Mas Band – X’nova Designer – Fonrose the Brand Photographers – AJPS Studios Costume Owner – Team Pumpers Promotions 1
PLAN AN D
E * TO G
E * TO G E T
Tubal Uriah "Buzz" Butler (21 January 1887 - 20 February 1977)
FEAT UR ED
Grenadians Being Covetous: A Symptom of a Grave Issue by Yao Atunwa
Ganja and Human Rights in the OECS by Richie Maitland
The Difference in Two Political Leaders by Yao Atunwa
Founding 12N61W Grenadian Film Festival by Founder Meschida Phillip
There is a Reason Why Most Christians Believe that We are Free by Yao Atunwa
Grenada at the 58th International Art Exhibition in Venice by Susan Mains
Poetry: Frank Scott, Shard Noel, and Yao Atunwa
De Laughin Tree by Jacob Ross (short story)
The Son of Shango by Clyde Viechweg (short story excerpted from Caribbean Twilight)
Photography by Troy Daysant
Poetry: Kissandra Smith and Bassanio Graneau
EDITOR’S NOTE It is the intuitive aim of every great orator/writer, I surmise, to find the right intonation, not simply tone, in which to convey a particular message. It is the dimension that is perhaps experienced the widest and deepest, for it can hold resonance even after the words are long heard and processed. Every issue of VISION sets out to do just that. And we do so in a multifaceted manner by featuring op-ed articles, visual art, poetry, and other literary work by notable and distinguished writers, artists, poets, as well as those upcoming who are producing quality work of art that seek to help shift the consciousness of our people with their great imagination, focus, and evolving skills. We at VISION are most delighted to feature these individuals’ work, as it is our aim to devote these pages to the social upliftment of our people. It is truly a cooperative relationship that we have with our contributors in that vein, because it is, indeed, a mutual mission to influence the people’s view and interpretation of reality however subtle a form such might take at times. Hence, a blend of art and literary work that pays ode to harmony is a great part of seeking that intonation, which fascinates and equally eludes those seeking to deliver a message. Part of finding the right intonation is re-imagining the current social reality, and oftentimes the words of those who dared to dream and in some cases lead show us the way. In that vein, we lead off this issue with the apt words of former prime minister of Jamaica, Michael Manley: “Any realistic vision of change must be based on the notion of empowerment of people. Democracy means far more than the right to vote every five years. It means the right to participate in every aspect of national and community life. The people must believe that they can take part.” We seek to have the people of the State of Grenada believe that they can take part in every aspect of national and community life, meaningfully. This is the greater aim of The Butler Plan & Project; and it is the aim of VISION. The Carnival season is upon us. I wish everyone a festive and secure season.
Warm regards, Yao Atunwa Editor New York City, July 2019
Grenadians Being Covetous: A Symptom of a Grave Issue WRITTEN BY YAO ATUNWA
PHOTOGRAPHY BY TROY DAYSANT
Would it be a shock to you to realize that Grenada is rampant with covetousness? I would encourage you to ponder the question in earnest, and while doing so consider the fertile ground that is Grenada for such passive aggressive disposition as it often manifests, given our colonial history and the high degree of stagnancy witnessed for most of our post-politicalindependence history, as it would apply to the current generations most immediately. I do not mean to be too broad stroke in my rendering of what I deem to be a very crippling condition for our nation. It is a crucial subject matter for now and all time, in gauging our social development as a people, as it is a toxic quality, indeed, and must receive careful attention at all periods. To expound on the claim that Grenada is fertile ground for covetousness, the kind that promotes paralysis, I intend to retrace the steps that would have led to this point, in a generally manner. To begin, I must highlight the fact that we do not pay much attention to the model or mode of our educational system, at least not in a critical way. It is undeniably a huge part of the fabric of our society, in its training of individuals for the workforce primarily, one that currently provides greater access to citizens as compared to its earlier characterization(s) that did not concern itself with the education of the great majority of the population, and on purpose. A plantation-based economy that produced raw material for export did not require a broad cross-section of Grenadians to be educated beyond a primary level or at all for that matter when the vast majority of hands were needed to do manual labor in the fields. But even in that context, being able to at least acquire the capacity to read and write should one be that fortunate, was much an improvement from earlier colonial periods when persons of African descent in particular were forbidden to acquire such skills which could eventually function in their liberation from slavery.
While we no longer have such a skewed educational system in terms of granting or rather denying accessibility to individual citizens to attain an education beyond a primary level, the social reality is still one based on limitation of jobs and material benefits, in sustaining lives for the general population. Most obvious, of course, is the scarcity of jobs and well-paying jobs at that. Unemployment for youth is over 50 percent, and overall unemployment is over 40 percent, and has been that way for multiple decades. This reality produces two streams of narratives: one being the great number of students completing secondary and tertiary education without commensurate jobs to call their own in a service-based economy, and the other is not so visible; that is, a great number of students are not attaining much in terms of scholastic success with respect to Caribbean Examination Council Certificates obtained. The going statistics is that roughly 20 percent of students seating exams obtain four or more subjects through the region â€“ a reality that has been quite persistent for many decades. This overall picture does demonstrate an unevenness in the application of our educational system, because a system that is designed to democratize the learning en7
vironment would not produce such dismal statistic, especially for the length of time that it has. What it means is that education is defined to give credence to a competitive value system as opposed to one that promotes cooperation and collectivism. So why worry about the 80 percent that is doing mediocre or less than average work. They, too, would have their rightful place in a job market and economy that perfectly matches those results, as the general reality depicts with the high levels of unemployment and underemployment for young people in Grenada and throughout the region. An Imani programme would be a sort of â€˜neatâ€™ or popular way to mitigate some of the angst that is produced in the standard equation, with such disproportion of youth to available and gainful employment, as it provides exposure to the world of work, albeit in a limited capacity. But there is something else in the mix that is not so easily mitigated, for it is one that is not so easily recognizable and therefore addressed, which is the trait that led us down this rabbit hole if you will: covetousness. For one, it is seldom given any serious attention outside familial
cation) in the current period. The great distances between people across borders have been dramatically shorten with the advent of the internet and cellphone technologies; not to mention the ubiquitous appeal of television sets and American TV programing in particular for its indulgence in the promotion of a high degree of consumption. On the other hand, a more social definition of education would serve us much better than the current model that is based on competition, in seeking to complement the competitive job market and economy, for the two work hand-in-hand. A social definition of education would inspire greater responsibility of all involved in that process, in ensuring that pupils are being educated to transform the current order by emphasizing the promotion of further democratization of the learning environment and its end results. By all indications, we are far from organizing ourselves in such fashion. The only period in our history when we engaged in this level of togetherness was during our brief revolutionary period some forty to thirty-six years ago. It was this
or interpersonal relations. And two, we hardly pay any attention to the sustaining effects of our educational and economic system but to cite success in mere market terms; not particularly seeking to attribute the quality of social interaction to those factors and more precisely systems (for their orienting quality). In fact, the competitive approach to education and the job market and the outcomes it produces gives rise to this passive and toxic social behavior, which serves to stifle growth for the nation at large with its negative impact on social relations and in particular collaborative efforts. It is one and the same with the crabsin-a-barrel syndrome often spoken about when describing the infighting among our people, in the face of tremendous obstacles. And in the age of rugged individualism, as promoted under the neoliberal order for the last thirty-odd years, there is even less capacity or tolerance to propone gratification (as is usually recommended to facilitate the completion of tertiary education or even secondary edu-
very period that greater access to education for Grenadians was granted, because it was about engendering a different socialization of our people, to realize the great benefit in bolstering a definition of education that honors the group as such and truly invested in nation building where it matters most â€“ the social development of the people. That is the degree of responsibility and devotion to social upliftment that is required to seriously reverse the current onset of covetousness witnessed among our people. It may or may not surprise you that the period that we experienced the most growth, economically and socially was also the revolutionary period under the Peopleâ€™s Revolutionary Government. Not only was the economy growing steadily during that period, up to 5.5 percent in 1982 despite a global recession, the illiteracy rate was shrunk to a marginal 11 percent, to put Grenada in the positon of ascending to one of the more educated populations in the region to this very day. Argo-industry and light manufacturing were being tailored to give further promotion to that type of education that spoke directly to nation building. The very act of converting our raw material into finished
or value-added consumer goods for local, regional and international consumptions is the most practical application of a viable and essential educational product. If we were to establish cooperatives to harness the many tons of fruits rotting on the ground, that will signify a penchant for a social definition of education. Instead, the political leaders are espousing that the private sector shall lead the way; that they have the expertise. Moreover, if we were to alter the current scholarship regime, where scholarships are granted in an almost ad hoc manner, without any particular care to social/national interest and development; meaning instead of randomly granting scholarships to individuals to study a wide array of disciplines that are hardly of consequence to the practical needs of the nation, the government targets strategic areas of study with the intent to build capacity in those areas so certain businesses and industries can be created in a cooperative manner. Such approach certainly will be more impactful for the individual and simultaneously the society. Education ought to serve a social function, not merely an economic or individual end. Hence, it is safe to say that the current disconnect between the social needs of a nation and the individual desire to affirm his/her humanity with dignity and great purpose creates the ripe environment for all sorts of negative traits to flourish, including covetousness in a pronounced way. I am of the thinking that it is either widespread covetousness or an increase in bon-a-fide crimes on the part of the people in seeking to attain the level of material success that they deem to be warranted, to match the current value system that stipulates reliable pronouncements in the consumption of an array of material products. The covetousness can be seen as the pressure-cooker effect created by an educational and economic system that facilitate very little in the way of outlets for human intelligence and skills. Might I add, our small size in land mass and population does not help: only exacerbates the situation. And last but not least, the inferiority complex internalized in our people from the many centuries of brutality at the hand of European colonizers is only awaiting every opportunity to wear its ugly head, for we have yet to properly address that reality constructively and pragmatically. We have not built the proper institutions to do so quite frankly, or provide our people with the social benefits that will lead to a serous healing process.
Ganja and Human
Rights in the OECS WRITTEN BY RICHIE MAITLAND
PHOTOGRAPHY BY TROY DAYSANT
In May 2019, the High Court of St. Kitts and Nevis ruled that laws prohibiting personal possession and cultivation of marijuana, violate the constitutional rights of Rastas. Accordingly, the Court ordered the Parliament of St. Kitts to change the offending laws within 90 days of the ruling. This is a big win for Rastas, who have fought for decades to enjoy their sacrament of the herb. It also strengthens the growing regional analyses, displacing old negative perspectives on ganja. This article discusses the ruling and its implications for human rights in the Eastern Caribbean. Since this discussion requires an understanding of the mechanics of our Courts and of Constitutional Law, I will begin there. I generalize and simplify so that anyone may follow. Forgive me if some nuances have perished in the process. Also, the mention of ‘region’, ‘regional’ or ‘regionally’, refers to the territory comprising the member states of the OECS (Organization of Eastern Caribbean States).
“To not have the criminal element associated with herb anymore is beautiful. It starts there; that’s a victory for us. The other part that I certainly find interesting is that we’re learning more about all of the medical benefits that marijuana has. We as...Rastas having been singing about it in our songs for years that the herb helps heal the nation. To have scientific research done that is proving our point is wonderful.” - Damian Marley
The OECS shares a collective court system - the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (‘ECSC’). This means that generally: (1) the various courts in these territories form part of a single system, centrally administered from headquarters in St. Lucia, (2) judges in these various courts are appointed and regulated by a single regional authority and may be transferred within the region, and (3) rulings from these courts form part of a single body of law, applicable throughout the region. The Privy Council is the main exception to points 1 and
Image by bostonweedtours from Pixabay
2, since although it is technically part of the ECSC, it is administered from the United Kingdom, with no transferability of judges. Our Courts fall within a 4-tiered hierarchy. Magistrates’ Courts form the base, deciding relatively simple matters. Moving upwards, High Courts form the next tier, deciding more complex matters. The Court of Appeal forms the next tier, roving between the territories to decide appeals from the Magistrates’ Courts and High Courts. The Privy Council sits at the top, deciding appeals from the Court of Appeal. For a legal system to work, there must be consistency in the interpretation and application of laws, by the Courts. This consistency empowers citizens to regulate their behaviour, since it allows them to know what is legal and what is not. If courts decided every matter afresh, without regard to how the relevant issues had been determined previously, then,
there would be no consistency and the Rule of Law would wither. Consequently, for similar matters, courts stand by and apply previous decisions (stare decisis), unless there is strong reason to over-rule those decisions. These prior decisions are called ‘precedent’, since they ‘precede’ decisions which may follow. Courts treat precedent as either binding (precedent must be strictly applied), or persuasive (precedent informs perspective, but need not be applied). Whether precedent is binding or persuasive depends on the court of origin. For example, within the same system - say the ECSC - precedent from higher courts are binding on lower courts, whereas precedent from courts on the same tier are persuasive. Also, courts sometimes consider precedent from outside their system (‘foreign precedent’), such as precedent from courts in the United States. Foreign precedent is always persuasive, irrespective of the tier of the court of origin.
Regional constitutions fall among the laws which our Courts have to interpret and apply. In fact, these constitutions are the supreme, most powerful form of law in the territories; more powerful even than legislation (laws made by Parliament). If any legislation contravenes the Constitution, then that legislation is invalid. Regional Constitutions contain provisions on the structure and governance of the State, but also ‘Bills of Rights’, listing the rights which persons are entitled to within the territory. The Constitutions also list the limits to those rights (‘limitations’). It is our Courts which have the duty and power to determine whether laws contravene Constitutional Rights. This process is invoked by filing a ‘Constitutional Motion’. Since Constitutional Rights are really rights against the State (and not against other private persons), Constitutional Motions may only be filed where one alleges that the State has interfered with their listed right(s).
