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national awards (2)

Six awarded in the 2018 National Awards

As announced earlier, on Friday evening, March 16, 2018, at the Montserrat Cultural Centre six individuals who stood out as having had a significant and a positive impact on Montserrat were recognized in the 2018 national honours and awards ceremony.

Mr. William Fred White Bodkin, Reverend Dr Beatrice Allen and to Mr. Cecil Cepekee Lake received the Order of Merit for meritorious contributions to national development.

Rev. Allen, recognized for a contribution and a longstanding work in the areas of religion and community service she accepted the award with grace and humility. “I did not know in my wildest dreams see this coming. Neither from a distance nor closeup. This has taken me completely by surprise, she said. I thank God for giving me the opportunity, strength and desire to serve my community over these years, thanking her family for their support and guidance all the way.

“I look back with humble joy and personal satisfaction at my early days in the classroom and in the Library service and in the ministry of the church. It has all been a rewarding journey that has given purpose and meaning to all my efforts; and so I say hitherto hath the Lord helped me.”

Cecil Cepekee Lake who for his contribution to the Arts and culture specifically for his numerous contributions to the Calypso art form, accept his award. Lake who was then recovering from a serious illness shared an emotional response. “Now on occasions like this, you would want to prepare your laundry list but I don’t think time would allow me to go through all the names but let me first give God thanks because I think you know what happened to me. He deserves all the thanks and all the praise. And you could probably just say a little prayer, three lines. For me, to live is Christ. For I know He will never leave me. For you are my God, Amen,” he said with some emotion.

Meanwhile, the order of distinction was bestowed upon retired teacher Miss Menelva Greenaway, for her distinguished and outstanding service in the areas of education, religion and community service, “I enjoyed working with children because I just loved them and fortunately I worked with head teachers who taught to me to teach, and staff teachers who when I became a head teacher were very supportive, and we were therefore able to accomplish quite a number of feats in the primary schools. In the village of Corkhill, the Only Corkhill, the best a village in Montserrat, my neighbours, they were very supportive and I appreciated it, I learned a lot from them.

Mrs. Margaret Mary Dyer-Howe and Dr. Lowell Lewis accepted the Order of excellence for their extraordinary and nonwavering commitment and distinguished service to the development of Montserrat. Mrs. Dyer-Howe’s husband Robert received the award in her absence for her service in the socio-economic development of Montserrat.

Meanwhile Dr. Lewis upon receiving his award for his service in the practice of medicine, politics, the public and community, as he paid tribute to the nurses, doctors and health care professionals who have been instrumental in his career to date, had this to say: “…I have to mention the fact that without my health colleagues here I would not have been able to do anything, and I would hope that this honor is part of the honor bestowed upon them. We’ve worked miracles. In particular, I’m going to talk about 400 operations a year. It is a lot of work but what is most important is that of the probably three/four thousand surgeries I did, I never lost any patients from anesthetic deaths, so, I have to give credit to Dr. Perkins,” he said.

Not finished he continued: “I need to go back a little bit to hurricane period and the things that we did at the old school room where we still are, (St. John’s school) where patients were lying on the floor; and nurses I cannot say in enough words of the respect I have for all those nurses, who allowed us to continue serving to the people of Montserrat for next to nothing

“During that time I was a lecturing surgery University of West Indies in Barbados and I came back every two weeks or so to do surgery and look after patients. Occasionally I would say to my Registrar, hold on for me today I’ve got a man in Montserrat who needs an operation and I would fly down, do the operation and go back. So, it was a privilege to serve.”

Of the other recipient Excellence Award recipient, Mrs. Margaret (Annie) Dyer-Howe, he said:

“When she really became Minister of Health in 1983 and she heard I was coming home to be the island’s surgeon, through Dr. Wooding – I got a message saying ‘can he do public health as well?’ I quit my surgical training and took the year in public health so I got a diploma in public health, and so we had a surgeon and Chief Medical Officer in one stroke.

“And just before I came back they also said you better do some obstetrics and gynecology as well you know. So, while I was doing the public health I had three months with an obstetrics unit – and I became an expert at that as well.

