Kingstown

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After our experiences in Wallilabou, sage advice from other Cruisers and the warning bulletins from CSSN, we put the boat in Bequia and took the ferry back to Kingstown.  We highly recommend Ken's Taxi for getting around without hassles.
The best spot to get an overview is from Fort Charlotte near the northern end of Kingstown Bay.  The Fort needs repairs, so the small Guide fee is welcomed by the service volunteers.
Besides being a historic site, the grounds lodge a currently active women's prison.  It had co-existed with a hospital for a Leper colony abandoned long ago.
The cannons here were stamped with British arsenal proofs.  These are more like light field guns rather than typical heavy emplacement pieces.  It makes a nice display but I doubt that their authentic heritage placed them inside Fort Charlotte.
Well, let's take a peek through the gun portals.  I placed the camera at the cannon's muzzle to get an idea of how wide was the field of fire.  Conclusion: Not too wide and definitely restricted from low angles for suppressing enemy fire.
Kingstown is a busy commercial port with all manner of ships coming and going.  You can get your yacht in here to check-in to  Customs, but the local captain's do not give much care to protecting your pretty boat.  Churning waves, pilings and concrete docks are not marina friendly.
Kingstown Bay is large and deep with very few safe anchorages; being commercial, nobody worries about bowling over a visiting yacht with a huge bow wave.
Kingstown Bay is very open to ocean swell.
If you must, clear in / clear out and get the heck out.
Ottley Hall is just north of Kingstown and is a yachting facility with travel lift and dry dock.  Although very low key, there is a fuel dock and provision for long term storage.  When the swells roll in from the west, the docks are untenable.
Some of the coastal development off of Questelles Point.
If there is a piece off land vacant, someone will build on it.  Many of the houses here are squatters, but nobody seems to care very much.
For a small island, E. T. Joshua airport is decent and practical.  It does need a facelift and 10 million dollars would make it spectacular. The airport could easily serve all the needs of St. Vincent, but "No, No" the current government is expropriating land for an all new completely un-necessary 450 million EC dollar International airport. 
The cost of the new airport is more than half of SVG’s Gross Domestic Product and, if it were to be financed by borrowing, would account for one third of the national debt.  The old airport is right in Kingstown near the ferries; the new one will be 13 miles north east near Argyle.
Old E. T. Joshua airport is under used and compared to the land being pillaged near Arglye, a modest expropriation and small road improvements would be feasible.  We have seen it all before - special interest groups, corruption and unfettered pork barreling.
Thirteen miles to the New Airport might seem short, but take a look at the kind of land through which you have to punch a new highway.   You have to wonder, "Why do people of the Grenadines allow St. Vincent to squander their tax dollars?"
We took at drive up through the eastern side of St. Vincent to see how the people lived and get an idea of the socio-economic indicators of life here.
Compared to some of islands that  we have visited, people here seem to be comfortable. Affluence appears occasionally but by and large homes are nice and well cared for.
In the Mesopotamia valley, the land is verdant and the soil is richly fertile.  The smell of the land overpowers the olfactory senses with the earthiness of life itself.  If you plant something, it will grow - that means economic independence.
This country is blessed with life giving rains.  Combined with rich soil and year round growing seasons, the people here can survive without much foreign input.  Unfortunately, through television, they see Western society as the desirable way to go.
As usual, the churches are doing well.
The roads are a potpourri of conditions; this being one of the better ones makes you wonder about the 13 mile drive from and to the newly  proposed airport.
The camera does not do justice to the wild undulations in the land.  It is breath taking; in places the river beds cascade and wind over the land as sinuously as snakes.
Green, green, luscious and voluptuous, burgeoning with life even on rugged volcanic walls that mountain goats abandon, and despite man the spoiler, Mother Nature prevails.
Ok, so the country is beautiful, it has a deepwater cruise ship dock and a good airport in Kingstown - so where are all the large hotels and resorts?  Tourists are not coming to stay in St. Vincent - why not?
Beaches - they do not have acceptable beaches.  The few existing beaches have black sand.  Do you know how excruciatingly painful it is to walk on black sand? Basking on the beach is like basting in an oven; not the poster picture of an idyllic Caribbean destination. 
The developers know this all too well.  St. Vincent's shorelines are hard volcanic material thrust up from the deep; it cleaves the water surface providing sheer vertical drop-offs into the ocean abyss.  Unless you fly in sand, the new airport will not overcome this problem.
As it is now, a world economic meltdown over oil prices would barely effect the average citizen here.  While other empires collapsed, they could sustain themselves from the land.  They might have to stop driving and give up junk food, but they would do relatively well.
It appears that the agenda is being driven by the nouveau riche who see emulating other societies as their salvation. 
We were told stories of people being given back their home's purchase price, told to strip the doors, windows and roofs and move out.  Find another place, they say. But land values have sky-rocketed, so people can't get anything comparable to their old home. (Rip-off!)
Of course, the foreign investors do not care.  Their wealth is isolated and outside the meddlesome political sphere.
The natural wealth of land and sea lies dormant.  This country would be a perfect eco-destination, but that does not appeal to the quick solution people.  They want it now and to hell with their children's heritage.
Well - life goes on, and I am only a visitor.
I confess that I do snicker a bit when the taxi driver complains about the traffic jams.
I wonder out loud whether these home owners realize now the "Master Plan" is going to deflate their currency and drive up taxes.  "Hey folks, wake up!  VAT is only the beginning of your ruination."
It's time to return to the sea.