Rediscovering Anguilla’s salt-picking heritage | THE DAILY HERALD

Salt-picking at the Road Bay Pond.

ANGUILLA–A varied group of Anguillian residents, including a government minister, historians, actors from the Sunshine and Stages Theatres, families and film makers converged on the Road Salt Pond located in Sandy Ground, Anguilla, early Sunday morning, September 16, to wade into the salt pond to pick salt.

The intent was to re-enact Anguillians’ main labour and wage-producing activity during the time of prominence of the island’s salt industry, one of its main income sources prior to when the current tourism hospitality industry took over. Anguilla’s salt industry officially ended in 1986 when the salt market crashed due to the oil industry in Trinidad, the main country importing the salt, suffering a major slump.

The Road Salt Pond, now a bird watchers’ paradise, continues to organically produce salt. A recent upsurge in the recognition of the pond’s historical significance has led to renewed curiosity and interest in this and other ponds, along with the desire to capture the story of “salt picking” production.

Encouraged to dress like the “old folks,” the gathering walked along the water walkways and then waded into the knee-high pond’s water to use their hands to burrow into the mud bottom which was covered with salt, lifting the salt to the water’s surface. Amazingly easy, the salt was dumped into buckets. After some time, the group walked back to shore with their “salty” loot.

Smiles, lively conversation and shared feedback validated that the learning experience was enjoyed by all.

Source: The Daily Herald