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Lebanese in Guadeloupe Celebrate 150 Year Anniversary

According to Dr. Guita Hourani, Director of the Lebanese Emigration Research Center (LERC) at the Faculty of Law and Political Science (FLPS), Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU), who interviewed in 2003 Challita Torbay (a Lebanese from the village of Niha who migrated to Guadeloupe in 1948), the first Lebanese to arrive in Guadeloupe around 1870 was from the Debs family in Bazoun, Northern Lebanon; Guadeloupe in that era was a prosperous French colony.
The Lebanese of Guadeloupe are estimated to be around 5,000. They play an important role in the economic and social life of the island.

To mark their 150-year anniversary of their presence on the island, the Association Mission of Saint Charbel in Guadeloupe (Saint Charbel Mission Association in Guadeloupe) headed by Fr. Nicolas Taza organized a three-day celebration, involving the Lebanese community, local governments, the municipality of Pointe-à-Pitre, the people of Guadeloupe, and the various churches.

The charge d'affaires of the Embassy of Lebanon in France Ghady el-Khoury and Bishop Maroun Nasser Gemayel, Bishop of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon in Paris, traveled to the island from Paris to partake in the celebration.

A conference disucssing the Lebanese presence was held on the first day of the festivities, and the second day included the unveiling of a commemorating plaque followed by an official dinner. The ceremonies were concluded with a solemn Mass in the Maronite Rite, presided by Bishop of Guadeloupe Jean-Yves Riocreux,  and celebrated by Bishop Gemayel, Fr. Yacoub Mobayed, Chaplain of the Greek Orthodox, and many other priests. The Mass was sung in five languages, including Syriac, Creole, French, Greek, and Arabic.

For further information, kindly consult an article by Dr. Guita Hourani titled, “Lebanese in Guadeloupe: The Island of Beautiful Waters,” and an article by Dr. Fadi al-Ahmar, titled, "Les libanais en Guadeloupe: ancienne et nouvelle émigration," dans le livre La présence libanaise dans le monde: universalité du multiculturalisme libanais, Press USEK, 2015.


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