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Monday, November 5, 2012

What’s in your Calabash? Jounen Kwéyòl Celebrations!

Article  by Jeanette Victor (Forestry Department)
St. Lucia Boa constrictor
Brazilian Agouti

Calabash plates

 Hey folks, it’s Jounen Kwéyòl! Creole day once again. At this time of year we make it our duty to travel across the island in search of exotic meats and food. Oh what a day we look forward to!
Just sitting here and thinking of all those tasty treats makes my mouth water. We often savor and enjoy, breadfruit and saltfish, farine and pear, smoked herring, roast bakes, red beans with pigtail and dumplings among other things. Some person’s palate is more daring and would sample rabbit, manicou (opossum) and even agouti. Hmmm tasty exotic meats!

I am sure that while we’re enjoying these exotic meats the furthest thing from our minds would be how they were acquired in the first place and the possible implications. For instance we have heard of persons putting poisonous chemicals in our rivers to catch large amounts of crayfish to the detriment of humans. Some animals are illegally hunted sometimes in the case of the agouti which is protected by St. Lucia’s Wildlife Protection Act of 1980 which states in Section 6 and I quote: “Wildlife, resident or migratory, indigenous or alien, found in St. Lucia, except fish, frogs or crustaceans in private ponds, are the property of the Crown and may be taken or hunted ONLY at such times and in such places and in such manner as provided by this Act”. So therefore, anyone who does contrary to what was previously stated is in breach of the Wildlife Protection Act.

It is therefore an offence to hunt and take protected Wildlife, their eggs or young and damage their nests and also to hunt and take partially protected wildlife during the close season. Anyone not possessing a license shall not offer for sale or purchase protected or partially protected wildlife during the close season and should not attempt to import or export wildlife into St. Lucia. Any person found guilty of this offense will be liable to a fine of EC $5000.00 or twelve (12) months imprisonment.

Some of the protected wildlife include: agouti, red necked pigeons (ramier), chicken hawks, herons, Boa constrictor (tete chien) etc. some of which are caught and sold during Jounen Kwéyòl celebrations. While we move from community to community enjoying ourselves please be mindful and be guided by what you’ve learnt and don’t encourage others to destroy our natural environment. If we are to protect Saint Lucia’s natural resources and the wildlife that live within our shores we must all play our part to see that the nation’s laws are enforced. If we destroy our natural environment on which we depend then ultimately we are destroying ourselves.
Remember mém batón ki bat chien noué e kye vié pou bat chien blanc (the same stick that beat the black dog will be back to beat the white dog).

Bon féte Kwéyòl!
For further information please contact the Forestry Department at 468-5645.