9 new places to visit in St. Vincent 2019

These 9 incredible places have been around for a while but are just starting to gain attention.

Leave your footprints on them this year and experience a mixture of heritage, beauty, adventure and great photo opportunities.

Here is the SecretsOfSVG list of the nine (9) new places to visit for 2019:

1. Will-Be-Free Falls

Located at South Rivers, mainland St. Vincent, this newly trending falls is already a favourite for locals and several tourists to the island have taken the hike to experience this hidden gem. Ask your tour guide to take you there.

2. Frigate Bay, Union Island – The Grenadines

A newly constructed suspension bridge over the sea at Frigate Bay, Union Island in a Mangrove Swamp area. Photo: Alphonso Dennie
A newly constructed suspension bridge over the sea at Frigate Bay, Union Island in a Mangrove Swamp area. Photo: Alphonso Dennie

Located in a marine biodiversity powerhouse, this newly constructed bridge gives access to persons who wish to take a scenic walk over the sea and experience some of the most beautiful views in the southern Grenadines.

Additionally, it gives access to a key mangrove swamp where you can witness firsthand, the workings of marine biodiversity.

3. Thirteen (13) Stones, North Leeward – St. Vincent

These mysterious rock carvings, located at North Leeward, St. Vincent depict the faces of several animals, including Baboons. It is believed that their creators are persons from among the earliest settlers on St. Vincent, the Ciboney people. A visit here is definitely worth the experience.

Representatives from the Richmond Vale Nature and Hiking Center should be able to take you to 13 stones site.

4. Glossy Bay Marina, Canouan – The Grenadines

Opened in 2017, the $250 million, 120-berth marina is not only for the 24 super-yacht berths and other yacht accommodations. Visitors can enter via land and enjoy top quality restaurant and bar services as well as some shopping services.

5. The Geo-Thermal Project Drilling site

This is not a tourism site, at least, not a traditional one. This, however, is an opportunity to witness history. The nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is making big strides in Geothermal energy exploration and you can witness at least the start of the drilling phase.

The drilling site is located in North Windward, en route to Bamboo Range, where the windward trail starts for the La Soufriere Volcano.

6. The Bat Cave, Buccament, St. Vincent

Located at Buccament, St. Vincent, a journey through this newly trending cave is a must have experience. Just don’t scream and don’t go in at high tide. Luckily, you will choose to go with experienced tour guides like SeaSportsFanatics, so you will be fine.

Also, if you like diving and snorkeling, you will be in for a sweet treat. You will find out when you get there.

7. La Soufriere 1979 Crater

Tourists making their way up and out of the volcano crater. Photo: Richmond Vale Nature and Hiking Center, St. Vincent.

The La Soufriere Volcano is by no means new. For many locals and visitors, however, venturing more than 3,000 feet down into the crater is a challenge that has never been taken up by many.

If you dare to take up the challenge, you will be entering the arena of the brave, elite minority who have conquered their fears and look death right in its eyes: a true daredevil experience.

Inside the crater at La Soufriere Volcano

If you go, you will never look at fear the same way again. You will be braver in life. Tip: Go from the Leeward end.

8. Cayo Village, Argyle, St. Vincent

This village was constructed in conjunction with the construction of the Argyle International Airport which opened in 2017. It was a created in a move to keep the historical elements of the area in play, especially since many petroglyphs had to be removed to make way for the new Airport.

This is worth visiting to get a sense of history as to the way of life of the earliest setters on St. Vincent.

9. Spring Top, Bequia

Some incredible views of Bequia are found at Spring Top, not to mention the view of mainland, St. Vincent from Bequia. It has a picnic area and lovely photo opportunities. Once you get to Spring Top, you hardly want to leave.

There are many other places you can visit, but these are SecretsOfSVG‘s pick for 2019.

By: Demion McTair

Secrets of St. Vincent & The Grenadines

The biggest Soca song of the 21st century so far

The late Mighty Arrow of Montserrat was the singer of the biggest soca song of the 20th century.