Limitations Just like power bears responsibility, rights bear limitations. Constitutions recognize that the exercise of rights by one person, may negatively affect other persons. Consequently, regional constitutions place ‘limitations’ on those rights by outlining: (1) the reasons for which and, (2) the circumstances in which those rights may be curtailed. For example, the Grenada Constitution says that one’s Right to Freedom of Expression may be limited by legislation passed for the protection of the reputation of others. Your right to expression isn’t a license to unjustifiably call me a rapist (e.g.). Other limitations include legislation passed for the preservation of ‘public order’, ‘public safety’ and ‘public health’. In other words, legislation which interferes with one’s rights, may nonetheless be valid, if it legitimately pursues one or more of these listed interests. To make that determination, the law applies a three (3) part test. That is: 1. Whether the interest that the State argues in Defence, is listed in the Constitution (such as the protection of the reputation of others, preservation of public order, etc.), 2. Whether the legislation in question is rationally connected to that interest, and
3. Whether the extent of the interference, is no more than necessary to realize that interest (‘test of proportionality’). The State must satisfy all three (3) requirements for the Court to find that a law which interferes with a listed right, is nonetheless valid. With the context provided above, we may discuss the ruling, - Ras Sankofa Maccabbee v Commissioner of Police. In 2012, Ras Sankofa Maccabbee was convicted of possession and cultivation of marijuana. At the time, he had been a practicing rastafarian for over 23 years. In response to the convictions, he filed a Constitutional Motion against the sections of the Drugs Act used to convict him. The motion alleged that those sections violated his rights to: (1) freedom of conscience, which includes freedom to practice one’s religion, and, (2) privacy, which includes the right not to be searched arbitrarily. The State in defence argued that the provisions were not unconstitutional, since they could be justified under the limitations of ‘public order’ , ‘public safety’ and ‘public health’. More specifically, the State argued that the trafficking of marijuana contributed to crime and violence, the prevention of which VISION MAGAZINE
required a blanket prohibition, and, (2) marijuana use had negative effects on youths and vulnerable adults (adults with underlying conditions) and that the prevention of those negative effects also required a blanket prohibition. The Court ruled that each of these arguments failed, in that: 1. The evidence showed only that trafficking in large amounts of marijuana may have contributed to crime and violence, but there was no evidence that personal possession and cultivation of marijuana contributed at all to crime and violence. Consequently, a blanket prohibition, which prohibited such personal possession and cultivation, even for religious purposes, was not rationally linked to the preservation of public order. Also that, 2. The existence of some harmful effects of cannabis use on a limited number of persons does not justify a blanket prohibition for all adults. Consequently, such blanket prohibition was disproportionate because it interfered with the rights of persons more than was necessary to achieve the argued purpose. The Court relied heavily on the 2018 Report of the CARICOM Marijuana Commission, established in 2014 to examine various impacts of marijuana use, and report on whether marijuana should be declassified as a ‘dangerous drug’. The commission unanimously recommended that marijuana be de-classified as a dangerous drug and that it be decriminalised. Particularly, the Commission found that marijuana’s original classification as ‘dangerous’, had been done “without the benefit of scientific data and research”. Also, old rulings endorsing the continued criminalization of marijuana were considered. However, the Court found that the evi-
dence underpinning those rulings had since been debunked. Given the above, the Court’s analysis was as follows: 1. Rastafari was an established religion and the use of marijuana was an observation or practice of that religion.The existence of some harmful effects of cannabis use on a limited number of persons does not justify a blanket prohibition for all adults. Consequently, such blanket prohibition was disproportionate because it interfered with the rights of persons more than was necessary to achieve the argued purpose. 2. The relevant provisions of the Drugs Act, undoubtedly interfered with Maccabbee’s right to Freedom of Conscience as a Rasta, as well as his right to Freedom of Privacy. 3. Given that the State’s arguments for justification failed for the reasons outlined above, the provisions were invalid. Having declared the sections invalid, the Court had to next determine an appropriate remedy. In Constitutional Motions, courts have wide powers to craft appropriate remedies, which may include: (1) striking-out the offending provisions, (2) changing the offending provisions to conform with the Constitution, or, (3) ordering parliament to change the provisions to conform with the Constitution. In this case the Court chose the last option, giving parliament 90 days to legislate exceptions for adult Rastas.
What this means for Grenada and the wider OECS Constitutional Motions in the region may only be heard by the High Court, or on appeal, by the Court of Appeal or Privy Council. Because the ruling discussed is from a High Court, it is persuasive precedent for other High Courts, which are bound to consider it if similar Constitutional Motions are brought before them. The ruling therefore makes it much more likely, that a similar Constitutional Motion anywhere else in the region, will bear the same result. So far, the government of St. Kitts and Nevis has not appealed the ruling, so there isn’t yet an opportunity for the Court of Appeal to determine the correctness of the ruling. If it is appealed, then, the ruling from the Court of Appeal will be binding on the various High Courts, requiring them to rule accordingly. In the absence of an appeal, the ruling represents the current state of law on the constitutionality of ganja laws in the Eastern Caribbean. Inevitably, it will influence analysis, policy and legislation throughout the region, facilitating a more modern, evidence-based approach to ganja.
Conclusion In conclusion, I say big ups to the ruling judge, Justice Dr. Eddy Ventose, more affectionately known by his former students (like me) as ‘Eddy V’. As a professor, Justice Ventose was brilliant and brave. Evidently, he has carried that brilliance and bravery to the bench.
The Difference in Two Political Leaders: Like Fastfood, KCM does not Measure Up (to A Maurice Bishop) WRITTEN BY YAO ATUNWA PHOTOGRAPHY BY TROY DAYSANT
By what standard(s) do we seek to begin to understand the quality of leadership of a leader of a people? One such standard has to be his/her ability to set a tone for other leaders and the nation at large through the very execution of his/her leadership. There are many dimensions that are applicable as it relates to setting a particular tone (and one that is constructive), no doubt. One of those dynamics pertains to his or her ability to ground with the people, authentically. Such individual has to be of and for the people that he or she is seeking to lead, most ideally. Charisma, we can all agree, is one of those qualities that can serve as a viable currency in attempting to make that important connection with the masses. But beyond the mere personal or interpersonal qualities or soft skills possessed by a leader of government, there is another invaluable quality at work, and that is his or her ability to understand the social needs of the masses. In such lies his or her ability to truly connect with the people in a meaningful way; that is to say, beyond personal effects and mere material gains. Grenada has had its fair share of charismatic leaders, with personalities that are captivating, even to the point of messianic appeal,
as was the case with the most flamboyant personality in that of Eric Matthew Gairy, our inaugural prime minister. The current and longest-serving prime minister to date is also deemed by many to possess great personal effect, particularly with his canny disposition to immerse himself with the everyday Grenadian in his/her environs effortlessly; and speak his/her language, I might add. His own personal heritage, hailing from humble beginnings, affords him such almost by default, because one can choose to relate to others differently despite their personal heritage. Mitchell can be seen knocking glass with â€˜the boysâ€? at the neighborhood rum shop or playing cricket during a local tournament or just leisurely. He is no stranger to those activities or settings. For that, he is king (to be figurative). But how does Mitchell stack up when it comes to his ability to connect with the social needs of the Grenadian people? There is one other prime minister who has demonstrated such ability par excellence. And it is by this yardstick we will seek to make sense of the quality of leadership that we have had from the current political leader of the NNP and our current prime minister. That person would have initiated the era of progressive policies and governance in our tri-island state that gave rise to an array of educational, economic, and social
have to grasp fully to deliver transformative results. One of the benchmarks in gauging whether or not such connection is being met is viewing the general welfare of workers at large. The government’s posture toward labor vis-à-vis its policies, directly and indirectly, impacting the welfare of workers is central. The plight of workers for a fair and living wage, job security, proper working conditions, and pension and gratuity represents by and large the welfare of the nation.
programmes which led to the social development of Grenada during the revolutionary period: 1979 – 1983. We are speaking of another graduate of the Presentation Brothers College: Maurice Bishop. Maurice Bishop, too, possessed great personal effect as an individual and as a political leader. He relished rolling up his sleeves, when he was not wearing shot sleeve which he donned a lot as prime minister, to partake in whatever task others were engaged in around the island, as he would have donated his time and resources to represent the downtrodden in legal matters prior to taking the helm as leader of government. The dynamic that serves to contrast these two leaders, as alluded to earlier, is their understanding of the social needs of the people. That is the criteria or juncture where divergent ideologies seem to explain the difference in approach to leadership by these two individuals. Laying attribute to a particular ideology certainly aids our understanding of an apparent difference in governance approach, but it would make much better sense should we examine closely the orientations of these two individuals that convey whether or not a proper connection is made with the social needs of the Grenadian people, of which they would
It would appear more obvious now than previously where the Mitchell administration stands on the question of the welfare for a broad cross-section of workers, given the administration’s handling of the lingering pension and gratuity issue affecting teachers and other civil servants. The government would have “promised” the unions representing those civil servants 25 percent on the heels of the last general elections, only to turn around and renege on such promise to offer a paltry 2 percent, purporting to not be in a position to afford the original 25 percent, which according to union representatives is the law. The commentary on the part of the government is that The Fiscal Responsibility Act, to which the government must adhere, does not facilitate the fiscal room for awarding workers such generous retirement package. And in more recent weeks, after the issue was brought to the court in a class action lawsuit for redress and still pending a ruling, the government indicated that it has plans to enhance the retirement packages for all government workers (not just public officers). It appears that the government’s intent is to pit workers against each other in the process, because it has yet to make amends with the classification of workers, public officers, who aired their grievance in the first instance pertaining to their retirement package. Why wait until the matter goes to the court, and pending a ruling, to decide to speak about enhancing the retirement package of all civil servants, especially when affordability was the focal point and seems to remain the focal point, given the emphasis that has been placed on it during the negotiation talks with union representatives? Could it be that the stubbornness of the unions to press the issue and to garner wide support as they engaged in industrial actions
has put the government on the fence, as it has no alternative left but heighten its propaganda that those workers are being dishonest and greedy with their interpretation or definition of gratuity, to not see it as an up-front loan? Mind you, the issue of pension and gratuity was brought to a head when an earlier (1998) OECS Court of Appeals’ ruling stipulated that government affords the plaintiff, Irwin McQueen, pension compensation to reflect the law as it appeared prior to the People’s Revolutionary Government Pension Disqualification Act of 1985, since Section 84 of such law is inconsistent with the Constitution (which was suspended under the PRG government and restored thereafter). Such decision by the court obviously has wide implications, to include all public officers, not just the plaintiff in this case. Keep in mind that the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), the other fixture in this domain, was intended by the PRG to nullify the adherence to the obvious class division with respect to workers, including politicians who served in government, which by the way was sidestepped when an earlier NNP Administration, in 1989, contravened the PRG’s Pension Disqualification Act of 1985, to ensure that politicians receive pension and gratuity after four years in office. There is no earnest indication that the Mitchell government is intending to undo the class division and thus corresponding privileges consequently afforded in the process, with mentioning an increase or enhancement in pension for all civil servants, even at this stage. Moreover, the initial claim that the public officers are being greedy or fool-headed with wanting and demanding 25 percent only echoes the reality on the ground, that the great majority of civil servants in Grenada would be retiring with very little monetary benefits to sustain a modest sense of wellbeing when they have mortgages and other expenses to honor on an ongoing basis. But how does such charge by the government relate to its decision to take on many of the new hires of nurses in the public health sector on a part-time basis without the fringe benefits that full-time workers are entitled to? And would such practice not only affect those young nurses seeking to practice their profession and make a livelihood but negatively impact the overall delivery of health service, in spite other changes that might be positive to that sector? Does the Mitchell government really have the workers’ welfare at heart? Should the answer to the question turn out to be no, why would the workers of the State of Grenada not be top priority for the current government? To VISION MAGAZINE
be most fair, let us ask the question this way: What policies have the government implemented that suggest otherwise; that the government is seeking to seriously improve the general situation for workers in the state? Why is the Minister of Labour also the minister of foreign Affairs? How does this begin to make sense? There is really no comparison to be made as to the treatment that workers received under the PRG government, for it was a period when workers were given the greatest support on many fronts, but particularly so as it relates to ensuring that workers had the benefit of safe and better working conditions; that women receive equal pay for their labor, as well as maturity leave; that workers’ rights to join unions were safeguarded and promoted: all with legislation; and legislation that included the participation of union leadership as well as rank and file members. Such was the process of seeking to democratize industries in the state. There was no Fiscal Responsibility Act as such to prevent or curtail what was deemed beneficial to the welfare of workers, who are the backbone of the society. In fact, Grenada was much poorer during that period, with GDP being nowhere near its current figure of 1.119 billion. Grenada had less foreign direct investments then as well. Another interesting fact is that though we relied on donations from foreign governments to address social projects as we still do, there was much less reliance on loans, another prominent component of our reliance on outside resources. So much so that Grenada’s foreign debt grew from 33 percent of GPD in 1995 to 83.53 percent in 2004. As stated by researcher Patsy Lewis in her analysis of the social and economic policies of Grenada post-independence: “Grenada has enjoyed favorable levels of growth, averaging 3.8 percent between 1980 and 2003, higher than the world average of 2.9 percent and the CARICOM average of 3.1 percent, but just below the OECS average of 4.1 percent (World Bank, 2005:1). However, these positive indicators co-exist with high levels of unemployment and poverty, suggesting significant inequality and vulnerability, which threaten to undermine gains in human development (Case Study: Social Policies in Grenada, 2010).” To put this in perspective, much of our economic growth was, in fact, fueled by loans in the development of the port and other major infrastructure projects post-1995, resulting in construction playing a prominent role insofar as GDP contribution( 11 percent, as cited in a Caribbean Development Bank report, 2007; more than hotels and restaurants). The other major factors, as listed by Patsy 15
Lewis, are: “concessionary access to major trading markets, including the European Union (EU), USA and Canada; the development of the service sector, primarily tourism, but also off-shore financial service; generous inflow of foreign direct investments (FDI).” The reality of which implies that most of the growth was derived from outside of Grenada. However, with the fiasco that led to the loss of the concessionary market for our bananas (and by extension the OECS and other countries in the region) in the EU, the loss of the once popular off-shore banking sector, and loss in income from duties and trade, seemingly the only factor that is still “viable” would be that of the continued inflow of foreign direct investment primarily in the tourism sector, which currently is picking up. However, with the upkeep of the 20-plus
years in tax holidays given to hoteliers as standard practice, combined with low-wage jobs offered in the sector, as well as the heavy reliance on imported food, the great majority of the profits (over 80 percent on average for the region) leave our shores for the developed world. Nonetheless, we continue to rely on tourism as the centerpiece of the economy. In such context, where are the real benefits for the average worker laboring in those hotels that are introducing exciting luxury to our shores, of which most of our people would not be able to enjoy? Are we not continuing to sell our labor in a market that does not provide much for our general wellbeing: the same way agricultural workers did on the many plantations?
