"The Merikins" Documentary premieres in South Trinidad
May 20, 2012: Moruga and Princes Town residents came out in their hundreds on Saturday, May 19, 2012, at the Nia Valley Estate, Matilda Gardens, Princes Town for the premiere of “The Merikins” documentary hosted by the United States Embassy.
U.S. Ambassador Beatrice W. Welters told the audience, which was comprised of many Merikin descendants, that the documentary “demonstrates the proud heritage that many people here share tonight.”
She said she was motivated to commission the documentary with the help of the British and Canadian High Commissions after hearing the story from her friend, Tina Dunkley, a Merikin descendant resident in the U.S. who returned home for the South premiere.
The respective High Commissioners, Arthur Snell and Karen McDonald, in their remarks expressed their satisfaction being associated with the 30-minute documentary, which was produced by JCD and Associates.
Speaking on behalf of the Merikin community in Moruga, Lisa Atwater, a secondary school teacher, boasted of her proud heritage to those gathered, including Members of Parliament for Tableland/Moruga Clifton DeCoteau and Princes Town Nela Khan.
Public Affairs Officer of the Embassy, Alexander McLaren, in his welcome remarks remembered the producers conducting long hours of interviews and recreating aspects of the Merikin lifestyle to bring to life the shared history between Trinidad and Tobago and the U.S.
He noted that it was a difficult task, since the story of the Merikins spans four countries and had to be reassembled from scarce records. However, the end product depicts the Merikins’ courage and sacrifice to gain their freedom.
The Merikins are descendants of slaves who were granted their freedom for fighting for the British in the War of 1812 between the United States and Britain. At the end of the war, the British re-settled those who had fought to Moruga, and took with them their unique culture, music and religion that exists to this day.