Saturday, May 31, 2014


Anguilla is a British Overseas Territory or British Dependent Territory in the Caribbean and is one of the most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles, lying east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and directly north of Saint Martin.
Anguilla Island people of Caribbean wearing their African Heritage dress. Courtesy Wendy G. Gunderson

The territory of Anguilla which is ranked number one by Travel Channel as world’s best all around beaches, consists of the main island of Anguilla itself, approximately 16 miles (26 km) long by 3 miles (5 km) wide at its widest point, together with a number of much smaller islands and cays with no permanent population. The island's capital is The Valley. The total land area of the territory is 35 square miles (90 km2).
Anguilla festival
Anguilla, which is inhabited mainly by black Africans of mostly West African ancestry was originally the land of the aboriginal Amerindian Arawak (Caribs) people until Europeans sailor Christopher Columbus sited it alongside twin-islands of Kitts and Nevis. It is argued that, Anguilla may have first been discovered by the French in 1564 or 1565, but it was first colonized by English settlers from Saint Kitts, beginning in 1650.
As at May 2014, the population of Anguilla was estimated at standing at 14,500 people. Out of this number  90.08% are blacks, the descendants of slaves transported from Africa. Growing minorities include whites at 3.74% and people of mixed race (Mulattoes, Amerindians and other ethnic minorities) at 4.65%. The number of white inhabitants are growing as a result of influx of large numbers of Chinese, Indian, and Mexican workers, brought in as labour in 2007 and 2008 for major tourist developments due to the local population not being large enough to support the labour requirements.
According to tradition, Christopher Columbus gave the small, narrow island its name (Anguilla) in 1493 because from the distance it resembled an eel, or in Italian, anguilla. It is also possible that French navigator Pierre Laudonnière gave the island its name from the French anguille.

                                            Anguilla women

Anguilla has 33 pristine beaches and over twelve miles of stunning, white powder sand and tranquil waters ranging from aquamarine to cobalt blue.  Beaches of all kinds, from the long, gentle shoreline of Rendezvous Bay perfect for strolling, to the colorful beach bars that rest on the blinding white sands of Shoal Bay.
Anguilla has become a popular tax haven, having no capital gains, estate, profit or other forms of direct taxation on either individuals or corporations. In April 2011, faced with a mounting deficit, it introduced a 3% "Interim Stabilisation Levy", Anguilla's first form of income tax.

                                         Anguillian hospitality

The flag of Anguilla was changed several times in the twentieth century. The present flag consists of a dark blue field with the Union Jack, the flag of Great Britain, in the upper left corner, and Anguilla's crest to the center-right side. The crest consists of a background that is white on top and light blue below and has three gold dolphins jumping in a circle. For official government purposes outside Anguilla, the British flag is used to represent the island.

                                                Anguilla woman (Taitu Kai Goodwin)

 Anguilla is bare and flat and is fringed by white sand beaches. It is 16 miles (26 km) long and a maximum of 3.5 miles (6 km) wide; its long thin shape gave the island its name (French: anguille, “eel”).

The territory includes several small uninhabited offshore islands, the largest of which are Dog, Scrub, and Sombrero islands (Hat Island) and the Prickly Pear Cays. The rest include Anguillita, Seal island, Sandy island, Scilly Cay etc.

Anguilla was formed from coral and limestone. The land is fairly flat but undulating. The highest point, Crocus Hill, has an elevation of 210 feet (64 metres). The northern coast is characterized by short slopes and steep cliffs; the southern coast has a longer and more gradual slope that drops gently to the sea.

The soil layer is thin, but there are small pockets of red loam, mainly in the shallow valleys that are called bottoms. As with most coral islands, fresh water is scarce. The island has no rivers, but there are several surface saltwater ponds, mostly near the coasts, that supplied Anguilla’s salt industry until its collapse in the 1980s.

Anguilla’s highest elevation, Crocus Hill, is 65 m (213 ft). Crocus Hill is among the cliffs that line the northern shore. The numerous bays, including Barnes, Little, Rendezvous, Shoal, and Road Bays, lure many vacationers to this tropical island. The coast and the beautiful, pristine beaches are integral to the tourism-based economy of Anguilla. Because of Anguilla’s warm climate, the beaches can be used year-round.

The climate is tropical; the average temperature is in the low 80s °F (about 28 °C), and rainfall averages about 35 inches (900 mm) per year. Hurricanes can occur from June to November and occasionally are highly destructive, such as those of 1995 and 1999. The storms have greatly contributed to the erosion of the island’s beaches. Significant erosion is also caused by indiscriminate sand mining, which has resulted in the disappearance of some beaches. The island’s vegetation consists primarily of small trees and low scrub inland and sea grape along the coasts. There are some plantations of fruit trees. Wildlife on Anguilla includes land reptiles, sea turtles, lobsters, and goats, the latter of which are ubiquitous. There are many bird species, including the national bird, the turtledove; the island is also a popular stop for migratory birds.

                                   Anguilla beach

Anguillians speak standard British English and Anguillian Creole. Anguillan Creole is classified as a part of dialect of Leeward Caribbean Creole English spoken in Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Montserrat, it is also similar to the British Virgin Islands and Saint Martin varieties of Virgin Islands Creole. The number of speakers of Anguillan Creole is below 10,000. Anguillan Creole does not have the status of an official language.

Other languages are also spoken on the island, including varieties of Spanish, Chinese and the languages of other immigrants. However, the most common language other than Standard English is the island's own English-lexifier Creole language (not to be confused with French Creole spoken in islands such as Haiti, Martinique, and Guadeloupe). It is referred to locally by terms such as "dialect" (pronounced "dialek"), Anguilla Talk, or "Anguillian". It has its main roots in early varieties of English and West African languages, and is similar to the dialects spoken in English-speaking islands throughout the Eastern Caribbean, in terms of its structural features and to the extent of being considered one single language.
Linguists who are interested in the origins of Anguillian and other Caribbean Creoles point out that some of its grammatical features can be traced to African languages while others can be traced to European languages. Three areas have been identified as significant for the identification of the linguistic origins of those forced migrants who arrived before 1710: the Gold Coast (Ghana), the Slave Coast, and the Windward Coast.
Sociohistorical information from Anguilla's archives suggest that Africans and Europeans formed two distinct, but perhaps overlapping speech communities in the early phases of the island's colonisation. "Anguillian" is believed to have emerged as the language of the masses as time passed, slavery was abolished, and locals began to see themselves as "belonging" to Anguillian society.
Anguilla woman

The earliest inhabitants of Anguilla were Amerindian tribes from South America, commonly (if imprecisely) referred to as Arawaks, who travelled to the island on rafts and in dugout canoes, settling in fishing, hunting and farming groups. The Amerindian name for the island was "Malliouhana". The earliest Amerindian artefacts found on Anguilla have been dated to around 1300 BC, and remains of settlements dating from 600 AD. have been uncovered. Religious artefacts and remnants of ceremonies found at locations such as Big Springs and Fountain Cavern suggest that the pre-European inhabitants were extremely religious in nature. The Arawaks are popularly said to have been later displaced by fiercer Carib tribes, but this version of events is disputed by some historians.