the celebratory occasion. Why would a national leader even make such comment about a national hero’s parents for public consumption, and disparagingly? Not even the critics of a socialist Bishop could fathom such ill-manner or anti-people posture from Bishop. Another benchmark worth viewing to begin to grapple with the quality of leadership that Mitchell is affording the citizens of Grenada would be his great reluctance to even engage in fruitful dialogue regarding the decriminalization or marijuana, when several regional and international states are presently signally their commitment to doing so, to alleviate the unnecessary punitive burden their citizens have to bear under the traditional framework, as well as the great potential for health benefits and overall commerce. Mitchell’s obvious lack of interest in such important area of the social and economic life of citizens is quite alarming.
Another aspect of Mitchell’s approach to governance that worth highlighting is his attitude towards the people’s desires. For instance, his totally and blatant objection to a great many members of the public regarding his decision to use Camerhogne Park for a hotel project. His adamant disapproval of the idea to save the park at its location is still an ongoing one. If the park was not entrusted to the people of Grenada by the Willy Redhead Foundation, and instead was the property of the state/government, I am not sure that the people’s effort to save the park would withstand the prime minister’s wish to have his way. The same attitude is displayed even more concretely when he and his cabinet choose to withhold important information on matters of wide public interest and implication, such
as the end result of the negotiation with the foreign investors in the nascent energy sector. Grenadians had to gather such information from Trinidad media. The cry is that Mitchell does not respect the citizens of Grenada, with his continued ant-people posture: dictatorial, some have come to describe it. I, personally, recall an episode of Mitchell (then-opposition leader) making crass and outright rude comments about Kirani James’ parents on the young man’s return trip after representing his country in an international meet, to celebrate his victory as a world champ. Mitchell’s intent was to embarrass Ms. Annie James and Mr. Dorrani Marshall, as there was little room left for interpretation, when Mitchell suggested that James and Marshall’s appearance could be altered or enhanced for
One must note that the ideological deportment of Keith Mitchell, neoliberalism, does not provide great social benefits for Grenadians, though he seems formidable as a leader, especially as a candidate for general elections, winning two landslide electoral victories in recent years. There are structural problems in place that would create favorable conditions for such to happen. The most obvious is the current two-party system: it is either or, in an increasingly partisan context. Another being the adherence of the second major party to the neoliberal order. However, the most fundamental of them is the shift from the reliance on our people in developing our nation as was the case during the reign of the PRG. That is partially the reason why neoliberalism, i.e. capitalism, can serve as the number one educating instrument of our people’s consciousness. In an era of privatization and its peer, rugged individualism, the one-eyed man is king. Mitchell is that one-eyed man for his view that capital is the primary focus in inviting prosperity. The true answer lies in realizing that the human aspect to development is both at front and back ends of all endeavors undertaken to inspire social development, not glorifying capital or seeking to always make conditions favorable for private investors at the great expense of workers/citizens. I hope that you may still find the title of this essay most applicable, after the use of the one-eyed king metaphor. I see parity in both, and the need to use both to say what we currently have is substandard. Acknowledging that such is the reality is our first crucial step in changing course. VISION MAGAZINE
Founding 12ºn 61ºw Grenadian Film Festival, & Creating Opportunities For Grenadian Actors And Filmmakers WRITTEN BY MESCHIDA PHILLIP
In 2016, while completing my Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) in Film at The City College in New York, I returned to Grenada to produce my thesis film, Scars of Our Mothers Dreams, a short documentary film exploring the complexities of parental migration and its effect on the children left behind. That was my first time returning to Grenada as a filmmaker. To be transparent, it is necessary for me to disclose that I was no stranger to the Arts & entertainment sector in Grenada. Several years before my return in 2016, I was fortunate to work as a TV host, production manager for emerging artists, and in other areas in entertainment, all experiences which ignited my passion for the industry. Additionally, within that period, I was also able to establish a network of creative acquaintances. Despite my network and exposure, returning to Grenada later as a film director/producer, it quickly dawned on me how sparse resources and support for persons interested in the Arts and Entertainment industry was. Culturally and socially, soca music and live theater shows have dominated the entertainment sector in Grenada for decades. 17
Other visual arts mediums like film, music videos, animation, paintings, etc., are slowing emerging. During production, I encountered some challenges and needed some assistance, and that’s when it hit me. In spite of my connections, I was unable to identify a space/ community for filmmakers. There were pockets of incredibly talented creatives including videographers, editors, photographers, and visual artists, but they usually collaborated predominantly amongst themselves, making it a bit challenging as a visiting filmmaker to connect with and access a supportive community and the right resources. Before leaving Grenada after filming, I learned of the Grenada Film Commission’s office ba-
sed in Grand Anse; I was excited to finally find a home designed for film development in Grenada. Upon my return to New York, and after doing further due diligence, I learned about their Grenada Global film festival which was scheduled for 2017 and quickly volunteered as a means to acquaint myself with the emerging Grenadian film community. However,the festival was postponed.
media industries. They are Leslie Ann Caton, Eva Minemar, Princess Donelan, Mellany Paynter, Nelcol Lindsay, and Khadine J. Francis. The opening night, which featured and celebrated “Caribbean Female Filmmakers,” established the tone for the festival, setting new precedence as an iconic Grenadian Visual Art/Film event promoting the work of talented emerging artists from Grenada and beyond.
Two years later, when I returned to produce my second film, Crystal, not much had changed amongst the independent film community. The only visual arts representative body at that time was the Grenada Arts Council, which primarily focused on paintings and other mediums except for films. And, unfortunately, the Grenada Film Commission office had closed its doors.
Four-industry focused workshops preceded the festival in Production, Script Writing, Crowdfunding and Distribution facilitated by Leslie Ann Wills-Caton of Fixer Film Studios, Stacia Yearwood, MFA in Creative Writing and Christina Raia of Seed & Spark. Seed & Spark is one of the largest crowdfunding platforms in the United States, and 1261GFF was their first major partnership in the Caribbean.
I saw an opportunity to make a difference.
This year’s programming was lead by Eva Minemar, assisted by Meschida Philip, Princess Donelan, and Dolores Diaz. A staggering lineup of fifty (50) films - 8 feature-length and 42 short films - from around the world that drew attention to Black experiences and culture globally was featured. Thirteen (13) countries were represented, with several films making Grenadian and Regional premieres. Our jurors, invited in recognition of their accomplishments in the arts, technical craft, and visionary storytelling, included Richardo Keens-Douglas, Johncrow Alexander, Andrew Richards, and Diego Ongaro.
In 2018, I embarked on the journey to establish the 12ºN 61ºW GRENADIAN FILM FESTIVAL (1261GFF), officially announcing and kicking off the festival in November 2018. What is the significance of 12ºN 61ºW? 12ºN 61ºW is the beginning longitude/latitude coordinates for Grenada. In developing an identity for the festival, I wanted something unique to Grenada. Grenada is a gem, a picturesque destination that constitutes multifaceted cultural influences and representation. It provides the perfect pallet for any artist to draw inspiration. That excited me, and I wanted to fuse my worlds and the myriad talents of my friends who inhabited these worlds both locally and internationally. Our mission was straightforward: to establish a community-centric, preeminent destination festival that provides a supportive space. Our goal was to encourage collaboration and provide educational channels while creating avenues to promote Grenadian and other diverse filmmakers throughout the diaspora while appealing to regional and international industry professionals and stakeholders. On May 3rd, 2019, under my stewardship, the 12ºN 61ºW GRENADIAN FILM FESTIVAL debuted at Lavo Lanes in Grenada; kicking off three days of diverse, inclusive and culturally relevant independent film showcase from the Caribbean and African Diaspora. Our core-team consisted of professional women in the film, finance, events planning, and social
The 1261GFF schedule included a Children’s Matinee program, LGBTQ program, Caribbean Women in Films program, general screenings of some of the most contemporary independent films, andpost-screening conversations with filmmakers Nadege Ptah, director of Do Do Ti Ti, Andy Smart, director of Home Invasion, and Lauren Sowa, producer of Marisol, and Camika Mc. Letchie, the lead character of Breaking the Cycle. Almost 40% percent of the films programmed were by female filmmakers. The Children’s Matinee and Teen Program constituted approximately 35% percent of the films. The Breaking Barriers/LGBTQ program accounted for about 10%, and the screenings co-hosted by GrenChap. Sixteen (16) percent of the films featured were produced in Grenada or featured Grenadian artists/content creators both in front and behind the camera.
Executive team members for the Festival: Nelcol Philip, head of finance, Khadine Francis, Festival events consultant, Eva Minemar, International Programmer, Meschida Philip, festival founder and Director, Leslie Ann Caton, Operations Manager/ Industry
Grenadian content creators featured in our 2019 festival included: The Cure - Grenada Roger Joseph, director/animator Tales of Two Islands – Carricaou Various students (9-18-year-old), Voice Overs for puppets characters. Crystal - Grenada Meschida Philip, Director/Executive Producer Jackie Bailey, Aerial Photographer Renel Parkes, Aerial Photographer Actors: Earl Mc Leash, Rose Baghwa, Lexington Wilks, introducing Amilio Degale, Chestine James Jerome, Abigail Eboh, Navice A. Malcolm, Josh Tavinier, Kimmon Charles, Rohan Vincent, Ronnie Mathew. Panorama Jamming to the Top – USA Devon Alexis, Editor Home Invasion – Trinidad Dan Sylva, Music composer Garvey Louison & Lucky Productions, Producers GRENCOMM GRENADA, Post Production Jab Jab - UK Colin Dowe, Narrator Puddle, Actor Community Rainwater Harvesting Project and Bottleneck - Grenada Malaika Brooks-Smith-Lowe, Director Docket 32357- USA Eljon Wardally, Writer Generation Revolution - UK Cassie Qualiss, Director Absence of Love - USA Billy Frank, Director/Writer Various Music Videos - Grenada Aurther Daniels, Director John James, Director Teddy Fedrick, Director
I want to take this moment to thank all the filmmakers who’ve participated in our inaugural festival for allowing us to share their work with our community in Grenada. Additionally, I am grateful to all our corporate stakeholders who saw our vision and supported us — Presenting Partner – Mprojkets Creative Group, Gnd., and The Philip Agency, LLC. Partners – Lavo Lanes, Deluxe Cinema, Excel Plaza-Movie Palace, Maria McClafferty-Paradise Glass, Byron Heavy Trucking and Equipment, Paracademia Center Inc, Grenada Ministry of Youth Development, Duty Free Grenada, Concepts Advertising, La Boucan Creative Center, Seed & Spark, Amalgama Studio, Map Media International, FIXERfilm Studios, Beautiful Events Gnd, Nice Auto Services Inc, StonesCustoms, Andy’s Kitchen, Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA). Media partners – BossFM Grenada, Ridealong Live, Grenada Broadcast, Go2Fete. While it’s still too early to gauge the long term impact 1261GFF will have on Grenada’s so-
cio-cultural landscape, I know we have left a positive impression from the resounding consensus received from the local community and visiting filmmakers who attended the festival from North America and within the Caribbean region. We’ve started a revolution and ignited something amongst the film community home. In light of that, my team and I are early looking forward to receiving more submissions from Grenada next year. 2020 is the year for clarity! The second year of 12ºN 61ºW GRENADIAN FILM FESTIVAL will be held May 2nd - May 9th, 2020. The call for submissions is currently open. Interested filmmakers may submit through our website www.1261filmfestival.com or follow us on social media @1261filmfestival. See you in 2020 in Grenada!
