U.S., British Virgin Islands bond goes back many years
I ended 1997 by spending
Christmas with my parealt o St.
Thoae. My younagr brooer Da.,
his wife, and daughter joined the
famfly from inclowmai, Ohio.
Charisma is a time when fai.
lie spend time together. On ami*.
mas daymy family ad I peat the
afternoon at Undquist Beach,
which I think is one of the most
beauful beaches on the East End
of St. Thomas. This was the first
time I ever spent Cuitmas Day at
But the highlight of Cri1st
was whes some of ay ffmly mrm-
bems ad myself visited the British
Virgin Islads. Our tip stated fnn
Red Hook dock n the Native Son
boat to Tortola. As we approached
the Weas End dock of Tetlola, my
ece and ister.inlaw turned tome
sad said, "Olasee, the immigration
of Toeeotl might give yoe problem
because you eaw dedlock."
Since the aiddle 197s, I heard
the Immigration of Tortola taned
away individuals with locf if they
were not natives. I don't know if
this isTnola's immigraton poley.
Nooeeless, may people from the
US. Virgin lds feel the discrim-
inuaion ac of Tortola immigration
The history of Toetola and the
US. Virgin Is a goes beck fro
theflat bilklof t Catibbeams.
Bit also, te history of the British
Virgin Islands goes back when
these islands were colosned by the
btopeas, who wed setsn as al-
mals to cltite the islands with
Yoe see, we a a people, ofca
fall into traps fighting against one
another simply because we ae
ig ant of ofu history. U there is
such a law in Torta to discrmi-
Moe gis t Individalub with 'locks,
it is an aboBinatio my opiin
to our ancestors who fought for
Reinert Bassgeanen, a young
Danish player on St. Qois, aid in
the 1700s i reference to British
planters on SL Croix, "and at the
.me time, the island's rch strands of
timber attracted impoverished
Bngalish colonists from the British
Vigi shnd, wtho came in sch
fland their provision Copsaend
a visbl n of lilibo1 which
they fod tihes a woodc ies."
He further stated. "By early
1730s, d s rural d rued e
Slong with their famili nd their
slaves, were living oSt. S 1oi1 e-
gaily. Moreover, Oreust Britla hker.
slf was beh inning to show oi
cial itest ila the island.
France, however, ncertained no
interest at all In allowing a hard-
earned colonial possession to pan
into the hands of the archrival
English. The prospect of selling it
to Demark is Ih late 1720s was
another toy altogetber."
Tortola and the U.S. Virgin
Ilands, particularly St. Thomas and
SL John hae a dose bood or col-
toe from vey to freedom. My
roots in these Virgin Islands are
from St. Johe wih the Smas fami-
ly ad other fallis; Lo STbhia
wit thK Dena famiy asd others; to
Tortoli with the Industriou,
Hodge, HeOley. WHiiams d olb-
Some today live isa ne Garde
Bay, Todtolt My mother is from
Tortols, an lndutrious who grew
up is Cane Garde Bay unil I was
abot4 or5 yeas old.
I was born in St. Thomas' old
hospital. According to my gr*d-
mother Cumlita Inhustrious, who
is almost a handed years old, "cou-
ple days after you was born your
mother give you to me wrapped is
a white line cloth and put on a
It wu in Cane Garden Bay
where I lemared to craw, walk and
talk. My grandfther Jimmy lads-
trious who was born in 1886 was
who rained me along with my
grandmother is Cae Garden Bay.
It wa in Tool where the love
of natmu was stilled in me as a
child from my grand parents. My
grandmother's, grandmother was a
save who soqoired land after slav-
ey was abolished in the British
Virgin Isands. This land was to
remals in the family and never to be
slOd the deed sated.he latt lime I
was in Cme Gardei Bay was in the
You can imagine bow emotional
I was when I visited Case Garden
Bay. The Cane Garden Bay envi.
moment I grew up in, in the late
1950s, of the days when I was a
child roaming the mountains with
my grandfather, is totally different
than today. It was here I learned
about the different types of plants
for medicine. Believe me. it was
hebore thu I received my ist lesson
fromate fro my grandfather.
Next week, the changes of Tor-
oela's natural cavirooment.
OhsM Damis, o hlas a master
ofsaccdegree in range maage-
mot aad foresey ecoloy, is a St
C eclob sr activity ec d writer.