Arrow’s “Feeling Hot Hot Hot“, produced in the 1980’s was chosen as the official anthem of the 1986 World Cup, held in Mexico, according the The Guardian Newspaper.

“Hot Hot Hot” is estimated to have sold “more than 4m copies in various versions, including a 1994 remix that reached No 38 in Britain” – The Guardian stated in a 2010 obituary article on the late
Alphonsus “Mighty Arrow” Cassell who died in 2010.

The Mighty Arrow – Photo: The Guardian

Even though music lives on forever, the 20th century has passed and soca music produced in this the 21st century must be judged within context of the modern music industry (streaming, digital sales and downloads etc).

That being said, the biggest, most successful soca song of the 21st century so far and possibly of all time is that of Vincentian singer – Kevin Lyttle with his hit “Turn me on“.

First produced and released in the early 2000’s, a later version of “Turn me on” then evolved to feature Spragga Benz, a dancehall artiste in Jamaica. The song peaked at number four (#4) on the Billboard charts in the USA in August 2004 making it the highest ranking soca song of all time in the US.


Tempted to touch by Rupee also made it on the Billboard charts in 2004, but peaked at number 39 on November 20th.

Turn me on peaked at number two (#2)position as a single on the UK charts in 2003, making it the most successful soca song of all time in the UK.

Lyttle’s song reached multi-platinum level in 2004 after dominating charts in the U. K., Germany, Italy France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Austria, Australia, and on to the United States.

According to Globe Newswire “after earning spots on MTV, Billboard’s Hot 100, and even signing a deal with Atlantic Records, his album went multi-platinum, selling over 2,000,000 copies in the beginning”.

In April 2019, Lyttle’s manager (also his wife) Dr. Jacqueline James-Lyttle, responding to comments about the success of Lyttle’s song revealed in a facebook post that ” Kevin Lyttle has over 1.4 million listeners a month on Spotify.

She also stated that “Based on the tens of countries where the song was platinum, gold… TMO has touched over 3 BILLION (with a B) people worldwide”.

In 2017, Billboard named Turn me on the Best Dancehall Chorus of the 21st century.

Cheatcode and Chris Brown also did versions of the song, continuing its successes into another decade.

By: Demion McTair

5 movies that should be made in St. Vincent

There are some true stories which need to be told about St. Vincent and the Grenadines and film might be a great avenue to do so.

St. Vincent is no stranger to being a movie filming destination. In fact, parts of the blockbuster film, Pirates of the Caribbean were filmed throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Less known is the 1996 disaster film, White Squall which was filmed in twelve different locations, including St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

St. Vincent, however, has its own stories, true stories worthy of being told through film. Here are five (5) of them:

1. The 1902 Volcanic eruption: This true story will make a good disaster movie which can help to raise awareness about living on small islands with volcanos.

According to UNESCO, over 1,500 people died in the aftermath of the eruption. The event happened hours before the eruption of Mount Pelee in Martinique which killed over 1,600 people.

Local sources say most of the victims were Kalinago people living in
Wallibou Estate, a thriving commercial hub at the time.

2. Chatoyer and the Black Carib Wars: St. Vincent has the shortest period of slavery in the Caribbean. It was also one of the few countries where the British signed a peace treaty (in 1773) with indigenous peoples.

An artist impression of Joseph Chatoyer by
Junior Griffiths

This was due largely to the leadership of Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer. The resistance was so great that the cannons at Fort Charlotte were pointed inland to fight against the Caribs.

The resistance also affected sugar production. Historian Adrian Fraser captures it best:


“While other Caribbean colonies had begun the production of sugar from the 1640s and 50s, St.Vincent was still in the hands of the Caribs who controlled what were considered the best sugar lands. Colonies such as Barbados and Antigua had, therefore, been producing sugar for over 120 years at the time when St.Vincent began its period of British colonisation. St.Vincent became a colony of Britain in 1763, and three years later it began to export sugar but in very small quantities. In fact the export in that year, 1766, was a mere 35 tons. By 1771 it had reached 2,218 tons. However, in 1828, following the expulsion of the Caribs, it reached 14,403 tons, an amount that was never surpassed in its history.”