The European discovery and naming of Anguilla is often credited to French explorer Pierre Laudonnaire who visited the island in 1565, though according to some it had been sighted and named by Columbus i Since the early days of colonisation, Anguilla had been administered by the British through Antigua, with Anguilla also having its own local council. In 1824 the and famine, the settlers kept hanging on. In 1744 Anguillans invaded the French half of the neighbouring island of Saint Martin, holding it until the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748). During continuing struggles between the British and the French for control in the Caribbean, the French made further attempts to invade Anguilla in 1745 and 1796 but these failed.
It is likely that some of these early Europeans brought enslaved Africans with them. Historians confirm that African slaves lived in the region in the early 17th century. For example, Africans from Senegal lived in St. Christopher (today St. Kitts) in 1626. By 1672 a slave depot existed on the island of Nevis, serving the Leeward Islands. While the time of African arrival in Anguilla is difficult to place precisely, archival evidence indicates a substantial African presence (at least 100) on the island by 1683.
Attempts were made to develop Anguilla into a plantation-based economy employing slaves transported from Africa, but the island's soil and climate were unfavourable and the plantations were largely unsuccessful. Slaves were permitted to leave the plantations and pursue their own interests, and, with the British abolition of slavery in the 1830s, many plantation owners returned to Europe, leaving Anguilla's community consisting largely of subsistence farmers and fishermen of African descent. At this time Anguilla's population is estimated to have fallen from a peak of around 10,000 to just 2,000.
Since the early Anguilla under the administrative control of Saint Kitts, later to become part of the colony of Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla (Saint Christopher being an earlier name for Saint Kitts), itself a member of the Federal Colony of the Leeward Islands. Anguillans protested strongly at this arrangement, perceiving a lack of interest in their affairs on the part of the Saint Kitts administration, and several requests were made for the island to be ruled directly from Britain. These requests went unheeded however, and the Anguillans' discontent continued to simmer until finally brought to a head in the 1960s.
On 27 February 1967, Britain granted the territory of Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla the status of "associated state", with its own constitution and a considerable degree of self-government. Many Anguillans strenuously objected to the continuing political subservience to Saint Kitts, and on 30 May (known as Anguilla Day), the Saint Kitts police were evicted from the island. The provisional government requested United States administration, which was declined. On 11 July 1967 a referendum on Anguilla's secession from the fledgling state was held. The results were 1,813 votes for secession and 5 against. A separate legislative council was immediately declared.
Peter Adams served as the first Chairman of the Anguilla Island Council. After eight days of negotiation on Barbados, on July 31, Adams agreed to return Anguilla to the Anguilla-St. Kitts-Nevis federation, in exchange for granting Anguilla limited self-rule similar to that enjoyed by Nevis. Adams agreed to support this pact in principle, but the Council rejected it, replacing Adams as Chairman with Ronald Webster. In December 1967, two members of Britain's Parliament worked out an interim agreement by which for one year a British official would exercise basic administrative authority along with the Anguilla Council. Tony Lee took the position in January 1968, but by the end of the term no agreement have been reached on the long-term future of the island's government.
On February 7, 1969 Anguilla held a second referendum resulting in a vote of 1,739 to 4 against returning to association with Saint Kitts. At this point Anguilla declared itself an independent republic, with Webster again serving as Chairman. A new British envoy, William Whitlock, arrived on 11 March 1969 with a proposal for a new interim British administration. He was quickly expelled. On 19 March a contingent of 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment plus 40 Metropolitan Police officers, peacefully landed on the island, ostensibly to "restore order". That autumn the troops left and Army engineers were brought in to improve the public works.
Tony Lee returned as Commissioner and in 1971 worked out another "interim agreement" with the islanders. Effectively Anguilla was allowed to secede from Saint Kitts and Nevis; however it was not until 19 December 1980 that Anguilla formally disassociated itself from Saint Kitts to become a separate British dependency. While Saint Kitts and Nevis went on to gain full independence from Britain in 1983, Anguilla still remains a British overseas territory.
In recent years Anguilla has become an up-market tourist destination, and tourism is one of the mainstays of the economy. Fishing is another important economic activity, and a financial services sector is also being developed. The modern population of Anguilla is largely of African descent, with a minority having European (mainly English) ancestry.

African Diaspora In Anguilla
The Anguillian population is largely of African descent, their roots dating back to the mid-1600’s when distant ancestors were brought over by British colonists to work on the plantations there.  Over the years, attempts were made to grow a variety of crops, including rum, sugar, cotton, indigo, fustic and mahogany, but the arid conditions of the island made the plantation economy difficult to sustain. Many of the British settlers eventually left for other destinations.  The African slaves were given permission to maintain their own self-sustaining food plots, in addition to the crops they tended on the plantations .

 This created a level of independence long before the official emancipation of slavery by the British on August 1, 1834. By 1838 all slavery on Anguilla had ended and Anguilla became a peasant society living off the land and the sea – a hardworking independent people who now owned the land they lived on.  Harsh economic conditions followed for nearly a century, but the people of Anguilla resisted all attempts to relocate them to other Caribbean islands.  By the 1900’s many of the islands inhabitants would leave Anguilla for work on neighboring islands like Santo Domingo and Aruba, sailing off in their boats to return weeks or months later, as they sought to provide for their families. Today, there is little evidence of Anguilla’s legacy of slavery and plantation living.  The Heritage Collection Museum houses artifacts that showcase both the harsh conditions and the ingenious and inventive ways in which the people of Anguilla coped and created tools for survival by engendering a unique way of life that they called “the jollification”. The Wallblake House, and the Warden’s Place in The Valley are the only plantation houses that remain intact, and are available for guided tours.

 There is even less evidence of the time of slavery, although Miss Margerie’s House, located across the road from the Warden’s Place in The Old Valley, has the former slave quarters attached to it. What is left is a culture of independence, pride and resilience born out of the love, loyalty and conviction of a people determined to survive with little help from the outside. Each year, on the first Monday of August, J’ouvert Morning celebrates the anniversary of the British Emancipation Act and kicks off the Caribbean’s biggest and best Beach Party.  Visitors are welcome to join the fun as thousands of happy carnival revelers dance through the streets of the capital on their way to Sandy Ground/Road Bay for a full day and night of barbecues, boat racing and pulsating calypso rhythms.Even today, with Anguilla’s elegant hotels and restaurants, high profile visitors and world-class amenities, the island’s principal industry leaders remain committed to sustaining Anguilla’s traditions, culture and personality, a personality that is celebrated in the words of the national motto: strength and endurance.
Anguilla’s Economy Rebounds in 2013

Anguilla has few natural resources, and the economy depends heavily on luxury tourism, offshore banking, lobster fishing, and remittances from emigrants. Increased activity in the tourism industry has spurred the growth of the construction sector contributing to economic growth.

 Anguillan officials have put substantial effort into developing the offshore financial sector, which is small but growing. In the medium term, prospects for the economy will depend largely on the tourism sector and, therefore, on revived income growth in the industrialized nations as well as on favorable weather conditions.

                                 Anguillian pineapple at Fruit market

Agriculture is of minor importance; only a small fraction of the land is under cultivation. The main economic activities revolve around tourism and financial services. The steady increase in tourism has bolstered the construction industries and stimulated the improvement of transport facilities. Anguilla has a small number of labour unions. Since the 1980s offshore banking has become increasingly important but also led to allegations that the island’s banks were being used for money laundering; in 2000 the government began introducing legislation to combat the problem.

Fishing is the traditional livelihood, and both deepwater fishing and aquaculture have expanded. Other traditional industries, especially shipbuilding and the raising of livestock, also continue. Anguilla imports almost all of its food supplies and other consumer items. The export of fish and lobster is an important source of foreign exchange, as are remittances from émigrés working abroad. To further its economic growth, Anguilla became an associate member of the Caribbean Community and Common Market in 1999.
The island’s central bank is the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, which is also the bank of issue for several other Caribbean islands; Anguilla’s official currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar, although the U.S. dollar is also readily accepted. The island’s main trading partners are the United States, the United Kingdom, and Puerto Rico. There is no sales or income tax in Anguilla. Instead, the government relies on import duties, taxes on services, corporate registrations, and various licensing fees. The distribution of incomes is fairly equal, and there are few signs of extreme poverty and no discernible slum areas.
Many people own cars, and Anguilla has no bus service, unlike other Caribbean islands, where buses are an integral part of the transportation system. Frequent ferry service takes travelers to and from Marigot, Saint Martin. Wallblake Airport, near The Valley, provides connections to international airports on other islands in the region.

                               Anguilla beach with its famous authentic white powdery sands

Anguilla is served by Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport (prior to 4 July 2010 known as Wallblake Airport). The primary runway at the airport is 5,462 feet (1,665 m) in length and can accommodate moderate-sized aircraft. Services connect to various other Caribbean islands via regional carrier LIAT, local charter airlines and others. Although there are no direct scheduled flights to or from continental America or Europe, Tradewind Aviation and Cape Air provide scheduled air service to San Juan, Puerto Rico. The airport can handle large narrow-body jets such as the Boeing 727, Boeing 737 and Boeing 757.

Land Tenure and Property. Anguilla's dry climate had always discouraged potential settlers in the past, but with the rise of tourism, land and property values have soared. Strict control of land and inaccessibility to it have helped keep real estate development from growing uncontrollably. Clean beaches and plant and animal life abound. With the end of slavery in the 1830s, land was divided into small plots among the island's residents. A few tourist hotels have been built in recent years, but not the large private resorts found in other parts of the Caribbean.

Division of Labor
 Anguilla has a low standard of living, and employment is often unsteady. Many younger Anguillans go abroad to find work, either to Great Britain, the United States, or to other, larger Caribbean islands. Since Anguilla's independence from Saint Kitts and the growth of the tourist sector, unemployment rates have dropped dramatically. There is now a shortage of labor, which has led to delays in some of the government-sponsored economic plans as well as price and wage increases. More work visas are being granted to non-Anguillans, but with the demand for labor high, many Anguillans hold more than one job. The British government provides support for a development and jobs program, and the Caribbean Development Bank also has contributed funds to help provide work and stimulate growth.

Social Stratification
Classes and Castes. There is very minimal class distinction among native Anguillans. The small Caucasian minority is not an elite, power-holding group; likewise, the African-descent majority does not discriminate or economically isolate the ethnic minority.

