Ole people say: “Yuh never miss de Water till de Well run dry.” Rain or shine, ah always look forward every In-de-pen-dance Day, at 6:00 a.m. to de familiar sound ah de bass drum: “Bum! Bum! Bum!” Just ah simple “one, two, three,” de official ‘Call to Order’ of de Grammar School Cadets, to line-up and march down to de police station, way dey will join de full formation of SVG’s Military and Para-military might: de SVG Royal Police, Fire Brigade, Auxiliary Police, Coast Guard; Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, Rangers, Cubs, Brownies, Red Cross, Boy Brigades, Nurses, practically any organized group dat wears ah uniform. Sometimes, dey’s ah visiting Battle Ship in port, and dey too would take part and lend to de unique flavour of our annual parade.
From de Police Barracks, de parade would head along Back Street to Victoria Park, to be welcomed by ah massive crowd, anxiously awaiting dey arrival. Victoria Park was like ah sea of colour, ah kaleidoscope, with pavilions, bleachers and de grounds packed, jam-up wid school pick-me, all dressed in de nah-shun-all colours, waving dey Blue, Green and Gold mini-flags, cheering as de troops and dignitaries arrived.
Unfortunately it has always bin ah full military affair, no room foh Cultural Expressions or recognition for youth achievement during de year. Mainly lots of drills, salutes, marching back ’n’ forth and around de Park to de sweet rhythmic sound of de combined Police and Cadet Bands.
Den dey would be ah break in de spirited program wid calm-pain or pull-it-tek-all speech by de sitting Pry-minister. Interestingly though, de high point of de Parade at Victoria Park was de Salute to de Nay-shun, dat’s when ah batch of military officers would execute ah drill/formation dat displays de numbers (42) represented in de age of de Nay-shun, And of course everybody looked forward to de appearance of de late Stuarty Gill, ah legend, de eldest Scout on Parade who every year distinctly brought up de rear of de parade.
However, In-de-pen-dance Day Parade had its lighter moments. Dey was de period when an unofficial Fashion Parade evolved among de Ladies in Society, de wives of invited guests, VIP’s and other dignitaries. In fact de “look forward to” was de arrival of de wives of den ministers of Go-venom-mint as dey displayed fashionable, Royal Family style, broad rim hats or head pieces. Until one year, fronting miss Lie-Za and she friends turned up in some top fashion head-pieces from China; so much so, school pickney say dat de country-wives out-dressed de town-wives.
KOVD or no KOVID, all ah we lively happy Vincy Spirit went thru de back door long time. People asking if is de Well or de Water dat run dry, because long before KOVID 19, is ah lot ah things dat was not happening, especially foh In-deep-an-dance. We miss de Best Community Award, in fact way all de Communities gone. We miss Best School, no Best Garden, We want back Best Dressed Ladies, our ladies deserve recognition; and Lie-Za say want de Best Dress Men. We Miss all ah dat!
Is it dat things so bad dis year, even de customary display of flags and buntings on Go-venom-mint buildings social distancing? But dat is how it is, when de vehicle foh meaningful progress and uniting de people is parked aside. De country is so divided our name is high on de unofficial list of Most Divided Nay-shuns.
Dis year In-deep-an-dense, ah Miss de water but ah know de well aint dry. So ah meking an early plea foh fresh water come next year.. And wid dat is gone ah gone again.
One Love Bassy
l Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.