The Government of Grenada officially declared May 1, as Indian Arrival Day, the day when Grenadians of Indian descent will officially celebrate the arrival of their ancestors to the island.
This year marks 160 years since the first Indians arrived from Calcutta, aboard the SS Maidstone which anchored at Irwin Bay in Saint Patrick on May 1, 1857. The total number of Indian laborers from India to Grenada during the period of Indian indentureship is approximately 3,200.
Organizations in the Indian diaspora welcomed the decision. “We welcome this official declaration by the Government of Grenada and express IDC’s gratitude to Shadel Nyack Compton for her determination and efforts to preserve and promote Indian history and culture in Grenada”, declared Ashook Ramsaran, president of the New York-based Indian Diaspora Council.
“This is long awaited and we are excited about all Grenadians annually honoring the arrival of our forebears from India. We in Grenada happily join with Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, St. Vincent, Guadeloupe, Mauritius, Fiji, South Africa and other countries in commemorating Indian Arrival Day, said Shadel Nyack Compton, Managing Director of Belmont Estate, President of the Indo Grenadian Heritage Foundation and Indian Diaspora Council (IDC) Coordinator, Grenada.
Indian Arrival Day will be celebrated in conjunction with Labor Day and added to Grenada’s list of Bank Holidays. The centenary celebration took place in 1957. In 2009, the government declared May 1, as Indian Arrival Day in conjunction with Labour Day.
The Indo Grenada Heritage Foundation was instrumental in getting official recognition for Indian Arrival Day and has installed a plaque at Irwin Bay in St Patrick to commemorate the day. The day has already become an annual celebration.
Last week, Grenada’s Minister of Culture, Senator Brenda Hood revealed the Government’s decision to officially declare May 1, as Indian Arrival Day. Senator Ray Roberts, representative of the Trade Unions Council (TUC) applauded the contributions of the Indian and Indo-Grenadian communities to Grenadian society. Roberts, on behalf of the TUC, said that they welcome the joint celebrations, fully accepted this decision and commended the Government for this move.