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Short Stories and Poem

                                                                                                 A real Gouyave Man

Did, and do you know that the correct name of the net boats that we Gouyave children used to love swimming out to and relax, or dive to pick up sand, or play king of the hill were not called SAINT BOATS?

I learnt that the hard way. The first time that I sat the Under 14 Scholarship exam, I failed, because I wrote Saint Boat and did not get the four points I needed to edge out the last placed Grenville student who passed with one point ahead of me. After all, didn’t Compere Jimbow, Till-Away, Shilling and Agnes, War-Wet, Petite-Bet, Saga-Boy, Cap’n We-Have,Swell, Boley Head, Bayrum Renwick, my aunts Georgie and Helen, Tilda, Rosie,Miss Nita, Miss Leanora and Mr. Manny, and even the young guns like Kuiks, Saddah, Bluggoe, Birdie Legs, Carve, Tan-oy, To-to-Pride, Ma-kee-kee, and Drakes, all called it Saint Boat? This was their field of expertise, it was their boats and this was our Gouyave, the fishing capital of Grenada’s world. Who would know more than they? So they had to be right, and by extension, I had to be right too.

Imagine my astonishment and embarrassment when Teacher Eli pointed it out and told me that the correct name and spelling was SEINE BOAT. I, a proud Gouyave man, born and raised on the L’Anse, did not know the correct word for those boats laden with their nets and peacefully anchored in our bay. I could have sworn that those boats got that name because most of them were named after St. Anthony, St. Peter or some other Saint’s name. Me, a real Gouyave man?

Another lesson in life that I’ll never forget.

  Tony De Coteau


Last Friday morning around ten I saw a familiar face in front of Huggins on the Carenage. The face I remembered quite well but the name I had to pull from my memory bank. He asked me if I was coming up to pay them a visit in Gouyave and I smiled. He got the answer for my answer was in the smile.

Hours later,  I touched the soil that I had grown accustomed to as a teenager. I inhaled the refreshing breeze that came from the nearby coast. Years ago, on my daily travel to Schaper School on the wooden bus, I used to be comforted by the fresh sea breeze as the bus passed the park in the early morn. Yes, I was in Gouyave, the home of our legendary Talkshoppers PI and Gouyaveman. I stood on soil that supported the feet of academic giants like Dr. Dunstan Campbell and Dr. Kenny Lewis, two individuals I respect immensely. I was in Gouyave, not experiencing one of those frequent mental images I had sitting somewhere in North America. I stood near St. Francis Street and I needed no direction for I met Roy Marques, a past pupil, whose eyes lighted up when he recognized me. He kept repeating my name as if he did not believe I was standing there. And then I met others.

It was Fish Friday in Gouyave and we had arrived early. I was impressed with the layout. The mini tent like structures that lined the area were remarkably arranged to attract hungry eyes for they bore all types of deliciously prepared sea food and drinks. Someone called my name and I looked around to be greeted by Lapo’s son, Roger. Lapo was a Schaper classmate who used to bring up the huge pot of Fish brawf for us to devour on our lunch break years ago. Then I saw Kester and his family. I thought how wonderful it was for him to bring his children who were born in the States to witness and enjoy all the mouth pleasers that adorned the tables on St. Francis Street.

I quickly inquired about the Lambie waters. I could not come to Gouyave and not drink ah Lambie water. A man standing nearby told me to go further up the street. Again I was impressed by the neatly attired men and women in their chef attire. Those people looked so professional and the sense of order was everywhere. . I thought of Aim and Spiceislander and I imagined how much they would have liked to wage a war on all those tempting foods. I looked at the menu and yes, lambi waters was there as well as crayfish waters, fried snapper, fishcakes, sea moss, mauby and even fried breadfruit, one of my favorites. I got my Lambie waters and it was hot and tasty. I then tried the Crayfish waters. I had no intention of visiting Gouyave and not indulge. A friend offered me a fried snapper wrapped in aluminum foil. I happily accepted it. I poured a little pepper sauce on it and started with the head. There is nothing as tasty as a nice juicy fried snapper head.

I looked at the historical old church that stood nearby. Gouyave is a good place to observe such relics. I saw the new library that was well placed to enlighten the minds of those in search of knowledge. On my last trip I had donated a book and I will give more.

I observed the crowd that continued to grow as the night progressed. There were people of various ethnic background. They had something in common that night. They eagerly devoured the food. I saw the gratification on their faces as they dived into the fish foods. Ah fella standing nearby with a fried fish in his hand was wineing to one of the new Grenadian calypsos. Ah white man was dancing, his own dance, to an old Bob Marley song. I stood there and tapped my feet as the sound of a Culture song came from the distance. Gouyave was always known for its music and the music that night, like the food, was varied and geared to satisfy the different taste.