Adrian Fraser, in Sugar, Slavery and Emancipation in St. Vincent – a breif overview

3. Mother Sarah Baptiste: her story is one of selflessness and humanity. According to the University of the West Indies, Baptiste was honoured by the Committee for the Development of Women (CDW), for her outstanding service in the field of nursing.

Mother Sarah Baptiste was a woman who defied tradition, taught women of Carib descent self-respect, determination, and ambition. She was the oldest trainee Nurse at the then Kingstown General Hospital. According to Ithamar Charles’ book – Mother Sarah Baptiste, Sarah served as a nurse for 25 years – She delivered thousands of babies most- free of cost – and was at one point the only nurse in the north of the mainland St. Vincent.

4. The ship that never returned: The Gloria Colita

Photo: Virgin Islands Property & Yacht

Commissioned in 1939, after being built in Belmont, Bequia by Reginald Mitchell, the largest wooden sailing vessel ever constructed in the Caribbean, at the time, was used to transport lumber, sugar and other materials from as far as South America to Cuba and the USA.

According to Beacon of Flavour, in May 1941, the vessel was found drifting in the Gulf of Mexico after leaving Mobile, Alabama with a shipment of lumber destined for Havana, Cuba without Captain Reginald Mitchell or his Crew.

Up to today, no one knows what happened to the Captain or crew, but many theories are out there as to what might have happened.

5. The Great Exile: After killing Joseph Chatoyer, the British finally gained their grip on St. Vincent and moved swiftly to exterminate the black Caribs which had prevented them from settling on the island for over 200 years.

An emotional Garifuna descendant lands ashore on
Baliceaux, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Over 5,000 Caribs, men, women, and children were forcibly removed from St. Vincent, sent to Baliceaux where many died, then on to Rotan Island, then to Central America, including Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras where their descendants still reside.

By: Demion McTair

Secrets of St. Vincent & The Grenadines

LEAD STORY: Mysterious historical site found in St. Vincent

Forget about the Layou and Yambo petroglyphs which historians and archeologists have confirmed represent the former presence of Amerindian civilization in St. Vincent.

A new site discovered in North Leeward, St. Vincent with what appear to be ancient artifacts is taking the focus and is expected to gain the attention of archeologists.

The site found in the North-western part of mainland St. Vincent is in an area between the villages of Petit Bordel and Chateaubelair called “Cherry Hill”.

Community Leader, Selwin “Selly” Patterson told SecretsOfSVG’s Demion McTair on Sunday, February 25th, 2019 that the site has rocks carved out depicting the faces of different animals, but can only be seen when the sun is in a particular direction.

What appears to be a baboon carved out of an entire rock is depicted in the photo. Photo: Selly Patterson

“Good sunlight is needed in order to recognize the depictions. They have different animal faces on them” [the rocks]. In order to see them, the sun must be strong on them”, Patterson said.

Apart from the animals, the site also features what appears to be a chair carved from the rocks, facing the La Soufriere volcano.

Patterson said he believes the site was established by the Ciboney people who were believed to be among the earliest settlers on St. Vincent.

“From my thinking, it was done by the ‘Cibonians’. They were cave dwellers and they have caves there also” – Patterson told SecretsOfSVG’s Demion McTair.

Some recent visitors to North Leeward who heard about the site stopped by to take a look. Photo: Selly Patterson

While news of the site is just coming to the wider public, some persons in the North Leeward community have known about the discovery for quite some time. The name of the site is Thirteen stones.

An individual who has not given permission to use their name told SecretsOfSVG that they found what they have described as a whistle made of stone at the site a few years ago.

The individual said that the whistle, when blown, brings a peculiar sense of stillness in the atmosphere and that it commands birds.

The individual also stated that they believe the site can be evidence of Africans arriving in this hemisphere, long before slavery, due to the types of animals carved out the rocks such as a Baboon.

