An extraordinary holiday greeting to Montserrat

By Edgar Nkosi White

Edgar Nkosi White

Edgar Nkosi White

Dear family: God created man and man created rum in self-defence.

There have been many who have wondered why exactly I have retired to Montserrat and will never leave.

There are two answers:  (1) The Montserrat Christmas is the least painful in the world (and forgive me folks, I hate Christmas everywhere but in Montserrat, the desperation is much less).  The second reason is that Montserrat is so inaccessible.  (You have to really want to get here to reach.)  This has been Montserrat’s greatest asset though few realize it.  Certainly not the Tourist Board.

I would just like everyone to stop for a minute and remember the amount of diseases that arrive every holiday season regular as clockwork.  After Christmas, everyone routinely comes down with some variation of Influenza.  And now we have the added blessing of Chikungunya (the new blessing from abroad with the diaspora).  What do you think those who have to overnight in Antigua are bringing to us in their suitcases along with tourist dollars? And what would happen to Montserrat if we had daily invasions from tourists, like—say, beloved Antigua?

For some peculiar reason, our leaders—in their infinite wisdom—think that we have to sell Montserrat.  Montserrat does not need selling.  Our greatest resource is our innocence though we fail to see this.

When I was born God gave me three gifts:  The first was talent and the second was opportunity to use that talent.  The third gift was wisdom.  Unfortunately, that one, He took His time to give.  Had I gotten wisdom early, I would have been much greater.  Had I gotten it early, I would have been much less.  So He gave me the talent and not a clue as to what the hell to do with it except destroy myself.

Now to move on to something else I have to admit by way of transparency (favourite Montserrat buzz-word now).  I have to confess that despite the fact that I did not grow up in Montserrat (having left as a child) I still have not been able to avoid the pathological disease of Montserrat which is the need to become a Preacher.  I studied at seminary in New York and am even guilty of becoming an ordained minister.  It is for this very reason that I refuse to attach myself to any organized religion.  They all are guilty of the same fatal flaw which is believing that they alone have the answer and are the only ones who will enter Paradise.  When the Rapture comes, only the Pentecostals or the Methodists or Anglicans or Adventists will cross over, which is fine, but it still leaves a hell of a lot of people behind.

Of all the religions on island, the Catholics are the kindest because at least their Mass is the briefest (leaving out most of the melodrama).  They get you in and out in an hour and a half which leaves plenty of time to go out and sin anew.

Though of course I don’t attend there either, I, none the less, must give thanks and praise for Father George and his recovery which few thought he would ever make, and I welcome his return to Montserrat.  (Who no dead, no call he ghost.)  He is one of the few on island wise enough to preach not sin but people.  His sermons are always simple, to the point and always about Montserrat.

I must make mention also of the legendary Methodist preacher, Quamina Williams who died in 1922 and yet his sermons are still been used today.  He is the only person in Montserrat to be so named. Quamina is an African name (like the Jamaican Kumina from Pocomania).   He too had the gift (many are called but few are chosen).  Who knows, were he alive today I might even attend a service.

Lastly, I would like to say by way of blessing and sorrow:  I thank God for this past year despite the passing of men like Jackie Fire who carved a house of dreams and whose face and smile I see before me every day at sunrise.  I ask also healing mercy for those like Winspeare (of the Rude Boyz String Band) and thank him for giving us the words to the tune, Run, Run Ben Dyer Run, and my only prayer is that God doesn’t love him more than I doWho no dead no call he ghost.

We thank you for the healers and the men like Scriber who know every inch of Montserrat even in the dark of night.  My only sadness is that when that generation goes who will they leave the knowledge with?  The only knowledge of agriculture our youth has is how to grow ganja, which is a useful knowledge but now and again, it’s good to be able to grow food and few have that knowledge anymore and so we treasure men like John Allen (the Man from Baker Hill) and Murphy of Carr’s Bay.  And men like Pupa.  And Fred White of the Cassava and the Bush Rum.  And Pops Morris the artist, Masquerade master, Calypsonian and teacher to De Bear.

We thank you Lord for these gifts and others still among us.  And as to our leaders, the kindest thing that they can do for Montserrat is to leave it the hell alone.  Don’t exploit either the land or the children.

Allow children to be children and try not to exploit them as an industry.  There is enough of the world waiting to destroy them when they come of age.  We need not do it ourselves.

This is my holiday greeting to you.  Bless you my Montserrat.  I still love your secret and sacred body.

Comments are closed.

