February 7, 2020

This Lil Vincy Went to Town – part 3 of 3


HISTORY AND ARCHITECTURE SVG has had three capitals during post-Columbian times. The first, Princess Town, today called Barrouallie or Bagga V, was established by the French in 1719.

Georgetown became the second capital as the sugar industry gained prominence. That was short lived, as the Atlantic waves posed a challenge to shipping. The third, Kingstown became our longstanding capital. Together with its extensions of Campden Park and Arnos Vale, it is likely to remain that way. On a serious note now, let us take a look at some of our historical sites and architecture.

Many buildings in Kingstown were built with arches, affording underpasses to pedestrians. These underpasses provide welcome refuge from the blazing sun or teeming rains. The abundance of arch-supported architecture has caused the city to be characterized as the city of arches. Legend has it that planning restrictions were applied to the north side of Grenville Street, preventing them from having arches, thereby allowing the masses an unimpeded view of the carriage of Her Majesty the Queen’s Governor as he journeyed from Government House to the Parliament. For unknown reasons, too, Middle Street deviates from the conventions of arches. Notwithstanding, it has its own allure, as sections are arrayed with comely cobblestones.

Kingstown also showpieces our quest for learning and development. The Carnegie building was built in 1909 for the purpose of being a public library. This was one of the more than 1,600 public libraries built by the wealthy Scottish-born American philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie. The Police Barracks, completed in 1876 is another beautiful piece of historical architecture.

Following a change over from French to British rule in 1798, the British assembly on the island resolved to replace the buildings that housed the legislative assembly and law court.

Accordingly, a single building, the afore-mentioned Court House on Grenville Street, was erected in the early 1800s and still stands today. Beside the law court, the building houses the parliament of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It has been a significant backdrop for many occasions, including the 1935 uprisings.

Along North River Road lies the Cathedral of the Assumption, an immaculate combination of five distinct architectural styles. Construction on this magnificent edifice is believed to have begun in the 1820s, midway through SVGs 17 years of slavery or so. Not even the famed Notre Dame in its heyday can rival the splendor of this citadel.

On the hills above Edinboro sits Fort Charlotte, established around 1806, with an unparalleled view of the city, a panacea for the heavy hearted. Resting along its walls are the inward turned cannons, relics of the Carib wars. You can also visit the Botanical Gardens, established in 1765 and thought to be the oldest in the Western Hemisphere.

Hot Pree Here!

Oh my, how time flies! We have been touring for most of the day. It is now time to get something to eat. For the edacious ones, such as myself, there are numerous restaurants and food outlets around Kingstown. A few are located around South River Road,

more commonly called Heritage Square.

One can enjoy a Venetian experience along the waterway without fears of the floods of Venice. You can also take your meals over to the seating areas behind the Old Public Library (Carnegie building), where you can enjoy a safari experience with a few birds and the likes of Mickey, Minnie, Jerry and Speedy. “¡Arriba Arriba! ¡Ándale Ándale!”

Today, though, I feel for something ‘rootsie’. Maybe I will try some ital from Tarya or some pie and peas and a glass of mauby from Ras Ital or Kai. Maybe I may pass by Delano and get some dumplings and salt fish. I’ll be sure to say something good about FC Barcelona, maybe that might gain me an extra dumpling. I can also have a nice coconut slice and a potato pudding by my family there, Lady J. So much to choose from.

“Hot Pree here!” “Roti involve!”

Where is that sound coming from? It’s music to my ears. Excuse me for a moment while I track it down. Ah found him! There is nothing like a nice warm dahl pouri. Truly worth the visit to the capital. Now that I have eaten, it’s time to head home.

Somewhere around the stroke of three, one can see cacophonous callithumps of rug rats stampeding towards their destinations. Wave by wave they journey through the streets of Kingstown. These joyous rapscallions add redemptive throbs to our hearts’ rhythm. Our future is quite bright. A careful listen to their aspirations signals enormous potential for our nation. Notwithstanding, these young minds are impressionable and vulnerable to the onslaughts of older miscreants. As such, be ready to bequeath positive values to these youngsters, challenge them to higher calling and nurture their talents while also making the environment more conducive to their development. It still takes a village to raise a child. That will never change. We ought not to abdicate our responsibility as guardians of the society.

Conclusion In Homer’s classic, The Iliad, a character, Helen of Sparta or Helen of Troy, is depicted as having ethereal beauty that warranted a war between the two nations, Sparta and Troy. With a fleet of a thousand ships, King Agamemnon and his brother Menelaus launched an attack on Troy for the retrieval of Helen, the wife of the latter. She became known as the face that launched a thousand ships. Similarly, Kingstown, the commercial center of our nation commands such respect. Its architecture, its jollities, and more so, its Hellenistic beauty reflects the beauty of Vincentian heart beats over centuries. We must continue to take care that the aesthetics are maintained. With this I leave with you the words of famed British poet, John Keats: “A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: Its loveliness increases; it will never Pass into nothingness; …” (John Keats, Endymion 1818) I trust that readers experienced this same joy on today’s voyage. I also trust that readers would see past the humor and ruminate on the foods for thought. May we be propelled to sustain the good parts of our culture, while eliminating contaminants that erode our name, nature and reputation. Until we meet again, may peace reign from shop to store.

Peace and Love Trel