our Red Zone people have come ah long way since 1979, like folks living in de Green Zone, dey now live in nice houses wid all conveniences. So if dey criticize or complain about poor conditions at de Shelters and even move out, respect dem. Dey not DOTISH.
De Volcano will soon finish emptying its obnoxious bowels and people will be anxious to return to dey homes. Back to Yard to salvage what’s left from de devastation; Back to ah Yard dat is covered with Ash. Chances dey might be no electricity and water? house destroyed; plants and fruit trees gone, de stench of dead animals including pets and live-stocks dat died from starvation. Foh many is Déjà vu, “Bin dey done dat” forty-two years ago in 1979, dey went thru all ah dis, and now dey have to go thru it again. So how long must our Indigenous people continue to spend thousands ah dollars rebuilding a place called home, only to go thru another Erupt-shun, God only knows when. It is Blessed are de Poor in Spirit not pocket. Now we overs de 2018 Poverty Assessment study, Sandy Bay was (is) among de poorest community in SVG.
AH BETTER LIFE FOH RED ZONERS
Well and good to appeal foh money to restore life in de Red Zone, But Lie-Za suggests less homes and more Agriculture Development in de Red Zone. Develop new residential settlements foh dem in de safer Green Zone. Build foh dem Schools, Smart Hospitals, Agro processing Factories, Community Centres etc. Dey will continue to own and use dey properties in de Red Zone. She say dey not DOTISH, dey know as Chatoyer’s Pickney, dey deserve nothing but de Best dat has never been afforded dem.
Finally she asked how do I explain those two debated projects. De G-O-Terminal project, wasting millions of dollars drilling foh G-O-Terminal energy at de base of de Volcano.
And secondly, building de Medical Diagnostic Centre wid de Dialysis Unit in de Orange Zone, Georgetown, dat had to be evacuated. Ah told her ask Professor Robertson foh his opinion. She said everybody knows de Professor is ah no non-cents man, he would say who ever made such ah decision….DOTISH. And wid dat is gone ah gone again
One Love Bassy
Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.