{ {{Le Premier Ministre de Grenada, Hon. Tillman Thomas et son cabinet viennent de décréter officiellement que le 1er Mai sera célébré comme Fête de l'Arrivée Indienne, en même temps que la Fête du Travail.

Le 6 Mai, Sainte-Lucie a fêté le 150ème anniversaire de l'arrivée de ses premiers travailleurs Indiens sur le bateau Palmyra.

Deux articles récemment parus relatent ces commémorations et la reconnaissance officielle de l'apport du segment indien dans l'édification des nations caribéennes. En Guadeloupe et Martinique, malgré le taux élevé d'Indiens (à Sainte-Lucie ils ne sont qu'un 3%), aucune date de commémoration annuelle n'a été encore décidée - ou demandée. J.S. S.}} }


St. George's, April 29, 2009 -- The Indo-Grenadian Heritage Foundation will hold a Memorial and Thanksgiving Service on Friday May 1st at the Samaritan Presbyterian Church to mark the arrival of the first batch of Indians to Grenada on 1`st May, 1857.

On that date, the MAIDSTONE landed 287 persons at Irwin’s Bay, St. Patrick’s, these being the first of several ships bringing a total of 3,200 indentured workers from India to Grenada. Most of these workers remained in Grenada, and by their industry and thrift have produced Grenadians of excellence in every profession and occupation, including agriculture, business, culture, education, law, medicine, and sports. The guest speaker will be Rev. Everson Sieunarine from Trinidad and Tobago.

The Prime Minister of Grenada, Hon. Tillman Thomas, and his cabinet have agreed that May 1st will be officially recognized as Indian Arrival Day, along with the already established Labour Day. The cabinet also decided that the road now leading to Irwin’s Bay and presently called Boucherie Road, will be renamed “Maidstone Road” in honour of the first arrivals of a valuable segment of Grenada’s population.

The Indo Grenadian Heritage foundation has also identified a benefactor who has donated a plaque to be erected to honour those from India who settled in Grenada. This will be erected at Irwin’s Bay at a date to be announced. There are also plans for the enhancement of Irwin’s Bay as a beauty spot for the enjoyment of Grenadians and visitors to the island.

On Sunday May 3rd the celebrations will continue on the grounds of the Belmont Estate, where there will be a luncheon and bazaar beginning at 11.30 a.m. All Grenadians are invited to come and experience a little bit of Indo-Grenadian Cuisine and culture, and to support the Indo Grenadians as they highlight their contributions to Grenadian culture.

The Indo-Grenadian Heritage Foundation was formed in 2007 to promote awareness of the significant contribution made by Grenadians of Indian descent in Grenada and to create awareness and highlight important events and places which mark significance for the people of Indo-Grenadian descent in Grenada. They also wish to popularize Indo Grenadian Heritage among all Grenadians in every facet of life and culture.


On May 6, St. Lucia celebrated Indian Arrival Day.

Indians came to the Caribbean as indentured laborers throughout the nineteenth century to work in colonial territories such as Guyana (1838), Jamaica (1845), Trinidad (1845), Martinique (1853), French Guiana (1854) Guadeloupe (1854), Grenada (1857), St. Lucia (1859 ), St. Vincent (1861), St. Kitts (1861), St. Croix (1863), Suriname (1873), and Nevis (1874).

Saint Lucia has a sizeable population who are descendants of these indentured laborers that were brought to save the cultivation and processing of sugar cane. Claiming an “unreliable” local labor force, St. Lucian planters first imported Indian workers in 1859. The Palmyra brought the first of thirteen shiploads on May 6, 1859. As Richard B. Cheddie emphasizes, “the last ship to bring Indian laborers from Calcutta to St. Lucia was the Volga, which sank off the coast of Vigie Point, near Castries, on the night of Dec 10, 1893. It was carrying 156 Indians for St. Lucia and 487 for Jamaica.”

In the next forty years 4,427 Indians were brought to the island. Of these, only 2,075 were repatriated to India as promised by the indentureship agreement. In some case, after their indenture terms expired, Indian families traveled to Trinidad and Guyana, where there were larger Indian populations. By 1895 there were only 721 indentured Indians in St. Lucia, as reported by St. Lucia’s Protector of Immigrants. Unlike Guyana, Trinidad, and Suriname, where Indian populations are large, in St. Lucia, like Martinique, Guadeloupe, Grenada, Jamaica, among other islands, the numbers are much smaller, thus forming an ethnic minority. In St. Lucia, Indians constitute about 3% of the population. However St. Lucia and many of the aforementioned countries have dedicated commemorative days to acknowledge the arrival and important contributions of their Indo-Caribbean populations. In St. Lucia it is on May 6. Other dates are May 5 (Guyana), May 10 (Jamaica), May 30 (Trinidad), June 1 (St. Vincent), and June 5 (Suriname).

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Photo of Justin Jaraiwoo and his wife, St. Lucia in the 1950s, courtesy of Richard Cheddie, from Jean-Samuel Sahai´s site, [>]

Justin Jaraiwoo et son épouse, couple indo-ste-lucien photographié dans les années 1950.


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