I knocked down a seamoss and peanut punch combination. Someone asked me if I was sure I could handle that. I laughed because I knew what she was getting at. Well let me tell you; once you indulge in those enriching foods, there is not a mountain you cannot move. Come to Fish Friday and then you are prepared to stand up to anything.

I bounced up me partner Rush. He was standing there as if he was taking notes. He usually keeps his own little Fish Friday in his basement in Brooklyn. He was scanning the proceedings, perhaps looking for ways to improve his event in New York.

My eyed beheld the colored lights hanging overhead. It felt like Christmas and sure enough there were ginger beer and sorrel to help create such an atmosphere. And then another light flashed and I stared into a camera. He later told me that he knew I was coming to Fish Friday at Gouyave. I pulled Shirley Ann and Kester, two former pupils of SJCSS and took a picture with them. That was a moment for me to share with me friends.

It was a memorable time on St. Francis Street. I stood there, a proud Gouyaveman at heart. I thought of Money who recently died and I was gripped by sadness. I thought of Cave, his father who used to push the cow a long way and then slaughter it to supply meat for the dwellers of Gouyave. I once again thought of the entertaining and serious confrontations between St. John’s Sports and Hurricanes. I remembered the lucky goal I scored against St. Rose Convent when I played for Schaper school. I stood on St. Francis Street and all those thoughts came to me. That Friday night I took my son to Fish Friday in Gouyave and gave him a little History lesson.

After eating the fish he asked for chicken. I told him it would be likened to sacrilegious for him to have chicken on Fish Friday night. PI, Gouyaveman, Dunstan and Kenny would revoke my Gouyave citizenship if I encouraged him to have chicken.

A. Wendell DeRiggs. Aug. 06

If De Priest Kud Play, Who Is We?

For those who could have remember when Father Bernard and Father Blanco were the two Catholic Priests in Gouyave who resided in the Rectory, you may have also recalled it was a time when the Catholic Church was transitioning from its stated role as an ecumenical institution to that of a community base institution with more direct involvement and participation from the local populace.

And while Father Blanco’s role in the transition was somewhat diminished because of his limited agility and senior status, his perceived cunningness and devious behavior did not preclude him from the usual controversial and scandalous “tebey” that surrounded the rest of our Gouyave residence.

It was rumored that Father Blanco had made regular use of the banister (linking the first and second floors of the Rectory) to slide down to the first floor in order to beat Father Bernard to the Dining Room table to enjoy the first helping of Miss. Agnes (the Rectory cook at the time) culinary skills. It was said that Father Blanco possessed a voracious appetite and on occasion, would eat himself into a frenzy, while still reserving his taste-buds for the delicacy of Miss Agnes’s “stewed Turtle”.

And while Father Bernard was busily involved with the goings-on in the community, it was refreshing to observe him in his new role of multi-tasking, while providing leadership to the youths and guidance to the elderly. He was a pillar in the community who was blessed with charisma, an exuberant personality and a ubiquitous smile which complemented his high level of energy. Needless to say, Father Bernard was an icon in Gouyave’s Catholic community and had set the standard for all Priests who were to succeed him.

So you can imagine how shocking it was in Gouyave when the news broke that Father Bernard had taken the unprecedented step to remind Miss Marita of the responsibilities she was charged with, and chose to neglect. However, the manner in which he had chosen to make his point would become the lyrics for the following carnival season and not even the revered Father Bernard could have been spared from “Gouyave’s carnival lyrical Pun”. His name would forever be associated with this “one act of displaying his personal frustration and annoyance” and Gouyave could now lay claim to our own version of ”If De Priest Could Play, Who is We?”.

But just what had prompted him to take this uncharacteristic measure is anyone’s guess. Some of Gouyave’s “notorious Sa-luh-pues” had rumored it was “the depository” by Father Blanco sometime during the night, after experiencing the torments of a “Puff” and the pungent odiferous fume that was emitted due to fermentation in the ninety degree heat that caused Father Bernard to suffer from an acute case of insomnia thus driving him crazy.
Others thought that Miss Marita was using Father Blanco’s “exchange” to leverage a negotiation for a better salary for her services. But what ever it was, Father Bernard felt compelled to personally remove the contents from the Rectory and place it at the door of Miss Marita while reminding her that she could not abdicate her responsibilities to the church as she was indeed “The Chauffeur Ca-ca”.

You could have imagined the talk in Gouyave surrounding this one.

