Little be known, but St. Eustatius has the honor of being the first foreign territory to officially recognize the Grand Union Flag of America on November 16,1776. It gave an 11 gun salute in response to the 13 cannon volley by the colonial brigantine Andrew Doria, announcing the United States independence from England. Statia’s recognition of America’s independence, and that it supplied ammunition and gunpowder to her shores, ultimately resulted in its capture and destruction by the British.
November 16th is “Statia Day.” Local politicos, representatives of the American consulate, marching bands, girl scouts, tourists and press politely listen to speeches before heading off to Fort Oranje, with its turrets overlooking the ocean, for a reenactment of the 11 gun salute. Following the ceremony, everyone heads up hill to partake in the street scene, brimming with kiosks selling berry juices, johnnycakes, salt fish and a variety of other island delicacies. Family and friends gather, children play in the streets and the old folk sit on the sidelines while politicos schmooze with them all. That’s what Statia Day’s all about.
For the past eight years Statia, along with St. Maarten and other nearby Islands, have participated in the Golden Rock Regatta, a week of sailing and racing. This year, American made its debut, and raced Statia, St. Maarten, St. Barths and St. Eustatius,. Statia was crowned the winner.
A post race dinner held in Statia’s harbor, with grilled chicken, lobster and steaks combined with the aroma of Cuban cigars, perfumed the waterfront, as music wafted into the nearby hillside as tourist and sailor alike downed their spirits. The affable Director of Tourism, Charles Lindo and his friendly staff, oversaw the festivities, which boogied on into the early morning hours.
A special thanks to the Director of Tourism, Charles Lindo, Product Developing and Research manager, Maya Leon-Pandt, Public Relations Officer, Teena Lopes, Office assistant, Sharmin Turner and lastly, the ex-Director of Tourism and our personal guide, Roland Lopes. www.statiatourism.com
Bill Milligan / Solocaribe