THERE IS A REASON WHY MOST CHRISTIANS BELIEVE THAT WE ARE FREE! WRITTEN BY YAO ATUNWA PHOTOGRAPHY BY TROY DAYSANT
When I examine the crime scene, of our peopleâ€™s suffering across the globe, I have to admit and state emphatically that our adherence to Christianity as a people is our biggest hindrance to freedom. In fact, it was meant to be that way with great calculation and shrewdness, but also inherently. A great many of our people do not have a clue how this is orchestrated, hence the reason we are in the situation that we are in. The great majority of our elected leaders and other societal leaders are certainly not conscious of this travesty. Africa is for the take. The Caribbean is for the take. And we will forever be for the take unless we make an about turn, which involves recognizing our challenge with attaining freedom, holistically. When you take on foreign value systems without understanding their true implications, you are not only putting yourself in danger, you become your own enemy. That is exactly where we are as African people. It is no accident that Christianity is aligned with neo-liberalism. Why wouldnâ€™t it? It is the biggest promoter of rugged individualism. After all, receiving salvation is a personal responsibility and endeavor for Christians, while at the same time not acknowledging that it is systems that govern our lives in the societies that we are a part of as individuals. As such, there is a blatant abdication of a true social responsibility, both on the micro and macro levels as it relates to individuals and governments not seeking to acknowledge in the first instance that poverty is not merely the personal failings or sins of individuals, and thus cannot be resolved merely on an individual basis through meritocracy charity.
Because of this influential disposition that the great majority of members of society have, in the ultra-competitive economic environments created in the West and consequently throughout the globe, narcissism is routinely elevated to an ideal, as it is highly rewarded and seen as a strength, culturally. The social dynamics (much of which is fueled by insecurities and anxieties caused by the failure of these systems to promote economic, political, and social freedoms) that manifest as a result of an investment in an economic system and a pseudo-moral system that seek to atomize issues, as though the source of those social, environmental, and financial issues was generated by the individuals that they reside with or impact to the point of sickness and death, hold their place culturally. And with the passage of time, the disintegration of the group or groups only worsens, even when progress is being mentioned, and the chasm between the haves and the haves-nots intensifies, and greater emphasis is placed on the individual to pull him/herself by the bootstraps and, of course, more prayers are warranted. When such happens, as in this very reality playing itself out, it should only be more obvious that democratic values are only slogans uttered by the powerful. A truly democratic society will not produce the levels of disparities in income and wealth as it is in the epicenter of capitalism and a most Christian society as its citizens would attest, which is the United States. Ask yourself the question: why are democratic values not promoted in the workplace, and would it not make sense to do so, in order to create a democratic society?
Ultimately, our challenge is one of affirming our identity as Africans. Whether we reside in the U.S or elsewhere in the world as Africans, our freedom lies in our Africanness, in our collectivism, which is the opposite of what is promoted with the value systems of Christianity, capitalism, and neo-liberalism. None of these value systems promote or complement our identity as Africans. Currently, we are lost, and the challenge in freeing ourselves is gigantic, because we fail to connect to our wise understanding of ourselves before we encountered foreigners, namely Europeans. Of course, their intent is to dominate at all cost. We are left to perpetuate paternalistic systems in that of Christianity, capitalism, and neo-liberalism. That is their common root, and they inherently would not set us free. The social hierarchy promoted under European paternalistic systems does not adhere our ways of being as an African people. Our cultural understanding promotes the importance of women and recognizes the significance of the group as such, not merely individuals: the very opposite of the systems provided to us by way of Europeans. There is a reason why most Christians believe that we are free, when we are not. The struggle is that they, like the rest of us, are seeking to reconcile two identities that are not reconcilable. We can only be free when we truly recognize ourselves as Africans again; not Africans seeking to be Westerners or refusing to come to terms with our miseducation about ourselves.
WRITTEN BY SUSAN MAINS
Grenada Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition For the 58th International Art Exhibition in La Biennale di Venezia Venice (Italy), May 8th, 2019, Grenada was represented by four contemporary artists in that of Billy Gerard Frank, Dave Lewis, Shevone Neckles, and Amy Cannestra, along with pavilion Commissioner Susan Mains. Their exhibition is titled “Epic Memory”, a quote from poet laureate and Nobel Prize winner Derek Walcott. The curator for the exhibition is Daniele Radini Tedeschi. It continues until November 24th, in the Cannaregio district of Venice.
Epic Memory Derek Walcott in his Nobel lecture, The Antilles: Fragments of Epic Memory said, “Antillean art is this restoration of our shattered histories, our shards of vocabulary, our archipelago becoming a synonym for pieces broken off from the original continent.” The artists of the Grenada Pavilion each pull from their own experience this long trail of memory to define themselves in a Caribbean Context. The Visitor, the Victim, the Valiant, the Voice, each portray a fragment when woven together maps a Caribbean Civilization that is in constant flux. The synthesis of the Old World—Europe, Africa, India, the East comes together, bound by salt wa-ter, and is something vaguely familiar, but entirely new. The recorded history, always at risk of being destroyed by the movements of earth, fire, wind, and water, gives way to the memory stored in the DNA, passed from generation to generation. As with any civilization, family makes the con-sequential scars, and these become the ties that bind. The art that comes from this seeming confusion is at once individualistic and cooperative. The es-sence of it, that scent that is recognized, connects the artist and the viewer in an ever changing cho-reography of understanding—a “belaire”* of creole concoction. May-
be the artist has something deep and meaningful to convey, or maybe he is just playing with you. Caveat emptor — do not be fooled.
Shervone Neckles The voice of her family, Shervone Neckles attempts an historical documentation of the immigration of her family from Grenada to Brooklyn, New York in the United States in the 1960s and 70s. The original family home in Grenville in Grenada was destroyed by fire, yet she has excavated memory from the detritus. In her work for the Grenada pavilion she installs the female body printed on polypropylene with a headpiece that resembles the family home. Many of the material qualities of the installation speak to impermanence. Just as the actual structure that tied the family to Grenada is now rebuilt the art itself over time will evolve. Her research and notes then become the history that future generations can look to, confirming their presence and place at a particular time. Shervone Neckles is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, and community worker. Neckles’ draws inspiration from the duality and transitional nature of her Afro-Grenadian American identity. Her work embraces collage, alternative printmaking techniques, book
arts, sculpture and social investi-gations. She has participated in residencies as diverse as the Youlou Arts Foundation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, West Indies; Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, FL; The Elizabeth Foundation’s SHIFT Program, NY; The Center for Book Arts, NY; The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculp-ture, ME among many other residency programs. Previous awards include grants from The Queens Council on the Arts, Foundation of Contemporary Art, Puffin Foundation, Joan Mitchell Founda-tion, and fellowships from Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop and Manhattan Graphic Cen-ter. Her award-winning work has been shown worldwide in both group and solo exhibitions. Neck-les’ has earned an MA from Teacher’s College, Columbia University, MFA from Queens College and BFA from The College of New Rochelle.
tal to the idea of inheritance and customary practices through
Born in London in 1962 to parents of the Windrush generation, his early years were spent in Lon-don with the exception of a short period living on Grenada. After completing his degree in film and photography at the Polytechnic of Central London (now University of Westminster). He subse-quently worked in a number of community photography project spaces teaching photography as self-empowermentand as a campaign tool for social change. Lewis was a member of the Black British arts movement featuring in the D’Maxphotographers nationwide touring exhibitions (1988). His early work around the black body and anthropology was exhibited at The Photographer’s Gal-lery and MOMA, Oxford (1996). His work around the black figurine, ‘In the Palm of my Hand’ was featured in the Artist’s Newsletter magazine and exhibited at Southwark Gallery (1997) and was subsequently one of the two opening exhibitions of the Globe Gallery, New-
Valiantly Dave Lewis carries on the memories and legacy of his father, a centenarian who now lives in the lush green mountains of Grenada in Birch Grove, St. Andrew’s. Dave’s life is the epitome of the quote of his father as he points to Dave, ‘..he is in my place’. Taking over from a retiring family member is a familiar trope – the passing on of responsibilities is fundamen-
family lineage. Dave’s photographs expand on the idea of returning to a mythical ‘homeland’. Be-wildered by the jungle-like density of the land that surrounds, by the dialect of English that is need-ed to understand, by the agricultural and tourist economic base that is vastly different, he photo-graphs to create a narrative—a pathway for himself to the future. Visually stunning, the photographs tell a story of deep memory of the land. Perhaps he is seeing through the eyes of his father. Perhaps those 100 years project more than familial responsibility. Perhaps what we view is the personification of love.
castle (1997). His work around the Stephen Lawrence Report ‘Chapter Six – Racism’ (2001) has been shown and published extensively to date as has his visual anthropology exhibition ‘Field Work’ (2010). His portrait work has been shown at the National Gallery in the ‘Seduced by Art’ exhibition (2012); and has most recently exhibited at the 57th Biennale di Venezia as a part of the Diaspora Pavilion with his photographic narrative ‘Once Removed’ (2017). Lewis’s work is in the Arts Council Collection, the Royal Anthropological Institute and Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford. He currently lives and works in London teaching in the anthropology department at Goldsmiths University, college of London.
Billy Gerard Frank Billy Gerard Frank uses his own personal experience, particularly that of an absent father, to con-vey a narrative that is only too familiar to many who are born and live in small islands. The video he has created is set in the heart stopping beauty of the interior of tropical Grenada, and the rough life of the fishermen who feed her. Invoking the waning British colonial life of the 1950’s, the Tower, a historical estate home, also becomes a star in the show. 2nd Eulogy: mind the gap, is his attempt to come to peace with the present/absent, phantom father, while processing personal and collective memories around the father/ son relationship. One can never fully re-capture history and memory, and any attempt could easily lead to falsification, negat-ing and distancing of the already distant. Billy is interested in opening a space that allows for exper-imentation, multiple possibilities, and re- imagining. The video installation renders a multi-textured reading and re-positioning of memory and history that disarticulates expectations and preconceived notions. This narrative spins multiple plots that breathe new life and presence into his father’s per-sonal effects, history, memories of lovers, sexual VISION MAGAZINE
a fort could never do.” — From Epic Memory a Call for Art
predators, and ghosts. A quote from Marcel Proustsums up: “My destination is no longer a place, rather a new way of seeing.” Billy Gerard Frank is a Multi-disciplinary Artist, Filmmaker and Nominated Production Designer from the tiny island of Petit Martinique in Grenada. His works draw upon the personal, political and social histories, and creates counter narratives that address issues of migration, race, and global pol-itics. His collected, altered and own mix media artworks have been exhibited in group and solo shows in New York, London, and the Caribbean and are in several private collections and institu-tions like National Academy Museum of Fine Arts and Design and MOMA PS1. Mr. Frank studied fine arts and design for over 5 years at National Academy Museum of Fine Arts and Design, and The Art Students League of New York. He was a recent artist in residence at Camac - Centre D’Art in Paris. Since 2005, after studying filmmaking and media arts at The New School University and New York University, Frank has worked as a writer, director and production designer, in both narrative and documentary films for clients like DOE, Verizon, Porsche, and The Robin Hood Foundation. His narrative short film, Absence of Love, which he wrote and directed, was shown in several interna-tional film festivals and was an Oscar Short Film runner up. He was nominated for a European Mu-sic Video award in the category of Production Design for his design of Warner Music Group artist, Mary Komasa.
Amy Cannestra As a visitor, Amy Cannestra spent several months in Grenada in an artist residency in 2017/2018. Her work explores the creation of memories. She collects items from her exploration of the physi-cal , and stores them in little compartments, little jars, little projections that mimic those collections of the early scientists 23
who explored this new world, or children who collect in curiosity and store their found treasures in glass tombs. She walks the tight rope between visitor and voyeur, silently viewing and recording the not so secret secrets. As she searches, are the objects of collections those she purposefully seeks, or are they presenting themselves to her in a conscious bid to become immortal in her story.
When Amy exhibited a solo show in Grenada in 2018, “Horizons”, little did she know that her hanging collection of shell fragments, wrapped and prettified with the fancy copper wrappers from Grenada chocolates, were actually the tools left on the beaches two millennia ago by the indigenous Kalinago people. Local Grenadian historian Michael Jessamy drew attention to the fact that the art had given new life to shards long forgotten. Unknowingly, the history of the objects found their way to the consciousness of the artist, and an exciting process of discovery was begun. This pro-cess is what is evidenced in her presentation for the Grenada pavilion a mixed media, interactive work. She quotes Asher Mains, “Our relationship with our landscape and the materials in it penetrate our collective souls in a way that facts from a history book or standing at the ruins of
Amy Cannestra, an interdisciplinary artist from Wisconsin, USA, has a contemporary art practice that shifts back and forth between a light-hearted commentary on social and political issues and works investigating how human experience effects identity. Both ways of thinking are visualized through the use of common household items and found objects, which reveal insight to place and time, following in line with the 1960s Pop Art Movement. Cannestra’s works have been shown in-ternationally including the 2017 edition of TRIO: Three Dimensional International Rio Bienal, 2016 Transart Triennial in Berlin, and in galleries in New York City, and Los Angeles. These artists themselves add to the long and short narrative of the history of visual art in Grenada.
Never before has a tiny Caribbean island presented itself for the third time as an official national pavilion in the prestigious Biennale di Venezia. Yet we cannot do this alone. The support of the Italian group, START, and the Curator Daniele Radini Tedeschi has made this possible, and we are eternally grateful. From this tiny outpost of contemporary visual art in the southern Caribbean Sea we shout, “You are Here!” ________________ *The Belaire is a folk dance that infuses 19th century clothing from the French, made with cloth from Madras in India, with the steps of a traditional West African dance and drumming. It is essentially West Indian, seen throughout the southern and eastern Caribbean.
My Nutmeg and Seven Stars
I Become Soluble
Been away from this island paradise I know now there’s no place like home Sentimental memories make me nostalgic for I’m a true Grenadian to the bone. Longing to be pampered by the sweet scent of spices that invade the air we breathe Her sandy beaches and warm sunshine always brings to me the euphoria I need. The friendly smiles that portrays our island spirit, I yearn to see now and embrace Dreaming of oil down and our Tanya Log I will give anything just to savor a taste. My Grenadian pride is what keeps me alive and I wear it proudly just like old scars Though separated by distant land and seas I’ll never forget my nutmeg and seven stars.
