Saturday, December 15, 2012

Fort George

At the north side of the entrance to the St George’s harbour, called Carnage, there is a small hill with two prominent buildings; the hospital at the bottom and the fort at the top. We decided to climb hundred some steps around the hill to get to the fort the other morning. It was quite early and no cruise ships in view, so perfect timing to have a private tour. When we approached the little gate, two women who were chatting while sitting nearby came to meet us. One of them took the 5.00 EC admission fee, and advised that we would have a guide for free. Guide, Tanisha was a young and pretty girl, very professional and articulate. 

She told us about the history of the fort, which had been built in the 1600’s by the French, but taken over by the British later on, and was named Fort George, after the king. She told us that some buildings were still used by the Grenada police. The one with the best view, overlooking to the sea which used to be the jail, was turned into a fitness centre for the police members. The building at the top had lost its roof to the hurricane, rare in Grenada, but had been devastating for some buildings and most of the rainforest on high elevations. It seems that the forest could not yet recover from its effect. Tanisha mentioned that Grenada government has been trying to find funding to revive the Fort for some time. I hope it will happen soon, since it is a lovely spot, with overreaching vistas to the sea and land behind.

Tanisha also showed the courtyard where the old revolutionary president Maurice Bishop, his wife and some ministers were killed, with the bullet holes and all. (A very sad story; which I am going to write about after doing my research.)

As we were coming down, I asked about an unfinished steel construction adjacent to the hospital. We saw it from different angles, and had been speculating about its purpose. Tanisha explained that it had started as an addition to the hospital, undertaken by a Chinese company (probably as a gift from the Chinese government). After the six stories were up, it was found out that the ceilings were not high enough to accommodate Grenadians. A dispute ensued, but the builders did not back down and left the skeleton of the building as it was and left the island. Apparently dismantling the structure was going to cost too much, so the hospital was left with that eye sore.

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