Castara residents uneasy: Protect this historic cannon

Cannon at Gun Ridge, Castara. - David Reid
Cannon at Gun Ridge, Castara. - David Reid

Castara residents are calling on the authorities to intervene and preserve a centuries-old cannon in Gun Ridge, Castara, Tobago.

The cannon, used for defence during the battles for possession of the island during the colonial days, is situated on private property in the rural fishing village.

Castara residents and stakeholders were stunned on Saturday when a backhoe arrived and began moving the cannon.

A video shared on social media showed the cannon, tied with a chain, being pulled towards the road by a backhoe.

Residents' concerns were heightened as there was a truck parked nearby.

"There were two persons there interacting with the people in the backhoe and another guy communicating with the guy spearheading the operation," one resident said.

Although moved from its original location, the cannon remained on the property up to Sunday.

However, Saturday's action has left residents uneasy over the situation.

A concerned resident told Newsday on Sunday, "That cannon there since the 18th century. That is part of history. They drag, drag, drag it. That cannon is solid. That is a big gun.

"It still have the Crown (symbol) on it. It still have all these things. Although it sitting in the rain, it still in pristine condition. It just have a little rust where the backside resting on the dirt."

He said the Castara Village Council should have been consulted before the cannon was touched.

The resident believes the THA should intervene.

"Look how much land they acquire for the airport project. If they have to acquire a small piece and make it a historical site so people can come and visit...When yuh stand up there yuh could see far – it have the small bay and the big beach, which is Castara beach."

He said the historical value of the area is being underestimated.

"Back then, them steamers used to come and collect cocoa from Castara and head down the road. I hear my grandmother talk about that. That trading was there from ever since."

A tourism stakeholder agreed that Castara's history was being taken for granted.

Cannon at Gun Ridge, Castara. Photo by David Reid

"Why were we fought for over 33 times? Tobago has something. That cannon has been there way back when the Dutch, English and French fighting and changing hands over Tobago. That's been there for ages."

He criticised the THA for not taking the initiative to protect Tobago's historical artefacts.

"That thing that happened yesterday should have never happened. We talking tourism. It does sound so sick to me when I hear some of these people talking tourism.

"The THA/Government has been taking Tobago backwards, in a general sense.

"In the first place, where that cannon was should have been a place like Fort King George or Fort James, but because of their lack of vision and lack of interest in what we will call the remote areas of the island, nothing has been done."

He said rural Tobago is not getting the investment and political interest it deserves.

"You see it everyday with (complaints over) roads, water, electricity and all that."

Newsday contacted Chief Secretary and Secretary of Tourism, Culture and Transportation Ancil Dennis who said he was aware of the situation but was not apprised of all the facts. He promised to address the issue very soon.

Newsday contacted a woman who reportedly has an interest in the property to clarify what took place but she declined to speak.


"Castara residents uneasy: Protect this historic cannon"

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