May 5, 2015
Development of Baliceaux to be featured in NDP manifesto

A proposal to transform the island of Baliceaux into a tourist attraction, targetting Garifuna people in the diaspora, will be featured in the upcoming manifesto of the New Democratic Party (NDP).{{more}}

Saying that the Garifuna people in the diaspora have the potential to boost the tourism sector in St Vincent and the Grenadines, Leader of the Opposition and President of the New Democratic Party (NDP) Arnhim Eustace gave a sneak peek into his party’s manifesto, as he spoke on the New Times radio programme last week.

Eustace noted that as trade and travel between Cuba and the United States opens up, other Caribbean islands need to find other ways to compete in the tourism industry.

“Our tourism is going to have a lot of trouble, but one of the advantages that we have that no other Caribbean island has – and this thing has been put forcefully to me by a Vincentian abroad – is the Garifuna believe that St Vincent is their homeland,” the Opposition Leader said.

Eustace stated that no other Caribbean island can claim to have a group that recognizes the island as their ancestral homeland and even teach that heritage to their children. This, he said, is a good marketing strategy for St Vincent and the Grenadines.

As a way to boost tourism in St Vincent and the Grenadines, the NDP is proposing that Baliceaux be transformed into a tourist attraction.

Baliceaux is an island in the Grenadine chain, where approximately 5,000 Black Caribs were banished after the death of Carib Chief Joseph Chatoyer in 1795. Most of the Black Caribs died there, while the remainder were deported to the island of Roatan, Honduras. Their descendants, who are dispersed all over the world, are known today as Garifuna.

“In one of the documents I saw, it seems… that there are at least up to 500,000 Garifuna living in the United States. That is much more than our current tourism market without them,” he said.

The NDP President said he has seen proposals from Garifuna in the diaspora in relation to the development of Baliceaux. He said the proposals include the housing of Garifuna artifacts in proper facilities and the building of one or two hotels by the private sector. This, he said, would encourage people of Garifuna and other heritage to vacation here.

“… come down for the holiday, come and see your homeland; come and see Baliceaux where you were once exiled.”

The Opposition Leader opined that there are avenues for investment and finances to come into the country that are not being tapped and that the Government should make an effort to attract such investments. (BK)