Gouyaveman, 3rd June 06©


Ohhhhhh the Pe-Pe-Rit  

Gouyaveman  26th April

It would be very interesting to learn how the word “Pe-pe-rit” had made the transition from a specie of bird, to the Grenadian lexicon of a rudimentary craft made from Cork Wood bound together with Weiss (sp) and sometimes with a sail made out of Flower Bag.

To understand the craftiness in which the Pe-pe-rit was put together, it was sturdy enough to carry just one person and was not made in the traditional manner of boats as having a bow and stern but instead with a cut-off front, angled in the shape of a point and a back. The Cork Wood provided it with the ultimate in buoyancy which sometimes left a water clearance of no more than six to eight inches. Yet, like any other craft, it obeyed all the laws of Physics allowing it to carry more than three times its weight when submerged in water and could never sink.

That realization is probably what had led to the adventurous undertaking by our young potential Fishermen to conquer the fear of making those perilous journeys to sea, which is a prerequisite for all.

My boy-hood days in Gouyave never allowed me to forget the day when a young man named Alister (aka, Macatoombey) was able to “boat” a seventy five pound Turdjun that he caught on the fishing banks of Addis-ah-Baba(about a mile and a half out to sea behind the Nutmeg Pool in Gouyave) and made it safely back to shore.

You could have imagined the level of hysteria that followed among the more established Fishermen, not to mention the braggadocios Macatoombey’s account of the whole episode and his perceived “good fishing skills”.

What a day it was, laughter for so.

For those of you who do not know, “Weiss” is a sturdy wild vine that is grown within the mountainous interior of Grenada. It was harvested and woven into specially designed baskets (known as a ‘half basket’ or ‘whole basket’), and sold to Fishermen for transporting and measuring their catch.

Gouyaveman ©


                         And Now The Cork Wood Boats                                                                    Gouyaveman 27th April 06

For days, sometimes weeks, one could have observed the fellas on the Lance meticulously carving their piece of Cork Wood with their home-made utility knives to transform that piece of wood into what we have come to know in Gouyave as the “Cork-kood Boat”.

The cadence of their work was disturbed only to subject their art to the frequent “eye test” for leverage and symmetry and to ensure that the keel was perfectly centered at the bottom.

The more advanced and skilled artists made use of a vertical line that was drawn from one end of the wood to the other and a horizontal line across in order to determine the curvature of the body of the craft and to form the intersection for installing the Mask.

When the rough outline had finally taken shape, the smoothing process would begin which usually involved the manipulation of a piece of glass to smooth out the contour of the bow and stern, to be followed by the use of a heavily gritted sand-paper and a finer one to finish the product.

Once the smoothing process was completed, it was time to “pour the lead”.

The mold for pouring the lead was made from compacted sand which was dug-out in the form of a “J” with two or three nails with their heads exposed towards the body of the “J” and their points protruding through the sand at the top. The purpose of the nails was to secure/anchor the lead to the keel of the boat, taking time to ensure that it is centered or equidistant between bow and stern.

The molten lead was then poured into the mold to form the ballast. The individual craftsman knew the required depth of the mold that was necessary to provide for proper weight and balance in order to prevent the boat from tilting over.

After fastening the lead to the keel, the boat was then ready for rigging and painting; and it was there where the craftsmen would display their final touches to help differentiate the quality of their work from the others. I remembered the works of Herbert Campbell, Winston (Tan/Durey), Sarda/Doggie, Anslem (the boat builder) and Billy as being worthy enough to be placed in any Museum.

But the Cork Wood Boat would not be placed on any shelf to be viewed with curiosity because it too would be used to satisfy the competitive spirit that had existed among “WE Lance men”; so on a Sunday morning it was time for the **** Wood Boat regatta to begin.

The speed of the boat was never the determining factor for maintaining bragging rights as to which one was faster than the other, but a combination of speed, endurance and the ability to swim was what had separated the boys from the men.

No! one, No! one could have come close to perfecting that combination as Neville (aka Prego) did and when I saw how the now famous Mark Spitz had won seven Gold medals in the 1972 Olympics I could not helped but wondered how he would have fared against Prego swimming Mano a Mano or behind their Cork-kood boats.

Gouyaveman ©


Jimbo, Saputy And The Fisherman's Call

Gouyaveman   2nd May 2006

If one was fortunate enough to witness the casting of the nets “by the bay” on the Lance during the seasonal running of the fish, and the level of pandemonium displayed by the fishermen as they answer the call to a “boa-cho”, one would conclude that it was an exercise in utter madness. But if one took the time to understand how this seemingly routine set of activities is played-out, day after day, what seems on the surface to be a state of chaos and mayhem is in fact the equivalent of a well rehearsed and choreograph set of orderly activities that have been the fisherman’s call for well over a century.