                                      Anguilla people

Political Life
Government. As Anguilla is a dependent territory of Great Britain, Anguilla's government is under the authority of the British government at Westminster, London. Anguilla's government consists of the governor, the Executive Council, and the House of Assembly. The governor, who holds executive power, is appointed by the British monarch. The governor is responsible for external affairs, internal financial affairs, defense, and internal security. The Executive Council advises the governor. The House of Assembly has two ex officio members, two nominated members, and seven elected members. Other political positions include that of attorney general and secretary to the Executive Council.
Leadership and Political Officials. Before Anguilla became a dependent British territory, the chief minister held executive power. For two decades the position of chief minister alternated between two political rivals: Ronald Webster of the People's Progressive Party, and Emile Gumbs of the Anguilla National Alliance. Several coalition governments were formed during this period as Anguillans sought to obtain total independence from Saint Kitts. The chief executive is now the governor. In 1990 the position of deputy governor was created. The three ruling parties are the Anguilla United Party, the Anguilla Democratic Party, and the Anguilla National Alliance.
Social Problems and Control. Until recently, Anguilla's most urgent social problem was unemployment. The rapid expansion of the economy and the sudden demand for labor have caused unemployment rates to drop dramatically. However, Anguillans must now contend with some of the negative effects of the tourism boom: dealing with large numbers of non-Anguillans who sometimes are insensitive to their customs; pollution; rising prices; a strain on the island's resources; and the influence of other cultures on their way of life. Other social concerns include maintaining their cultural traditions without giving up the benefits of increased trade and business with other countries, improving living standards, and keeping the illegal drug trade out of Anguilla.
Military Activity. Great Britain is responsible for Anguilla's defense. The island has a small police force.

Social Welfare and Change Programs
As a dependent territory, Great Britain provides economic aid and social programs for Anguilla. Other development and welfare programs are supported by the United Nations and the United States. These programs are for general Caribbean economic development, increasing trade and improving living conditions. They also provide assistance in times of natural disaster.

Gender Roles and Statuses
Division of Labor by Gender. More Anguillan women work outside the home than a generation ago, but men still comprise the majority of the workforce. Women own shops or work in the tourist business, in hotels, restaurants, or markets. Women are also employed in agricultural work. However, many women may stop working temporarily when they have young children, returning to work when their children are more independent. Since many businesses and farms are small and family-run, women have a degree of autonomy in work. The recent high demand for labor has also provided jobs for women that previously were nonexistent. Men are more likely than women to be involved in businesses such as fishing, boat construction, and running diving and sailing businesses for tourists.
The Relative Status of Women and Men. General economic and living conditions have improved for all Anguillans. However, more men than women travel abroad to find work, hold political office, and own businesses. The home and family are still considered to be women's main responsibilities, and for the most part women are dependent on male family members or husbands for economic support.

                                         Anguilla woman in her carnival dress

Marriage, Family, and Kinship
Marriage. The extended family is central to Anguillan and West Indian societies in general. Despite the strong influences of the Methodist and Anglican Churches, historically marriage was not considered obligatory for the creation of a family or a domestic living arrangement. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, apart from the small upper class of English landowners, social conditions and slavery made the creation of long-lasting unions very difficult. Men and women frequently lived together in common law marriages for varying lengths of time. It was not infrequent for women and men to have children with more than one partner. Marriage in the Western sense was more likely to occur among the upper and middle classes. Today marriage is considered a cornerstone of family and social life, and weddings are community events.
Domestic Unit. The basic domestic unit is generally a family headed by a mother and father. Under them are their children, often with one or more older relative, such as a grandparent, living under the same roof. As a result of very minimal class and economic differences, Anguillan family life has generally been more stable from a historical point of view than in some other Caribbean islands, where extremely poor economic and social conditions frequently contributed to the breakdown of the domestic unit. The domestic unit is generally stable until children reach adulthood and leave to start their own families. Daughters generally live at home with their parents until they are married.
Inheritance. Today as a British dependent territory, Anguilla's laws governing inheritance are based on Great Britain's. Until recently, inheritance always passed to the oldest son, or to oldest daughter if there were no males heirs. Past inheritance laws also excluded women from holding property.
Kin Groups. The extended family, particularly the network of female family members, often extends to include whole communities in Anguilla. The island's population is descended from the small group of people who arrived there two centuries ago, and as a result family groups are the basis for Anguillan society. Kin groups are extensive yet closely-knit, united by their collective past. A kin group can include many related families living near each other, or families in various parts of the island bound by surname. In terms of domestic organization and management, kin groups are matriarchal in nature, with mother and grandmothers taking responsibility for important family decisions.

                                      Anguilla elder

Infant Care. Infants and young children are cared for at home by their mothers or other female relatives. Increased government spending for education has provided funds for early childhood education and care and assistance to working mothers. However, most children remain at home until they begin elementary school at age five.

                                         Anguilla kid

Child Rearing and Education. Anguilla, like many other islands of the West Indies, sought to improve literacy rates and educational standards in the second half of the twentieth century. Between the ages of five and fourteen education is obligatory and free through a public school system. There are several primary schools and a secondary school.

                           Anguillian kids

Higher Education. For advanced, specialized training or a university degree, Anguillans must either go to another Caribbean country or leave the area. In 1948 the University of the West Indies was established in Jamaica to provide higher education for all English-speaking countries in the region. It has created an intellectual center for the West Indies in general and serves as an important contact with the international academic community.

Although the daily pace is generally relaxed and unhurried, Anguillans maintain a degree of formality in public life. Politeness and manners are considered important. As Anguilla's popularity as a tourist destination has grown, Anguillans have found themselves faced with confronting the problems that tourism can bring while trying not to lose an important source of income. Nude sunbathing is strictly prohibited, and wearing swimsuits anywhere outside of beach areas is not permitted. Anguillans always address each other by title—Mr., Mrs., etc.—unless they are on very personal terms. People in positions of importance are addressed using their job title with their last names, such as Nurse Smith or Officer Green. In an effort to maintain its low crime rate, Anguilla also enforces a strict antidrug policy, which includes careful search of all items or luggage brought onto the island.

                                  Anguilliam Rastafarian

Religion is another aspect of Anguilla's cultural history. The Christian Church did not have a consistent or strong presence across the initial period of English colonization; during this period the spiritual and religious practices of Europeans and Africans tended to reflect their regional origins. However, it should be noted that some Africans are likely to have encountered Christianity prior to their immigration to the island, in West Africa as well as on other Caribbean islands. As early as 1813 Christian ministers formally ministered to enslaved Africans and promoted literacy in English among converts. The Wesleyan Missionary Society of England built churches and schools in 1817.
According to the 2001 census, Christianity is Anguilla's predominant religion, with 36.6 percent of the population practising Anglicanism (including Episcopalianism). Another 23.9 percent are Methodist. Other churches on the island include Seventh-day Adventist, Baptist, Roman Catholic, and Jehovah's Witnesses (0.7%). Between 1992 and 2001 the number of followers of the Church of God and Pentecostal Churches increased considerably. There are at least 15 churches on the island, several of architectural interest. Although a minority on the island, it is an important location to followers of Rastafarian religion – Anguilla is the birthplace of Robert Athlyi Rogers, author of The Holy Piby which has had a strong influence on Rastafarian beliefs. Various other religions are practised as well.
Obeah, which is similar to voodoo and based on religious practices of African slaves brought to Anguilla, also is practiced by some.

Medicine and Health Care
Health standards are good, and birth and death rates are balanced. Anguilla has a small hospital, and limited health care is available through a government health program. For complicated or long-term medical treatment Anguillans must leave the island.

Secular Celebrations
Important secular holidays and celebrations include Anguilla Day, 30 May; the Queen's Birthday, 19 June; Caricom Day, 3 July; Constitution Day, 11 August; and Separation Day, 19 December. Carnival is held the first week of August and includes parades, folk music, traditional dances, competitions, and a street fair. Colorful and elaborate costumes are worn in the Carnival parades, and it is a time for Anguillans to celebrate their history.
Anguilla carnival

Anguillian cuisine is influenced by African, native Caribbean, Spanish, French and English cuisines. Seafood is abundant, and includes prawns, shrimp, crab, spiny lobster, conch, mahi-mahi, red snapper, marlin and grouper. Salt cod is a staple food eaten by itself and used in stews, casseroles and soups. Livestock is limited due to the small size of the island, and people there utilize poultry, pork, goat and mutton, along with imported beef. Goat is the most commonly eaten meat, and is utilized in a variety of dishes.

