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”.
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.
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
All of our social media followers will notice that we use the #IslandFreedom hashtag with all of our postings.
Well things have just gotten a little more interesting: there is now an alcoholic beverage made with our hashtag – #IslandFreedom and it is available for sale in two sizes.
Local Bartender, Derrick McTair, has made a tropical drink with natural fruit extract, local rum and spices and has themed it “Island Freedom.
The drink comes in seven colours, including a transparent specially made tequila. It comes in the 750ml and 155ml sizes, at XCD $20 and $6 respectively.
Derrick, who worked in the bartending business for nearly three decades runs a local bartending training program in St. Vincent.
He once worked with Royal Caribbean Cruise lines, offering the service and upon retirement from the seas lends his services to private events, local wine makers and well-established entities such as Grand View Grill.
Derrick has made a hit drink which received the endorsement of Sparrow’s Rum.
Derrick has impressed bargoers who have visited St. Vincent from throughout the Caribbean region and the world with his eclectic and colourful mixes and his Midas touch with the mixing flavors.
The latest drink, Island Freedom, can be ordered by calling +1784 529-6503.
Questelles beach was voted best beach on mainland St Vincent in the best of SVG People’s Choice Award 2017.
People love the beach for its unspoilt environment, privacy and generally calm waters.
Here are five (5) fun things you can do at Questelles Beach:
1. Snorkel: there is a beautiful piece of reef on the southern end of the beach, overshadowed by a humongous peninsula. Yachts sometimes park at the area to allow their guests to dive and enjoy the beautiful reef.
2. Hiking and Treasure Hunting: Hiking on a beach? Hell yes! There are three beaches in one at Questelles Bay Beach area. You have to pass through a forest to get to the most secluded one, and climb rocks to get to the one at the center.
There are also many crevices, pathways, small hills and a forest to allow you to do some serious treasure hunting with good company. You will need someone with local knowledge of the area if you are planning a treasure hunt, so as to avoid trespassing on nearby, unfenced private property.
3. Jump off: Many Tourists have probably heard of the Rick’s Cafe Jump-off in Jamaica, but St. Vincent has many unspoilt and unmarketed ones on the leeward side of mainland St. Vincent.
One amazing jump is at little bay, Questelles Bay Beach. The approximately 30 foot jump into a safe area of the sea is very enticing. You’ll want to do it again and again.
4. Take in some history: there is a 100 year old fresh-water well on the beach you can visit and learn more about. You can also visit the Xpressions Beach Bar and learn about the history of the area.
5. Rent a beach supplies: you can rent a kayak, a tube or other beach supplies from a privately run bar situated on the beach.
The general price range is XCD $5 per hour (1 USD = 2.70 XCD).
You can also get involved in current conservation efforts being spareheaded at the beach by the Beach Boys, a group of locals in the community.
You may also be lucky to get free tamarinds and mangoes, once they are in season, as well as free almonds to crack open yourself and enjoy.
When travelling to any country it is very important to know the do’s and dont’s.
When it comes to speech, you have to know what is okay to say and what is not. Here are five things not to say, or talk about, when visiting St. Vincent:
1. Do not say anything disparaging about someone’s mother: in the English speaking Caribbean in general, one of the most disdaining and loathsome remark one can make is one which attacks, belittles or disparages the character or person of another’s mother.
The mother figure in the Caribbean is sacred as mothers and grandmothers are loved and cherished for their important roles in the Caribbean family. No matter how angry you might get in any situation, avoid referring to someone’s mother in a disparaging way.
2. Do not say either political party or their leaders are bad. Keep out of the local politics: If you visit St. Vincent and your visit is not in the capacity of a campaign person for a political party, just enjoy the natural beauty and do not get embroiled in the local politics. This should be a generally accepted rule when visiting any country.
Vincentians take their politics very seriously. More than likely, they will be surprised, but very understanding if you make a politically charged remark, but they won’t feel too comfortable with it deep down inside.