Thus he concluded, “Mrs. Annie Dyer-Howe, I thank her very much for being an instrument in my career.”

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Nerissa Golden Launches Return to Love Book Series

BRADES – Author and entrepreneur Nerissa Golden launched her Return to Love book series February 21, 2018, in the presence of colleagues and friends at the Montserrat Public Library.

There are currently two books in the series, with Golden aiming to add two more. Love’s Sweet Joy is book one and tells the story of Monique Sinclair, a single mother who returns to Montserrat after she inherits a small pastry shop and is struggling to get her business together. Callen Saunders has Montserrat roots and is hired to coach a local basketball team after he is injured but he is extremely bitter.

Local business consultant and teacher, Angela Greenaway said she enjoyed the first novel and has been anxiously awaiting the second book.

Hon. Minister of Education Delmaude Ryan who was read both novels, congratulated Golden on the series.

Golden said she took a different path with book two, In Plain Sight. It is a romantic suspense and centres around a Dutch police officer who is hired to train the local police team. However, his job becomes more difficult as trouble washes up on local beaches.

The author said her vision was to create stories which showed possibilities for love and job creation on Montserrat.  “I’ve had women tell me they recognize their story in the book or it feels like therapy. That makes me feel good as sometimes we just need a bit of encouragement and hope to keep going. Montserrat is a character in the book as well because there are so many beautiful locations to feature and stories waiting to be told.

Both books are available online and locally from the author.

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Shan

Shan Murrell’s Gallery re-opens – In Remembrance

by Cathy Buffonge

Inspired artist and craftsperson Shan Murrell died tragically last March, and since then her art and craft Gallery in Salem, still with its sign up, has been standing closed. Based in Britain, Shan, who had Montserrat roots, used to come down every year to the island to visit her father and sell her attractive paintings, unique craft items and gifts under the label “Little Island Designs”.

Then she returned to Montserrat to live full time and built the Gallery, her long-held dream, a pretty blue building in Salem. The Gallery officially opened on December 1, 2016, with the ground floor featuring an attractive display of her work, while the lower ground floor was designed as her workshop and for classes in arts and crafts.

All this was in place and going strong when her untimely death occurred last year. But when her father and brother expressed interest in reopening The Gallery, a group of volunteers quickly rallied round and have worked hard over the past three months to organize and ready the space for reopening. The intention is to display and sell her remaining work (which is plentiful) to the public on behalf of the family.

At the recent informal reopening ceremony, after some background information by Jean Handscombe, who introduced and thanked those involved, Shan’s father Dennis Murrell cut the ribbon to the building, and those present were able once again to walk in and admire the work on display.

These include vibrant, colourful paintings and prints of attractive scenes on Montserrat and elsewhere, always from an original angle; gift cards, cushion covers, ear rings and other jewelry, and a host of other items. Originality and uniqueness were hallmarks of Shan’s work, and all are a pleasure to look at.

With many visitors, both tourists and overseas Montserratians, expected on island, this will be a great opportunity for people to visit the Gallery and see for themselves Shan’s brilliant work. For information on dates and times when it will be open, interested people can visit the Facebook page Little Island Designs at the Gallery. The opening times are also posted on the door of the building.

The Gallery is located in Salem, a pretty blue building on the corner just above the Catholic church. All who are interested in art and craft are encouraged to visit, and whether local or visitor you are bound to find a souvenir or gift to send or take back with you, or you are welcome just to look around and enjoy the display.

The volunteer group, with the family’s approval, also intends in the future to invite other art and craft practitioners to make use of the Gallery, to display their work and to share their expertise with others. This will help to continue Shan’s legacy into the future, as she herself would have wished. The Gallery is a fitting tribute to the memory of this special person who created so many beautiful things.

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National Exhibit on the 1768 Uprising Opens

Trials, Tragedy & Resilience…

Is an international exhibit  officially opened on Montserrat on Friday, March 9, 2018 at the National Museum in Little Bay. Trials, Tragedy & Resilience is an exhibit recognizing and celebrating Montserrat’s rich cultural heritage on the 250th anniversary of the attempted St. Patrick’s Day slave uprising on 17 March 1768.

