Heritage Committee takes a bite out of slavery for Heritage month

One of Grenada’s heritage sites will be used to re-enact 18 century Grenada, the time when slavery was at its peak, to give tourists and locals a reminder as to where Grenada’s heritage stemmed from.

Members of the Head table at media conference in which the focus was on Heritage month

The River Antoine Estate will be transformed into the days of slavery, with song, dance, and real life enactment of what the days of slavery were like.

Member of the Heritage Committee, former Cabinet Secretary, Gloria Payne-Banfield gave an idea as to what they estate will look like during a recent press briefing.

“What we have in Grenada is a number of sites which we call heritage sites and they are what they are heritage sites…what we are trying to do is to animate these sites and so we are going to put people in them, we going to put music in them, we gonna put dance, we gonna put food and everything that goes with animation and we are thinking of these sites all around the island,” she said.

According to Payne-Banfield, the intention is to allow people to use the occasion to live and breed 18th century Grenada once again.

“This year what we want to highlight would be the River Antoine estate which is truly a heritage site dating back to the 18 century when sugar was king and slavery was there. A lot of people perhaps will like to deny the existence of slavery but we must remember that those people who did not wish to come here were not really invited but of course they were not guests, they were visitors, they were here to work whether they like it or not and we would have an appreciation of what was slavery…”, she told reporters.

“…We are thinking not only for the tourists but for our children and school that they should come to a place where we could re-enact of what it was like to work, what it was like to be forced to work, and we gonna show them how our ancestors overcame…the meal of the day…”, she said.

Minister of Culture and Heritage, Senator Brenda Hood who also addressed the press conference endorsed the slavery re-enactment event at River Antoine Estate.

She said it is an opportunity to spread awareness “whether it’s in the schools and communities, it is to go out there and educate”.

“So I believe that the re-enactment that Mrs. Gloria Payne-Banfield spoke about, I think that it is very very important and I want to encourage as many persons as possible to come out there to have that experience because our forefathers were enslaved in Grenada and other parts of the Caribbean.

“As she (Payne-Banfield) said, the rich culture that we have today is because that was the way they found themselves surviving; they had to find a means of coping and that was their form of coping mechanism to survive. So, whether it’s the music, whether it’s the dance, the food, all that they experienced is what they were doing.”

With the theme for the observance of Heritage month being “Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Tourism, the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) will be an integral part and will be making presentations to different schools to show the link between culture and tourism.

Product Development Manager at GTA, Kirl Hoschtialek sees the event as part of the authority’s observance of 2017 as the year of sustainable tourism.

“It’s really important to be able to share with the community and with the children the link between cultural tourism, community tourism and of course heritage tourism. So, the powerpoint presentation that will be shared with the schools and will look at those two components, how we are able to see the two and identify the different assets that we actually have in the different communities and for the preservation and conservation aspects of what we hope to achieve”, she told reporters.

“…As the tourism sector and industry continues to develop, of course the whole aspect of cultural heritage, heritage history is a big component of what we want to share with our visitors and being able to share this with schools and being able to move that aspect of our tourism awareness forward is really important for us,” she said.

National Heritage Day was observed on April 18th.

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