EDITOR: Monday, April 18, 2022 was the traditional Easter Monday, the day when all of Christendom celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. For many of us Easter Monday is remembered as a special day when the communities of Calder, Akers, Yambou, Richland Park and surrounding districts would meet at what was then called Mt. Pleasant, now better known as Warracou, for a day of socialising which included lots of eating, sports, merrymaking and of course a visit into the area of what is now the Warracou pool to see the ‘Easter flowers’.
For those who don’t know, an Easter flower is an aquatic plant (or is it an amoebic kind?) that sends out flowers around Easter time and everyone was excited to see them.
As for the people, most were the descendants of Indians who once lived on Argyle estate before they moved off during the 1930s to form their own villages at Calder, Akers, Richland Park, Yambou among other places. It was also an occasion when Indians from as far away as Rose Bank and Georgetown would join in the festivities at Mt. Pleasant. Each family would bring a good supply of food to share, food like rice and peas and dhal, roti, chicken, goat etc., and some would even start a boucan.
The older folks would gather together to share experiences while the young ones indulged in beach games like rounders and cricket and swimming in what was then the swimmable Warracou. We were warned not to go into the rough waters and always heeded their advice and stayed close to the shoreline.
Up to the 1950s Mt.Pleasant was the place to be on Easter Monday, and as youngsters that’s where you shared a lot of things with the opposite sex when you got a chance to hide behind a hill…all innocent and clean. Then two things happened that changed Easter Monday festivities. One was the erosion of the beach through bad weather, which made it difficult to play sports on the beach, and the other was the massive emigration of villagers to the UK which depleted the villages around Mt.Pleasant. Mt.Pleasant has become a memory, something that lives on among those alive in places like High Wycombe in the UK and of course who migrated to the US and Canada and elsewhere.
The construction of the Argyle International Airport has also revived memories of old Mt. Pleasant and one of the questions often asked is whether Mt. Pleasant beach would be revived now that we have a fantastic international airport. Not forgetting that in recent years much has been done to make Warracou a picnic site which has a performance stage, several booths for cooking and of course a clearing of some rocks to create the pool. While these are very good in promoting Warracou as a picnic site it would be a tremendous boost if the beach was restored making it even more attractive for tourists.
My proposal here is that serious consideration be given to the reclamation of Warracou beach . Right now it would be suicidal to swim in that area from the rock on the east that we called ‘salt pond’ to the pool in the west. Looking at the experience of other countries like Barbados, it is quite possible to reclaim Mt. Pleasant beach if the powers that be have the will to do so. In Barbados there was an attempt to build a marina/coastguard station through the construction of a groen from the land outward, only to find that with the break of the current the beach soon filled up and the original intent was abandoned, however a fantastic beach was created that is now called Miami Beach located at the southern end of the island.
This is now a challenge for our Government and the experts to really see if beach reclamation is possible. Here in SVG we are now promoting tourism as a major development sector, wouldn’t it be great to tell visitors that they could get off the plane and walk to a fabulous beach! Whatever we call it this would be a dream fulfilled and there are many who would support such a project and do whatever to make it a reality.
Arnold Thomas, Ph.D.