TMR print pages

Newsletter

Archives

https://indd.adobe.com/embed/2b4deb22-cf03-4509-9bbd-938c7e8ecc7d

A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

By Edgar Nkosi White

Edgar Nkosi White

Edgar Nkosi White

Dear family: God created man and man created rum in self-defence.

Insert Ads Here

There have been many who have wondered why exactly I have retired to Montserrat and will never leave.

There are two answers:  (1) The Montserrat Christmas is the least painful in the world (and forgive me folks, I hate Christmas everywhere but in Montserrat, the desperation is much less).  The second reason is that Montserrat is so inaccessible.  (You have to really want to get here to reach.)  This has been Montserrat’s greatest asset though few realize it.  Certainly not the Tourist Board.

I would just like everyone to stop for a minute and remember the amount of diseases that arrive every holiday season regular as clockwork.  After Christmas, everyone routinely comes down with some variation of Influenza.  And now we have the added blessing of Chikungunya (the new blessing from abroad with the diaspora).  What do you think those who have to overnight in Antigua are bringing to us in their suitcases along with tourist dollars? And what would happen to Montserrat if we had daily invasions from tourists, like—say, beloved Antigua?

For some peculiar reason, our leaders—in their infinite wisdom—think that we have to sell Montserrat.  Montserrat does not need selling.  Our greatest resource is our innocence though we fail to see this.

When I was born God gave me three gifts:  The first was talent and the second was opportunity to use that talent.  The third gift was wisdom.  Unfortunately, that one, He took His time to give.  Had I gotten wisdom early, I would have been much greater.  Had I gotten it early, I would have been much less.  So He gave me the talent and not a clue as to what the hell to do with it except destroy myself.

Now to move on to something else I have to admit by way of transparency (favourite Montserrat buzz-word now).  I have to confess that despite the fact that I did not grow up in Montserrat (having left as a child) I still have not been able to avoid the pathological disease of Montserrat which is the need to become a Preacher.  I studied at seminary in New York and am even guilty of becoming an ordained minister.  It is for this very reason that I refuse to attach myself to any organized religion.  They all are guilty of the same fatal flaw which is believing that they alone have the answer and are the only ones who will enter Paradise.  When the Rapture comes, only the Pentecostals or the Methodists or Anglicans or Adventists will cross over, which is fine, but it still leaves a hell of a lot of people behind.

Of all the religions on island, the Catholics are the kindest because at least their Mass is the briefest (leaving out most of the melodrama).  They get you in and out in an hour and a half which leaves plenty of time to go out and sin anew.

Though of course I don’t attend there either, I, none the less, must give thanks and praise for Father George and his recovery which few thought he would ever make, and I welcome his return to Montserrat.  (Who no dead, no call he ghost.)  He is one of the few on island wise enough to preach not sin but people.  His sermons are always simple, to the point and always about Montserrat.

I must make mention also of the legendary Methodist preacher, Quamina Williams who died in 1922 and yet his sermons are still been used today.  He is the only person in Montserrat to be so named. Quamina is an African name (like the Jamaican Kumina from Pocomania).   He too had the gift (many are called but few are chosen).  Who knows, were he alive today I might even attend a service.

Lastly, I would like to say by way of blessing and sorrow:  I thank God for this past year despite the passing of men like Jackie Fire who carved a house of dreams and whose face and smile I see before me every day at sunrise.  I ask also healing mercy for those like Winspeare (of the Rude Boyz String Band) and thank him for giving us the words to the tune, Run, Run Ben Dyer Run, and my only prayer is that God doesn’t love him more than I doWho no dead no call he ghost.

We thank you for the healers and the men like Scriber who know every inch of Montserrat even in the dark of night.  My only sadness is that when that generation goes who will they leave the knowledge with?  The only knowledge of agriculture our youth has is how to grow ganja, which is a useful knowledge but now and again, it’s good to be able to grow food and few have that knowledge anymore and so we treasure men like John Allen (the Man from Baker Hill) and Murphy of Carr’s Bay.  And men like Pupa.  And Fred White of the Cassava and the Bush Rum.  And Pops Morris the artist, Masquerade master, Calypsonian and teacher to De Bear.

We thank you Lord for these gifts and others still among us.  And as to our leaders, the kindest thing that they can do for Montserrat is to leave it the hell alone.  Don’t exploit either the land or the children.

Allow children to be children and try not to exploit them as an industry.  There is enough of the world waiting to destroy them when they come of age.  We need not do it ourselves.

This is my holiday greeting to you.  Bless you my Montserrat.  I still love your secret and sacred body.