According to Executive Director Sarita Francis, MNT, she said: “This  Exhibition pays tribute to those who lost their lives during that period and also to those who continue to educate and liberate our minds from mental slavery whether through formal education, the arts, or through literature. The main objective of this Exhibition today is to provide documentary evidence of 1768 attempted uprising.  We have researched and worked with a number institutions to provide whatever written accounts that we can find.  We are aware that the documents were written by the oppressors at the time and  are written from their perspective during that era.”

In attendance for the opening ceremony was Hon. Deputy Premier Delmaude Ryan, historian Sir Howard Fergus, Hon. Leader of the Opposition Easton Farrell-Taylor and Hon. Member of Parliament Claude Hogan.
Photos of the exhibits are not allowed. However, they tell the story of the 1768 uprising primarily from the view point of the slave masters and other whites who lived on Montserrat during that period. Documents shared include legal and newspaper accounts of what happened on St Patrick’s Day in 1768 and the subsequent killings and court cases.

The exhibit will be running concurrently at the National Museum on Montserrat, the Grosscup Museum of Anthropology at Wayne State University in Detroit, the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and the Department of Archaeology and Sustainable Heritage at Aarhus University in Denmark. The exhibit is co-sponsored by these institutions and the Montserrat National Trust.
The exhibition will run locally until March 19th and at the other institutions until April 20, 2018.

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March Montserrat & Hurricane Poems, a New Collection from Sir Howard Fergus

Brades, Montserrat – Sir Howard Fergus, Montserrat’s most experienced and accomplished author and writer, has released a new collection of poems. March Montserrat & Hurricane Poems. This book contains a collection of over one hundred fifty points that were written in a span of three months, which according to Nerissa Golden who had only a few days earlier launched her own new book, “takes us from the cold streets of England to warm and breezy nights in Montserrat.”

Fergus shared that over the past 18 months he’s been experiencing an unusual ability to write poems more fluidly and quickly. This he said, enabled him to capture moments of life on Montserrat as well as a short period of time he spent in England in 2017.

This new collection of poems sets us in the midst of hurricanes, volcanoes, election campaigns and royal romance, sports legends, cultural celebrations and community heroes. With his wit and words, the stately gentleman immortalises young innovators such as the 4th Dymension team in Virtual Montserrat.

He pays tribute to his wife Lady Eudora Fergus as well as his grandchildren. Dr. Fergus also manages to turn social media interactions into fodder for poems.

During the 2018 St Patrick’s Festival, he took the time to share his work at readings at the local library, the 1768 play by the Silk Cotton Theatre Company and at other community events, including the St. Patrick’s annual lecture, delivered by Claude Hogan who had commented earlier on the book.

In comments after the launch the author said: “Writing is my life to be honest. There are challenges in writing in making sure that the sentiments are clothed in the right kind of verse form and so on, but quite apart from that I take joy in writing. I would like them (aspirers) to realise that one can write on any subject.”

Some reviews on Sir Howard’s work: “His work is quite witty and if you notice it’s actually quite comedic if you’ve paid attention to how he’s managed to put our stories together in a really funny way, so I’m really happy for him,” said Nerissa who had assisted in staging the launch.

Hogan said: “I like the fact that he traverses all aspects of life in Montserrat and the Caribbean including concerning our response to volcano and hurricanes and of course March St. Patrick’s Day, was pretty much the one he started with. I mean Sir Howard is just voluminous in his output of poems.”

A visitor: “Well I’ve been a fan if that’s the right word of Dr. Fergus’ poetry for quite a while so to come and actually hear him reading material is a wonderful opportunity for me…”

Fergus announced discounted prices on several of his earlier productions.

March Montserrat & Hurricane Poems is available locally and on amazon.com

 

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Ferry travel to Montserrat failed for high seas

By Bennette Roach

The March seas struck again and stranded over 100 passengers in Antigua on Wednesday, March 7, just like it did last year also in March, when that time the ferry successfully docked and landed passengers at the Plymouth jetty in the exclusion zone. This followed cancellations the week before when hundreds had already begun to arrive for the Festival.