                                  Anguilla seafood

A significant amount of the island's produce is imported due to limited land suitable for agriculture production; much of the soil is sandy and infertile.Among the agriculture produced in Anguilla includes tomatoes, peppers, limes and other citrus fruits, onion, garlic, squash, pigeon peas and callaloo. Starch staple foods include imported rice and other foods that are imported or locally grown, including yams, sweet potatoes and breadfruit.
Mahi Mahi 1024x768 Dinner at Blanchards Restaurant
                                             Anguilla meal

The Arts and Humanities
Anguilla has several small art galleries, shops that sell local crafts, and a museum with exhibitions relating to Anguillan history, including prehistoric artifacts found on the island. Although there is no permanent theater on the island, various theatrical performances are held regularly. The Anguilla Arts Festival is held every other year and includes workshops, exhibits, and an art competition.

Boat racing: Sailing in Anguilla has a long and deep history, and is one of the defining characteristics of the island. The history of Anguillian sailing is often indistinguishable from the history of the island itself. Sailing craft date back to the Taino and Arawak peoples who inhabited Anguilla before the British Colonisation. However these craft have had little influence on the unique sailing practiced in Anguilla. Instead, it originated from the fishing vessels constructed and built locally after colonization and the subsequent collapse of the local plantation system to provide food and modest income to the inhabitants.
"The Battle of Anguilla"
The earliest reference to sailing in Anguillian history involves what is unofficially known as "The Battle of Anguilla". In 1796, during the height of the Napoleonic Wars, 400 men were dispatched from the neighboring French colony of St. Martin aboard two frigates, Le Decius and Le Valiant. This force landed on what is now known as Rendezvous Bay. An Anguillian defense force was led by Lieutenant Governor Benjamin Gumbs, and for the next four days they were beaten back through the capital of The Valley and onto Sandy Hill, where they fortified themselves in a former Dutch Fort. Desperate for ammunition, they were said to have used lead weights from fishing nets and musket shot, and an Anguillian sailing ship was sent to St. Kitts to request aid. This ship, whose name was not recorded, came into contact with the H.M.S. Lapwing led by Commander Barton. Barton acted swiftly to relieve Anguilla, and the Lapwing's presence drove the French to attempt to retreat. Le Decius and Le Valiant fled and attempted to escape the British frigate, leaving the soldiers stranded. They surrendered to the Anguillian forces, were imprisoned and then massacred in retaliation for the massive amount of damage inflicted by the invaders. The Lapwing sank Le Decius and drove the Le Valiant onto the rocks in St. Martin, where it was set ablaze.
The Battle of Anguilla had several interesting cultural effects on the island. Rendezvous was named because it was the site where the French held their "rendezvous" for the invasion. Lead sinker balls are referred to locally as "bullets" after the desperate attempts of the besieged militia. However, the main effect was a result of the devastation inflicted on the plantations, in addition to the island's naturally arid climate and hurricanes doomed large scale agricultural efforts. By 1821, plantations were almost totally eliminated. Despite this, Anguillian subsistence farmers managed to grow corn, pigeon peas and other staples. The surplus of especially good yields was shipped overseas. However, as a result of the failure to maintain effectively the only profitable economy it could as a British colony it fell into poverty. Twice, in 1832 and 1843, the Governor of the Leeward Islands recommended a complete evacuation of the island and resettlement of the residents to Guyana and Trinidad. With no other alternative, the Anguillian people turned to maritime occupations - fishermen, shipwrights, riggers and traders.
It is considered ironic that the name of the Anguillian ship which was sent for rescue, almost undoubtedly the forerunner of the modern Anguillian racing boat was lost, while the name of the Lapwing survives as a favored name for boats even today, especially among the police force boats.
Ragattas:T here are regular sailing regattas on national holidays which are contested by locally built and designed boats. These regattas do not conform to international sailing rules with regard to right of way. Instead, there is only one rule, known as the "hard lee" rule. (The name derives from the motion required to tack a tiller boat, which is to push the tiller "hard to leeward"). In the event that two boats on opposite tacks are on a collision course, one or both of the captains may elect to call "hard lee" to the other. When this call is made, both boats must tack regardless of whether it is advantageous or not. The objective of this manoeuvre is to attempt to gain as much distance upwind as possible before having to tack to avoid a collision. Alternatively, one captain may decide to "draw" and either tack earlier or change his point of sail to avoid the manoeuvre. This means a loss in height, but it may be preferable to tacking towards a shallow reef or other unfavourable position.
Cricket: As in many other former British Colonies, cricket is also a popular sport. Anguilla is the home of Omari Banks, who played for the West Indies Cricket Team, while Cardigan Connor played first-class cricket for English county side Hampshire and was 'chef de mission' (team manager) for Anguilla's Commonwealth Games team in 2002.
Rugby: Rugby union is represented in Anguilla by the Anguilla Eels RFC, who were formed in April 2006.[ The Eels have been finalists in the St. Martin tournament in November 2006 and semi finalists in 2007, 2008, 2009 and Champions in 2010. The Eels were formed in 2006 by Scottish club national second row Martin Welsh, Club Sponsor and President of the AERFC Ms Jacquie Ruan, and Canadian standout Scrumhalf Mark Harris (Toronto Scottish RFC). The club was lucky enough to host the HMS Iron Duke in September 2008 which saw a very spirited game going to the visitors 18-13. The St Barts Barracudas have also been to Anguilla to play the Eels also prevailing eleven points to six.

Friday, May 30, 2014


Montserrat Island, which is a British Overseas Territory or The British Dependent Territory, is a volcanic island in the Caribbean Sea, between Nevis and Guadeloupe and in southeast of Puerto Rico. The island contains seven active volcanoes and located in the Leeward Islands, part of the chain of islands known as the Lesser Antilles, in the West Indies. Montserrat Island measures approximately 16 km (9.9 mi) long and 11 km (6.8 mi) wide, with approximately 40 kilometres (25 mi) of coastline. Montserrat has two islets, Little Redonda and Virgin, and Statue Rock. And the people of Montserrat are known as Montserratians.

Montserrat kids celebrating their national cultural festival

The Island which has over 92.4% of its inhabitants being people of black African ancestry from West Africa was originally inhabited by aboriginal Taino (Arawaks) and  later indigenous Kalinago (Carib) people. The Carib people provided the first recorded name for Montserrat, they named the island “Alliouagana”, which is believed to mean “the land of the prickly bush”. In November 1493 Christopher Columbus passed Montserrat in his second voyage, after being told that the island was unoccupied due to raids by the Caribs. Columbus named the island Santa María de Montserrat, after the Monastery of Montserrat in the Crown of Aragon (today Catalonia, Spain). Today, Montserrat  with its pear-shape is nicknamed "The Emerald Isle of the West (Caribbean)" both for its resemblance to coastal Ireland and for the Irish ancestry of some of its inhabitants. Montserrat is quite unique in that it is one of the few islands in the World where man co-exists with an active volcano.

Montserrat was first settled in 1632 by a British contingent from the mother colony of Saint Kitts. Although the original colonists were English and Irish, Montserrat quickly became a haven for Irish Catholics escaping from religious persecution. The Irish first came as indentured servants and later as slaves to work in the plantation system.

Later, Catholic refugees from Virginia came to escape from religious persecution. By 1648, there were one thousand Irish families on the island. The French occupied the country between 1644 and 1782 but ceded it to Britain in 1783. In 1649, Cromwell sent political prisoners to Montserrat, increasing the population and helping to preserve its Irish character.

                              Montserrat women wearing their African heritage dress

Montserrat has for some time been considering independence from Great Britain. It has a unique blend of Anglo-Irish and African cultures and thus is an example of a fairly successful blend of two very different cultures and races. Until recently, national self-image was a hot topic as a result of extensive out-migration. After Hurricane Hugo in 1989, the population dropped from 11,500 to slightly less than 10,000 people and later increased to 13, 000 in 1995. An estimated 8,000 refugees left the island (primarily to the UK) following the resumption of volcanic activity in July 1995; the population was 13,000 in 1994. After 1995, volcanic eruptions halved that number.