A lot of mystery surrounds the discovery, but one thing is for sure: it presents an opportunity for an archeological investigation to determine the authenticity of the site and, further, which civilization was responsible for the site’s construction and the purpose for which the site was used.

Demion McTair

Editor – Secrets of SVG

5 places in need of tourism development in St. Vincent

A lot is known about the Tobago Cays Marine Park, the La Soufriere volcano, Dark View Falls, the Botanical Gardens and other heavily marketed sites throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

There are, however, some less-known, undeveloped sites which hold great potential to be satisfying tourist spots.

Here are five of them.

1. Will-be-Free Falls, South Rivers, St. Vincent: this spot has been trending lately as more persons are discovering it. Requiring a hike to get there, the trail can be developed and kept with proper signage put in place.

Hikers making their way to Will-be-Free falls. Photo: Cariway Caribbean

The mysterious Will-Be-Free falls, St. Vincent.

2. Cornel Deephole & Table Rock, Vermont – St. Vincent: This diving spot in the Buccament River is being frequented by many locals as they are discovering the satisfaction of the experience of river-diving. The site, however, can use some development. Perhaps two small Gazebos, bathroom facilities and places to grill chicken might do the trick.

The same goes for its neighbor a few yards away, Table Rock. It could be a great picnic spot, once Land issues pertaining to its access can be sorted out and facilities can be put in.

The deep hole is far deeper than it looks.

3 The Bat Cave, Buccament – St. Vincent: The Bat Cave is quite an experience and should be enjoyed by more persons.

Tour Guides and guests preparing to Kayak to the Bat Cave.

There are only three rules for the place: 1. Go with people knowledgeable about the cave. Secrets of SVG recommends Sea Sports Fanatics SVG for Kayak Tours, having toured with them before. Rule number 2. Do not scream and rule number 3. Follow the advice of your tour guides if they tell you there is a high tide and they are not going in.

4. Questelles Beach Jump off: Little is known of ‘Little Bay’, a section of Questelles beach, St. Vincent which has an amazing area for flipping and jumping.

Much deeper than it looks, this area is a favorite for young locals in the area to jump off and swim

The area will be ideal for a Rick’s Cafe beach bar type development with the Jump-off as the main feature.

5. Brighton Bay Mangrove Swamp: With the right type of investment/development, Brighton Bay Mangrove swamp can be an area for peaceful Canoeing, Rafting, and nature-walks and a natural mangrove park to teach and practice marine conservation.

Brighton Bay, Mangrove Swamp. Photo: Syprian Slater

There are many other areas and some of them will be highlighted in a subsequent article.

By: Demion McTair

SecretsofSVG – Editor

3 star rating system for small-scale accommodation

If you plan to make our 2019 list of small-scale accommodation, you need to read this newly developed rating scale.

The Greaves rating scale is a three-tier rating system that classifies small scale accommodation into three categories from one star to three stars, with three being the highest.

The scale was developed by Crystal Bynoe-Greaves, a Travel and Tourism Diploma holder and a Business Management Major.

Secrets of SVG adopts the scale as our official guide to recommending and promoting small-scale accommodations such as Guest Houses, Private Apartments, Airbnb, Eco-Lodges and the like.

THE SCALES

ONE STAR: Clean rooms, Fan, Free Wi-Fi, Cable TV, Hot Water,  Public transportation easily accessible, Limited hour front desk, Property secure.

TWO STARS: Clean rooms, Air conditioner, Free Wi-Fi, Cable TV, Hot Water, Stove, Mini fridge, Microwave, Parking, Limited hour front desk, Property secure, washer and drier, Children-friendly.

THREE STARS: Clean rooms, Air conditioner, Free Wi-Fi, Cable TV, Hot Water, Kitchen, Microwave, Toaster, Daily Housekeeping, Laundry services, Blow-dryer, Free Parking, Bike storage lockers  Unlimited hour front desk, Outdoor pool, Barbeque grills, Terrace, Easy access to beach, Free continental breakfast, Security camera/ Guard, Pet friendly.

