Anguilla History 1

This subject, a 23-year-old woman from Anguilla, talks about life in Island Harbour, where she grew up. She was recorded in 2019 by IDEA Associate Editor Tshari King. For more information on this subject, see Anguilla 4.

According to King, the Island Harbour accent is unique, as detailed by Jeffrey P. Williams in Contact Englishes of the Eastern Caribbean.



‘K, what I love about Island Harbour growing up there: Everybody looks for everybody. Nobody left out, nobody; like if I walking down the road and I could smell somebody cooking something like, I could be like, Wha you cooking there? And them be like, Check me back in a few minutes, check me back in a hour, I’n save a plate for you, all right, all right. So you go up the road, everybody you pass, everybody know your name, wha’ you sayin’? You good? Yea, man, you good? Everybody does know your name like you can’t — I can’t go to the store without, like, stopping a hundred times, ‘cause everybody like, yo, come here now, come here now, wha’ going on? I ain’ see ya in a while, but, but mind ‘em just see you yesterday, because you just went in the store yesterday, so is like, yea, I good, you good? Yea, so is like, you just, every day of your life you answering the same question: You good? Yes, I good.

If you go, if one person have a party, if it got a million people in Island Harbour, the million people invited to this party, and this person making sure that they have, whether tis he or she, enough food for feed everybody; nobody can’t be left out, and if your mother home can’t make it, your father home can’t make it, carry this home for your father, carry that home for your mother; you want some cake carry home for your gran- you like, it just like, carry this for everybody even though them ain’t even come to the party.

If you go on the bay, which is, like, by the wharf, and you want fish, you ain’t got no money, you just, stick around, you goin’ have at least ten fisherman that come to the wharf — you ask each one of them for a fish, you must have, get — but you must get one; when you’re done you got ten. Or if you, if you just ain’t got the money on you right now, you just tell ‘em you check ‘em a next time and you good to go.

If you go to the store, the Chinese and all — I know the Chinese in Island Harbour from time I was like wha, six, and they never change; the people never change them just, just keep adding people to the bunch; but as the people add to the bunch, they make sure introduce you to ‘em you know like, and them like, ain’t got stupid people them like them know Island Harbians they make sure them bring; you know everywhere you go, you got some stuck up, got some don’t want to talk: “Oh I don’t speak English.” But not these ones; these ones does come to parties; these ones does be signing up for Christmas giveaways, like, for hams and turkeys, like, even though them got it, them just want to be involved, you know like, them don’t even speak. I doesn’t even hear them speaking Chinese. If I go in the shop and ask where this is, and them speak to the next Chinese person in English. Just the other day, I hear one of them say, “Put it back there.” I was like, but you, you up here too long; you need to keep away from the Island Harbour people, and them just laugh and be like “Can’t keep away, can’t keep away.” Jack could cook food right now, and they could have people outside, and one of them smell it and say “I want some.” He ain’t gonna send ‘em; he going give it to them; he might tell ‘em them ain’t gonna like it ‘cause it might just be like cabbage and water ‘cause that what it look like, and them just take it.

Like after the hurricane, Island Harbour ain’t have no problems; nobody was hungry. We didn’t – it didn’t even, like we didn’t even, when the food truck come, nobody take food to carry home. Them just take food off the truck and then wait for everybody to reach, and then just like make sure everybody get something. And then the las- I can remember the last time the food truck come around, them ain’t have much and what them do; them take all the meat, clean it, barbecue it, had a generator, put on lights, had, um, a screen, put on projector, everybody eat drink, free of charge; we just, we used to do that every weekend, just put stuff on the griddle and just watch movies and enjoy no current, ’cause that’s all you can do when you had no current; one person had a house with a generator; anybody could a go there, charge them phone, laptop, even if you want charge, if you want to stay there; and you know, anybody could a just go there and just — them used to leave the generator on, them gone work, and them just leave the generator on for people to use. They just — Island Harbour — just, everybody just for everybody, and then when everybody cuss you got you — that’s what happen a lot, when you got people, a lo- like everybody love each other, you’d a have a lot of fights, cause a lot of disagreements. But then, in the end, it don’t make sense fight, ’cause you would be like, ah, you wasn’t just fighting? Them like, yeah, but that my partner you know, and so like it doesn’t even make sense them fight, and them does only fight because them love alcohol in Island Harbour.

Island Harbians do love to drink rum, just love to drink rum, but that come from fishing, standing up cleaning coolers of fish, where gon-who gonna stand up clean coolers of fish with a sane mind? Nobody! Buy a bottle a rum; everybody drink the rum, if you — and like, and, and in Island Harbour, when it comes to construction, nobody gotta pay nobody to build nothing in Island Harbour, just get beers, rum, and food, and your house is build, your roof is pour. It might take a while, ’cause everybody got day jobs, but you just get fo-food, rum, music, you got your work done. Everything done! Just ’cause you got a rum, like everybody just does drink rum. I can go to Island Harbour right now, and I guarantee just because it raining like this, nobody going work like that, rum! Everybody up there blind drunk today, and I going wait for go there this afternoon so I could witness it, you know like, just, Island Harbour.

Like every time I go up there, it just like I an, um, it, it’d be like I is a celebrity ‘cause I move out from Island Harbour to get closer to work. But it does just feel like I is a celebrity ’cause everybody just calling you from every corner like, every house you pass you hearing your name just because them know the Jeep and them seeing it driving through. Then you pull up somewhere, and you can’t leave ’cause them ain’t see ya in so long. “No! You can’t go for here now. You gotta stay here, you gotta.” You know? And you just don’t go because just how them say you can’t go; you don’t want to go neither. Just Island Harbour, just weird. Everybody does call it it own part of Anguilla, like, like it got a border. To me, it does too, like, it just different. When you leave from Island Harbour come in the Valley, it just different; you don’t see nobody on nobody porches; you don’t see hundreds of people sitting down together, like for nothing. You know, like, you don’t see it. Everybody just inside or from work; just ain’t care about nobody else just there, but not in Island Harbour: Everybody’s family, so everybody just around everybody; you could never walk through Island Harbour and don’t see nobody on the road and don’t pass somebody walking unless it after hours, never.