I’m away where My heart lays In its restful place And my soul Stretched out in Its endless summer Where velvet breeze Fluffs the brows Resonating the Ambiance of Harmony One with nature Kinda hard to tell Where one starts and the other ends I love that sort of problem What do I have to solve I become soluble!
Shard Noel ©
Yao Atunwa ©
The Flames of Home I long to be embrace by these mighty arms that clad me back then when I was a boy Because such memories are like inheritance given to us by innocent moments of joy. Oh, I’ve been away from my island to long I know you feel the same in the Diaspora This little rock of ours is so beautiful and nice that all we can do is love and adore her. God’s one true haven and paradise beneath heaven the golden moon, stars and sun My spice isle offers you blissful and elated times resonated by spices exotic foods and rum. I will carry the gem of the Caribbean in my heart always I feel proud whenever her flag is flown Even though I am a thousand leagues away now I still long to be warm by the flames of home.
Near Death In the Bronx The birds refuse The rice left on the ground Not because they are not hungry They too need to take wings To escape the rapture Yao Atunwa ©
Shard Noel © VISION MAGAZINE
GRENADA Green lush vegetation of breath-taking beauty enveloping fertile landscape in scenic tapestry, while Radiant sunshine’s golden splendor delightfully kissed sun-bathers lounging on exotic beaches or taking invigorating dips in Exquisite waterfalls crystal clear streams splashing down in majestic grandeur from incredible heights, dropping jaws in awe, as eyes behold Nature’s abundant blessings lavished upon this tiny child swaddled in spice-scented napkins Aspiring, striving, amidst social and economic hardships to forge, to reach, and fulfill their Destiny, guided by faith perseverance and fierce ancestral courage As...one People... one Nation. Frank Scott ©
Quaint bells of symphony, swelling over vast corridors of the mind filming scenes from remote past in kaleidoscopes of living colour strumming.. with virtuosic intensity on mind’s tormented strings reincarnating exorcised demons undressing raw putrefying wounds rusty hinges creaking noisily as grating shovels on ice skelenton closet swings eerily open creatures baring hideous teeth lay siege on my sanity and haunt my sleep. Frank Scott ©
Swooped down as plundering hordes Waving bloodied razor-edged swords Angry waves in billowy swell Questing to conquer Heart’s citadel. Virtue took heels and vanished from the Room Anger deflated instantly as a pricked balloon Courage stood his ground, eyes clashing steel ‘No surrender’ he cried, only weaklings and cowards yield. Mercy recoiled in horror as blood flowed inky red Forgiveness dispatched emissaries pleading to stop the bloodshed Desperate, the Invader felt the thorns of defeat in his side Switched colour as the chameleon flashing a charming smile. Conjuring up memories clad in sensuous attire Stroking cold embers of an old burnt- out fire But zealous Captain who once perched on the Traitor’s breast Imprisoned Mercy and beheaded Forgiveness.
It only takes two summers to bloom At least So it seems These lilies, tulips, or roses…if you will Reach their age of beauty Amid the dense and cold winds of this modern air She tends to thrive in obscurity Swaying to these winds in all appeal Yet What an alluring poise In her steadfast aims But this is time due Who could resist concrete beauty In its charming sculptures and array of colors If only the evocative fragrance of youth Mixes with the elegance of wisdom What a concoction that will be A taste to savor for the ages Provocative!!
Frank Scott ©
Yao Atunwa ©
DE LAUGHIN TREE WRITTEN BY JACOB ROSS
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANDY JOHNSON
Jacob Ross is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the author of three acclaimed collections of short stories, A Way to Catch the Dust, Song for Simone and Tell No-One About This – nominated by The 2018 Bocas Literary Festival as one of the three best works of Caribbean fiction published in 2017. His first novel, Pynter Bender, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Regional Prize, and his debut crime novel, The Bone Readers won the inaugural Jhalak Prize in 2017. His forthcoming novel, Black Rain Falling (March 2020) will be published by Sphere/Hachette.
When the white man tell Granny she stupid, she didn give im back no forward answer. She didn even cuss im afterwards an call im no sand fly, no beke, no big guts, half bake soand-so from Englan. No red-arse, no lobsterface, no bleachout nothing. I tell meself it wasn fair, cos if was me dat even raise mih eyelash too fast at she, she would ha grab de palette by de door, and right after, I would ha been rubbing mih skin an bawling. I tell meself dat mebbe she tired becos this quarrel with Missa Coleridge start off long time. Long before my mother leave me with Granny an say how she goin to Trinidad to make a livin, and she goin send money and after a little time she goin send for me. I still waitin, like I waitin for Granny to put some words in Missa Coleridge tail. Nobody never talk to my Granny like dat an get away, jusso. People always comin an askin if we want to buy someting: pro-
vision, fish, sweetie, even costlymetics from de Avon lady, and once a man come offerin to sell a little donkey and Granny ask him what she want with a little jackass – ain’t he think it have nuff jackass round here arready? De man ask if she talkin bout sheself. I sure he still regret it, becos she tell im a couple tings dat make im look like he wish he never born. Now I never fraid to put some serious wud in Missa Coleridge tail meself, specially when my granny wasn goin to do it. People always tellin de ole lady how I rude, but if is one time I feel glad for mih rudeness was when dat white man tell my granmother how she stupid. BIG PEOPLE does get away with too much freshness, jus’ because dey feel dey BIG. In fact, if it wasn for Gran-ny palette, and de fact dat BIG PEOPLE does tell she all de tings I does say back to dem, and dat I got too much mouth, it have a lot o time I does feel to put some seVISION MAGAZINE
rious wuds in BIG PEOPLE tail. I does want to ask if dem have myopia, if dem arthritis reach up in dem eye an dem cyah see dat is a little mouth I have. Cos I like to put wuds, specially for people who talk to me as if I is deir child, as if I don’t have no mother, just because she gone away an never send for me – though some-times, when Granny vexin over my mother never writing, I does feel to put some wuds to my mother, too – only in my head, cos Granny wouldn like it. I ‘member de first time Missa Coleridge come he was grinnin all over he face. He tell she how everybody done sell out deir little piece over de sea – as if she didn notice – and seein dat all she friends gone to a nicer place down by de Chichiree, near de swamp, didn she think dat was a good idea to go an live wid dem? Granny kinda smile an tell im no, she didn think so. Missa Coleridge get red. Although h’was red arready, he get even redder like cook crayfish. He didn say nothing more. He just pull off he white canvas hat an start to fan he face real fast. Den he walk off. Now de same way I does look at a sky an know when rain makin up to fall, I know was trouble coming. Granny know dat too cos even if she didn batten up de window an look up at de roof to make sure dem hole up deh plug good, she mouth gone tight and she eye turn flat an dark, as if all de battening happenin inside o she. ‘Ku-Kus,’ she say (is how she does call me, an I not suppose to tell nobody why), ‘Ku-Kus, go bring de grip, come, gimme!’ I go. I put it on de floor. ‘Open it.’ I try. ‘I can’t open it, Granny. It tight.’ ‘Rudeness is all you good for,’ she say in a frettin kind o way. I notice how she hand tremble. Was a shakin dat start from she shoulder and work itself all de way down to she finger. Dat worry me. She not de kinda o pusson you kin make tremble easy. She straighten up as much as she back allow, and look at me an say, ‘Feather,’ (dat’s anoth-er name she does call me, an I not goin to tell nobody why), ‘Feather, don’t ferget about yuh moth-er, jus because she ferget about we. But yuh have to tell yourself dat she never goin write we, an she never goin send 27
for you.’ Was sad I feel, not for meself but for Granny. An I put some wuds to meself an say, ‘Ku-Kus, Granny damn right to bring dat palette to y’arse sometimes, even when you think you don’t deserve it, cos you does ferget how hard she try with you. Ent she does send you to school? Ent she does give you a piece o meat same size as she when she cook an sharin food? Ent she does sew up dem hole in yuh clothes, even if she finger tremblin an she could hardly see? Ent? So, Ku-Kus, why you does give er so much trouble, EH?’ I was puttin dem wuds to meself while Granny was lookin at me in a serious kind o way. Same time de grip open, an it let go de nicest smell I ever smell. Ain’t got no nicer smell in de world dan cinnamon an sandalwood an camphor, an a whole heap of ole time smell mix-up. Dat’s how Granny grip did smell. ‘Feather,’ she say, real serious, ‘it have a lot o different way to fight. When I had strength in mih body, I was strong as any man. Ask yuh granfadder, who try to hit me once. He could never use dat hand de same way after. Trouble was, after dat, I had to do all de hard work. Ask im.’ Was a lot o tings to ask my granfadder. Trouble was he done gone an dead long before I born. De first time she ask me to ask im something, I take she serious and start looking about de house, even under de bed to see if he was hidin there o something. Dat was de first time I make she laugh so much. ‘Chile, how you chupid so?’ ‘Open dis,’ Granny say. She hand me a yellow piece o paper dat fold-up small, like nobody was never intend to open it. When I open it, it had a drawin on de left-hand side on top, an a pretty piece of string dat stick to a red round ting on de paper, like a big drop o blood dat mix up with candle wax an harden. I never see a piece o paper dat look so serious. If paper was priest, then this would ha’ been de Pope. Not even Granny big leather Bible did look so serious. ‘What dat is?’ I ask she. ‘Read it,’ she tell me. Now Teacher always tell me how I is a boss reader, an is mosly be-cause I interested in puttin wuds to people who fret me up. Dat is de only way dat I could answer back BIG PEOPLE an don’t get a taste o Granny palette for mih rudeness. Like when
Missa Jojo shout at me for bathin naked below de standpipe by de road, an call me a shameless little so-an-so. ‘Nutting obnoxious o anonymous, o even obstreperous about havin de benediction of water on meself, Missa Jojo, sah,’ I say, an I went on bathin, like if he wasn dere. He open he mouth, but he didn have no tongue to give me back high quality, bigtime wuds. I smile because I did put de benediction in deliberate, just in case he tell Granny, because was a word dat Pastor does use all de time in church, an everybody know dat it mean niceness, o somet-ing close to dat. But! Dat paper was different. It write like how Moses in de Bible would ha write. Anyway I start to read: In the name of God Amen. I, John Munchford, in the Parish of St. Albans on the 30th day of October 1904, Anno Domini, being weak of body but of sound and perfect disposing mind and memory, praised be God, bequeath unto Ursula Auguste Jameson a plot of land measuring
‘I jus done read it for you,’ I tell she. An I start scratchin mih ears, which I does always do when I little bit embarrass, cos I could see dat Granny wasn satisfy at-all. An I wasn neider. I damn vex dat people could be so boldface as to write down a whole heap o wuds on serious paper an I couldn understand dem. As if dey want to make a fool o me in front my granmother.
me, but I didn say nutting.
‘It say someting bout land,’ I tell she, ‘land an property.’
But Granny tell im no, De Lord was takin care of her well enough, thank yuh. Missa Cole-ridge look at she as if she mad. Dem turkey wrinkle dat hang down below he neck get kind o pur-ple and even more wrinkle-up, an he hand agitate. He look at she an den he look at me, cos I was in de yard pretendin dat I was sweepin. Den he look at she again an say, ‘D’you expect me to ac-cept that? Everybody’s sold up. They were glad to have the money. Your government even under-took to move your houses for free! What reason have you got for not moving with your people?’
Well… I figure it have to say someting serious and it could only be dat she own de place. Besides, nobody didn have no doubt dat was she place – till Missa Coleridge come an say she have to sell, an ask she iffen she really own it. ‘I sure it say so, Granny. We definitely own dis property an land. Perhaps.’ Now de time dat man tell Granny dat she stupid wasn de first time he come. De first time he was smilin. Wasn a pretty smile. I notice de yellow teeth an how dem thin little lips pull back over dem, but he speak polite and proper. He touch de brim o de white sailor cap he wearin an say, ‘Evening Maam,’ an Granny say, ‘Evenin, suh.’ He say, ‘How’re you today?’ Granny say, ‘I awright thank you. De little ramatism does bother me sometimes, but I survivin by de grace o de Almighty.’ half a hectare squared, the which begins at Hill Cray Rise and proceeds northwards towards the adjoining estate of Carl Strong, said land having no agricultural merit and ceded by myself in lieu of and in recognition of thirty years service as maidservant in the employment of the Munchford household. It is also hereby deemed that the Inheritor of the aforementioned property becomes hence-forth sole proprietor of said and shall have the powers vested in herself by law to bequeath or dis-pose of said property as she deems fit. John Munchford. When I done read, I look at Granny an say, ‘And den it have some big-time scrawl, like if somebody wrap up a piece o wire, drop it in a bottla ink an den press it on de paper.’ ‘What it say?’ ‘Is a signicha. It not s’pose to say nutting.’ Same time I tell meself dat I must practise to write me name just like dat. ‘Nuh. De paper what it say?’
De man smile an brush he shortsleeve white shirt. I vex becos I feel dat Granny coulda find some prettier wuds to answer with. She coulda tell he dat she not complacent an she aint got no botheration, dat she was of a salubrious constitution an feelin damn well good with it. But no, she tell im bout she ramatism! ‘Nothing grows here, I see,’ de man say. ‘Not good for gardening, is it?’ An yunno, someting happen when he say dat; I look round me an was like it was de first time I see de place; dat de only ting dat grow was mint grass dat was brown an parch like asham, and a whole heap o cochineel dat nobody could use for nothing except to wash dey hair. I see dat de hill we livin on was dry an white like flour. We was plant between de big wide sea in front and de Chichiree swamp behind, an de only ting dat conneck we with de outside world was one little dust road dat go right down to de pretty pink beach below. ‘Is de will o de Lord,’ Granny answer. Dat fret
Missa Coleridge didn smile dis time. He jus walk back to he car. Next time he come he look a lot more serious. By dat time everybody know dat he want to buy up de place, an everybody was preparing to sell real quick, cos was a lot o money he payin.
