Children are being taught Marxist manufactured history regarding Chatoyer; there is plenty of doubt that he should be labeled a hero. In fact, he was a slave trader, a slave keeper and was a general in the French army. He was first labeled hero by the Unity Labour Party. Children are being taught that the Saint Vincent national dish is salt fish and breadfruit, food introduced specifically to feed slaves, the cheapest possible thing at that time. Today salt fish is so expensive only the rich can afford it, therefore few eat it. Our national dish is pig foot souse, or chicken and rice, which people eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Why lie about something as simple as that. Its what’s called control.
The world is being told on government websites, and children taught in school that the Soufriere tree is common only to SVG and that its only remaining specimens are in the Kingstown Botanical Gardens. Grossly untrue and everyone at the Gardens and intelligent people here and worldwide will recognize it as just another lie.
The Soufriere tree, actual botanical name of the tree is Spachea elegans, although it is often referred to as Spachea perforata (the latter name is actually a synonym).
The tree belongs to the plant family Malpighiaceae, which is represented by a number of tropical and subtropical trees, shrubs and vines. The Barbados cherry (Malpighia punicifolia) is one of the better-known plants in this family. The plant prefers wet forests and coastal areas. Not the sides of volcanoes.
The Spachea elegans or Vincentian renamed Soufriere tree grows to 25 metres (80 feet) tall, and the small flowers are borne in pendent racemes (elongate flower clusters) about 5 to 8 centimetres (2 to 3 inches) long.
It is written the Soufriere tree at the Kingstown Botanical Garden was reported to have been collected on the slopes of the La Soufriere volcano in 1804, i.e. before the 1812 eruption, by Dr Alexander Anderson the then medical officer and curator of the Gardens. An old specimen of the tree is still to be found in the Gardens, along with a much younger tree about ten years old.
Richard Howard, in his six-volume work, Flora of the Lesser Antilles, states that the tree was introduced into St Vincent from British Guiana in 1791.
Probably introduced to the Botanical Gardens at that time.
What is unusual is that the tree is said to come from an area of Saint Vincent where it would not be considered its usual habitat, where it would find difficulty in growing. The tree is very common in Guyana even today. For us to believe that the tree came from the side of the volcano and it is the only tree left in existence in SVG or elsewhere is beyond belief.
The government website also states that “The outstanding feature of the Soufriere tree is that it is a purely endemic species known from Saint Vincent only and it has not been found in the wild since.” Now that is a direct lie, it is not a purely endemic species known from Saint Vincent only. It’s widely scattered throughout South America.
Botanists worldwide commonly recognize the species Spachea elegans as a tree that is in fact native to Guyana, where fish eat the green, nutlike fruits. People fish under the tree or use the ripe fruits as bait.
Both trees at the Kingstown Botanical Gardens have never fruited or set seed, even though they flower profusely and the flowers are bisexual. It’s quite possible that clones from these trees will remain barren. The tree can be reproduced or cloned quite easily by the air-layering method, or will quite readily root from cuttings also.
Why, therefore, if this tree is unknown elsewhere and these are the last surviving trees, are the botanical staff not producing hundreds of new trees and distributing them to botanical gardens worldwide? At the same time reintroducing the tree into the wilds of Saint Vincent. The answer is simple because they know the truth; it’s a common tree that is found all through South America.
What a shame that the Vincentian people cannot believe anything written or spoken that comes from the Gonsalves-led very Marxist, Unity Labour Party. Everything is about control, control of the mind, control of the people, control of your wages.
Stop filling our children’s minds with rubbish and untrue facts.
Fred Prescod, Horticultural Educator
Essequibo Isl-W. Demerara Region, Guyana Plant Species: Malpighiaceae, Spachea elegans (G. Mey.) A. Juss.
Harvard University, Index of Botanical Specimens GH Barcode: 00026983 Spachea elegans A. Jussieu Colombia: Magdalena Santa Marta... Herbert H. ... 1502