The SVG Indian Heritage Foundation will celebrate the 160th anniversary of the arrival of Indians to SVG on June 1st, 2021. The first ship, the TRAVANCORE, departed India with persons who made the journey to a country unknown, but which was to become their home. Between 1861 and 1880 eight (8) ships brought 2,474 Indians to SVG to work and live on 23 estates. Just over half of these Indians remained in SVG, while about 1,100 returned to India.
The SVG Indian Heritage Foundation was formalized and launched in 2006 and in 2007 the Government of SVG, following the recommendation of then Minister of Culture Hon. Rene Baptiste, passed an Act of Parliament declaring June 1st Indian Arrival Day and October 7th Indian Heritage Day. Since then, the SVG Indian Heritage Foundation has celebrated IAD with re-enactments of the arrival of Indians on boats at Indian Bay, followed by rallies with cultural performances from India, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and local artistes. Indian foods have been served and Indian wear displayed at these functions.
However, in 2020 and again in 2021, activities have, of necessity, been scaled down. On Sunday, May 30th, 2021, the Indo Caribbean Cultural Centre co-ordinated by Dr. Kumar Mahabir of Trinidad and Tobago included an eight (8) minute video presentation “SVG INDIAN HERITAGE FOUNDATION - INDIAN ARRIVAL DAY IN RETROSPECT” on its weekly ZOOM meeting. SVG was one of eight (8) countries, which was featured on the occasion of Indian Arrival Day in Trinidad and Tobago, May 30th. The video comprises past re-enactments in SVG, cultural performances, other activities put on by the SVG Indian Heritage Foundation and an address by President Mr. Junior Bacchus, who is also the Honorary Council for India to SVG.
For this year’s IAD, addresses will also be made by Dr. the Hon. Ralph E. Gonsalves, Prime Minister of SVG, Dr. the Hon. Godwin Friday, Leader of the Opposition and Miss Rene Baptiste, Former Minister of Culture and an unwavering supporter of the Foundation since its inception.
The SVG Indian Heritage Foundation and the entire Indian community in SVG are grateful to all who have in any way contributed to the success of all its functions and projects in the past and look forward to continue working with everyone towards the progress and development of all citizens.
We take this opportunity to encourage all residents to continue to observe the various protocols and remain safe and healthy during this difficult time in our history, our world and our country.
Source: SVG Indian Heritage Foundation