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OAS/GNT Sustainable Heritage Endorsement Programme

PHOTOVOICE PROMPT #4: This is not the Grenada I once Knew

What do you see here? (Addressed to the whole group)

Lots of green            Guava tree                Grey clouds

Plenty trees               Coconut tree            Banana flower

Bamboo (sponge-like in appearance)     Yellow /orange           Brown

Almond tree              Hill                             Blue Mahoe Tree

House on a hill          Galvanize                 Dense vegetation

Banana shrub          Overcast sky             Pockets of shade

Why did you take this photo? (Addressed to the photographer)

To show that bamboo is imposing on us. It is tricking us into believing that it is far away and that it is not a threat while it seems to be going unnoticed. But the bamboo trees are very persistent and invasive. The countryside, in particular, used to be a heavily cultivated area. Gone are those days. The forest is quietly infringing on our civilized areas, and among it is the bamboo. If nothing else, the lesson embedded in this “Bamboozled” snapshot is that we, as Grenadians, have become too complacent in our approach to cultural, social, and financial interactions. That is to say that we have set ourselves up to see only what is up close and personal, but we choose to neglect things that creep up on us from afar to distort or dilute our cultural legacies.

What is really happening here? (Addressed to the whole group—alternatively what does the photograph represent?)

The invasive nature of the untamed bamboo forest revolution, in the midst of various cultivated trees in Clozier, St. John’s, Grenada, West Indies, calls to the foreground the concept of border transition that is at once related to control as well as with loss of control of territories, which can be applicable to the roles of cause and effect regarding significant shifts in cultural, financial, and social perspectives. Since border transition is deeply rooted in imbalance (caused by conflict) and division (of time and space) in order to recover territories (whether they are cultural or geographic, or otherwise), an authority will have to reinstate a boundary. To safeguard the reclaimed area with a barrier, the authority will have to elevate stability through strategic agreements and alliances while it reduces conflicts amongst the intruders and the intended targets. Take for instance, the stringent renegotiated immigration laws and procedures that emerged at the American-Canadian border after the 9/11 terroristic fiasco. In strengthening its ties to Canada, America has formed a deeper bond with solid cooperation from the Canadian government to protect both territories from domestic and international terrorist attacks while both countries continue to engage in the movements of information, people, products, and money. Another border transition scenario that is more specific to Grenada, Carriacou, and Petit Martinique is one that can initiate a new visa process for most, if not all, foreigners. Nevertheless, this new visa procedure will negatively affect Grenada’s tourism economy, in regards to both interregional and international entries. What is more is that, at its core, border transition is symbolic of the interplay between power, boundary, and interaction as they relate to the agents, the space, and the motives involved. For example, similar to the very nature of culture, border transition is a dynamic energy that asserts that there is more (to be seen) beyond what lies at the surface of certain relationships in the same way that the wild bamboo trees have been quietly and strategically taking over the vast space that it shares with other trees that have been cultivated for agricultural use and social consumption. Generally speaking, Grenada’s cultural naiveté lends credence to the notion that Grenada is a culturally flexible island-nation, whereby it voluntarily (and at times involuntarily) adopts other cultural influences without so much as putting up fights to resist external interferences or cultural invasions or economic exploitations that come at the expense of some, if not all, Grenadians. Because of Grenada’s porous nature (as is evident in the sponge-like appearance of the invading bamboo trees), the island simultaneously promotes cultural intersections even as it maintains its national identity through unity and communal involvement in its motto: “One People, One Nation.” Concerning the good old days gone by, the “Bamboozled” photograph represents the neglect of lands that has been taking place in Grenada lately. This negligence (of the land) signifies that Grenada is moving away from its traditional agricultural culture and is, at times, carelessly courting the importing industry like a giddy, love-struck schoolgirl drunk from the intoxication of romance. Like a howling wolf, Grenada, sometimes, need to man-up, stand its ground, and protect its territories against certain types of win-lose intrusions.

PHOTO Title: Bamboozled

Photograph Location: Clozier, St. John’s

Photographer: Horace George

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