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Happy like pappy in Tabaquite

The village of Tortuga, rich in history, agriculture and amity, is serene, almost untouched and refreshing to the weary and jaded urban dweller.

It is exciting to visiting nature lovers.

To its inhabitants, the atmosphere is perfect, and they are in love with it. They believe they were at times neglected by previous Government administrations, but within the last five years have seen enhancements of the physical infrastructure. Their hope is that it continues to be upgraded until it becomes first-rate.

To get to Tortuga, located in the constituency of Tabaquite, head south along the Solomon Hochoy Highway and take the exit road into Claxton Bay.

When you exit safely from the highway, tread carefully along the bumpy road and turn east.

Within a few minutes, scores of corbeaux circling overhead will greet you, and you would know you have met the smelly Forres Park landfill. Scavengers are usually at work picking through the heaps of refuse, searching for items long discarded by their owners, or standing on trucks and vans transporting more in or out of the dump.

But drive for just five minutes and leave behind the hustle you have brought with you.

Not moving anywhere

The beauty and serenity that lie ahead in the village of Tortuga not only entice visitors, but are addictive to residents, who seldom choose to leave the area to live ­anywhere else.

“I moved here about 27 years ago when I got married and I never ­regret it. I am never moving from here”, said Seeta Beharry, as she sat underneath her house, cleaning chataigne for her family’s dinner. Her husband, Phillip, sat next to her, helping. The Beharrys are gardeners—two of many in the village who plant along the hectares of the Central Range.

The Express visited in May, and residents advised the story of the recent past could be told best by “Miss Brownie” and “Mr Paul”, the two oldest in the village.

Rosalind Baptiste, aka “Miss Brownie”, 83, said she came to live in Tortuga when she was 14. Her father received the land from the Anglican Church board. “Here (the land on which her house was built) was a school and a hurricane blew it away. When we started to rent the land, my father paid I think $8 a year.”

When she got married at 19, she left the village, but returned some 30 years later. “We didn’t have water and lights. There was one school in the church. We got water in the pipe in 1978 and it wasn’t every day,” said Baptiste.

The matriarch of seven children, 30 grandchildren and ten great grand-children said the roads were “never good”.

She said bamboo groves used to sustain and support the land, but when it was cut for housing the landslips emerged on the roads.

“But in the last few years, they did a lot of box drains and fix two landslides on Mayo Road. But this piece of road in front of my house has to fix because when the rain falls, all the water draining into my yard.

“Tortuga is a good, quiet place. No bad things happen here. Only once or twice maybe,’’ said Baptiste. One of those two times was when a man was found murdered in a trace at the beginning of the Central Range forests. The other was when thieves stole from the Tortuga Roman Catholic Church, formally known as Our Lady of Montserrat Church…READ MORE

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