(Contributing Writer Winston George ) There is a saying that the best things sometimes are not planned. On Monday, December 18th, 2017, I had the opportunity to participate in a site tour evaluation with the Greiggs Tourism Group and personnel from the Ministries of Tourism and Agriculture. The tour which I considered an “Agro-Tourism” tour took us through the Greiggs Village, through farmland, to “Pavement” which is primarily at the origin of the Colonarie Watershed.
It was an experience!!! Personally, it was refreshing and conjured several ideas in my mind for its full development. The development of the tour is likely to enhance our local and visitor experience as well as realizing sustainable livelihoods for the people of Greiggs.
The tour has tremendous potential, so I would provide a chronology of the tour.
The tour commenced at Maroon Hill where a historical perspective was given on the original road which the people would use to get to Kingstown; this trail being aptly dubbed ‘Ole Road’.
At the bottom of this trail is quite possibly the tallest bridge in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which was completed in the late 1950’s early 60’s by the Ebenezer Joshua administration; prior to this Greiggs had been virtually inaccessible by vehicles for the entirety of the first half of the 1900’s. Thus, a close-knit communal clan-based community evolved.
As we entered the village of Greiggs, our attention was drawn to the Greiggs Anglican Church, the location of which is alleged to be the former home of Frances ’Fannie’ Greig the lady from which the village received its name.
This was followed by a stop at the property of the last Chief of the village Charles Emmanuel ‘Mannie’ Daniel which is now occupied by his descendants. Daniel officiated over the distribution of lands in the year 1905. This historical event is commemorated annually in Greiggs on June 19th as Greiggs Founders’ Day Agro-Festival featuring the exhibition of fresh produce as well as agro-processed, value-added products. It is celebrated under the theme Appreciating the Gift of Land with the idea of taking produce to the stage of a product.
The tour party was then treated to a snack which contained banana and made like a tri-tri cake. I must say very tasty!!! This was followed by a presentation on the impact of agriculture, in particular, the Banana Industry on the livelihoods of the village – this was reflected in the housing stock, provision of utilities and development of important facilities, enhancement of the peoples’ education which later realized an indirect benefit through remittances.
In fact, it is reasonable to deduce that vehicular ownership and traffic in Greiggs are directly related to the introduction of bananas.
The tour continued up the hill through steeply sloping farmland which depicted a root crop cropping system dominated by Dasheen. To my trained eye, there exists an opportunity for significant work on soil conservation and reforestation. This took us to the top of the ridge where we were able to see Petite Bonhomme towering over the village as well as her partner Grand Bonhomme both forming the head of the Colonarie Watershed with its beautiful virgin and verdant forest.
Petite and Grand Bonhomme belong to the Grand Bonhomme volcanic center which is one the main volcanic centers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Along the way, we noticed an undeveloped feeder road which connects to Lauders. However, we had to trek to Pavement along a narrow footpath through steeply sloping farmland. While we were prone to slip and slide, the view of the farming areas and east coast villages was exhilarating and breathtaking.
Our trek took about 45 minutes. it was well worth it to reach Pavement which is characterized by the river with a sizeable pool and a pavement which seem to be a lava flow. The lava flow reflects the area’s geological history.
Well at pavement we had fun after fighting off pesky mosquitoes. We had coconut water, roasted grindy, roasted breadfruit and dry coconut, while several persons had a swim and a bath. Then to cap it off – tasty food with local ground provisions.
It was a wonderful experience for me. I now wonder with increased international flights and cruise visits what it would be like if our visitors were also to have this experience if we all work to develop this site.
Here are some things I consider that we must address to maximize the potential of this tour:
- Establishment of attractive signage
- Development of content – History including the geological history that includes the Bonhomme Volcanic Centre
- Training of tour guides inclusive of First Aide Training or involve the local red cross group as part of the tour
- Fixing the access road to pavement or trail development to ensure safety while trekking back and forth from Pavement
- Build Gazebos with change room and toilet facilities using local material
- Establishment of Ziplining for youth adventure & recreation
- Harvest water and treat for washing, drinking, cooking and flushing
- Encourage partnership with various stakeholders for the development of the tour – National Parks, Forestry Department, Public Health, CWSA and Tour Operators
- Establish adequate security before and during the conduct of the tour
- Pay attention to environmental sustainability – reforestation of the steep slopes to prevent soil loss and stabilize the slopes and protect the village from severe flooding
- Establish procedures and facilities for the disposal of waste
- To ensure sustainability, educate all classes of the primary about the tour and its contribution to the livelihoods of the community.
“Pavement” was a wonderful experience, let’s all (Community, Government, Private Sector) work together to fast-track Project “Pavement.” If you would like more information or contribute to the development of project “Pavement” contact Ms. Michelle Beache at 458-6868 or at e-mail address: email@example.com