Granny didn answer. I look at de man under me eye and it occur to me he had a point. Since he change de way dat place look for me, I didn like it no more. All my friends done move. Dem mother and fadder had money dat Missa Coleridge give dem. Some o dem was even buildin con-crete house. So how come Granny gettin on so foolish? ‘Maybe the child has something to say about this?’ Now, ever since dat man start comin, he never once see me. Now he want me to say somet-ing an make contrary with my Granny. I look up quick. De man smile at me. I look at Granny. She didn look as if she was payin me no mind. In fact, I feel as if she was encouragin me. So I put down de broom an I wipe mih mouth an say: ‘Granny doesn got de dispositioning to concur wid nobody proposition.’ De man look at me as if I hit im. Wuds, I tell you! Dem is wunderful! I thought de man was goin to fall, but he push up he chest an say, ‘My Gawd!’ Well dat make im leave de yard very quick, and I thought dat dem wuds o mine goin make us see de last of im. But a coupla weeks after, he come back and call my granny stupid. Like I say arready, something tell me dat it wasn goin to end up easy. I could see dat Granny know dat too becos dat same night, after she put back de serious paper, she didn sleep at
all. Or if she sleep it was like dem boat I use to watch fightin to cross de bad water near Goat Point. In all my time wid she, my granny never toss and groan so. Dat night I wonder bout everyting. What my mother was doin in Trinidad? Mebbe she had a husban now and I had brothers an sisters I didn know. Mebbe she did never like me and did de-cide from de start dat she wasn goin send for me. Granny get quiet close to mornin. I suppose she must ha fall asleep. But not me. All dat thinkin wouldn leave me alone. An when I get tired thinkin, I find meself lissenin to, well, de worl. De night was like a pusson out dere rubbin ‘imself against de house. I could hear de sea, too, like a million ole people quarrellin mongst demself. An de wind dat pass across de galvanise was a gad-derin of ghosts dat makin church above we head. But it didn’ frighten me, cos I had Granny close, and nothing never frighten me when me an Granny lay down close. Before I fall asleep, I member de las ting dat she say to me. ‘Feather,’ she say. ‘Is tired dese ole bones tired. Dem see too much in dis life arready. All dem wan to do is rest. Feather,’ she say. I didn answer but I lissen. ‘You tink dis lan useless for true?’ She always tell me dat I mus never lie for she, an if I have to lie it must be only to protect meself. So I didn lie. ‘Yes, Granny,’ I say. ‘Why?’ she say. ‘Cos everybody sell dem own an gone to live cross by de swamp, an Paula fadder goin to buy a Lan Rover, an Grace say she mother goin sen she to Englan to study history when she get big; an Teereez say she gettin a big big dolly for Chrismas and she goin travel round de islan an write everyting down dat people say, an Jacob say is only we dat stupid an’…’ ‘Ku-Kus?’ ‘Uh?’ ‘You say teacher say you bright?’ ‘Yes, Granny, cos I know big wuds.’ ‘Well answer dis: if dis property so wutless, how come de Mister want it so bad, an nobody didn know it wutless till he start to tell dem so?’ Yunno, I never thought o dat! Dat never cross mih mind. 29
‘I don unnerstan.’
‘S’pose I say dat it have a whole heap o tings big wuds can’t teach you.’
An yunno, is a long, long time after dat I realise dat she did give me de answer right deh.
‘What about dat paper? Is dat paper dat make Missa Coleridge can’t touch we; an is dem big wuds self dat make it so.’
Is when Missa Coleridge come back and she ask me to show im de paper, but don let im touch it, dat tings really turn sour. Granny tell me afterwards dat nutting in Missa Coleridge worl make him prepare for people like we to refuse him anyting. It have people who tink dem own eve-ryting, like if dey entitle to it long before dem even born. Dem teach deir chilren to believe somet-ing is deirs even before dem know what ownin mean. Dat for people like we to tell dem no is worse dan steppin on dem big toe, o spittin in dem eye. Is a belief dat dem born inside of – same way dat a fish o tadpole does born surround by water.
‘Is not de big wuds, is what de big wuds mean. All it mean is dat dis piece o land belong to me fair an proper. An look how easy dat is to say. De people who write dat paper jus too damn show off an pretenshus.’ An she laugh kinda dry an funny. I didn like dat laugh at all, specially be-cos she was lookin at me as she was talkin. Den she face get serious. ‘I hardly got de time to see de endin o dis fight. Is ole yuh Granny gettin ole.’ I tell she dat I know how to fight, and if was stone she want me to stone dat man, next time he come is stone I glad to stone im. ‘Nuh,’ she say. ‘If yuh stone im, den we lose. With people like dat is a different kind o fight yuh have to fight. Not like we does fight, an not like how dem does fight.’ ‘How den?’ ‘You mix dem, Feather. You mix dem an make a different way.’
Mebbe dat was why Missa Coleridge get on like dat when I point de paper in he face an show im de stamp an de candleblood. De man blow like a lambi shell, tellin we how we silly, how we is ignoramus (I write dat down); how Granny cantankerous (I write dat down too); how we obstructin progress; how de govment give im rights an we humbuggin dem rights; how he wish we little chicken coop of a house fall down an kill we (yes he say dat!); an how it ain got nobody who goin help we when we dead, jus wait an see. An if we tink dat we goin spoil he plans, we go soanso see!
I get so vex I nearly put some wuds on he, ut I member what Granny tell me, an it sort o throw cold water on mih tongue, so I constraint mihself. Nex day Granny send me to call Missa Jojo. ‘Joseph,’ she say, ‘I want you to get me a laughin tree.’ Missa Jojo laugh. But me, I wasn laughin, becos I hear bout all kinda tings dat trees does do, but I never hear bout no tree dat does laugh. Missa Jojo laugh again an tell she, yes. When he leave, Granny rub she chin an say to me dat she sorry she insult de man who try to sell she de little donkey, dat she shoulda buy de creature, cos she goin be needin a lotta manure. I didn know what I did expect Missa Jojo to bring for Granny, but it definitely wasn what he pull out from he jola bag an pass over to she so secret secret. A stick. A little piece o nothing. I was well disappointed and I make sure I show it. To mek tings worse, Granny walk round de house and den de boundary o de land for a whole day before she jook it in de ground an leave it dere. Den she have de boldface to call me an tell me dat is my responsibility to water it an manure it, an whatever happen to she afterwards, I mus never root it up, an never let nobody touch it. An even if she dead an gone, she goin be watchin me to make sure I care dat stick. I don tink I ever see my Granny look so serious before.
A lotta tings begin to happen straight afterwards. Dat question dat Granny ask me bout why Coleridge want de lan so bad sort o answer itself for me. First ting, a whole heap o truck arrive with sand an gravel an drums o tar. An den a bulldozer wit caterpillar wheel come. After dat a stone leveller arrive to keep it company an mek a whole heap of noise in people head. An yunno! De same people who uses to be we friends, who Coleridge send off to live in de swamp, dem same people come out with shovel an tray an start widenin de dust road an pouring tar an gravel, an cookin, an eatin lunch by de road. An soon de road wasn a dust road no more. Missa Coleridge used to stan up in de selfsame road mongst all dem people an point he quail-up red finger at my granmother an say tings, an dem people who used to be we friend, who used to borrow a pinch o we salt, an a cup o we sugar, dem selfsame people used to laugh with im. Mornins after waterin de tree, I goin to school wit me little hanbag an mih lunch in me Da-no pan and dem lookin at me an shooshooin mongst demself an laughin. Grace fadder always askin me how is de ole lady, but I never answer he cos he have a kinda grin in he eye, which I didn like at all. But I have to say de road was easier to walk on, pretty an shiny like a ribbon you buy in de shop an iron till it smooth. I feel foolish wit me Dano pan o lunch, cos everybody mother buy dem three an four-storey foodcarrier to bring deir lunch to school in. An it wasn no steam fig an breadfruit without no meat eider, cos dem mother an fadder wuckin for Missa Coleridge and dem have payday every week. So imagine de vex I vex when I reach home an Granny still say she not sellin no land to no-body. After de road, more truck come with cement an lumber an all sort o ting. For a whole year de worl start changin before me eye. Dat hotel tek five years to build. I count dem. Granny count dem too. A lotta pretty con-crete house, brown an white with a swimmin pool, dat was bright in de sun like a white man eye, shoot up over de sea. ‘Cottages,’ Jacob fadder say. ‘Cottages wit lectric light an runnin water, an bath an everyting. Is progress. Yuh can’t beat white man
for brains.’ I couldn find no wuds for dat. But Granny had a few. ‘Ask im if he allow to go an bathe dere, or get a bucket o water in Coleridge pipe to drink. Ask im if all de work he work for Coleridge, iffen dat mek him have electric too.’ So I ask im. An he get vex an call me a rude mout’ soanso who didn have no mother, with one ole shegoat for a granmother, so who de hell I tink I is? I cry. I didn tell Granny, cos it hit me dat it didn have nothing dat she could do, an even if it hurt me, was true what Jacob fadder say. But Missa Jojo must ha tell she, becos dat night she was extra nice to me. She fry plantain and give me, seein as I like fry plantain so much. An she call me, ‘Darlin’. Now, when Granny call me darlin is like she givin me someting nicer dan a sweetie. Is a wud dat don come from she mouth too easy. ‘Darlin,’ she say, ‘don let none o dem upset you. How much chilren it had in class today?’ Was a question she always ask, ever since de trouble start an I could never figure out why. Some-times she even ask de name o dem who didn come to school. Is how I come to tell she eggzackly who an who stay home an what dem sick with – cold o fever. ‘Half-class,’ I mumble. She didn ask me no more question. She was lookin at me kinda sor-ry. ‘Ku-Kus,’ she say, ‘You notice how dem chilren sickin all de time?’ ‘Uh huh.’ ‘You notice how you never sick?’ I coulda tell she dat it have sick an sick, but she would say I rude. ‘You not sickin cos you not livin by de swamp. Is all dat bad water an mosquito cross dere.’ I still didn say nothin. ‘Feather, I wan to show you someting.’ She was speakin in dat ole lady voice o hers dat frighten me, cos was like a ole mango dat dry up in de sun. She didn use to have dat voice befo Missa Coleridge start on we. Dese days de only time I see she happy was VISION MAGAZINE
highrise someting right in front o we. It didn finish yet, but it had four concrete pillar an a whole heap o iron dat push up to de sky. Jacob fadder say was a skyscraper an Joan fadder say he lie, is a big-time water tank for dem tourist when we have Dry Season, cos even if dem touris not too fussy about bathin, dem does really suffer when dem thirsty. In truth, nobody never get to know what that tank was for, cos Granny see to dat for good. Was evenin and I was fed-up an fuss-up bout everyting, so I didn wan to watch no laughin tree dat didn laugh or count how much new leaf it have. ‘Yes Gran,’ I say, ‘it growin.’ ‘Ferget de tree, chile. Jus watch cross dere by de side o where de sun is.’
when she waterin dat tree. First coupla months dat piece o stick didn shift. I tell she dat it dead an she tell me no, it was jus gatherin strength. But I could see it worry she, cos in de middle o de night she uses to get up an tek de lamp to go an look at it. Mornin time she water it an feed it wit a little manure dat Missa Jojo bring for she. She even used to talk to it. Den one mornin I hear she crow – was de way she use to laugh – and when I run out I see she tremblin with excitableness. ‘Look,’ she say. ‘It takin off. It takin off!’
So I lif up mih head a little bit. An yunno, I custom to seein de sun an de sea an de sky mosly from de corner o me eye. I custom to seein all o dat when I doin someting else. De sea was de sea an de sun was de sun, an dat was dat. Is so I always tink till Granny make me stop an watch what happen to de world come evenin time. Now I tell y’all dis: it ain got no wuds in no book dat could tell you what happen cross dat sea water when de sun goin down. It ain got no dream in de world dat could dream dem light an colour. You watch dat sea turn wine, turn blood, turn fire an smoke an you feel little an big, an sure ‘bout everyting – same time as you thinkin dat you dunno where you goin, o who you is, o why you is what you is in de first case.
But she was right, cos sudden so, dat piece o stick was full o leaf an in a coupla months you’d ha tink it been growin dere all de time.
Like it had a voice inside o me dat was sleepin, an is only dat sight dat wake it up. It tell me dat nutting can’t belong to nobody. Dat dem fish down dere an Granny laughin tree got de same rights as you an me an Missa Coleridge. It make you don’t want to dead, but same time you don feel fraid to dead no more. An yunno, on top of everyting, it mek me glad dat I have Granny for mih granmother, an jus sorry for mih mother.