3. Do not say anything disparaging about black people: the majority of St. Vincent’s population is of African descent. Making racially charged statements about black people, while in St. Vincent, will not be tolerated. Chances are, you will be admonished and perhaps even treated with disdain after making any such remark.
St. Vincent is comprised of blacks, whites, east Indians, indigenous people (Amerindians) along with people from the middle east and china who all get along harmoniously.
4. Do not say (or even act as if) you are better than Vincentians: Vincentians are generally warm and friendly people but do not mistake this for subservience and unassumingness. Vincentians are very assertive and know how and when to stand up for their rights.
The general belief, as espoused by the current Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves is that “we are not better than anyone, but no one is better than us”. Give respect and you will receive the best treatment of your life.
5. Do not belittle the infrastructure or lack thereof: The nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines can be considered a “virgin” and that is what most visitors to these shores like. The unspoilt, lush and mountainous terrain provides for a one-on-one with nature that you are not likely to experience in a concrete jungle.
You won’t even find a shopping ‘Mall’, as the beaches are essentially the malls providing free, unlimited fun and sometimes colourful Caribbean clothing and souvenirs on sale, as well as local food and beverage.
Some roads will not be in the best shape, others might be narrow and winding, especially in the inner-most parts of the islands, while some may be wide, well-surfaced and straight . You will also not see sky-scrapers and overpasses. That is what it is, accept it and enjoy the unspoilt freedom.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados are two different nations despite having serious historical bonds.
These bonds go beyond Vincentians having to use Barbados’ Grantley Adams International Airport over the years as a main transit point for extra-regional travel.
They also go beyond the fact that persons from both countries have successfully sought employment within each others borders and have family ties (a considerable number of persons in the Dorsetshire Hill Community are said to have come from Barbados, originally).
They even go beyond the fact that then Barbados Prime Minister, Tom Adams, helped St. Vincent’s Prime Minister, the late Robert Milton Cato, to curb the December 8, 1979 Union Island uprising by sending 50 police to keep the peace on the mainland, while local police were dispatched in the Grenadines – The Washington Post.
Though the ethe of both people are different, the bond is deep and this is so even for tourism purposes, where yachting companies in Barbados over the years have been offering charters to the Grenadines.
Even amidst this, it must be made clear, especially for those who are just getting to know the Caribbean region or planning a visit, that there is no ‘Barbados & the Grenadines’, as marketed by some entities.
The Grenadines comprise of an archipelago of Islands and Cays which have been known to have some of the most beautiful sailing waters in the world. The Islands form part of the multi-island, nation-state of St. Vincent & the Grenadines, where St. Vincent, the largest, is the mainland.
As such, business entities and initiatives which market The Grenadines as if they were socially, culturally, economically or politically independent of, or separate from mainland St. Vincent (in any form or fashion) are into false and misleading marketing and advertising.
The concept of Barbados and the Grenadines may have come about partly, as a result of difficulty to access St. Vincent as a destination by air. Many visitors by air from Europe and North America have had to pass through Barbados to get to St. Vincent in the absence of direct air travel.
Today, however, those from North America who wish to get to Mainland St. Vincent for hiking and adventure and to the Grenadines to experience some of the most beautiful sailing waters in the world can now come directly through St. Vincent.
This is so with the 2017 opening of the Argyle International Airport where non-stop flights can now be taken from Toronto, Canada and JFK, New York, as well as Miami, Florida to St. Vincent.
The window, however, will always remain open for St. Vincent’s neighbours to arrange tours, cruises and excursions to The Grenadines, as has been the case for many years.
The efforts, however, by some to market businesses and initiatives in other countries as if they were part of the Grenadines must be eschewed, as St. Vincent and the Grenadines is one independent and sovereign state.
NB: The sole purpose of this article is to correct the marketing myth used over the years by some, as it surrounds the Grenadines. St. Vincent & the Grenadines, as a nation, loves its neighbors, promotes regional tourism and encourage persons outside the Caribbean to explore the warmth of the people and the natural beauty of the Caribbean.