Persons with accommodation who wish to be promoted on Secrets of SVG should email us at secretsofsvg@gmail.com.

By: Demion McTair

Editor – Secrets of St. Vincent & the Grenadines

4:00 am ‘street parties’ in St. Vincent

When it comes to entertainment, people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines know how to do it, especially at Christmas time.

More is probably known about J’Ouvert early morning street parties with loud pulsating music, alcohol, paint, mud, and oil, but this article focuses on something unique to St. Vincent & the Grenadines – Nine Mornings celebrations.

Nine mornings before Christmas, usually starting around December 16th each year, persons can join celebrations in the streets of various villages to celebrate Christmas.

The fun sessions are suitable for children as well.

Popular Christmas singers – The Bowmans performing at a Nine Mornings event. Photo: SVG Christmas Lighting & Nine Mornings Committee

The street sessions usually feature the sounds of steel pan playing the covers of popular local, regional and international Christmas songs, dances, choir, groups and solo singing, and impromptu eating, drinking and other fun competitions and challenges.

The largest of the sessions are held in Capital city Kingstown at Heritage Square with other sessions in rural areas such as Stubbs and Carriere.

A fake female proposal done in front of the huge crowd gathered at Nine Mornings in Kingstown. Photo: SVG Christmas Lighting and Nine Mornings Committee.

In describing the festival which is over 100 years old, Discover SVG states that “Vincentians awake in the early hours of the morning and partake in a range of activities, among them sea baths, dances (or in local parlance, fetes), bicycle riding and street concerts. 

In the rural areas, the final morning of the festivity usually ends with a steel band “jump-up”.

A woman dancing to the Hula Hoop at a nine morning event. Photo: SVG Christmas Lighting & Nine Mornings Committee

THE HISTORY OF THE FESTIVAL

According to Discover SVG, ” the origins of this festivity are clouded in some mystery, although the original tradition relates it to the ‘novena’ of the Catholic Church on the nine days before Christmas.

Nine Mornings street parade in Kingstown. Photo: SVG Christmas Lighting and Nine Mornings Committee.

It is believed that after the early morning church services of the Catholics, worshippers began walking the streets while others went for sea baths.   From this the popular Nine Mornings festivity emerged. 

Although popular opinion has this practice as starting during the period of slavery, it was more likely to have been a post-emancipation practice”.

Children getting ready to participate in a Nine Mornings Bike riding competition. Photo: Richland Park Nine Mornings.

Persons outside of St. Vincent who wish to take part in the unique festival can book early to arrive in St. Vincent for around December 16 each year.

By: Demion McTair

Editor: Secrets of St. Vincent & the Grenadines

Can your Airbnb or Apartment make our 2019 accommodation list?

Travelers need suitable accommodation that is safe, beautiful and affordable.

Do you have a Guest House, Apartment or a space that you offer on Airbnb?

If you do, we are in the process of creating our 2019 small-scale accommodation list and your place can make the list if you meet certain criteria.

The criteria will be based on a 3 star rating scale for small-scale accommodation and to some extent, local tourism regulations which may apply to such accommodation.

Email us “My Space” if you have an interest in your Guest House, Apartment or AirBnB being on the list.

Our email is secretsofsvg@gmail.com

We will send you the criteria, based on the scale and other relevant details.

By: Demion McTair

Editor – Secrets of St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Top 5 online news sources in SVG

Whenever you are visiting a country (whether on business or leisure), it is good to know of some of the happenings in that country while there.

In the age of online ‘Fake News’, it is now, more than ever, very important to get your information from the most credible and most reliable sources.

Here are seven (7) of the most reliable online news sources within St. Vincent & the Grenadines and their respective links:

1 I Witness News: This is arguably the leading online news site in St. Vincent & the Grenadines, with over 66,000 subscribers on its Facebook page. If a newsworthy event is occurring or has occurred, this site will more than likely be covering it.

See: https://www.facebook.com/iwnsvg/

2. Searchlight Newspaper: This is one of the leading print newspapers in SVG, but has risen up with modern trends and has an online, social media presence. It currently has a Facebook following of over 36,000. If you’re looking for accurate and reliable reporting, this entity is one to follow.

