The Choiseul PowerHouse is “powering ahead” in Cyberspace with the speed of light. Some claim we are hard-hitting and controversial; some claim we are intellectual and academic! Some even claim we are political! Everybody is right! We are all of those things! We have a diverse global audience and it is our pleasure to stimulate your intellectual taste buds and we make no apologies for that. The bottomline is we are independent and have no affinity to any organisation: political or otherwise! We will continue to publish our "power articles"

We wish to extend special thanks to followers for their support. We also encourage you to post your comments and feedback on the Blog using the comments link following the Articles.

Welcome to the POWERHOUSE family blog!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


The New York Times described it as “a windswept ridge” and went on to add: “set off against it like a Turner seascape was the grandeur of Gros Piton, one of two volcanic peaks that make St. Lucia probably the most picturesque tourist destination in the Caribbean.”

I am referring to Mongouge. The geographical demarcation of Mongouge begins at Ravineau junction in the North and spans Mongouge proper, Ponyon and Martin in the South. It also includes upper Morne Sion in the Southwest. Its exact coordinates on the map are 61.02’42.49”W and 13.48’04.92”N.
Mongouge youth proudly rides horse in the hot day sun giving friend and bicycle a ride

Unofficially, it is claimed that Mongouge was named Mon Rouge after the ethnicity of its original inhabitants who were poor French Whites displaced from the mainstream plantation activities by the Sugar Revolution. They came from France in pursuit of an entrepreneurial life after serving in the war and initially sought their fortunes on small scale Tobacco plantations; but because they were small peasant farmers with limited or no means of production, they never realized their dream of wealth.

When the sugar Revolution sounded the death knell of their entrepreneurial pursuits, they had no choice but to migrate to the Mongouge Ridge, a secluded “windswept ridge” where they settled.

It was the settlement on that ridge – also referred to as the settlement on the Hill - that became the exclusive and unique “straw-chair capital” of St. Lucia.

Oral traditional accounts claimed that the straw chair was “invented” by Zaza – a poor “French white” who came to St. Lucia from Martinique - and was unofficially patented in honour of him.

In its earlier days, Mongouge was a secluded community inhabited by poor French whites and remained that way until the late 17th century when one of the sons of Avance/Alphonse broke the tradition of “ethnic exclusivity” and married a Negro; indeed, he incurred the wrath of the rest of the community but that did not stop the domino effect that followed.

The next two inter-racial weddings quickly happened - with two other brothers marrying yet another Negro and a Carib respectively; hence, the genesis of the birth of Mongouge as an inter-racial community. That’s why Mongouge is generally referred to as a community of “red people” or “shabines”. However, nature’s tendency towards randomness has over time played its part well and equalized issues of ethnicity and race in the community.

The Carascos were part of the Essential 5 Band

Mongouge has a rich cultural tradition and also has its own economic and social characteristics: its economy is based primarily on cottage industry; but subsistence farming is also prevalent. It has produced some of the best musicians in St. Lucia, including string virtuosos like Mr Harris, his late brother Francis (Loco) and the late Mr Frederick (all violinists); the late Victor Carasco (Faniere) and Frederick Charles (Burrow) were also excellent guitarists and banjo players.

Up to this day, the Carascos continue to distinguish themselves in the field of music with three of the family offspring becoming world class, professional musicians.

Mongouge also has a strong “drum” tradition which is alive and well. St. Lucia’s arguably best harmonica player (Argolore) also hails from Mongouge.

But Mongouge today is in the doldrums. There are worrying signs of social decay and decadence with fly-by-night politicians imposing themselves on the community. They embark on white elephant projects without proper community needs or organisational needs analyses - all in the pursuit of power. The poverty Statistics in Mongouge is over 50%

But there is hope: Mongouge today also has an emerging intelligentsia of the highest calibre. In fact, a recent island Scholar came from Mongouge; in addition, a number of "Mongougians" are now pursuing both undergrad and postgrad studies with at least two of them (Augustin Charles and Leonard Johnny) completing their PhDs. (Incidentally, the former taught the latter)

So even in the face of the odds against us, the groundwork for our long term economic liberation is being laid by the people of Mongouge themselves. And whereas, we worry about the social decay and the exacerbation of it by Ti Canal bluff projects, we are extremely proud of our academic achievements and there is even more to come. 

The answers for development of a country come from its human resource. With the blessings in telecommunications and good road network side by side with our educational achievements, Mongouge is poised for the quantum leap in development. That's why the elders who have benefited from education are playing their part in inspiring the young ones to take the right path - a path away from drugs, crime and misery. 

Long live our Community on the Hill! Long live Mongouge!

1 comment:

  1. Great piece! Cyber can you do the same for the other communities. They are just as beautiful as Mongouge and you make the rest of us jealous.

    Doc, have you heard the latest coming out of Mongouge? It is a story you should monitor. The district rep promised a young man a car to campaign for him.

    They thought that the had abducted the young man politically by showering him with gifts and employment. They employed him at the Mongouge Multipurpose Centre and also at the Campaign manager's house currently under construction. It is alleged that funds for the Centre are being channeled in that private home.

    But back to the young man, the Mongouge residents claim it was the young man who requested the car and the Bousquet has agreed to give it to him.

    Mongouge is eagerly waiting for that Campaign Car

    Check your email for the specifics.