The Access Division had arranged for the passengers who had been stuck in Antigua since high seas caused cancellation of the ferry service on Sunday, 4th to travel down and dock at Port Plymouth.

But later it would be observed that there were some miscalculations. The Jaden Sun was on advice that it would be able to dock at the port Plymouth arrived just about mid-day before the sea changed its composure and the waters surged just as the ferry docked. The surge caused the ferry to pull against its rope and broke a mooring on deck, just when our attention was drawn to the water rising by an official who had been at the port waiting for the arrival of the ferry. He pointed out prior to that the water was relatively ‘flat’.

The Jaden Sun captain known for his deep concern for safety of passengers and his ship, decided that he would not risk the discomfort and possible danger for passengers to alight from the boat, immediately pulled away heading back towards Antigua.

A total of 114 passengers were reportedly aboard, but officials told us that the captain would check the waters in Little Bay to see if the situation was different. On arrival at Little Bay we observed how the water seemed flat and noted also that the Jaden Sun was slowly approaching, as was reported to have a look. It held up a distance from the jetty when a wave as seen in the photographs which caused a good ride up and down. Not abnormal in similar circumstances. But anyone listening to the reaction by persons ashore from videos gone viral, it would seem as the boat was in some danger, which it wasn’t. So too as later reported that passengers were shaken by the sudden ride that boat took on with the single big wave. The captain blew his horn and took off back to Antigua with some obviously frustrated passengers, some of whom had not been back to Montserrat as far back as the 70’s.

Hold up in Antigua getting to Montserrat

The island is expected an estimated 2000 people to arrive in the days, this set some of whom were in Antigua since the Sunday, March 4th on their way to enjoy the annual St Patrick’s Festival which officially began on Friday, March 9.

The Honourable Premier Donaldson Romeo explained on ZJB Radio that the decision to dock in Plymouth was not taken lightly and early morning indications had shown that it would be safe for the ferry to dock there. However, by the time the ferry arrived at noon, the surf had increased and made it unsafe to dock.

Premier Romeo said the government “has taken the responsibility to provide meals, transport and accommodations to the passengers, pending further plans.”

The Access Division announced late Wednesday that flight arrangements were being finalised for the elderly and children to be flown in on Thursday March 8, 2018.

The festivities are in high gear – grand finale begin tomorrow

This year marks the 250th anniversary of the failed slave rebellion on March 17th 1768 and authorities here are forecasting that over 7,000 people will flock the island for the commemoration.

The Tourism Division has informed that on St. Patrick’s Day itself, more than 1500 persons will travel via ferry from Guadeloupe, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica and Antigua.

The Jeans for Freedom Ferry is expected to arrive on Montserrat with 437 people from Guadeloupe on March 17th.

568 passengers are also expected in from Antigua and Barbuda on St. Patrick’s Day, 218 passengers on the Jayden Sun and 350 on the MV lovely 1.

The Sea Hustler will transport 150 passengers from St. Kitts and Nevis on March 16th with a return date of March 18th.

The Tourism Division says based on its promotions in Antigua, it is also anticipating several yachts, based in English Harbour, to journey over to Montserrat during the week.

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drums

1768 Uprising to be remembered with Drums at Montserrat’s St Patrick’s Festival

By Discovermniteam

All across Montserrat, in the early hours of March 17th, the mountains and valleys will reverberate with the sounds of the drum accompanying the voices of men, recounting and remembering those who tried and those who died on Montserrat on St. Patrick’s Day, 1768.
The Montserrat Arts Council has put its support behind the community initiative to give thanks for freedom.

