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President Ernest Koroma invited to Grenada

7 September 2016 at 03:44 | 4933 views

By Amadu Massally, USA.

Today, I want to talk about our links to Carriacou (and to some extent Grenada and Petite Martinique).

The story begins with Bunce Island, a British slave castle in Sierra Leone operated by the London-based firm of Grant, Oswald & Company. John Mill, one of the firm’s associates, bought a large plantation on Carriacou after British naval forces seized the island from the French in 1762. Mill then convinced several other British investors, all affiliated in various ways with Grant, Oswald & Company, to buy plantations there as well.

Mill likely arranged advantageous terms for these investors in return for their buying African captives from Bunce Island, which is located in the Temne region of Sierra Leone. Mill and his investor friends were taking advantage of the fact that with the French planters leaving, they could buy up much of the island. Grenadian historian, Angus Martin, found that by the 1770s, these investors owned more than half of Carriacou.

He also found Grenadian newspaper advertisements of that period announcing the sale of slaves coming directly from Bunce Island, the use of that name strongly suggesting that that specific origin of the captives was important to the buyers.

The author, Amadu Massally, with Grenada’s Minister of Culture.

So now you know partly why the Government of Grenada has sent a letter to the President of Sierra Leone (President Ernest Bai Koroma, in photo) to visit Grenada and Carriacou to reconnect with his people.

These folks in Carriacou still identify with the Temnes in Sierra Leone. They have a small statue of Bai Bureh, the great Temne warrior, in the museum in Carriacou, which I felt proud to see during a recent visit.

The information above deals with slavery and not post-emancipation. There was another movement during emancipation that saw some Temnes leave Carriacou for Trinidad and Tobago. But we will not put the cart before the horse here.