So, a week later, when she tell me she wan to show me someting, I think mebbe was another coupla leaf dat tree sprout. But no, she didn take me outside. She take me to de window. Now, all de botheration mek me ferget to tell y’all dat Missa Coleridge was buildin a
‘Praise de Lord,’ Granny say, really soft so I nearly didn hear she. But I hear, an it make a lot o sense cos dis sky was bigger, prettier, brighter dan de nicest church window in de world. I was sure o dat, even if de onliest church window I ever see was de big Catlic one
I watch dat stick, I watch Granny, an I ask mihself, ‘Ku-Kus wha you goin do? Who goin tek care o you till you get big an get a work, cos yuh mother ain goin send for you, an now yuh granny jus gone dotish.’
in St. George’s. Dat was when Granny look me straight in mih eye. ‘Dat, Ku-Kus is what Missa Coleridge wan to take from we. Is what he want for hisself an hi friends alone. Not even to let we have a little piece.’ We stay deh till night come up like smoke from down behin de sea an wipe out everyting. Dat mek me sad an want to cry. But Granny rub mih head an tell me to don’t ferget dat de same sun was comin back tomorrow. Dat’s life, she say. Missa Coleridge was chupid, she tell me, cos he was too blind to see dat. He behave as if de sky belong to im and he friends alone. I think bout it a lot. We didn have no road no more to go down to de beach cos Coleridge block it off an make a pretty little set o steps dat go only from he swimmin pool straight down to de sand. And it had a big wall round everyting with a gate. He pay Jacob fadder forty dollars every month to wear a blue shirt an khaki pants to prevent all o we from usin it. An he pay Grace fadder fifty dollars every month to wear a khaki shirt an khaki pants to prevent we from bathin on de part o de beach dat had nice pink sand, cos dem touris complainin all de time dat we, de natives, comin too close to dem an dey don want us to tief deir tings. Even Jacob fadder an Grace fadder didn like dat name. Dat was why dey was strict with trespassers only when Missa Coleridge was around. Still, nobody complain, cos dey fraid dat Missa Coleridge goin stop dem sellin straw basket, an little steel pan, an coconut hat, an seashell, an all dem tings dat nobody didn have no use for – ex-cept touris. ‘Is why you mus promise me, Ku-Kus, dat when I gone you never goin get rid o de proper-ty. An dat tree, treat it like you chile, treat it like I try my best to treat you, like you mother never treat you. Be good to de property an de tree.’ Now I tired ask she what so special bout dat tree, an all she say is dat I askin too much question. De property. Dat was how she start to call it now. Before Missa Coleridge come it was jus ‘de little piece o lan’ or ‘de groun behin de house’, but now it get promote to property. Dese days, too, she keep talkin bout when she gone, as if she was goin somewhere. But I never see she so content, specially when she watch dat laughin tree dat didn laugh at all. But truth was, Granny didn have to tell me to tek care o she property, becos dat voice dat wake up in me when I watch de sun go down, tell me dat it ain got no way I goin pass Granny property to nobody, long as I live, even if I have to make meself a lega-
lisin lawyer o someting like dat to fight dem back. Time pass an I get kind o proliferate wit wuds, which was just as well cos dat fight between she an Missa Coleridge never stop. Was like de whole govment come to we little yard to force we to move out. A man from de Ministry of Touris come an tell we how we mus give up de land, cos we standin in de way of evolution. Granny uses to leave me to handle dem people, so I tell de fella dat evolution is a Darwin phenomenon dat have impertinence, an application to sheep an goat an bacterias, so I did want to know iffen he is extenuatin dat we is some kind o ectoplasm o what. Dat confuse he an he left straight away. Den Public Works arrive in overalls an hard hat, an I didn bother to put no heavy wuds to dem seein as dem is not s’pose to be eddicated like me. I didn wan to throw no pulse to swine, so is straight bad wud I cuss dem, which I will desist from quotin here. I tell Ministry of Education dat dem is irrelevant, cos I soon to leave school anyway. Foreign Affairs was a nice young girl dat run back to de road soon as she see me. I s’pose was becos she see me with Granny cutlass in mih hand cos I was cleanin dem weed round de laughin tree. But I stop she wit a few big wuds and den I cuss she up an down, an den back up again, an dat was dat. Agriculture nearly get me. I never see a fella nice so. Black an smooth an long like a gar-fish, wid nice nice eye. He look at de tree, den he look at me an den he look at Granny and I sure a flash o someting pass between dem two. He turn round an look at Coleridge hotel below. Den he flash dem pretty teeth at we. An even iffen I feel a little self-conscious to say so, dem moonlight teeth mek me feel same like when Granny show me de sky dat evenin long time back. Except de feelin was a little more localise. ‘Arbores Sinistres,’ he say. ‘It start to… er?’ ‘Happen soon,’ Granny tell im. Mih tongue was too block up for me to ask im what it was dat tree didn start to do yet. Well, a month after, I learn. It start with a cackle. One bright evenin I hear cacklin an I run out. Was Granny under de tree an she was holdin open she hand like if she was beggin it for some-thing, an she was cacklin like mad. ‘Come an see dis, chile. It start laughin.’ An she grab mih hand an hold it up same way like she hold up hers. Well was only a little bit o water drippin from dem leaf an branch. I tell she I didn know why she fussin over a little bit o dew.
She cackle again an tell me how I dunno how to use mih brain. ‘What time o day it is, Ku-Kus?’ ‘Evenin.’ ‘Dew does fall in de evenin? An when last rain fall round here?’ Dat was when it hit me. Dat tree was drippin water in de middle o Dry Season. How come, I wan to know. ‘Now I could rest in peace,’ was all she say. Well God grant she satisfaction to see de first part: how Coleridge big white wall jus begin to split apart, startin with a little crack an den growin, growin, growin till was like a mouth dat somebody bust open with a cuff. It happen over four months an every time Granny look out, she smile. Was a happy smile but, like I say arready, tired. She prepare me, little bit by little bit, for what was comin to pass with she. She tell me dat it was no different from de sun goin down an I shouldn worry cos she was arready risin, like dat self-same sun, in me. I does still cry when I think of it, but soon after I ‘member de fight dat Missa Coleridge fight to keep all dat concrete standin. Jacob fadder tell we how de floor of de dancin hall jus split apart so slow you barely notice it. An den it was a snorin, gapin hole like de sea dat Moses part with he own little piece o laughin stick. Dat take a coupla years. An den it was de bungalow he call de King Room dat crack up like biscuit an start crumblin. An den everyting else start fallin down. Grace fadder say dat he was by de swimmin pool when de water start to leak. He was de one dat empty de pool, which was empty from ever since, cos no more touris was comin dere. Ja-cob fadder say Grace fadder lie. Was he who see Missa Coleridge eye turn glass an his face go red like if de finger o God was on he throat an chokin he, when he see de root of dat laughin tree peep-in out de bottom o he swimmin pool. I tell meself dat really was Granny hand. Coleridge look up at we little maggabone house on top de hill and was as if he see de tree for de first time. Jacob fadder say dat he was standin by where de gate used to be when he catch sight o Co-leridge runnin up de hill ‘at a vory, vory forst rate.’ (He start practisin to speak like Coleridge from de time he turn watchman.) ‘But
was onforchnate for Coleridge because soon as he foot hit de road is attack he heart attack im.’ Well, it had a whole heap o confusion an confabulation after dat. An talk didn finish till long time after govment deport Coleridge body back to he famly in Englan. But quiet come and a whole heap o realisin follow after dat. Now I is many tings, but one ting I definitely not is agriculturally botanical in my knowledge. But Cyril (which is dat pretty fella name) siddown on de chair dat Granny uses to sit on, an he explain everyting to me. He say de laughin tree is a collokyalizam for a tree from de mountain where my Granny come from when she was young. An dat tree grow down more dan it grow up. It does push down root like if it tryin to reach de navel o de earth. It don’ have no respect for rock an stone eider. Dat tree jus keep pushin till it hit a table full o water (I didn ask im to explain dat, cos I didn want him to tink I ignorant) which he say, is always dere below de ground, even in dese dry parts where we live. Once dat root reach, it start drinkin like Coleridge tourist used to drink deir funny-lookin drink from straw. It drink so much dat it start to fatten up an spread an sweat through every leaf an branch. De sweatin is de laughin. An I have it from good autorities – my Cyril imself – dat is so tree does laugh. My Cyril say dat de trouble does start when dem root on de side o de laughin tree start to spread out an run. Is a tree dat curious an a little bit aggressive (he look at me an smile). It just mash through anyting dat in it way, which is what Missa Coleridge find out jus before he heart at-tack im. An yunno what de best part was? Well, my Cyril say dat soon as dat centre root siddown at dat table o water down dere to drink, a laughin tree don care what happenin on top. You chop it an you burn it, you kick it an you cuss it – it jus cyahn dead. Dat’s what my Cyril say. Well, it upset me little bit when he mention chop an burn. ‘Whats the matter, girl?’ he say. I had to ask im: ‘Cyril, why de hell I goin to want to chop-an-burn a tree dat my granny bury under?’
The enslavement of the body which endured till 1838 was nothing to the enslavement of the mind which persisted since. - Michael Manley, Former Prime Minister of Jamaica (12/10/1924 – 3/06/1997)
The Three things that terrify religion: Free speech Free thought and Free women.
- Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Author, Activist (Born 11/13/1969)
The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed. - Steve Biko
When history is written as it ought to be written, it is the moderation and long patience of the masses at which men will wonder, not their ferocity. - C.L.R James, The Black Jacobins
The true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality. - Che Guevara
The true focus of revolutionary change is never merely the oppressive situations that we seek to escape,
but the piece of the oppressor which is planted within us. - Audre Lorde
The paradox of education is precisely this – that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.
- James Baldwin, Novelist/Human Rights Activist (8/02/1924 – 12/01/1987)
As long as there is a single worker whose shack is broken down and is told you have no place in the area, the fight must go on.
- Tubal Uriah “Buzz” Butler, Trade Union Leader (1/21/1897- 2/20/1977)
If you want to understand any problem in America, you need to focus on who profits from the problem, not who suffers from the problem. - Amos Wilson, Author/Psychologist/Pan-African Thinker (2/23/1941-1/14/1995)
WRITTEN BY CLYDE VIECHWEG
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANDY JOHNSON
The Son of Shango The son of Shango sat erect across from the bonfire. He was half-naked; his ebony skin seemed to glow from the reflected light of the fire. The night was very cool, but it mattered not, for he basked in the warmth of the flame.
On the other side of the fire, three drummers beat tirelessly on the goatskin cover that stretched tightly over the hollow wooden frame that formed the drums. Sweating profusely, their hands rose and fell in sync with each other, producing a hypnotic frequency that stirred the latent forces in all the souls around the fire. Shango’s son stared fixedly into the fire, his body perfectly still. Embers crackled under the intense heat, while others leapt from the flame. In his body, the hypnotic beat of the drums pulled back the veil that obscured the physical world from the spiritual. In the flames, he saw his father dancing, calling to him to come join. “Come my son; come rest, your work is done,” a voice seemed to call from the flame. Closing his eyes, he reflected on the journey
that started many, many moons ago in another land.
The estate was vast, with its lands stretching all the way into the other parish of St. Andrews.
Before he became the son of Shango, he was once someone else’s child. The land he ended up being born on had changed its name four times: Camahogne by the Carib Indians, Conception Island by Columbus, la Grenade by the French, and finally, Grenada today
There were fifty slaves that worked the field and ten that tended the house. Pierre Fedon demanded a hard day’s work from them; however, he gave them the weekend off. The slaves then used this opportunity to hunt, plant their personal crops, and to worship their deities.
He was born to Pierre and Maire Fedon. His father had been a landholder on the island of Martinique and his mother a house slave from Haiti, brought to Martinique and sold to his father’s estate. His mother and father fell in love. Pierre’s father was not pleased, so the couple moved south to La Grenade and they got married in 1759. In 1763, Juilen Fedon was born to them at St. Marks. Two years later, they would move to the Belvedere Estate, in the parish of St. Johns.
So it was into this atmosphere that young Julien Fedon grew up in. His father taught him how to read and write, bookkeeping, estate management, and to shoot. However, it was to be his mother that was to impact his life like no other. Maire’s mother was of the Yoruba tribe and she had been taken from her homeland in Dahomey, West Africa and was sold into slavery on the Caribbean island of Saint Domingue. On the island, she gave birth to Maire alone,
The Ioa were to be honored through offerings, song, music, and dance, so that they may descend and take possession of someone and thus reveal spiritual truths to all. Maire told him of Papa Legba, the guardian of the crossroads, the Marasa, Bondye’ first children, and then there was Erzuile Freda, the spirit of love. Simbi was the spirit of the magicians and rain, while Kouzin Zaka was the spirit of agriculture. Fedon absorbed everything his mother taught him and the spirits favored him in all he did. She showed him how to perform a variety of sorcery, to use a wide array of poisons, and even how to create the feared Zombie by using parts of the puffer fish mixed with other secret herbs. When the day of his sixteenth birthday came— the day one of the Ioa would take him for their son—this day was his initiation. All day long, food was cooked. There were rice and peas, yams, potatoes, calliou, breadfruit, goat, fish, and chicken. As soon as the sun went down, the estate yard was packed with devotees of the Ioa. Service began with prayers, soon followed by songs and drums. Then Hounto, the spirit of the drums, was honored. With the building crescendo of the drums, songs for all the Ioa were sung, starting with the Legba family, and then into songs to the Gede family of spirits.
for Maire’s father had escaped into the hills and he was never seen again while she was pregnant. Maire grew up on the island of Saint Domingue until she was seventeen. In those years, she embraced Vodou and rose to become a Mambo (priestess). Yes, Ogun, the spirit of war had chosen her for his daughter. Ogun blessed her and guided her, taking her to Martinique and unto Grenada to marry into a rich family. Maire loved Ogun, her deity, and kept an altar to him. It was she who led the slaves at Belvidere Estate in service on weekends. She became highly respected and feared. As Juilen Fedon grew up, she began to educate him on his African heritage and in Vodou.