Over the years, the operators and owners of the “Seine” (Fishing Nets) on the Lance have had to comply with a system of operation that had become second nature for all who were in the business. This strict adherence to these rules of operation is what had governed that segment of the fishing industry up to this day, keeping it functioning and providing for its continuity for another one hundred years.

The linchpin behind this industry is not the intervention of any government regulatory body to set the rules of engagement as is common among other businesses but remains the acceptance of “the gentleman’s agreement” based primarily on the traditions and customs that were handed down from one generation to another.

“Yes! Gentlemen’s agreement among Fishermen is what keeps the industry afloat”.

Paramount to the operation in this “laisser-faire system” is the establishment of the “Rules of Haul” that is applicable to everyone.

The dictates of The Rules of Haul were established and accepted to be the determinant factor for deciding who had the first opportunity to cast their nets when the whistle blew, alerting everyone of an impending shoal of fish that is about to approach the land. It is a system that prioritized the order in which the nets were to cast based on who had the first, second, or third haul, but also made provision for settling disputes when the fish-run became too frequent and the order for casting, too confusing.

It was the Fisherman’s individual responsibility to know and remember the order of his haul and respond as quickly as possible at the sound of the whistle and the call of “boo-cho! Boo-cho!”. The window of opportunity to surround and trap the fish with his net was very small, in some cases as little as ten to fifteen minutes, so haste was of the utmost importance. He could hardly afford spending the time sorting-out things at this very last moment and risk the opportunity of a good Month’s pay.

Those of you who had witnessed grown men running towards the bay while simultaneously dropping their pants in the process may have confused this act as being a display of vulgarity, but may have indeed be witnessing a call to the Boo-cho.

At the height of the fish run, the system of casting is never arbitrary, in fact it is complemented by the “Spotters” (the men on watch) whose business it is to locate the shoal of fish by positioning themselves to observe it and make the visual calculation of its distance from shore. All of this is controlled by the whistle and the keen ears of the Captain of the Seine. This skill required the Spotters to know the optimum point where the shoal of fish can be circled leaving enough net and rope on both sides of the shoal to complete the encirclement. Failure to calculate correctly would mean that the fish would escape and the net would loose its position in the Haul hierarchy.

The hills of Doctor Bell and “under Maran” provided the best vantage point for the Spotters. From these elevated positions, the echo from their whistles can be heard throughout the Lance. The regularity in which it is blown is what sends the signal to those waiting on Haul to take immediate action, always remembering who is first, second or third.

Mr.Jimbo and Mr.Michael (Saputy) (God rest their souls) were the masters of their craft and at the sound of their whistles, you could have rest assured that the tuition at GBSS, Presentation Brothers College, Schaper and St. Rose would be paid. The Market would be blustering with produce from Clozier, Gouyave Estate and Florida There would be fish at the hospitals and hotels in St. Georges, even for the boys in Richmond Hill Prison and all of this were sure enough to bring a smile to our then Governor General, Sir Paul’s face as he too would have been in haste to eat his dinner.

Jimbo and Saputy whistles were our signal that Gouyave was about to hit oil.

Gouyaveman ©


St. John's Sports and Hurricane

During the period between 1960 and leading up to 1970, at the end of each football season, you can bet that the two remaining teams of the Grenada Football Association (GFA) that would eventually be playing in the final were Victoria’s Hurricane and their Green Jersey and Gouyave’s St. John’s Sports Club with the familiar Blue and White striped Jersey.

The game was usually played on a Sunday afternoon to culminate the end of the football season and to give everyone the opportunity to enjoy this spectacular day of football. The intensity was our Grenada’s version of a Manchester United versus Arsenal at Old Trafford and was not devoid of the hype and hysteria that went with it.

And for the days/weeks leading up to that game, the busses leaving Victoria on their way to St, Georges would slow down on the Lance, and Down Street, enough for their passengers to trade and exchange words of torment and mockery with Gouyaverians with “words” and “tone” that was familiar to all football loving fans. You could have heard them shouting, “ all you getting lix! for so!” some screaming “lix in all you aaaaaaaaaa*” with others saying “ all you bache!, we geeing all four! In all you tail”. Needless to say the response coming from US was of similar tone, with references being made to each other’s Mother and every private part they possess. These words were exchanged, not with any intent of hostility and hatred for each other, but with a sense of pride, passion, respect and adoration that the two parishes shared and continue to share for each other up to this day.

This was football time and all around Grenada, football lovers were about to be treated with ninety minutes of seeing some of the best talented players Grenada could have offered and no one in their right mind would have denied themselves of this treat.