                                   Montserrat people dancing at Carnival, Salem, Montserrat

As at May 2014 (, the total population of Montserrat was approximately 5,215. Out of this number over 92.4% are blacks of West African ancestry, and the rest constitutes mixed African-Irish descents (2.9%), Whites (3.0%; mostly descendants of Irish and British colonists), Amerindians and other minorities (1.0%). 
Montserraqt people celebrating their cultural festival

The de facto capital of Montserrat is St. John’s, in the northern part of the island. Plymouth, on the southwestern coast, was the capital and only port of entry until 1997, when volcanic eruptions destroyed much of the town and the island’s most spectacular vegetation.
The national emblem is a carved Irish shamrock adorning Government House, and the island's flag and crest show a woman with a cross and harp. Other cultural survivals, such as a value systems, codes of etiquette, musical styles, and an Irish recipe for the national dish called "goat water" stew, are considerably more problematic as cultural legacies.
It observes St Patrick's Day with one public holiday, and three months later the Queen's Birthday with another.
                                Kids of Montserrat

The island of Montserrat is located approximately 480 km (300 mi) east-southeast of Puerto Rico and 48 km (30 mi) southwest of Antigua. It comprises 104 km2 (40 sq mi) but is gradually increasing in size owing to the buildup of volcanic deposits on the southeast coast.
 The island is 16 km (9.9 mi) long and 11 km (6.8 mi) wide, with rock cliffs rising 15 to 30 m (50–100 feet) above the sea and a number of smooth bottomed sandy beaches scattered among coves on the western (Caribbean) side of the island. Montserrat has two islets, Little Redonda and Virgin, and Statue Rock.
The island’s rugged, volcanic landscape is molded by three mountainous areas—the Silver Hills, Centre Hills, and Soufrière Hills—which are in turn cut by narrow valleys and gorges known locally as ghauts. The Silver Hills, in the north, and the Centre Hills are forested at higher elevations but have secondary scrub on their gentler lower contours. Chances Peak, at 3,000 feet (915 metres) in the Soufrière Hills, was the highest point on the island until the mid-1990s, when the first volcanic eruptions in Montserratian history dramatically changed the landscape.
 Beginning in July 1995, volcanic domes in the Soufrière Hills alternately grew and collapsed in a series of eruptions that killed 19 people in June 1997 and flattened nearly 2.7 square miles (7 square km) of forests, agricultural land, and villages in December of that year. Many of the domes rose higher than 3,300 feet (1,000 metres) before partly collapsing.
Topographic map of Montserrat showing the "exclusion zone" due to volcanic activity, and the new airport in the north. The roads and settlements in the exclusion zone have mostly been destroyed.

Montserrat has a narrow coastal plain. Its few beaches have mainly gray or brown sand because of their volcanic origins; the single white-sand beach is at Rendezvous Bay in the north. Coral reefs line parts of the northern shore. Though Montserrat’s most lush vegetation, in the southern highlands, was destroyed in the eruptions, the Centre Hills remain largely unaffected by the eruptions. Among the island’s rare and endangered animals are Montserrat orioles, galliwasps (lizards), and “mountain chickens,” which are edible frogs found in the highlands.
The climate is tropical and mild, and there is little seasonal variation in temperature or rainfall. Average temperatures range from lows of 70–76 °F (21–24 °C) to highs of 80–86 °F (27–30 °C). The warmest period is from June to November.  The higher temperatures are experienced during the months of August and September, with January and February being the cooler months. Average annual rainfall is 1,143 millimeters (45 inches). Heaviest rainfall is experienced September to January. Low humidity and constant cooling breezes maintain a pleasant climate year round.
The island is often in the path of hurricanes; Hurricane Hugo in 1989 was particularly devastating.
Emmanuel Ryan, 2, looks to the darkened skies over Olveston, Montserrat, from his mother's arms, on April 8, 1996. The Soufriere Hills volcano erupted again, spewing ash up to forty thousand feet into the sky. (AP Photo/John McConnico) 

Volcano, exclusion zone, transport
In July 1995, Montserrat's Soufrière Hills volcano, dormant for centuries, erupted and soon buried the island's capital, Plymouth, in more than 12 metres (39 ft) of mud, destroyed its airport and docking facilities, and rendered the southern part of the island (the "exclusion zone") uninhabitable and not safe for travel. The southern part of the island was evacuated and visits are severely restricted. The exclusion zone also includes two sea areas adjacent to the land areas of most volcanic activity.
A cloud of superheated ash and gas flows from the Soufriere Hills volcano, seen from Olveston, Montserrat, on January 8, 2007. The cloud reportedly shot up more than 5 miles (8 kilometers) into the sky. (AP Photo/Wayne Fenton)

After the destruction of Plymouth and disruption of the economy, more than half of the population left the island, which also lacked housing. During the late 1990s, additional eruptions occurred. On 25 June 1997 a pyroclastic flow travelled down Mosquito Ghaut. This pyroclastic surge could not be restrained by the ghaut and spilled out of it, killing 19 people who were in the (officially evacuated) Streatham village area. 
Plymouth, the former capital of Montserrat, now sits as a ghost town, on August 21, 1997, as debris from a pyroclastic flow from the Soufriere Hills volcano enveloped the town. (Reuters/Colin Braley)

Several others in the area suffered severe burns. For a number of years in the early 2000s, the volcano's activity consisted mostly of infrequent ventings of ash into the uninhabited areas in the south. The ash falls occasionally extended into the northern and western parts of the island. In the most recent period of increased activity at the Soufrière Hills volcano, from November 2009 through February 2010, ash vented and there was a vulcanian explosion which sent pyroclastic flows down several sides of the mountain. Travel into parts of the exclusion zone is occasionally allowed, only by a licence from the Royal Montserrat Police Force.
Smoke and ash billow from the Soufriere Hills volcano, on August 19, 1997. (AP Photo/Kevin West)

The northern part of Montserrat has barely been affected by volcanic activity, and remains lush and green. In February 2005, The Princess Royal officially opened what is now called the John A. Osborne Airport in the north. As of 2011, it handles several flights daily operated by Fly Montserrat Airways. Docking facilities are in place at Little Bay, where the new capital town is being constructed; the new government centre is at Brades, a short distance away.
The Soufriere Hills volcano erupting on the Caribbean island of Montserrat, on January 23, 2010. Three weeks after this photograph was taken, the dome volcano dome experienced another major partial collapse, triggering hours of eruptions and pyroclastic flows.(AP Photo/Wayne Fenton)

In recognition of the disaster, in 1998 the people of Montserrat were granted full residency rights in the United Kingdom, allowing them to migrate if they chose. British citizenship was granted in 2002.
A Fly Montserrat Airways crash occurred on 7 October 2012, killing the pilot and two passengers. A preliminary report revealed that a combination of engine failure and tainted fuel are thought to be the causes.
Smoke, steam and ash billow from the Soufriere Hills Volcano as seen from Fort Ghaut, on Montserrat, on August 4, 1997. A pre-dawn eruption sent people racing away from an old "safe zone", as the government ordered hundreds of people to evacuate. (AP Photo/Kevin West)

Montserrat, like many isolated islands, is home to some exceptionally rare plant and animal species. Work undertaken by the Montserrat National Trust in collaboration with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has centred on the conservation of pribby (Rondeletia buxifolia) in the Centre Hills region. 
Until 2006, this species was known only from one book about the vegetation of Montserrat. In 2006, conservationists also rescued several plants of the endangered Montserrat orchid (Epidendrum montserratense) from dead trees on the island and installed them in the security of the island's botanic garden.
Montserrat is also home to the critically endangered Giant Ditch Frog (Leptodactylus fallax), known locally as the Mountain Chicken, found only in Montserrat and Dominica. The species has undergone catastrophic declines due to the amphibian disease Chytridiomycosis and the volcanic eruption in 1997. Experts from Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust have been working with the Montserrat Department of Environment to conserve the frog in-situ in a project called "Saving the Mountain Chicken", and an ex-situ captive breeding population has been set up in partnership with Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Zoological Society of London, North of England Zoological Society, Parken Zoo and the Governments of Montserrat and Dominica. Releases from this programme have already taken place in a hope to increase the numbers of the frog and reduce extinction risk from Chytridiomycosis.
Montserrat is known for its coral reefs and its caves along the shore. These caves house many species of bats, and efforts are underway to monitor and protect the ten species of bats from extinction
                         beautiful beach of Montserrat

The official language is English, and a dialect of Creole language known as Montserrat creole is widely spoken on informal occasions. Monserratians tend to use standard English in formal contexts and creole English in informal contexts. 
Montserrat woman in her carnival dress

Montserrat Creole is a dialect of Leeward Caribbean Creole English spoken in Montserrat. The number of speakers of Montserrat Creole is below 10,000. Montserrat Creole does not have the status of an official language.
                           children of Montserrat in thir traditional attire