Awakening Montserrat at midnight, in Lookout, the procession will make its way across the island to Salem, keeping vigil until the early morn. All of Montserrat is invited to move with the procession, joining at each village centre, when they stop to give homage and celebrate the island’s heritage.
Between Runaway Ghaut and Salem the drums, the voices and the people will join for Drum Jam, as the procession continues on foot, walking and dancing, “making a joyful spirit noise in celebration of the courage of our ancestors, in remembrance of their sacrifice and in gratitude for the freedom that we now enjoy.
“Transporting us through the night and into the early morning, this spectacular demonstration of art, culture and spirituality will set a high tone for the celebrations of our people on this sacred and momentous day,” a release from the council stated.

“As this year marks the 250th anniversary of the legendary insurrection, it is fitting that this event begins at its earliest hour. Awakening the spirits and greeting the dawn with the sounds of drums, and with the sounds of a free people. There is no better way to acknowledge the sacrifice of our benevolent ancestors in their fight for freedom. It is my hope that this would be a permanent part of the calendar of events. It is a relevant reverent spectacle which acutely captures the true spirit of this heritage festival. It has been a pleasure to produce this event with Miss Osborne and the enthusiasm shown by the community has been encouraging,” said Chadd Cumberbatch, Director of the Arts Council.

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Hero

Jumbie Dance and Silk Cotton tree lighting Controversy on St. Patrick’s Day memorial celebrations

Justin ‘Hero’ Cassell has been for several years particularly during the MCAP government has been a driving force in the organisation of the festivities marking the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.

Leading up to celebrations this year, in the middle of last month he has been speaking being the 250th anniversary of the failed slave rebellion, pointing out that the committee has organized several activities to commemorate the event, among them the lighting of the St. Patrick’s Day torch.

Justin Hero Cassell

He describes: “It is a sort of decoration and lighting of what we call the St. Patrick’s flame; decoration of the silk cotton tree in Cudjoe Head. We’re going to definitely make that a very prominent feature throughout St. Patrick’s and indeed throughout the year, so that when persons come there looking at the tree, they would know that there is some significance to it and some history,” he said speaking on ZJB radio.

He explained further that the tree is going to be well decorated, that there will be installed, “a what we call the St. Patrick’s torch. There’ll be a lighting ceremony,” adding that they are going to a couple dignitaries and persons from Cudjoe Head committee to really appreciate.”

Noting that a large number of people will be visiting for the festival and that “we have to be ready for them,” Hero says the festival has grown and is now a major tourism product for the island, “growing leaps and bounds and that is what we want to make this festival (is called festival tourism these days), a very big, big product. I always say that for an investment of say three hundred thousand dollars, if we could inject the festival I’m referring to here of over six million dollars in the economy. That’s what St. Patrick’s is, we’re happy that more and more persons are coming.

Shirley Osborne

But not everyone is on board with the lighting at silk cotton tree, Shirley Osborne, a local cultural enthusiast, as she was referred, has said that the lighting the torch is taking away from what should be this years’ two hundred and fiftieth anniversary celebrations of the failed slave uprising in 1768, and should be set aside for particular recognition.

“I think we’re mixing things up there,” she said. “I think quite frankly they put that in to add some sort of reference, but Cudjoe is not March 17th, they’re two different things…I think they want it to be a sort of nod to history and culture. To my mind it’s not nearly enough.  We’re getting it all confused”

Pointing to her own plans for a drum jam giving relevance to the ‘rebellion’. “…the silk cotton tree and Cudjoe are separate and should be acknowledged, and in fact, when we do the drum jam, when we do relevance and rebellion on the way from Lookout on March 17th they’re going to stop at the silk cotton tree for a little bit to acknowledge Cudjoe.”

“But that’s a separate thing,” she continues, “and I think these people need to get informed about what March 17th really stands for…And if anybody it should be the St. Patrick’s Day Committee who should be clear that people understand what St. Patrick’s Day is all about, what March 17th means where it come from, and what we are acknowledging and we acknowledge and have full reverence and pay homage to Cudjoe but that’s not St. Patrick’s.”