Maire explained to her son, that Vodou was a combination of many elements from other African tribes: the Bakongo people, the Yourba, the Taino Indians on Saint Domingue, as well as Roman Catholicism and mysticism. He was taught that Vodouists are servants of the spirits and that Bondye’ was the unknowable and unapproachable creator god, who never interfered with human affairs. Instead, their prayers were directed at all times to the Ioa, who was the offspring of Bondye’. Fedon learned that each Ioa directed certain aspects in his life. They revealed all the possibilities of life that they presided over. Through their mysterious powers, they controlled the world and the affairs of men.
It was around midnight, while dancing and singing, lost in the enchanting enfoldment of the proceedings that Fedon looked in the fire and saw him: Shango, the god of fire, lightning, and thunder. He was smiling at him. Fedon felt energy racing around his body and a fire raging in his center. Suddenly, out of nowhere came a flash of lightning straight into the fire, sending embers flying. The drumming stopped suddenly, along with everyone. Only Fedon seemed not aware of what had transpired, for he was standing in a circle of fire caused by the lightning strike. All who saw shook with fear, for they knew that the person standing in that circle now was the son of Shango. His father had even reached out of heaven for all to see his blessings on his child. Fedon collapsed to the ground and he saw a vision. A six-headed monster rose up out of the
sea. He went into battle against it. He wounded the first head badly, but he was attacked by the second head, which he could not withstand, for he was weak from the first fight. So he fled to a faraway land. The monster followed, determined to slay him. The third, fourth, and fifth heads he slew, but in the end, the sixth found him at his most vulnerable and he was slain, falling on his own sword. When he awoke, he was in his room and the sun was high in the sky. His mother was sitting next to his bed, smiling at him. There was a proud look on her face, yet a sadness in her eyes; her face was a contradiction of emotions. Maire knew that Shango having come with such force could only mean one thing: that Fedon was chosen for a huge task and great responsibility. She knew that could never be accomplished without heavy sacrifice, maybe even the loss of her son’s life. Over the next five years, she taught him everything to prepare him for the stormy road ahead. Fedon learned from his mother that the ritual of Shango was to develop self-control and thus mastery over himself. He was given the Shango beads that balance the yin and yang energies. When he turned twenty-one, his father and mother deeded the estate to him and returned to Martinque to take over Pierre’s father’s estate, for he had passed away. A year ago, the island was restored to Britain under the Treaty of Versailles. Young Fedon cared not for the British, for he found them arrogant and warlike. Besides, since he was of a mixed stock, he was not respected. Also, being a huge landowner on a small island brought jealousy. He found the conditions under which the slaves were working for the British very distasteful. The truth be told, he knew it was only a matter of time before he might lose everything. Under the French, his family had strived and conditions were better. Around this time, he befriended Joachin Philip. He was a mulatto and worried about his fate too under British rule. The two of them grew up loving French classical history. Fedon’s historical idol was King Louis XIV of France. He loved that the king chose the most powerful of all physical things as his emblem, the sun. The sun was also associated with
Apollo, god of peace and of the arts. The sun spread its rays evenly on all peoples no matter what their race or creed. The king enjoyed one of the longest reigns in European history.
ship to Saint Domingue, telling no one, for his father Shango wanted it that way.
He noted that King Louis kept all his nobles close to him so he could keep an eye on them. He played them one against the other for his attention. They were always guessing his next move, for he kept none in his confidence.
Arriving in Saint Domingue, he was met by an old Bokor priest who saw him coming in a pail of water the day before. The spirit compelled him to the pier. Seeing Fedon disembark, he walked up to him and greeted him. They exchanged their secret handshake and word only the highest-ranking Houngans and Bokor would know.
Fedon dreamed of being a great king like Louis. Little did he know, to be careful what you wish for.
They hurried off the pier before anyone might recognize Fedon. “You need a new name,” said the old man.
In 1789, with the breakout of the French Civil War, a great desire arose in him to rid Grenada of British colonial rule, at the same time destroying the great evil of chattel slavery.
Fedon thought for a moment before replying, “I have thought about one on my trip over here.” The old man never bothered to ask what.
To this end, he had company, his best friend Joachin Philip. They formed a council of three landowners and started laying a plan for a revolt. Using his Houngan status among the slaves, he recruited other Houngans and Bokors on other plantations for the cause. On the night of March 2nd, 1795, leading a force of 110 slaves and coloreds, he swooped down onto the town of Grenville, killing a large number of white English settlers. In another coordinated attack, his best friend made a swift and successful attack on Charlottetown. For over a year, Fedon was the virtual ruler of ninety percent of Grenada. With the arrival of German mercenaries, together with slave soldiers and British regiment troops forming a force of fifteen thousand, Fedon was forced to retreat in his mountain stronghold on his estate called Morne Vauclain and today Fedon’s Camp. It was here on this mountain that his father, Shango, visited him in a dream again. “My son, you have slain the first of the six-headed beasts, the second is coming. You cannot win, for I have other plans for you. In two days, a ship will leave for Saint Domingue, the birthplace of your mother. Disguise yourself and seek passage. I will clear your path of obstacles. There the other Houngans are waiting for you; there are five and they seek a sixth head for great work I have prepared you for. Now rest, my son,” spoke Shango. Two days later, Julien Fedon left Grenada on a
They arrived later at a village high in the mountains where they were met by four other men. Among the four, two were to become known to the world as Toussaint Louverture and Jean Dessalines. “My brother,” the four men shouted as they greeted Fedon. “We have heard about your fierce fighting and strong leadership of our brothers in Grenada,” stated Toussaint. “We hope you will bless us with that spirit here,” he continued. “It’s time,” interrupted the old man. They all turned quietly to face him. The old Bokor walked over to the fence, untied a big white goat, and began walking towards the mountain path. They all followed quietly. They walked for nearly a mile through dense vegetation, over scattered rocks, and hills. At the top of the hill, they stopped in front of a large boulder, which had strange markings. The old man instructed them to light a fire in the middle of the small plateau. Having done this, they circled the goat and began chanting invocations. This they kept up for three hours. When enough energy was in the circle, the old man ran the edge of the sharp dagger across the neck of the goat. Warm blood spilled onto his hands. They all cupped their hands and drank deeply. With their bloody hands, they drew sigils across their foreheads. The old man in the meantime had poured blood in the crevice of the rock. The rock soon began to emit a green glow and started vibrating. The old Bokor then began reciting an old primordial incantation in an unknown language that none of them knew. At that moment, a giant bolt of lightning struck the giant rock, spliVISION MAGAZINE
tting it into two. In the middle emerged a huge red and black snake with a diamond in the center of its head. Fire blazed where its eyes were supposed to be. The snake then slithered over to the six priests. The old Bokor then took the dagger and cut his finger and everyone elseâ€™s in the circle. The snake licked the blood hungrily. It opened its mouth wide and three little silver snakes pitched out. One went into Toussaint, one into Dessalines, and the other into Fedon. The snakes entered their stomachs with energy so powerful that it knocked them out. The huge snake then blew a mist over the men, thus blessing their venture and looking forward to feasting on the blood, which would be spilled on the battlefield. The snake then faded into the darkness. The old Bokor, with the help of the other two, revived the other three. They then made their way quietly down the mountain. From that day onward, they battled and drove the French colonial powers out of Haiti. Fedon became a lieutenant under Toussaint and distinguished himself in battle. The mighty spirits moved
in their souls, igniting them with an obsession towards freedom. He had even defeated the three other heads of the great beast: the French, the British, and the Spanish invasion. There stood only one left. So, here he was after all these years sitting in front of a bonfire on a very cool evening in Milot, Haiti, with the drums pounding and his father dancing in the flame coaxing him to come home. â€œYes, Father, soon,â€? he promised. Looking back, he noted his childhood dream of being king had come through. However, he had not united the entire country of Haiti. He had ruled like his idol Louis XIV, as a despot. He had distributed plantations to his generals and brought prosperity to him subjects. From 1811 to today, 1820, he was king. However, a week ago, the sixth head struck with lightning speed, like he had done in Grenville many moons ago. It struck in the form of a paralytic stroke. Now, all his enemies sensed his weakness and they were closing in. Revolts erupted everywhere and this time he could not
quell them. Yes, his father Shango had shown him this day would come when he was sixteen years old, during his initiation, and, yes, Father Shango was always right. The drums had stopped beating now; a serene silence carpeted the night. Turning in pain, he picked up the revolver on the table and cocked it. Before I go, I must tell you my other name. I am Julien Fedon of Belvidere estate St. John, Grenada. I came to Haiti and became Henry Christophe, or as I have been called for the last nine years, King Henry I of Haiti. Turning to face his waiting father in the flames, he put the pistol to his head and fired.
We feature the amazing work of Photographer Troy Daysant, who is much more in the world of visual art: PHOTOGRAPHY BY TROY DAYSANT
Troy Daysant is a 28-year-old Grenadian Photographer, Videographer, and certified Graphic Artist. He has been training his lens on the beautiful scenery of Grenada for several years, after first showing interest art form in 2014. Prior to photography, Daysant obtained certification in graphic art and design. Mr. Daysant tells us about his journey thus far: I remember my first pictures were taken with my Experia Z3 Compact phone. It was then I fell in love with photography. I got my first Camera in 2016 and I began to bloom from there. My first photo shoot was done with professional model Aria M. Francis and my cousin Johnny Robinson. And though I enjoyed it, it was the encouragement of notable photographers Andy Johnson and Arthur Daniel that seal the deal for me in the world of photographer. The
introduction of their encouragement came when they would comment under photos I posted on social media. They would eventual become mentors to me. Mr. Daniel, a videographer as well, introduced me to that aspect of visual art, which happened when I was called upon to fill in for him on an assignment. With the wisdom that has been passed on and the tips I have gathered along the way, my goal
is to see my business flourish. My aim is to have a business that stands out. With the combination of all three art forms, there is much to offer. Being invested in all three has taught be to look pass the surface, to search for a deeper essence in imagery and art. I believe that anything is possible with the right amount of perseverance; there is no such thing as impossibility. I live by a very inspirational quote echoed by Les Brown: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” VISION MAGAZINE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY TROY DAYSANT @troydaysant
Renaissance Man I see them at night resting among the pillars of time Twinkling eyes staring into mines Pulsing hearts from the heavens above And I hear them at night, the Jab Jabs’ chants Parents weeping, their childrens’ blood running Helios and Selene’s cries in a time gone mad A serious parang for human kind In a perfect world gone bad And where will Dante spring from? Salutati to defend the humanitas, like the melody of steel pan The notes of love that make up man, the tinta That we write the most resplendent stories of our times For where oh where is the Renaissance Man? Where oh where has the true spirit of carnival gone? Where oh where my precious loved ones Shall Giotto find the inspiration, the colours to repaint our lives Among the crumbled ruins of our dying civilization? Nature, civilization and kindness Will ole Kingston be the next Garden of Florence? The longue duree of Port of Spain’s stifling dreams When will the children become united? To sing, to break the shackles from our minds To fulfill Marryshow’s vision, a West Indian Federation sublime Selassie’s solomonic wisdom, an African unification divine A world wide renaissance of a kind Where oh where is the Renaissance Man in this time? The stars question among the darkness of ages lost Twinkling eyes staring into mines In a time gone mad, in a perfect world gone bad… Bassanio Graneau Excerpt from Camerhogne Copyright 2018
Country oil down Ah tell yuh pot big so! Pot wide so! Pot deep so! For no mouth should be left unfed is country people motto I tell yuh country oil down is good thing, proper thing Not wetty wetty, not dry dry Oil down that does make big man back shirt and tie; no lie And when we peeling fig and yam, we peeling fig and yam Yam so big, you swear is a man We even have a packer to pack the pot Because every Grenadian knows, every ingredient has it spot Breadfruit here Meat there Then we add in gallons of coconut milk seasoned with the big thyme, the saffron and the curry But not too much curry because is not trini dhal puri And doh talk about dumpling, kneaded stiff with plenty force If you could eat two, you is a boss and you could boast And finally we have Mr. Callaloo, that sweet layer at the top 43
Nourishing to the body, cold or hot Yes country oil down is real nice And only on the beautiful Isle of spice. Kissandra Smith ©
Rain in Grenada Paul the rain comin’! Paul the rain comin’! Paul ah say the rain comin’! Watch that big rain over dey so! Get up quick, ey comin’ down! What is that, a frown? Paul close up the back door! Run pick up muh linens! Run take the clothespin! And close up the window! O chuts man, how that dash rain so? Move faster man Come! Come! Wash out the drum pan And doh fret up dey I tell you, you ent no man Paul bring in the goats, Betsy and Sunny Watch boy, for them I pay plenty money Paul run by Miss Jane shop Buy two blue soap and a BOP And come back quick before the rain wet you muh chile Watch this rain threatening the sky Kissandra Smith ©
Caribbean people Miss Merle Collins say Caribbean people mix up like callaloo And that is remarkably, very true! We have people of all kind Carrying various religious signs But we don’t mind For that is the beauty of our Caribbean design Now each island is unique But Caribbean people anywhere is still ‘island people’ underneath And three things any newcomer to the Caribbean must note We rarely pass each other without a hello, or a nod, or some form of acknowledgement Unless you want to hear “Who is he?” “And from which place he descent?” And by God you don’t want to hear a Caribbean person vent And we real particular about seasoning in our food For us, a bad plate of food spoils the mood And we enjoy our Sunday rest Because somehow it brings out our best Cause in the Caribbean we doh like no stress But above all, we real loving yuh see Friends, the Caribbean is the place you want to be Kissandra Smith ©
VISION Magazine is published quarterly by The Butler Group. Visit The Butler Plan and Project at www.thebutlerplanproject.org to learn more...
Published on Jul 23, 2019
VISION Magazine is published quarterly by The Butler Group. Visit The Butler Plan and Project at www.thebutlerplanproject.org to learn more...