From Victoria, you had the George Brothers (Alston, Ashley and Tompaign) with others like Motel, Arthur Fletcher, Steve Mack and Float(their Goalkeeper) while Gouyave possessed the two guns of Dyer Marquez, (macay),Don George (euh-e, who had defected some years earlier from Victoria) Alfred Phillip(doh-laff, the Engineer) and George Glean(du-boot) with Seon Frank (Frankie) as our Goalkeeper.

On the evening of the match, one could have observed the procession of busses leaving St. Georges, all heading North to the venue of the day. Those from Grenville would traverse the island by coming from “over the hills” and down the Closier route. For Sauters, it would be a straight drive South on the Western main road to either Victoria or Gouyave. They would come on foot, Bicycles, “hop a ride” on the way, but all roads on that afternoon would lead to Gouyave or Victoria.

And as it was customary in tradition between the two parishes, the usual “Cheer Leaders” of both teams went the extra mile to instill fear in each other players by inciting the spectators into a frenzied level of torment and noise-making. In Victoria, it was Conch shell, whistle, singing, dancing and the ultimate (if Victoria had scored first) was the effigy of the coffin draped in blue and white to signify the death of St. John’s Sports followed by a precession around the field by the Hurricane diehard supporters.

In Gouyave, we tormented them by cutting pieces of Glory Cedar wood and using them for support as we stand around the field “grand-charging” and shouting to their players “we may loose de game, but we en go loose de war.”

It was the height in football madness but Hurricane had the edge on us in playing the psychological game of football which eventually had led them to defeating us more often and with a much weaker team. They knew how to do it and were masters in the promotion of fanfare.

But the final of 1965(I believe) was a game that would go down in infamy as the result left many a Gouyaverians wanting to jump from Lance Bridge into the river to end it all. The fact that I cannot remember what year it was is indicative of the emotional and psychological scar that game left on me, that even today, the pains of the result of that match, still remains.

That one was played in Windsor Park in Gouyave with the usual and customary carnival atmosphere attributed to it. Cudbet Peters (schuff) was the Referee or as some would say, “Gouyave twelfth man” (if you know what I mean) and in a game so emotionally charged, Gouyave was poised to give Victoria a good licking.

We scored first, on one of Doh-laf’s specialized “tru passes” to Macay who went on to “bend the ball” around Float’s head and into the far upright corner of the net, and as was customary, our fans ran unto the field in great jubilation to congratulate him.

We then scored a second, third and fourth and Windsor Park began to literally shake. And at the whistle signifying the end of the first half we were up four to nil and Hurricane was dead today.

Pandemonium began as Gouyave fans began to salivate at the thought that Hurricane was about to be treated like raw meat and be devoured by the Tigers of St. John’s Sport.

“sen message to dem in Grampovia, tell dem we mudderin! dey ‘so an so’ today” some of our fellers shouted.

“dey deeead!,dey deeead” you could have heard Tony Marqs shouting from the sidelines.

The second half began with Victoria’s Ashley George almost decapitating our Seon Frank’s head with a left footer. He then went on again to send a bullet passed Seon, one that if he had touched were sure to fracture at least five of his ribs or sever his arms from his body.

Hurricane came back and gave St. John’s Sports five in the second half and went on to win that game.

It was a sad day to see the procession of Gouyaverians leaving Winsor Park with our Glory Cedar in hand to support our bodies from falling along the way as we proceed up to the Lance.

It was probably one of the sadist days in Gouyave I could remember and up to this day, my Victorian friends never allowed me to forget about it.

Gouyaveman, 22nd May 06 ©


One for the Boys

Gouyaveman 17th May,2006

The phrase “Coming Out”, even though it is commonly used within our West Indian culture takes a different implication when it is used in the context of what was expected from our own Gouyaverian youths.

For many a young man in Gouyave, it meant the crossing of the bridge and the realization that one had made the transition from adolescent to adulthood and that also meant that you were under the watchful eyes of your elders. As you began to take charge of your place in “the established pecking order of things”, it was expected of you to cast away your childish behavior to earn your place in Gouyave’s society and be recognized, not so much of who you were but most importantly, what you intend to become.

For those who dared to entertain the thought of quickly rising up the social ranks to mount a challenge against the more seasoned and establish men like Wright, DeCoteau, Crowe, Spra-gi-digs and Bald Plate in their practice of “territoriality”(^._.^), you had to first be subjected to a preliminary test of a dress rehearsal and be prepared to walk the “runway” of The Lance “before you kud call youself, man!”.