See article by DiscoverMNI in this issue: “1768 Uprising to be remembered with Drums at Montserrat’s St Patrick’s Festival”

The Hero hits back and explains…

“Now you remember in 1768 there was a failed uprising on St. Patrick’s Day but that doesn’t mean that the uprising ended,” he began, showing his historical knowledge of the matter. “It took several years for the uprising to be squashed and what happened after that the white settlers were very vigilant on the slaves watching every move they make and they were prosecuting them and hanging them and there runaway slaves who were hung or were beaten to death. The silk cotton tree happened to be one of these trees the slaves were being hung and so for people to say it has nothing to do with St. Patrick’s Day,” he hits back, “they don’t understand the whole concept of St. Patrick’s and our connection to St. Patrick’s it’s not understood,” he argued.

Continuing his push to more meaningful commemoration of the significance of the Day, he said: “The significance of this is that we got to teach our young people in Montserrat, let them understand history and the reason why we have these cultural expressions. The lighting of the tree, slated for March 9th at 6.00 p.m.is significant and important,” he said, “because you will highlight the tree. A young child passing and see a torch there burning, a flaming torch, would want to know why. Then their parents who have the knowledge could explain to them. These are symbols in Montserrat that are significant to our heritage, we have to look at them and highlight them during this time of the year, during March.”

‘Drum Jam’ gets rebuke

A ZJB Radio report says that luminary academic Dr. George Irish, a cultural activist himself, and who has written cultural and other books on Montserrat and elsewhere, founder of the folk singers group Emerald Community Singers, back in the very early 70s, wrote to the organizers of the ancestral commemoration on March 17th to reconsider the motive for the celebration and how it is being promoted. The report says, the 250th commemoration ceremony being planned by Shirley Osborne, could degenerate into Spiritism or ancestral worship.

“Reverence and Rebellion”, held in collaboration with the Montserrat Arts Council plans to integrate the energy of the drum into the remembrance of African ancestors here in the early morning hours of March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day. The procession will start at midnight in Lookout making its’ way across the island keeping vigil until early in the morning.

According to the organizers, when the procession arrives at Runaway Ghaut, the participants would proceed to walk and dance, making a joyful spirit noise in celebration of the courage of the islands ancestors but it is this concept of Spiritual Noise, Dr. Irish has taken issue with. The cultural advocate believes a spirit dance at midnight is an open invitation to the demonic spirit world to invade Montserrat. He says to attach reverence to such an activity is to dishonor the entitlements of the Supreme God who only is Holy and reverent. Dr. Irish says there is no need to resurrect the jumbie dance. He believes communications with the dead and ancestral spirit possession are arcade practices that should stay buried in the past. The academic activist says although he is in favor of keeping the social and historical messages alive, this is where he draws the line. He articulated his support for honoring the sacrifice of the March seventeenth heroes commenting that it is important for the education of the youth. However; the cultural activist says they have to be careful how Montserrat celebrate and motivate the celebration.

ZJB News contacted Ms. Shirley Osborne who confirmed that she received the letter, she said she’s in conversation with Dr. Irish and would make a public statement on the matter shortly.

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Sharon Charles

Fire on Montserrat

Set in the scary beginnings of the Soufriere Hills Volcano eruptions on Montserrat in 1995, and spanning two decades, the Caribbean romance novel Fire on Montserrat is centred on a love between two young people. The story unfolds through a series of flashbacks as the lovers meet again on the Island of Montserrat on the 20th anniversary of the volcanic eruptions. In a chain of riveting and suspense-filled twists and turns, true love vies for supremacy over vengeance and a deadly secret which someone is willing to kill to keep buried.

The novel Fire on Montserrat is now set to become a feature film. It skilfully combines the reality of Montserrat’s volcano-erupting experience with the turmoil of young love on a quest for permanence; and shows how coping with displacements and severe loss have branded Montserratians as a Resilient People!

Dominican/Montserratian Author Catherine Dorsette told Montserrat Reporter that in 2015 when the Government of Montserrat was planning to commemorate 20 years of living with a live volcano, it occurred to her “… to write a book which would capture the essence of what took place, and how the Montserratian people rose from the ashes like the proverbial Phoenix.” She began writing in September 2015 and by Christmas the same year, the book was available on Amazon where she has an Author’s Page showcasing her other publications.

