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Thursday, July 14, 2016

India tour to West Indies ~ getting to know Vervet monkeys and Basseterre !!

The vervet monkey mostly herbivorous, have black faces and grey body hair color. In addition to very interesting behavioural research on natural populations, vervet monkeys serve as a nonhuman primate model for understanding genetic and social behaviours of humans. They have been noted for having human-like characteristics, such as hypertension, anxiety, and social and dependent alcohol use.
Photo credit :

Local police in the Caribbean island nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis arrested US rapper 50 Cent (real name Curtis Jackson) a few days back  for using “indecent language” onstage during one of his songs. The rapper later pleaded guilty to the offence, paid a fine of USD $1,100 and was released, reported Rolling Stone. 50 Cent’s representative stated that the rapper was originally hired to host the St. Kitts Music Festival, but festival organisers asked if he could perform and used a DJ at the festival who didn’t have clean versions of his tracks. According to the nation’s Small Charges Act it is illegal to use profane language in public places.

Indian leggie Amit Mishra  said he was very pleased with his showing on a difficult track in India's warm-up game against West Indies Cricket Board President's XI.  Mishra, took four wickets in the one innings India bowled in, said the pitch was very slow, making it easier for the batsmen to cope with whatever he threw at them, but he persevered with varying his deliveries and that worked for him.

For those of us, following this match even, it was played at Warner Park, Basseterre,  that was the first of the Caribbean's seven new World Cup stadiums to open, in May 2006 and its first Test a month later. The building was largely funded by the Taiwanese government (they provided $7.1m of the total $10m cost) and built entirely by locals, unlike many of the other stadia which leant heavily on the Chinese !  It is not the biggest ground, although its 8,000 capacity needs to be put into context as the island itself has a total population of 35,000. No stands were built on the east side of the ground, allowing the prevailing easterlies to have their cooling effect.

The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, is a two-island country in the West Indies. Located in the Leeward Islands chain of the Lesser Antilles, it is the smallest sovereign state in the Americas, in both area and population. The country is a Commonwealth realm, with the British Monarch (currently, Elizabeth II) as its head of state.  The capital city is Basseterre on the larger island of Saint Kitts. The smaller island of Nevis lies about 2 miles (3 km) southeast of Saint Kitts across a shallow channel called "The Narrows." Saint Kitts and Nevis were among the first islands in the Caribbean to be settled by Europeans. Saint Kitts was home to the first British and French colonies in the Caribbean, and thus has also been titled "The Mother Colony of the West Indies." 

Basseterre, the capital, where the Cricket match was played and thus became the subject matter of this post has estimated population of  13,000 in 2011.  Basseterre was founded in 1627 by the French and served as capital of the French colony of Saint-Christophe, which consisted of the northern and southern extremities of the island of St. Kitts (the centre was yielded to Britain).  The city of Basseterre has one of the most tragic histories of any Caribbean capital, destroyed many times by colonial wars, fire, earthquakes, floods, riots, and hurricanes. Despite all of this, a considerable number of well-restored buildings still exist in downtown Basseterre.

The city of Basseterre skirts a 2-mile (3.2 km) bay on the southwestern shore and is almost  completely surrounded by lush green hills and mountains.  The town by the name Basseterre is a very small one laid out in a grid pattern having four main streets running west to east.  Despite its small size, Basseterre played host to Carifesta VII (the Caribbean Festival of Arts) in 2000, outbidding rivals many times its size.

A fortnight or so ago, the Agriculture ministry hosted  a monkey summit in an effort to address what is being referred to as a “conflict between the popular green vervet monkeys and the human population”. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the monkeys pose a significant threat to farmers, wreaking havoc on crops, resulting in great economic loss to farmers; they have also been troublesome at resorts, residential areas and urban districts. Discussions surrounded new initiatives involving the monkeys such as education tourism and the establishment of wild life theme parks. The green vervet monkeys that you saw at the start  are popular with tourists, and are also used in research for diseases such as Parkinson’s at St Kitts Biomedical Research Facility.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
14th July 2016.

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