The first original inhabitants of Montserrat were Tainos or Amerindians called Arawak who were believed to have come from Venezuela. However, recent archaeological field work in 2012 in Montserrat's Centre Hills indicated there was an Archaic (pre-Arawak) occupation between 4000 and 2500 BP. Later coastal sites show the presence of the Saladoid culture.
Gir's Netball Team 1930s
Whatever be the case, the Arawaks were later overrun and exterminated by the Kalinago (Carib) Indians.   The Caribs left the island by the middle of the seventeenth century but continued to raid it. They named the island Alliouagana ("Land of the Prickly Bush"), perhaps after the aloe plant.
In November 1493 Christopher Columbus passed Montserrat in his second voyage, after being told that the island was unoccupied due to raids by the Caribs. Columbus named the island Santa María de Montserrat, after the Monastery of Montserrat in the Crown of Aragon (today Catalonia, Spain). 
The island came under English control in 1632 when anti-Catholic violence in Nevis forced Sir Thomas Warner, the first British governor of Saint Kitts to dispatch a group of Irish transported from Ireland as slaves, to settle in Montserrat. More Irish immigrants subsequently arrived from Virginia. Plantations were set up to grow tobacco and indigo, followed eventually by cotton and sugar. The early settlers were repeatedly attacked by French forces and Carib Indians.  A neo-feudal colony developed amongst the "redlegs".
The colonists built an economy based on the production of sugar, rum, arrowroot and Sea Island Cotton, cultivated on large plantations manned by slave labor. Plantations were also set up to grow tobacco and indigo. 
The early settlers were repeatedly attacked by French forces and Carib Indians. The French took possession of the island in 1664 and again in 1667, but it was restored to England by the Treaty of Breda. French forces sacked the island in 1712 and captured it for the last time in 1782, but the Treaty of Versailles (1783) again returned it 
African Slaves
Before the arrival of the Irish the colonists imported African slaves for labour, as was common to most Caribbean islands. Most of the Africans imported were from the coast of West Africa with the majority coming from Gold Coast (Ghana), Bight of Biafra (Nigeria), Dahomey (Benin) and other slave ports. Majority of the ethnic origins of the African slaves were Akans (mostly Fantes), followed by Igbo, Yoruba, Fons etc. 
Slaves from Africa were probably first brought to Montserrat in large numbers in the 1660s. Their population grew to some 1,000 in 1678 and 7,000 in 1810, when they greatly outnumbered white settlers. On 17 March 1768, slaves rebelled but failed to achieve freedom. The people of Montserrat celebrate St Patrick's Day as a public holiday due to the slave revolt. Festivities held that week commemorate the culture of Montserrat in song, dance, food and traditional costumes
Montserratian-born actress Dionne Audain, has been racking up her acting credentials over the past decade.

Irish slaves, indentured servants and prisoners
 In 1649 Oliver In 1649, Cromwell sent Irish nationals to Montserrat, increasing the population and helping to preserve its Irish character. Many Irish people were also transported to the island, to work as slaves, indentured servants or exiled prisoners; some were exiled during the English Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. The victims of Cromwellian transportation ranged from political and military prisoners, to those who weren't intimidated by Cromwell's alleged threat of to "Hell or to Connacht" and to anyone who's crime was walking the Irish streets after the war. With this latter "crime" possibly being a euphemism for Irish people made homeless by the violent invasion and conquest.
New Politics
Montserrat’s plantation system declined after slavery was abolished in 1834 and the price of sugar fell on world markets. The Montserrat Company, formed in 1857 under the direction of Joseph Sturge, bought abandoned estates, encouraged the cultivation of limes, and sold plots of land to settlers. Because of those efforts, smallholdings still cover much of the island. A series of devastating earthquakes and hurricanes occurred between 1890 and 1936.
Between 1871 and 1956 Montserrat was part of the (British) Federal Colony of the Leeward Islands, which included the British Virgin Islands, Saint Kitts–Nevis–Anguilla, and Dominica. In 1951 universal suffrage was declared, and the following year Montserratian women voted for the first time. The federation was abolished on July 1, 1956, when Montserrat became a colony in its own right. During 1958–62 Montserrat was part of the short-lived Federation of the West Indies. Montserratians, unlike their counterparts in most other British Caribbean colonies, did not seek associated statehood, which would have been a step toward independence.
In the general election of November 1978, the People’s Liberation Movement (PLM) won all seven seats to the Legislative Council. The party retained its control in 1983, but the opposition gained strength in the 1987 election. The PLM leadership favoured eventual independence after first achieving greater economic self-sufficiency. However, many merchants and other Montserratians opposed independence because they saw greater benefits in maintaining ties with Britain. Indeed, after Hurricane Hugo devastated the island in 1989, the British helped construct a new legislative building, a new wing to the hospital in Plymouth, housing, and roads.
In 1979, The Beatles producer George Martin’s AIR Studios Montserrat opened. The island attracted world-famous musicians, who came to record in the peaceful and lush tropical surroundings of Montserrat. The last decade of the twentieth century, however, brought two events which devastated the island
The newly formed National Progressive Party took over the government in 1991, but in 1996, in the midst of the volcano crisis, it won only one legislative seat. A weak coalition was then formed, headed by an independent member, Bertrand Osborne, as chief minister. Osborne resigned in 1997 amid criticism of his handling of the volcano crisis, and he was replaced by David Brandt. The British government was also widely criticized for its handling of the crisis, although it helped evacuate and relocate the population and repair the transportation infrastructure. After the PLM decisively won the elections of April 2001, John Osborne became chief minister. Volcanic activity continued into the early 21st century.
03-18-13-Premier and veteran masqueraders
The Honourable Premier Reuben Meade gets a bow from veteran masqueraders during the Slave Feast in Salem, which is a part of the annual St. Patrick’s Week Festival.

Villages and towns that are within the safe zone are shown in boldface. The settlements that are known to be within the exclusion zone are shown in italics, since they cannot be accessed and are no longer habitable. See also List of settlements abandoned after the 1997 Soufrière Hills eruption

The economy of Montserrat is small, very open and is very heavily dependent on imports of merchandise goods.
Agriculture has not supported the population. To foster tourism, the government decided to avoid high-rise hotels and noisy nightclubs; instead, Montserrat was to be a model of "the way. Prior to 1995 tourism
(and in particular residential tourism) and its related services was the mainstay of the economy, contributing on average about 40% of GDP. Presently Tourism only contributes 15% to GDP.
Montserrat had a thriving tourism industry prior to 1995, earnings from tourism represented approximately 25% of the Island’s gross domestic product. The volcanic emergency decimated the industry with 1996 seeing a dramatic decline in tourist arrivals by 46%.

The stabilization of the volcano in 1998 exhibited a 52% increase in tourist arrivals when compared with 1997. Confidence has been restored in this sector in 1999 when tourist arrival figures were 12,909 when compared to 9,427 persons in 1998. The main objective of the Montserrat Tourist Board is the diversification of the tourism product in order to appeal to a wider market and seek to revitalize tourism as a significant contributor to the economy. The redevelopment of this industry in Montserrat is a major priority of the Government of Montserrat.
Agricultural production was greatly affected by the onset of volcanic activity in 1995. Between 1995 and 1997 all the major agricultural producing areas were either destroyed or deemed unsafe for habitation and by extension for crop farming and livestock rearing. One major result of volcanic activity therefore, has been a decrease in agriculture’s contribution to GDP from 5.4% in 1994 to approximately 1.1% in 1998, 0.7%
was contributed by agricultural sector and 0.4% was contributed by the fisheries sector. The number of persons employed in agriculture also decreased from approximately 300 crop and livestock farmers and 160 full and part time fishers before 1995 to 150 and 60 farmers and fishers respectively in 2000.
The Government of Montserrat has directed its policy towards achieving self sufficiency in certain foods and meat products in an effort to reduce the island’s dependency on imports and the outflow of foreign currency. Emphasis is being placed on intensifying the rearing of small ruminants and pigs and facilitating poultry production for meat and eggs. Emphasis has also been placed on encouraging agro-processing ventures utilizing local raw materials.
Fishing is another area of possible growth. The species groups traditionally exploited are the Shall Shelf and Reef Fish and the Coastal Pelagics. Both species are moderately too heavily exploited and are unlikely to support increased exploitation. The Deep Slope and Bank Fish are under exploited and the status of the Large Pelagics is mostly unknown but thought to be adequate to support further exploitation; these groups therefore offer great potential for increased exploitation.

Major Industries
 The economy is based mainly on agriculture, real estate, building construction, tourism, and assembling industries. There is little manufacturing activity. There was, until the volcanic eruptions, an expanding tourist trade; and the island was beginning to build an integrated cotton industry (sea island cotton), although the island lacks the technology to handle large volumes of cotton. The off-shore medical school had to move to another island after the recent natural disaster.
Montserrat is accessible to the rest of the world via Antigua and Barbuda. The ferry service which operates twice or daily except Sundays, takes 1 hour to reach Antigua, from which connecting flights to all parts of the world can be accessed.
By air there is helicopter service which takes 15 minutes to Antigua’s V.C.Bird International Airport. Providing connections to the world. The Port is located 1 and one half miles from Brades, and the Geralds heliport 2 miles from Brades. Brades part of the commercial district.
Montserrat is favorably located in proximity to the markets of North and South America. The settlement of the North has resulted in construction of new roads in order to facilitate development of this area.
There is currently a road expansion programme, the need for new roads in the North to meet increasing demand.
Telephone communications to and from all parts of the world are excellent. Cable and Wireless (W.I.) Ltd., provides telecommunications Services in Montserrat. The national Network with a wired capacity in excess of 2600 lines and in addition to the regular telephone services offers enhanced features such as Voice-Mail, Caller ID, Call-waiting and Pre-paid call services. Installation of lines for private or commercial use, is done within six working days or less.
The island’s newspaper is the Montserrat Reporter. Presently there is only one radio station (FM Frequency), Radio Montserrat, Government owned and operating broadcasting on the Island. Licenses have been issued for at least two other radio Stations (private) which will come into operations in the coming months. There is one television station, Cable TV of Montserrat (private) operating locally.
A highly reliable supply of electricity is available: 110/220 volts, AC 60 cycles single phase for domestic use and 400/440 volts, Ac60 cycles for commercial usage. Water is available for both domestic and commercial use.

