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Fri 29th Jul 2016

Is Gonsalves provoking bloodshed in sale of crown lands in Canouan?

There is no consultation with the local, indigenous people of Canouan in the sales of Crown Lands. Gonsalves is deliberately selling the crown lands in Canouan to white migrants. In selling the Crown lands in Canouan exclusively to white migrants, is Gonsalves provoking bloodshed?

Gonsalves seems to be saying to Vincentians, if you do not approve of what I am doing in the sale of Crown Lands in Canouan, then take me on.

Under British colonial rule in 1920, St. Vincent was cut up into very large plantations, commonly known as Crown Lands Estates. It was a gross injustice, in that, the Crown Land estates were forced on the indigenous black people of SVG. In 2015/2016 history is repeating itself: hundreds of acres Crown Lands are being sold to foreigners without the consent of the local people.

Crown lands should be sold to Vincentians only.

Under E T. Joshua’s inspiration to repossess Crown Lands Estates, there was a riot at Mount Bentick Estate, in Georgetown. Blood was shed; several Vincentians were imprisoned for a number of years. However, in the final analysis, E.T. Joshua and his supporters were victorious. The Mount Bentick Estate was broken up.

History is repeating itself. We have a 1920 situation, in which, the sale of Crown Lands in Canouan to white migrants, without any consultation, is a gross injustice. History has shown all over the world, that there is a correlation between injustice, strife and bloodshed. Where there is injustice, there is strife and where there is strife, there is often bloodshed.

In Canouan, the mentality is the same as that in Mustique, whereby white migrants are claiming ownership of the sea. The super-rich, white migrants of Mustique have prevented local fishermen from fishing in the sea around Mustique. In Canouan, the white migrants are claiming the sea too.

In Zimbabwe, Mugabe embarked on the land-grab programme in 2000 to address the expropriation of land from blacks during the 90 years of white rule that ended after a civil war in 1980. About 18 white farmers were killed in violent takeovers of their land.

In the biggest land reform in Africa, 6,000 white farmers have been replaced by 245,000 Zimbabwean farmers. These are primarily ordinary poor people who have become more productive farmers. Zimbabwe’s land redistribution has transformed the lives of thousands of small farmers. They are much richer, have a steady income and can now have access to loans using their land as collateral.

In Zimbabwe, they put right the wrongs inherited from the pre-1980 colonial era, when black Zimbabweans were forced from their homelands in favour of white settlers. The same needs to happen in SVG.

Crown lands should be sold only to the local, indigenous people. This will make them richer and this will lead to knock-on activities in the surrounding areas. This will boost the rural economy and the economy in the Grenadines, providing further employment.

Not consulting with the local, indigenous people of Canouan in the sales of Crown Lands is causing lots of tension. In selling the Crown lands in Canouan exclusively to white migrants, is Gonsalves provoking bloodshed?

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