City Manager’s Newsletter – 20th August, 2008

Road Town and You!



Around Town!


Residents of Lower Main Street, in particular, are asked to be aware that the driving of piles for the proposed Commercial Court at the old Banco Popular building at the junction of Main Street and Customs Road will begin early in the morning of Saturday, 23rd August and possibly continue on Sunday, 24th.  Drivers in the area are asked to drive cautiously and observe any traffic detours that may be deemed necessary.



Did you know…


that under the Road Traffic Act Chapter 218 you can be fined for $75.00 for transporting improperly secured loose material such as sand or building materials?  If you’re a contractor or have hired one, make sure that the truck drivers connected with your project cover whatever they’re transporting so some of it doesn’t end up on our roads.



Feature (in honor of Heritage Month)


In 1811, Governor Hugh Elliott imposed martial law on the Virgin Islands, put the militia on permanent duty and arranged for the frigate, H.M.S. Cygnet, already in Road Harbour to be on full alert.  The cause –  Arthur Hodge, the first white man to ever be tried in the Caribbean for the death of a slave had been found guilty and the Governor was determined to see the sentence of death carried out.  Feelings ran high in the Territory where Hodge had many supporters.  Indeed, the jury though it found him guilty of the murder of a slave had recommended mercy.  The terrible revelations about Hodge’s cruelties had horrified abolitionists and interested the highest levels of the English government but, without the brave testimony of a free black woman, it is doubtful Hodge would have been convicted, much less brought to trial.

We do not know much about Pereen Georges beyond the fact that she was once a slave and had managed to obtain her freedom some years before the Hodge trial.  Pereen made her own living as a laundress and general helper and lived in Road Town.  She was well-acquainted with the Hodge family since she often went to Hodge’s estate in Belle Vue to do work for Ann Hodge, Arthur Hodge’s wife.  She would stay at the estate for anywhere from a couple of days to three weeks and sometimes took part in the running of the estate by managing the boiling house.

Pereen’s graphic and unshakeable testimony destroyed Hodge’s defense.   One of only two prosecution witnesses, the other being a white man, she testified to Hodge’s cruelty to Prosper and to his other slaves, men and women alike.  She, herself, had also been locked up by Hodge so she had reason to fear him.

The following is an excerpt of her testimony -  “I was present when [Prosper] was laid down and flogged for a mango which dropped off a tree and which Mr. Hodge said he should pay six shillings for.  He had not the money and came to borrow it of me.  I had no more than three shillings.  He said to his master he had no more money.  His master said he would flog him if he did not bring it.  He was laid down and held by four Negroes on his face and belly and flogged with a cartwhip.  He was under the lash better than an hour; and his master said he should be flogged again if he did not bring the other three shillings.  He was tied to a tree the next day and the flogging was repeated.  He was then licked so long that his head fell back and he could not bawl out any longer.

“He died by licks, confinement and starvation.  He had no black skin upon him, he was all cut to rags.”

Arthur Hodge was hung in Road Town on 8th May, 1811 for Prosper’s murder.  By bearing witness and not flinching from the truth and the telling of it, Pereen Georges is a heroine worth remembering during Heritage Month.


Jazz in the Park


The BVI Music Association will be in the Noel Lloyd/Positive Action Movement Park next week Friday on 29th August from 5:30 pm.  Come out with your lawn chair and enjoy some cool jazz under the stars!


 Put containers holding hazardous chemicals or wastes into other containers, trays, or drip pans to catch and contain any chemical that spills or leaks out.

Eugenia O'Neal
City Manager, Road Town
"The Little City With the Big Heart!"
Virgin Islands