Their predecessors (like Pajamas, Sweet Man Durey, Ting-ah-Merry and Pampalam) had already established the “rules of engagement” and had acquired the appropriate accolades and nicknames associated with their feat; so to venture into that territory meant you had every intention of displaying that inherent biological characteristic that differentiate you as a Bull from that of a Heifer and be willing to stake your claim. Needless to say, the Girls/Ladies would be watching you also, but their reserve and conservative upbringing would defer their choices only after carefully concluding that your attire and behavior were appropriate enough so as not to draw any attention to the “other watchful eyes in Gouyave and “oh Boi, there were many”.

Every young lady at the time knew what it meant to be stigmatized with the phrase “She Break Away” and no one wanted to be associated with the social decadent behavior attributed to it and risk being stained with disparaging remarks made against their character.

But as a prerequisite to all of this, the simple art of knowing how to dress was enough to determine if one was to remain among those who were possessed with overactive libido and high testosterone levels and needed a “quick bite to eat” or if he was to exercise the required patience, exuberance and courtship that was necessary to elevate himself to make a smooth transition across that bridge. Failure to adhere to the proper dress code could have meant the designation of a nickname for which one would have to carry for the rest of one’s life.

So at the height of this display in personal attire, the “Gouyave Dappers” had created a subtle level of competition thus creating by extension, two distinct classes of dress codes among the men; and the four most prominent pieces of clothing that had heavily influenced Gouyave’s culture at the time was the Banlon Jersey, the Terelyn Pants, the Handkerchief and the “Stingy Brim Hat.

One could have tell which side of the fence a young man was heading by his display of all four or three of the four, but this was the attire of the time and you could not have been considered to “worth your weight in gold to demand your pound of flesh” and compete with the other Dappers if you could not elevate your taste in attire to the established standards.

The Sunday afternoon stroll was indeed a display in “groomeology” (if you will) and a chance to walk on the runways of Gouyave streets.

To begin with, the hair had to be well coiffed, preferably with the skills of Sarda(aka, Doggie) or Par-Bain, from Down Street.

The Banlon Jersey was of the Polyester blend variety and had to be worn neatly tucked inside the slacks and capped over the belt, making the perfect silhouette to enhance the curvaceous tone of the body.

The slacks had to be made out of the finest of Gabardine or light-weight Tropical Wool Worsted from the stocks of Granby’s, Everybody’s or General Commodities. But the Dappers ultimate in sporting slacks had to be tailored from Terelene and tapered with the fine tailoring skills of Figs, Ah-pooh, Tony Marqs or Domingo. They took pride in sporting and pointing to the sharpness of the “pants seams” ensuring that they were well pressed and were of the same length from mid-thigh to the bottom. The preferred styles were either “gun mouth” or “Bell Bottom”, but whatever the style was, you could have betted that none would have violated the standard “yard and three eights” it took to “make the thread”(‘pants’ in Gouyave lingo) as we used to say.

The “bam pocket” sported the folded white handkerchief, exposing approximately half inch from end to end.

The socks were usually black in color to match the shoes that were buffed into a shine that only “Nugget” c  could have provided. But the “Jigger Boots” was the ultimate in foot-ware as its rubbery bottom provided comfort to “strut the stroll” of the Dapper and draw attention to him by the lookers-on; so with that combination, one was ready to walk on the runway extending across The Lance Bridge. You knew “you had your shidt together”(pardon the indulgence Mr. Web Master) if you made it passed the bridge with no remarks as to your attire, but if you had the proclivity to sport a Stingy Brim on your head, the whole of Gouyave would begin to “shu-shu” as you would be on your way of establishing your reputation as a “ah Gouyave Saga Boi”.

Wright, DeCoteau, Crowe, Spra-gi-digs and Bald Plate knew never to wear that infamous Stingy Brim Hat and that kept their reputation and character in tact.

Gouyaveman ©


That Blessed place call Gouyave

That "Gouyave psyche", with its memories that seem to hold a permanent place in the hearts of every Gouyaverian are also etched in the hearts and minds of those Grenadians who had the opportunity of having even a quick sleepover.

For those who are not from Gouyave, it may be difficult to understand the calling of her ghosts when she reaches out to lay claim to her spirits; for wherever you may be, whenever you are in your pensive mood of peaceful tranquility, or whenever you are overcome with the feelings of melancholy, Gouyave would come a calling.

And in keeping true to her “tormentous” and incessant appetite for her victims, Gouyave does not discriminate between those who are holding of her birthright from others who have inherited her possessive attributes; for it is said that once Gouyave gets a hold of your body, you will inevitably surrender you mind to her and she will possess your soul for ever.

Two of my friends (PI and Tatoes) and countless others can attest to this as we too understand the extra terrestrial power of Gouyave and how we have become victims to her every command. We know we cannot escape and must! pay homage to her despite our years of separation.