Imagine two beaches in one, part white and part black.
Located on the western side of St. Vincent is a black and white beach which has become a favourite for both locals and visitors from all over the world.
Buccament Bay beach gives the best of both worlds. It not only combines the natural volcanic blacksand with coral white sand, it also combines the natural with the artificial in a way where both enhance each other.
The beach was always black but the construction of the Buccament Bay resort around 2006, saw tonnes of white sand being imported to turn the part of the beach directly in front of the resort, white.
This left the other half of the beach in its original colour, black.
Both parts are seperated by the buccament river and the separation is symbolic as the white part is used as a picnic and tourist hotspot, while the black half is used for facilitating the landing of local small fishing boats used by persons in the Buccament Bay community.
The river is used by locals for catching West Indian whitebait, commonly called “Tri Tri”.
With the closure of the resort, however, the white part of the beach is regaining its original colour, as it is now somewhere between black sand and white sand.
This, however, might change as the resort is set to be reopened under new management, later in 2018 and they might just decide to bring in more white sand to replenish what was there before.
Irrespective of what happens, Buccament Bay beach, in its current state, remains one of the most beautiful beaches on St. Vincent and is a favourite for bathing and picnics.
Each culture has its own sayings and folk wisdom which are important parts of its everyday expressions.
Here are 18 commonly used proverbs in St. Vincent and what they mean:
1. If crab nah walk, e nar geh fat: translated in standard English, this will read “if a crab does not walk, it won’t get fat”. This is used to mean that if one does not go around with some level of curiosity, one might never get to know information which might be very beneficial.
2. Throw sprat to catch whale: this phrase is used to mean that in conversation, you can say something to cause the person(s) you are talking with to give you more than just surface level information on a particular matter.
3. Mouth open, story jump out: this is what usually happens when you “throw sprat to catch Whale”. You get far more than what you expected to hear, or, on the flip side, you end up saying or revealing much more than you should on a given issue.
4. What is a joke for school children might be death for the crapaud (another name for frog): School children might find it fun to kick frogs when the see them on the streets, but their fun could ultimately result in the death of the frog. In a broader context, this is used to mean be careful of the jokes you make with people, because they could take them seriously.
5. All skin teeth nah laugh: this means that not everyone who smiles with you is sincere and also that every smile doesn’t indicate fondness.
6. See me and come live with me are two different things: this means that the image portrayed by a friend or a family member as being nice, might change if you experience living with the person and seeing their true colours.
7. Take time and kill ants and you will finds its belly: this is the same as saying “life rewards persistence”.
8. Parsons say christen yo pickney first: this means look out for those closest to you, before you look out for others.
9. Hog say bathe in the first water: this means that it is often better to “strike the iron while it is hot”… when an opportunity comes up, don’t delay.. take advantage early.
10. Mother prime (Prium / Pryum) say it won’t always be so: It is not clear exactly who ‘Mother Prime / Prium’ is / was or if the character is a fictional one. The proverb, however, means that no matter the struggles you are facing at present, things will improve at some point. (Updated)
11. Where horse reach, donkey go reach: this one means that everyone, no matter their size, stature or resources, they have the potential to reach where those who are already established have reached.
12. The wasteful will always want: this one is self-explanatory. Those who are wasteful will always find themselves in periods of want.
13. One day go be conquer day: this one means that no matter how unfairly you have been treated in life, you will rise above it and conquer one day.
14. Today for you, tomorrow for me: this is equivalent to saying “every dog has his day”.
15. Who have cocoa ah doe, look for rain: this one is usually used to alert a neighbour that they have visitors or relatives on their way and they are close by, so get ready for their arrival. In terms of its history, persons who dried cocoa beans won’t want to get them wet, so if rain is going to come, you’d want to salvage your cocoa beans.
16. Weh eye nah see, heart nah grieve: this one is to mean that something you haven’t seen with your eyes cannot really affect your feelings towards it, especially when it comes to food preparation.
