Google
 





SILVERTORCH
HOME




THE FIRST MONTSERRAT

Before there was Montserrat in the West Indies, there was Montserrat in northeastern Spain. The name means "serrated mountain." (monte surredo in Spanish). It is noted for its rock formation and for the ancient monastery of Montserrat on its eastern side. 


NOTES ON MONTSERRAT

(Excerpts from The High Price of Sugar by Susan Miller


Slave Gardens

On most plantations slaves managed to carve out a degree of autonomy by insisting on certain rights, such as a weekly day off and the right to sell, at Sunday market, food they had grown in their own gardens. "One of the forms of both accommodation and resistance, especially on Montserrat, was through these slave gardens up in the hills," says Goodwin. "Because they could escape white eyes, these gardens had connotations of freedom and self-worth. But the gardens were also advantageous to slave owners because they relieved them of some of the responsibility of supplying food to slaves."


Wealth on Galways

In excavating Galways Plantation on Montserrat, Pulsipher and Goodwin unearthed an unusual abundance of artifacts from the plantation's slave village, including imported porcelain dishes, clay pipes, buttons, clothing fasteners, beads and coins. "These people were into a material culture," says Pulsipher. "Our theory is that their wealth was a result of their gardens up on the hillsides." Judging by the artifacts, Goodwin suspects slaves on Galways Plantation possessed maybe twice the material wealth of slaves on typical plantations in the southern Unite




MONTSERRAT CAROLS  


Words, mostly political in intent, written in 1997 to be sung to Christmas tunes.


Clare Short, mentioned several times in the “carols” above was then Britain’s International Development Secretary and had made some unwelcome remarks about Montserrat.


To be sung to the tune of "O Little Town of Bethlehem."

O little isle of Montserrat

We hardly see thee lie,

A plume or two obscures our view

As all your ash flows by.

Yet Britain reassures us

What's needed you'll receive,

Clare Short will pay till they can say,

"Now all of you must leave."


As long as you are viable

Assistance still will come,

Why, total what's been spent and vowed,

It's quite a tidy sum.

Clare's iffy on an airport,

It costs more than you're worth.

But wait a while, there's still a chance

They might exclude the north.


This season all us islanders

Should revel as before,

For Christmas and our carnival

Are precious island lore.

So what if life's uncertain,

We're here, so let's not grieve,

Clare Short must pay till they can say,

"Now all of you must leave."


To be sung to the tune of "Oh Come All Ye Faithful"

Oh come all ye cynics

Displaced and resentful,

Oh come ye, oh come ye

From Ram's Emdee.

Come and confront him

Newly named our governor.

Oh come let us implore him,

Oh come let us implore him,

Oh come let us implore him

Hopelessly!


Just look what we've done now

Voicing our displeasure

By marching indignantly,

Unarmed but loud.

What does he tell us?

"Think of law and order."

Oh come let him implore us,

Oh come let him implore us,

Oh come let him implore us

Piously!


Now comes the committee

In the House of Commons

All eager to underplay

Clare Short's contempt,

Read their conclusions,

See how they hold Montserrat,

Prepare to clear the island,

Prepare to clear the island,

Prepare to clear the island

Stealthily!


Now come Montserratians

Tell them how determined

We are to remain here though

They wish us gone.

What's the volcano

Next to British subterfuge?

So come let us refute them,

So come let us refute them,

So come let us refute them

Adamantly!


To be sung to the tune of "I Saw Three Ships"

I saw three ships come sailing in

To Little Bay, to Little Bay,

I saw three ships come sailing in

To Little Bay in the morning.


The ships came in but couldn't dock

At Little Bay, at Little Bay,

The ships came in but couldn't dock,

And one of them was the ferry.


So how would we evacuate

From Little Bay, from Little Bay,

So how would we evacuate

If Britain got what it's hoping?


It looks as though we'll have to stay

On Montserrat, on Montserrat,

It looks as though we'll have to stay,

And that's what we've all been saying.


Author Unknown





MONTSERRAT JOTTINGS