See: https://www.facebook.com/Searchlight1/

3. News 784: This relatively new News site, managed by someone with over a decade of experience in Radio Broadcasting, brings with it the instantaneous attitude of Broadcasting, online. It currently has a Facebook following of over 24,000. You can count on this site for the latest happenings in and around St. Vincent & the Grenadines. The entity also has an app, which you can download.

See: https://www.facebook.com/News784/

4. Ashbert News Network (ANN) This relatively new news site by a freelance journalist has grown quickly in popularity as a credible news source and is currently rivaling the likes of News784 for SVG’s online news landscape supremacy. It currently has a Facebook following of over 14,000

See: https://www.facebook.com/Asbert-News-Network-156789091600160/?eid=ARBgfbelmmzdZ-vq_uIRB_twZHHZ023nKOkZ-fEG8rPDfT-uTjDuQsBgl0FhD3JNPd5vPIzY4Yu6SIRe

5. WEFM 99.9 Radio This Radio station has a news presence as it has been around for quite some time. They can be relied on for more detailed news stories online which are accurate. They currently have a Facebook following of over 8,000 subscribers.

See: https://www.facebook.com/wefm99/

OTHER NOTABLE MENTIONS:

6. NBC Radio: This is the state-owned National Broadcasting Corporation Radio, in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It is the oldest Radio station on the Island and has been a highly acclaimed information source. They have an online news presence and though not as consistent as other sites, in presenting the news online, they are arguably the most credible information source on the Island. They currently have a following of over 15,000 subscribers.

See: https://www.facebook.com/nbcsvg/

The state-owned Agency for Public Information (API), is also a great source of credible information.

Get on with liking the facebook pages for the aforementioned online news/information entities in SVG and get the news right, while in St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

By: Demion McTair

Editor – Secrets of SVG 

5 things Vincentians need to stop saying

If you ever visit St. Vincent and happen to hear any of the following five expressions being uttered, you’re bound to be confused.

It is misplaced to tell people what and what not to say as it relates to their culture, but let’s be real, 2019 is already here and some things we can leave behind in 2018.

Here are five (5) confusing expressions used in St. Vincent to mean other things and why we should consider dropping them from our folk-linguistic lexicon:

1. Nothing beats a trial but a failure: As a way of trying to encourage someone not to give up, this statement might be made. It is, however, often mixed up or jumbled up. What is often meant is: “Nothing beats a failure but a try: if you fail, try again”.

kambird

2. You hit the hammer on the head: In conversation, you might hear someone saying “you hit the hammer on the head”. What is really meant is: “You hit the nail on the head” or you hit the Hammer on the nail”. Overall, the saying is one which means you are on point or precise with what you are saying.

3. Reverse back the car: This one is a redundancy, but perhaps excusable. “Reverse the car” will suffice, however.

Screenshot_20180902-192046

4. Low up the Radio: As funny and unbelievable as this one is, yes, people still, in 2018 say “low up the Radio”, really meaning turn up the volume of the radio.

5. Go down Rose place or go down North Leeward: The north-western part of capital city Kingstown can never be downtown or ‘Bottom Town’. It is uptown. Leaving Rose place and headed to Ottley Hall will only take you further into the north-western part of St. Vincent.

Leaving Kingstown and headed towards Calliaqua will only take you further to the south-eastern side of mainland St. Vincent. 

Additionally, it is not cool to say you are going down North Leeward. If you think it’s okay, imagine being on the mainland and saying you’re going up South to Union Island or you’re going up south to Trinidad. See?

NB: This article in no way seeks to be condescending to Vincentians who may use the above-mentioned terms from time to time. Our culture is what it is, but perhaps, we can consider a little upgrade with the times when it comes to certain expressions. 

If not, people will just have to embrace the expressions are they are and that’s totally fine. 

By: Demion McTair

Editor – Secrets of St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Updated 17:51 AST