17. Moon run until day catch um: this means that no matter the amount of bad you do, it will catch up on you at some point. It also means that no matter how much you try avoiding someone or some decision or situation, you will eventually come face-to-face with it. Literally, it speaks of the movement of the earth and how the positions of the sun and the moon are seen in relation to one another, from night to day.
18. Guinea pig nar bring ram goat: This one is usually used to describe the stalk similarities in the behaviour of a child in relation to their parents. It is like saying “the apple does not fall too far from the tree”.
There are many other notable proverbs. These, however, are some commonly used ones throughout St. Vincent. Some honourable mentions are; “Make sense out of nonsense”, “What does not kill, will fatten”“monkey knows what tree to climb”, and “blood is thicker than water”.
Others include; “All fish does bite but shark does get the blame”, “Pot ah tell kettle e batty black”, “Fool ah talk, but nah fool ah listen”, “What done gone bad ah marning can’t come good ah evening”, “Pickney who nah hear go drink hot water without sugar”, “Old firewood easy to catch” and “Pig did ask e moma why e mouth long so, the moma say wait… your time ah come”.
Some of the most beautiful sailing waters in the world, idealic beaches and picturesque views set St. Vincent and the Grenadines apart from many other destinations.
A splendid combination of sun, sand, sea and adventure makes St. Vincent and the Grenadines the Caribbean you are looking for.
Here are 8 places you must visit if you decide to come to St. Vincent and the Grenadines:
1. The Tobago Cays Marine Park, The Grenadines: this is one of the most beautiful places you will ever witness with your own eyes. In fact, it looks too good to be true.
You would feel as if you are in a virtual reality or another world as the clouds, the turquoise water and the chain of islands combine to create an experience of awe. Many people believe photos from this place are filtered until they visit and experience it for themselves.
2.Montreal Gardens, St. Vincent: located in the lush mountainous Marriaqua Valley on mainland St. Vincent is this ‘Garden of Eden’ which will take your breath away, whether or not you are a nature lover.
The privately owned garden is a must visit and will cost you $5 USD to get in. If you want to detox your mind, tell your tour guide to take you there. You won’t regret it.
3. La Soufriere Volcano: this is one of the most adventurous hikes you might ever experience in your life and at the end of it, the climb would be worth it. But if you think climbing the 4,048 ft. mountain is where the adventure stops, try climbing down into the crater or swimming in the lake of the older of the two craters.
If you don’t have locals as friends to take you there on the 3-4 hour hike, a tour guide can, but the tour guide price will be contingent upon which end you decide to climb from (Windward – shorter, or Leeward – longer) and which tour operator you take.
Make sure you take an SVG Tourism Authority approved tour operator.
4. Canouan: whether or not you are rich and famous, Canouan has something for you. A key interest, however, might be the recently opened Glossy Bay Marina said to be the most beautiful in the Caribbean.
In the north of Canouan lies an exclusive resort Club which has some of the most beautiful ocean views you will ever see.
5.Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreau: this beach is beautiful! One of the most thrilling experiences you would ever have is waking up to sunrise on a yacht docked at Salt Whistle Bay.
6. Bequia, Union Island, Petit St. Vincent, Mustique and Palm Island: Apart from the exclusive resorts, these islands have some of the most beautiful beaches you can ever imagine.
Added to that is the feeling of relaxation, warmth and calm that you get when visiting these Islands.
It might be a hard choice selecting a favourite.
7. Fort Duvernette: Some of the best views on the southern part of mainland St. Vincent are found here. The fort can be accessed by boat. It is a perfect boat tour, hike and picnic in one trip. A water Taxi can be taken at Young Island dock at Villa, to get to and from the Fort at 5 USD per person.
8. Dark View Falls: you get to cross a bamboo bridge and you have two falls in one from which to choose. There is also a beautiful picnic area, change rooms and a kiosk. 5 USD should be enough to get you in.
There are many other amazing places to visit in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but these eight are ones you should definitely put on your bucket list.
By: Demion Mctair
Editor – Secrets of St. Vincent and the Grenadines