Last week I took my new guests for some grocery shopping at Cul de Sac. Then I drove them to St Lucia Distillery, in the Roseau Valley where I was going to buy some wine. I had fortunately found that the same Chilean Rose at the grocery store was much less at the wholesale distributors and I pointed out to my guests that the price was so reasonable that you couldn’t afford NOT to buy it at US $5 for a very nice bottle of Rose. (They bought 3 bottles and I bought 5 but then I am going to stay longer than a week!)
Anyway, after making our purchases, I went over to show them a small stone building close by the distillery. This building I had previously discovered was an ancient Slave Prison. It had been restored and preserved by the current owners of St Lucia Distillery and had a number of explanatory signs and pictures to show the history of this building.
When I was last visiting this site, I took many pictures and studied the signs and photos. Since then every time I pass this area, I am reminded of the history of Slavery. I must admit that this prison is really scary evidence of that dark past. Things have improved so much in St Lucia that sometimes we have conveniently forgotten the price that had to be paid. And there was a very high price for the human beings that suffered a terrible fate to be transported across the sea into slavery and also for the persons who were shipped in to be indentured laborers.
Besides this Slave Cell, along the road, there is a straight line of many tiny cement buildings that were built by the plantation owners to house the slaves. Although the days of slavery are long gone, these houses are still occupied by poor banana farmers in the area. Government recently built a new clothes washing facility, bathrooms and showers for the residents of the area, nevertheless, this community is still far from the computer age and full employment. As we drive back through the community and see so many young idle men just sitting around on a work day, I can only feel the presence of that slave prison hanging over the heads of us all. It makes me realize that the sad feeling in my heart is perhaps the high price of my Rose.