Gouyave reaches out with her tentacles and plucks her children from countries all over the world. For the stubborn ones who try to resist her when she calls, she waits and repeatedly attacks their subconscious until they surrender themselves to her. You cannot escape, you are indebted to her, she knows your weaknesses and will use them against you if you try to resist.

So it is for these reasons why her children must feel so humble and throw themselves to her feet and protect and honor her, vigorously and vociferously and fight to the death(not literally) to protect her.

Gouyave is home but Gouyave is everywhere.

You can find Gouyave in Japan and China, in Taiwan, India and Indonesia because her children had placed her there; if you asked “PI”, Gerald Wilson (AKA Ba-ba) and Michael Passee of Edward Street, they will confirm that the spirit of Gouyave is indeed over there.

You can find Gouyave in the Mother Land of Africa if you would just follow the directions given to you by Cathleen Peters from Hills View or Monica, Miss Loti form Victoria Street, they know just how to find her.

You can find Gouyave in just about every state in the United States and England, our home away from home.

Gouyave exists in the town of Fulda in the state of Hessen in West Germany; in Frankfurt on the streets of Langer-strasser; In Munich and Dresden and Keiserlautern and on the Berlin Wall that had separated Communist East from Democratic West, for it was there that I, Gouyaveman had engraved her name and blessed that wall with her spirit.

And if one was to call on the higher spirits of Gouyave, one would find that on the battlefields of Germany during World War II, she had placed one of her children, Mr. Bernadine(AKA Ole German) who was there fighting to repel the advancement of Adolph Hitler and his Third Reich.


Gouyave exists as part of the economic brain-child behind the governments of St. Lucia and within the academies and Universities of The West Indies, South Western University, New York University, Boston University, University of London, London School of Economics and countless other institutions of higher learning.

You can find Gouyave existing in the Amazon Basin of South America; in Brazil and Paraguay, in Chile and Nicaragua. You can also find her in Cuba, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and in just about every island that comprises the West Indian Archipelago.

And if one was to pay attention to the footprints contained on the floors of the Rotundas of Buckingham Palace in London and the White House in the United States, one would observe among the tracks of excellence, the bestowing on Gouyaverians the title of Knight Commanders of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, together with the recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor for their contribution to the betterment of humankind.

So it is neither by chance nor coincidence that our little Gouyave in this little country of ours, Grenada, is viewed with such reverence and with such high esteem and notoriety. She continues to baffle the minds of those who come in contact with her children. It is that spiritual gift of self-assurance, perseverance and self-esteem that holds us together as “one people” but with varied individual ideas. The pursuit of our dreams in distant countries through time, place and circumstances is what may have separated us, but in our hearts, we remain Gouyaverians; always listening to her call and always being held hostage to the warmth of her spirit.

It is for these reasons why we MUST! return, regardless to where our life’s journey ends.

Gouyaveman (c)


Me friend from D'Lance  


Many years ago I met a friend from D'Lance. He would take me around Gouyave and D'Lance, he in his khaki shorts, worn bare at the seats, buttocks showing. Mine, not so bad. He, barefoot. Me, in tight rubber ‘dog-muzzles’ that cut into my feet. I took them off and hid them. I wanted to be like my friend. He roamed the streets and shorelines in rags of poverty, but with a rich gusto for life.

He showed me the best fishing spots, how to catch black crabs for bait, and crayfish in the river with hands under rocks. How to make and fly kites. How to make catapults, with wood, inner tube, and old shoe tongues. Catch birds with bent twigs and twine lassos.

I would run away from the fish market school on D'Lance with him and others. Gladiator movies in Casaman Theatre. Audie Murphy movies Down Street. I followed my friend everywhere with his rags blowing around him like flags of adventure.

Then I left Gouyave, and some years later, Grenada.

I didn’t see my friend again for many years. Then a few years ago, driving up D'Lance, I recognized him immediately. Walking across the street in front the same fish market that served as a temporary school in our youth. We embraced and headed for the closest rumshop and drank for a long time, reminiscing in high spirit about those early days.

Then I asked him if anything had changed over the years.

“Yeah, man,” he said with a sparkle in his eyes. “Remember, I used to live on one side of the fish market?”

I remembered.

“Well,” he said with the same enthusiasm he had many years ago. “I moved to the other side.”

Interesting, I thought.

Was it possible that on the day he was moving from one side of the fish market to the other, I was moving from North Carolina to the Far East? Or that on the days he was crisscrossing the narrow streets of D'Lance, I was crisscrossing the wide expanse of the Pacific?

