By Hadassah Deleveaux (née Hall)
I had reason to venture off East Street into the quaint, close-knit community that reminds me of our Family Islands – Fort Fincastle.
The narrow passageways are dotted with clapboard and stone houses – some abandoned and overrun with invading bush. In fact, the streets are so tiny there was a struggle squeezing through simultaneously with packed taxi, tour buses and tourists walking along.
I was on business, but the highlight of my venture was driving up to the fort itself and being greeted by the hustle and bustle of the market. The last time I was up there – years ago – it was a graveyard. I know those vendors must have been thrilled to see tourists hopping off vehicles and buying their wares.
On the other hand, I couldn’t help but wonder how much those vendors go home with daily – perhaps little or nothing in some cases. One retiree mentioned to me at the time that she had been out there for three years, as her pension does not suffice, adding that the rent is $37 per week. She hastily added, “Dat aine bad.” Hopefully she makes more than the Freeport resident I read about in the newspaper, who said she rakes in a mere $5 per day.
Meanwhile, I am interested in seeing what the upgrade to the fort will yield, particularly as the Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation is expected to do a major overhaul.
On that elevated land (Bennet’s Hill) is a money maker. Between the fort and the water tower, along with the nearby Queen’s Staircase (66 steps carved out by slaves), money could be made. This is heritage tourism sitting in our faces. This area ought to be turned into a village – a beehive of activity.