 The government had plans of reviving farming, creating a tourist industry, and supporting a real estate-and-home-construction scheme; but Montserrat has been for many years marginal in relation to overseas markets, compounded by a series of natural disasters to the island.

Social Stratification
Classes and Castes. The pattern of social stratification that emerged after the slavery period remains relatively unaltered. Lower classes predominate in this society.
The upper class includes resident owners and managers of the larger estates, expatriate colonial officials, professionals, religious leaders, bank managers, and larger merchants. Most are white or light-skinned. There are no poor whites. The upper classes generally live and work in the capital city of Plymouth, speak English, and adhere to legal forms of marriage and a nuclear form of the family. They belong to the Anglican, Methodist, and Roman Catholic denominations.
The middle class consists of salaried employees or civil servants who work for the post office, hospitals, courts, or the police department. This is the class that aims for secondary schooling. With increased educational opportunities, there is a growing middle class, which tends to use "standard" English in formal contexts, and creole English in others. Many of these households employ at least one domestic servant. Mostly Anglican, Methodist, or Roman Catholic, this is the class most anxious about appropriate behavior. There is an emerging professional class.
The lower classes are primarily black and are characterized by sporadic employment, with many people dependent on remittances. Virtually all live outside Plymouth. Migration was predominantly a lower-class phenomenon before the 1995 evacuations. Most of the members of this class follow Pentecostal faiths. Relationship patterns perhaps represent the greatest institutional variation between classes.
Montserrat girl with her traditional Akan (Fante) headdress (dokuu) acting on stage

Political Life
Government. Representative government was introduced in 1936; Montserrat got a new constitution in 1952, and Britain introduced a bicameral system of government in 1960. Virtually all effective political power has been in the hands of the few who control production (the monopoly of the wealthy). Montserrat has elected to remain a colony, although some have argued for a discontinuation of colonial status. There is almost total dependence on Great Britain.
Leadership and Political Officials. Montserrat has a representative government with a ministerial system, practicing parliamentary democracy rooted in the Westminster model. The head of state is represented by a governor, who exercises executive authority. Britain is still responsible for the island's external affairs, defense, and law and order, although Montserrat has a fairly autonomous local government. The chief minister is John Osborne, who has always favored independence for the country. The recent natural disasters effectively put this question to rest for now.
Social Problems and Control. A nation of emigration, with severe loss of population, Montserrat has choking conditions of underdevelopment, poverty, unemployment, declining productivity of abused space, unavailable markets, land problems, and insecure subsistence production, as well as fear, suspicion, and mistrust, especially since the natural disasters of Hugo and the volcanic eruptions. It is a nation suffering from a colonial past, a Caribbean laboratory with "infinitely limited alternatives." There have been various schemes proposed to eliminate some of the social problems, but to date all have failed, e.g., the geothermal project that did not take into account popular superstition about disturbing the dormant volcanoes. The present socioeconomic crises cannot be separated from the recent natural disasters. Great Britain has had to bail out the Montserratians once more.
 Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations
In a typical parish, there might be three rum shops, four small provision shops, a sub-post office, the Methodist church and smaller Holiness church, and a school. However, Rotary and Jaycees are both active on the island. Montserrat has a theater with plays that address Caribbean issues and at least two dance groups. Choral music groups and sports are also popular.

Gender Roles and Statuses
Gender roles vary by class, with more rigidity in the lower strata. Homosexuality is feared. Marriage is valued, being associated with socioeconomic standing and as a demonstration of ambition and the attainment of social adulthood.
BRADES, Montserrat — Paying tribute to the destination’s culture, talent and creativity, the unique island of Montserrat will celebrate its annual carnival, known as Festival, from December 4, 2009 – January 1, 2010. The destination comes alive with music, revelry and a variety of events that highlight the resilient and exuberant people of Montserrat.
“Our carnival is the highlight event of the year as it embodies all the elements of our neighboring islands’ traditional festivities but with its own unique flair,” said Ernestine Cassell, director of tourism. “With the wide selection of activities and events, there is something for everyone to enjoy and we encourage visitors to come to the island and experience Montserrat’s rich heritage and vibrant culture.”
This year’s key events include: Soca Monarch, a concert featuring the island’s talented soca artists, on December 19; “Nite of Pan,” where the musical styling of local musicians can be heard on the steel pan, on December 23; Street Jam, a lively street celebration filled with music, food and “good island vibes,” on December 26; Festival Queen Pageant on December 27 and calypso finals, a musical showcase highlighting the island’s top entertainers, on December 30. The festival culminates with the New Year’s Day parade of troupes, vibrantly costumed revelers that perform traditional songs and dances.
                             Montserrat carnival

Marriage, Family, and Kinship
Marriage. Once a proposed marriage union is recognized, the couple are referred to as being "friendly" or as being "sweethearts." The migration of either party in such a union is regarded as terminating that union. Most lower-class Montserratians eventually legally marry, because marriage is associated with a higher socioeconomic standing. Legal divorce is fairly rare.
Domestic Unit. The major domestic unit is the household, which encompasses kinship, mating, land tenure, and inheritance. Migration has caused some unique problems for maintenance of the domestic unit in Montserrat.
Inheritance. About half the children born are technically illegitimate, but no stigma is attached to this fact. All children are entitled to an equal share of the parents' fixed property regardless of birth order or sex.
Kin Groups. Standard English kin terms apply in Montserrat, except for "niece" and "nephew," which are rarely used. Children are typically given the name of their genitors regardless of the type of mating arrangement.
Child Rearing and Education. Children are cared for within the domestic unit of family, which tends to be matrifocal. Children are given the name of their genitor. Pre-primary education is provided in nursery schools for 3-5 year-olds, while primary education for children of 7-11 years is provided in 15 primary schools. Religion has had a strong influence on education. Anglicans and Methodists broadened the base, and Quakers also played a vital role in education. Education, however, tended to render the educated unfit for life on the island.
Higher Education. Secondary education is fairly well developed throughout the island, but access to tertiary education is only through a school of continuing education sponsored by the University the West Indies.
                                 People of Montserrat

Religious Beliefs. Protestant sects have multiplied in recent times. Catholics were a strong religious group in the 1800s, but today the largest religious denomination is Anglican Protestant. The first church, built by Governor Anthony Brisket, was probably Anglican. Pentecostal churches are growing.
Medicine and Health Care
Medical services are reasonably adequate on the island, with a number of private medical practitioners available as well as doctors in the government health service. Health centers are scattered throughout the island. Free medical attention and medication are provided for children and the aged.

Secular Celebrations
Saint Patrick's Day, March 17, is celebrated with feasts and festivities by the island's Irish inhabitants, and local scholars made it a national day on which to celebrate the freedom fighters of the abortive 1768 slave uprising. August 1 is Emancipation Day, and August Monday a national holiday, with picnics, bazaars, and dances. Many parishes have village days, beauty contests, and Calypso contests.

The Arts and Humanities
The arts and humanities are largely confined to folk representations. The trappings of black power, Afro clothing, and plaited hair have appeared and disappeared. However, there has been a new appreciation of self and a search for national identity. The new consciousness has found expression in research into local folk music, folktales, proverbs, riddles, and dialects. There has been an attempt to recognize and reconcile the African contributions to Montserrat's cultural mosaic.
Calabash art at Montserrat Calabash Festival.The calabash, or “bottle gourd,” is one of the most widely used vegetables in the Caribbean, but not necessarily for food. In Montserrat (and some other islands, too), calabash is used to make everything from hanging baskets, masks and music instruments to handbags, jewellery and other fashion accessories.