Maybe on the days I shook hands with governors, my friend was shaking hands with unemployed youths. Or on the days I puffed cigars with generals, he was smoking Phoenix cigarettes with fishermen. And when I toasted the head of the Japanese parliament with rice wine for a good day at the casino, my friend was toasting his friends with Rivers Rum and Carib Beer for a good day’s catch of flying fish.

Was it possible that on the days he paraded from one end of D'Lance to the other barefoot or in worn slippers, I was parading in National Cemeteries and military bases from the East Coast to the Pacific in dress blues uniform and spit-shined shoes?

When he asked me what I had been doing with my life, I could have told him that on the days he was collecting jacks from fishing nets, I was collecting degrees from universities.

But I didn’t. And couldn’t

In the presence of my friend the fisherman, my petty accomplishments seemed pale and woefully inadequate. My jovial friend lived life ten feet from a fish market. He never owned a credit card nor knew what a mortgage was. And it showed. His face had fewer age lines than mine did. He had a richer head of hair than I. I had more gray than he did.

The passage of time had been visibly more generous to his youth than mine.

I still felt I belonged in the shadows of the noble rags he wore as a boy and still wore as a man. His aura spoke louder than any words could. Life isn’t about where you go, what you do, or what you have. Life is about who you are. And when you know who you are, it doesn’t matter where you are.

I saw him again just last week on D'Lance. He was sitting with friends across the street from the fish market having a cold Carib, joking and laughing.

That’s when it hit me.

If Papa God came and told me, “Your time has come. Today is your last. You’ve been in the company of sergeants and generals, governors and doctors, economists and philosophers, fishermen and farmers. Choose one to spend with on your last day.”

Who would I choose?

Maybe I am just becoming sentimental in my middle years . . .

Somebody, quick! Buss out a case a cold Carib and a pack of Phoenix cigarettes!

Doh waste me time looking for matches. Ah go get a light from a coal pot on D'Lance.

And doh waste me time asking for money. Settle de account with the insurance money after ah gone.

Today is me last. And ah spending it wid me fisherman friend on D'Lance!


land of the Charlotte River

You lay majestically in the west between mountains and sea.
You are the land of the Charlotte River.

The sun sets upon you like a caring mother in the night.
Comforting the land of the Charlotte River.

You are the heart and soul of your people wherever they may be.
Reflecting the land of the Charlotte River.

Brash, bold, ready for the fight.
The character of the people of the land of the Charlotte River.

A jewel hatched from the Caribbean Sea, the core of a Caribbean gem.
This is the substance of the land of the Charlotte River.

Misunderstood by many, disliked as well.
These are the trials of the land of the Charlotte River.

Security is within your realm.
Vigilant for your subjects oh land of the Charlotte River.

Wherever they go, they will always have a great story to tell.
Because they are from the land of the Charlotte River.

I love and adore you forever and ever and wherever I am,

my heart will always be in the land of the Charlotte River.


Eli Peter MBE

Former Educator and Principal of St Luke and  St. John's Anglican



Eli Llewelyn Noel Peter

Renowned Teacher, Headmaster, Educator.

A man who provided the foundation for the education of some of our finest men and women

prominent persons in the nation at the very top echelon, of their profession.

 His influence encapsulated the whole of St. John and deeper and wider and further beyond shaping the lives of many young children into the kind of men and women the models of pride and dignity proud sons and daughters of society

The educator, the farmer, the medical doctor, the cricketer, the fisher, the police commissioner forgetting not the Governor General the Education Minister and the sculptor

Time won’t permit me to mention them all the banker, the lawyer, the business manager

The list is inexhaustible, etcetera, etcetera.

Did you ever hear this skilful musician? The expert way he fingered the organ producing sweet melody, soothing harmony, scintillating symphony

The cantata called the ‘Nativity’ indeed, a choir master of no mean ability.

And what manner of man would even venture, to spank both student and teacher

to leave office combing nook and cranny hunting for stragglers and truants in the alley

Whether Anglican or R.C. What manner of man has the audacity to confront even the roughest bully and take him captive, in class he must sit

Education is a pre-requisite and strangely enough with all this alleged wrong he somehow managed to live that long no stab wound, no gun shot, no broken tooth he escaped even a law suit.

Mr. Peter

a figure to admire

a tower of strength and power

The epitome of determination

A reservoir of historic information

A master of the Queen’s language

A reflection of the good old age

A legend

Seized by death to an un-welcomed end

We won’t get you back

But you have left your mark

Thank you for you big kind heart

Indeed you have played your part

But you just have to move on

Into the realms of the great beyond

At this ripe old age of eighty-eight

From here on you are but “ The Late!”


Composed by:

Alvin Forsythe