Since the publication of Fire on Montserrat, readers have been complimenting Catherine Dorsette on the uniqueness of her approach to telling such a riveting story. But telling riveting stories is what Catherine Dorsette does.

Speaking about her past, she provides: Growing up in a single-parent household with her mother, she had to read a story to the family every evening. Her mother who was not too versed in reading, brought home books so that young Catherine could read to her. Unfortunately, the books were old medical or mathematics texts and therefore there was no story to tell. But being gifted in storytelling, Catherine would make up stories every night, until one night she outdid herself and her mother wanted the same story the next night. Of course, she could not remember a word of it, having made it up on the go. She told the Montserrat Reporter that her mother spanked her soundly because she attributed pretending to read to being dishonest. However, she bought Catherine an exercise book and encouraged her to write down her stories when they came to mind. Thus, from the age of nine years, Catherine has been writing her stories. Fire on Montserrat is her first novel.

Mr Demedrius Charles.

In August 2017, some scenes for the movie Fire on Montserrat were shot in St. Lucia during the Piton International Film Festival (PIFF 2017). The completion of the movie will be filmed on Montserrat in March 2018.

 

The Movie Industry is a multi-trillion-dollar industry! Letting the world at large become aware of the movie-making potential on this unique island called ‘The Emerald Isle’ Montserrat, still pristine and green with its real modern-day Pompeii, is to invite these ‘megabucks’ investments here.

Claudia Edward

Local partners in this project are Royal Rhythmz Studios, Ink Pot Arts, Avalon Villa and Good Eats Restaurant.

Fire on Montserrat is a low-budget Movie and Victory Films Entertainment is trying to raise US$50,000.00 to complete the Movie, which they need to complete and have it released in June 2018. Some parts of the Movie was filmed in St. Lucia at PIFF 2017 in August 2017

The Movie Director is Mr Demedrius Charles. He is a well-known Movie Producer, Writer, Director and Poet from the Caribbean resident in New York. He has several movies to his name to include: ‘Broken’ and ‘Ascension- I am not my Mother’.

Sharon Charles

 

Claudia Edward hailing from the sister Island of St. Lucia is a performing Artiste. She plays the leading role of Dr Kyla Tuitt

 

Naja Simeon also from St. Lucia plays the leading male as Dr Derek Ryan

He is an Actor, Musician and Painter/Artist

 

Keenan Cassell

Meet some of our local Cast

 

Sharon Charles playing the role of the lead Antagonist Velda Moorehead

Rt. Honorable Basil Morgan

 Keenan Cassell playing the role of Jordan Moorehead

Basil Chambers

The Rt. Honorable Basil Morgan, playing the role of Denzil ‘Pinney’ Ryan   Basil Chambers playing the role of Jerry

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St. Patrick’s Day It’s not too late to get it right!

St. Patrick’s Day It’s not too late to get it right!

Once again Montserrat is about to celebrate, but care has been taken in some quarters, to call it ‘commemorate’, through a weeklong St Patrick’s Day calendar of events with regards to what has been observed consequentially, the 1768 abortive slave uprising 250 years ago of March 17, 1768.

Let us go back to TMR April 21, 2017 issue, where we will find the reference and a call to seriously attend to the debate as to whether we have become too tourist-minded, whether we have over-emphasised our Irish heritage while forgetting our African heritage and whether we therefore need to make a decisive shift towards celebrating our African heritage. The observation was also made that there was even the suggestion, that the name of the holiday should be changed.

Today, the information available on the debate as encouraged in that article has only dealt with the question, what is it that is celebrated or commemorated on St. Patrick’s Day and the week surrounding it. Should the festivities be concentrated on the African heritage only? So far no discussion as to the Irish ‘connection’ and the Romana Catholic Church! Meanwhile the argument ‘silently’ is that the celebrations really began with the Irish connection.

We refer to the article again which had suggested how the conversation should have been. There is no question that Montserrat has used the celebration which is what it was at the time when it began and turned it into a tourist attraction which of course means revenue for a disaster saturated environment socially, emotionally and physically.