Music of Montserrat
The music of Montserrat is influenced by African and Irish traditions, noticeable in the set dance-like Bam-chick-lay, and the presence of fife and drum ensembles similar to the bodhrán. Natives are also witness to the jumbie dance, the style of which is still strongly African. Instruments include the ukulele and shak-shak, an African instrument made from a calabash gourd; both of these are used in traditional string bands. 
Montserrat kicks off ArrowFest 2010

Calypso and spiritual-influenced vocal choirs, like the Emerald Isle Community Singers, are popular.
Past pop stars include the soca bandleader Alphonsus "Arrow" Cassell, known for 1983's "Hot! Hot! Hot!". Calypso music is also popular, as are the vocal choirs Voices and the Emerald Community Singers are well known throughout the island. They perform at various special occasions, such as the December Festival, and throughout the year. The most famous modern steelband from Montserrat is the Rude Boys String Band.
Montserratian culture is generally a hybrid of African and European, specifically British and Irish, elements. The African influence is the most pronounced, and manifests itself in the local Creole language, as well as the island's folktales, stories, songs, dances and religion. Montserrat remained largely isolated from international popular culture until the 1960s, and the island's folk traditions remained vibrant until the eruption of the Soufrière Hills volcano in the 1995, after which most of the population left the island. The popularity of Arrow also contributed to the demise of traditional music, replaced largely by imported popular styles
Folk music: Montserrat's folk musical heritage includes a wide array of religious and ritual folk music. There are also folk songs used in spiritual musical traditions, in addition to secular use; indeed, there is little distinction between secular and spiritual aspects of traditional Montserratian culture. Folk songs are generally in the Montserrat Creole language and concern topics ranging from obeah (magic) to agriculture, infidelity and historic occurrences.[6] Many songs are widespread and well-known, and occur in numerous variations, including "Nincom Riley" and "All de Relief", two of the most famous Montserratian folk songs. The folk repertoire also include calypsos and Irish melodies. The Irish Montserratian tradition has largely died out, with the last performer, George Allen, a fiddler, dying in 1966.
Jumbie: The jumbie dance has been called the "purest manifestation of folk religion on Montserrat", and is an iconic part of folk culture, bringing together local folklore, dance, song and music. It has also been described as a startling and unique hybrid, consisting of "Western instruments (that) produce Africanesque music, to which dancers perform Irish steps while moving their upper bodies like Africans".
The jumbie dance was probably last performed in 1980. Jumbies are traditionally said to be spirits, one of several kinds that also include the African sukra and jabless, and the Irish mermaid, animal spirit (similar to the Púca) and the Jack Lantern. Jumbies hold a similar place in Montserratian society as fairies does in Irish culture; they are the recipients of many small offerings, such as bits of food or drink, and the subject of numerous daily superstitions and rituals.
The jumbie dance is performed by four couples, one man and one woman. They each do a series of sets, consisting of five quadrilles played at successively swifter tempos. The couples will switch out as they get tired, until eventually one becomes possessed by a jumbie. They often move about wildly, fall to the floor and shout in glossolalia.
Some Montserratian Irish trace the origins of the jumbie dance to the pre-emancipation period, when slaves attempted to perform the dances performed by white overseers and landowners. Jumbie dances are traditionally performed after a celebration, in the home of a sponsor, and to mark times of individual crisis or major life changes, such as a wedding or christening.[5] The jumbie dance is said to induce spiritual possession and grant divination skills. Often, jumbie dances are intended to cure diseases, remove curses or discover the identity of a guilty party.
There are generally three jumbie dancers in a unit, who perform accompanied by the babala (tambourine, or jumbie drum), triangle, fife or pulley (accordion, concertina or melodeon), and most importantly the French reel (also jumbie drum or woowoo), a skin drum that produces an ominous sound which is said to attract the jumbie spirits. Both the babala and French reel are similar to the Irish bodhran in construction; all three drums are played with the fingertips, palms and the backs of the hands.
Other folk traditions: The same music used in the jumbie dance also accompanies country dances (also known as goatskin or drum dance). Country dances are strictly recreational, however, and use different songs and dances than the jumbie dance. Rum shops are frequently home to string bands, especially on Boxing Day, and ensembles of guitar, banjo, accordion and cuatro (ukulele).
The Montserratian tradition of masquerading is both a ritual and celebratory element of folk music. Groups of dancers (masqueraders) with bright costumes and voluminous adornments, including whips (hunters) that are used for the Masqueraders to move crowds away as they parade the streets, scare away evil spirits and send signals to other dancers. Masqueraders travel door to door and receive small gifts, while dancing a standard set of dances consisting of a heel-and-toe polka and five quadrilles. This celebration begins in mid-December and ends January 1.
Montserrat is also home to a string band folk tradition that provides accompaniment to many kinds of songs and dances. These generally include the ukulele (yokolee, imported from Hawaiian music), guitar, triangle, the bass boom pipe, shak-shak, gradge and fife. String bands traditionally performed for weddings; this tradition declined with the rise of stereos and recorded music, as well as the spread of jazz bands, but was revived in the 1970s. String bands now also play at hotels and nightclubs.
Popular music and modern styles: The steel band tradition is common to many Caribbean, and especially Lesser Antillean, islands. The Montserratian tradition began in 1949 in Ryner's Village and Kinsale, and was prominent enough by the following year to be played at the Empire Day celebrations. Despite some criticism that the music was degrading for children, steel bands have become a major part of the island's musical heritage.
Calypso is an originally Trinidadian style of music that has since spread across the world. In recent years it has become a major part of Montserratian music, with the rise of Alphonsus "Arrow" Cassell, a soca artist who is internationally renowned. Calypso in Montserrat dates to the 1950s, and Justin "Hero" Cassell (Arrow's brother), who won the islands calypso competition thirteen times and became the Calypso King of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. In 2000, Sylvina "Khandie" Malone became the first female calypso monarch on Montserrat.
Holidays and festivals: The Montserrat December Festival (the local Carnival tradition) is the biggest holiday of the year, held all through the month of December concluding on January 1 and ending with a street parade. The Festival is like Carnival on the other Caribbean islands, featuring competitions in various skills, especially the Calypso King competition, street dancing (jamming or jumping up), Soca King, beauty pageants and masquerade performances. There are also Christmas songs and caroling.
December Festival parades formerly included music and masqueraders, and dancers in uniforms modeled on the Grenadier Guards. Music is provided by an ensemble of triangle, fife and two goatskin, deep-barreled drums called kettles or booms). This tradition is primarily African in style, with little Irish or British influence, and is very distinct from jumbie dance styles. The traditional music of the December Festival was last performed in 1988, in St. John's Village.
Boxing Day is an occasion for music competitions, held in Sturge Park. Steelbands, village groups, masquerade ensembles and mummers all perform. Jump-up Day commemorates and celebrates emancipation from slavery, and is accompanied by steelbands, masquerades and dancing men carrying chains to symbolize the bondage of slavery.
Music is also an important part of St Patrick's Day, which is a celebration of Montserrat's Irish heritage and music and has now been transformed into a whole week of activities.
Music for Montserrat: Air Studios, a recording studio operated by George Martin, used to be on the island, and performers like the Rolling Stones, Sting and Elton John traveled there to record. After Hurricane Hugo, however, the studios were closed. Martin organized a fundraiser (Music for Montserrat) for the island in 1997, which included native band Arrow, Mark Knopfler, Jimmy Buffett, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Carl Perkins (who died the next year), Sting and Elton John. Other local bands performed simultaneously at Gerald's Bottom on the island; the occasion also saw the reformation of Climax Blues Band and the appearance of Bankie Banks.

Cricket is a popular sport in Montserrat. Players from Montserrat are eligible to play for the West Indies cricket team. Jim Allen was the first to play for West Indies and he represented the World Series Cricket West Indians. No other player from Montserrat had gone on to represent West Indies until Lionel Baker made his One Day International debut against Pakistan in November 2008. The Montserrat cricket team forms a part of the Leeward Islands cricket team in regional domestic cricket, however it plays as a separate entity in minor regional matches, as well having previously played Twenty20 cricket in the Stanford 20/20. Two grounds on the island have held first-class matches for the Leeward Islands, the first and most historic was Sturge Park in Plymouth, which had been in use since the 1920s. This was destroyed in 1997 by the volcanic eruption. A new ground, the Salem Oval, was constructed and opened in 2000. This has also held first-class cricket. A second ground has been constructed at Little Bay. The sport of surfing was introduced by two American brothers in 1980, Carrll and Gary Robilotta. They were also responsible for naming the surfing spots on the island. Carrll wrote for the surfing newsletter "The Surf Report" which was used by surfers around the globe. They both made Montserrat their home for 12 years.
Montserrat has its own FIFA affiliated football team, and has twice competed in the World Cup qualifiers. A field for the team was built near the airport by FIFA. The Montserrat team are tied for 181 place in the FIFA world rankings with other team – Bahamas. In 2002, the team competed in a friendly match with the second-lowest-ranked team in FIFA at that time, Bhutan, in The Other Final—the same day as the final of the 2002 World Cup. Bhutan won 4–0.

St Patrick's Celebrations Enjoyed Best on The Caribbean's Emerald Isle, Montserrat