The country of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, also known as 'Hairoun (a)' and also 'Yurumein', is located to the south of the Caribbean Sea and has a population of 110.000 people. SVG is a small island nation but its history is quite remarkable and its landscapes are breathtaking. The island nation consists of 32 islands and cays - one of the islands is called Young Island.
The country has had a long history of resistance against European imperial powers. The people of St. Vincent, the Caribs, managed to protect their homeland from the French and British occupation for 200 years. They were so vigilant that this territory became the last of the major Caribbean islands to be colonized. Even though St. Vincent has been independent since 1979 there are still many signs of the European Colonizers; rivers, streets, villages and even mountains are named after the occupiers.
Attempts of renaming some of the streets and teaching about the horrible colonial history is coming forward. For example: The South Leeward Highway in St. Vincent was just renamed the Nelson Mandela Highway.
This is a really an important name change as several streets, villages and other landmarks still carry the names of former slave owners and colonial masters; for example Higginson Street in Kingstown was named after a British lieutenant governor who came in 1764 to steal the land off the people living here! It is important that people are aware of their history and each name tells its story.
There is a mountain in Georgetown on the Windward side of St. Vincent called the Mt Bentick. This mountain was named after two colonial governors, William Bentick and Henry William Bentick. One of them was here between 1800 and 1802 and the other one arrived after 1802 and stayed till around 1806, both of the Benticks took part in chasing out indigenous people from their lands.
There is a village in St. Vincent called Murray Village and a road called the Murray Road, these were both named after Charles Gideon Murray, an administrator who was here at the turn of the 20th century and who was the person responsible for banning the Spiritual Baptist Church.
The story goes that Charles Murray was riding a horse one Sunday morning while the Spiritual Baptists were praying and singing, and the noise frightened the horse. The horse threw off Murray, so for this reason he banned the Spritual Paptists between 1912 to 1953. When we are told that justice was good under the British colonial government this man actually passed a law that jailed Spiritual Baptists for their worship!
The Young Island was named after slave master and colonialist, Sir William Young. Young was a British politician and sugar plantation owner and served as the President of the Commission for Sale of Land in the Ceded Islands. The British arrived in 1763; they declared a year after that all land of St. Vincent belonged to them and named Young the president of the land commissioners to sell the land to foreigners namely the British people," Young took estates for himself in St. Vincent, Tobago and Dominica. When he died, he owned 896 slaves and a Young left Dominica in 1772 to help fight the first national hero "Chatoyer" of St. Vincent.
Learn more and watch a trailer from Film maker Akley Olton "HAIROUNA, Land of the Blessed" a new film about SVG in the making
Reference: PM Dr. Ralph Gonsalves - article in Searchlight 10th of August 2018