Please allow us space in your newspaper to record a bit of history of our villages – New Winthorpes, Powell, and Barnes Hill – this year being the 71st anniversary of the removal of people from Winthorpes Farm, Dutchman’s Bay, and the High Point area to the present New Winthorpes location. Let’s not forget the villages of old.
Dutchman’s Bay is named after the Dutch ships which landed there in 1666 during the Anglo-Dutch war. Men off the ships marched inland to the Dutch Governor Samuel Winthrop’s residence who was compelled to surrender the island.
St George’s Parish has always been a military area, and we the people are very much militant in our own ways of surviving. It was in 1942 when the United States of America’s armed and air forces visited our twin island state and made an indelible impression on the minds of our people.
The people were living peacefully at Winthorpes Estate and Dutchman’s Bay, when they learnt that the entire village would have to be relocated.
It was that time when the Second World War was declared, and the US army and air force needed to expand their bases to the Caribbean; and Antigua & Barbuda was the ideal location for such an establishment.
According to our history, the parish of St George’s was transformed to what it is today and, due to the military intervention, the entire Coolidge area was developed.
The people had to sacrifice their homes, their pride, sacred grounds, and all that was dear to them, and drag their houses and belongings through Powell and Barnes Hill villages to their destination.
The government of the day and the people had to work fast during the exodus and relocating of our people. The army assisted in the preparation of the new village. Houses were stocked on wooden beds, and dragged by a bulldozer to what is now New Winthorpes village.
The Second World War was raging and the US army in Antigua & Barbuda had to go and resume their duties. The people of Winthorpes, Dutchman’s Bay, and High Point were very much disorganised. They were scattered throughout the island.
The people who had land at Winthorpes, Dutchman’s Bay and High Point were given first preference to stake claim in New Winthorpes village.
I interviewed one of the elders in the village, and he said that some of the people were not pleased with the distributions of lands and most of them had to settle for what was distributed.
I am suggesting to the people of New Winthorpes that we erect a monument in memory of the Winthorpes Estate and its people who were relocated in 1942 to their present New Winthorpes village.
This monument could be erected under Judges Hill where the visionary, the late Mr Hampson, attempted to do likewise. I will follow up on this suggestion as we approach the 71st anniversary of the relocation of a people in St George’s Parish.