It said, “While the Uprising is indeed a major part of the story, older Catholics here will tell us that our modern celebration of St Patrick’s Day started with the decades-old annual Catholic religious festival for the Saint, which was centred on the Village of that name. A village that is now swept away by pyroclastic volcanic flows.”

The calendar of events has been published. The numbers of visitors and tourists that are expected to be on island by March 17, reportedly will surpass the population.

We may most likely not know how many of the 7,000 ? or so will have an interest in why the celebration/commemoration is taking place or has been taking place, but there will be some especially our Caribbean neighbours, who would have come because of the cultural connections one way or the other.

So as far none of the conversations have informedly dealt with the issues as to why all of the celebrations/commemorations, and likely festivities should be welcomed and shown off culturally and otherwise. Indeed, there will be those who want to appreciate more where this all come from.

This from the article should have guided an informed discussion, the origin of the St. Patrick’s Day observation turned into festivities from what was a religious commemoration of St. Patrick’s and what he stood for.

Gradually, cultural celebrations began to accompany the celebrations, and people from across our island would specially travel to that village to take part in it. By 1985, Mrs. Annie Dyer Howe from the village, now a minister of government, led a movement that set St Patrick’s Day as a national holiday and celebration. Clearly, this festival therefore stands on many strands of our history, heritage and culture.

This writer here can vouch how this all evolved being old enough to oversee the St. Patrick youths put together plans and preparations that went from the days when a mass was celebrated in the honour of St. Patrick, the patron saint of the Roman Catholic Church parish in Montserrat.

De Ole Dawg, writer of the article cautioned, “We need to remember and celebrate such in a balanced way. For, culture, heritage and the history that shapes culture lie at the heart of our very existence and identity as a nation. We must accurately remember our past and what that has made us to be a people, if we are to soundly build the future.”

These questions are being asked of those who want to promote one side of the discussion only, leaving out completely that which was just referred. Why do we want to really promote or celebrate a failed Uprising? Why are we so willing to celebrate only the African heritage that brought our forefathers to these shores in the Caribbean, after fellow Africans sold them into slavery and into colonialism of the British? The same British we are bound to celebrate, having enslaved us welcomed Irish slaves, who also became our forefathers, mixed with the Africans, but we would like to discount the heritage which is mostly what we adopted? Isn’t that reality of our history, heritage and our culture. Why shun one or the other?

The Premier Romeo last year hinted on the state of affairs in Montserrat, as was noted in our the front page story of April 7, 2017 – https://www.themontserratreporter.com/st-patricks-day-week-of-festivities-to-be-remembered/. Speaking at the closing of the festivities at the Heritage Feast on St Patrick’s Day the Premier Donaldson Romeo called for the festival to maintain its uniqueness and inclusiveness. “This festival stands on history, history that can teach us all a lesson. 249 years ago while slave masters celebrated St. Patrick’s Day the slaves decided to take advantage of the merriness, merriment and drinking. They planned an uprising but it failed because of disunity.”

Obviously, too few else understood the message, or were just resentful of the probable hidden message. He went on to say, “It will take unity and togetherness strategic hard work and the determination to overcome the challenges that remain and overcome we shall as a people. So, as we build up towards next year’s 250th anniversary let us take time to ponder on all the lessons to be learned in our history.”

In that front page story we captured a sample of the nice things the visitors and tourists had to say. There was nothing but joyful, appreciative and happy comments. “There’s not one day like St. Patrick’s Day that you see so many people in one place at one time on Montserrat.”

This year may well pose a serious challenge in many ways. The food for instance mentioned by keen observers as being an issue last year. But here is what some said: “The preference of food is just so amazing that they just bring out the green bananas, the breadfruit the beans everything. Everything is just the flavour are just blooming out. I just love the atmosphere everyone’s here having a good time doesn’t matter where you go, what you do, everyone is having a good time…”

Some people are skeptical but the organisers are optimistic as they have to be. AS we report elsewhere there will be other challenges as the big debate has been should we seek to host the Day’s (17th) at a different venue other than Salem, because of the numbers, the transport/bussing and time problems.

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