Bou­ton res­i­dents pray for a mir­a­cle at Christ­mas!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

By Toni Ni­cholas

En-route to Soufriere via Ca­naries, with six miles to go, lies Bou­ton—the kind of coastal com­mu­nity our tourist-brochure Shake­speares love to de­scribe as “quaint,” a word syn­ony­mous with pic­turesque, sweet, at­trac­tive.

Based on lat­est cen­sus, the Bou­ton pop­u­la­tion would now be ap­prox­i­mately 137, most of whom are Ro­man Catholics who sur­vive by farm­ing and who wor­ship at their all-pur­pose pri­mary school.

The “be­hind-God’s-back” lit­tle vil­lage sel­dom makes news ex­cept at Bud­get time when its MP makes the rit­ual prom­ise of com­ing bet­ter days. Ah, but that may be about to change: this week, Joseph Cadette, Colin Mercier and Paul J. Au­guste, who de­scribe them­selves as “proud sons of Bou­ton”, vis­ited the STAR on a spe­cial mis­sion re­lated to land they say was sev­eral years ago be­queathed to the peo­ple of their com­mu­nity.

“We would like to share our plight with the pub­lic,” Cadette told me this week dur­ing an in­ter­view. His re­search had re­vealed a man named Charles Hip­polyte Boucher had left in his will, pro­bated Fe­bru­ary 27, 1946, di­rec­tives for his ex­ecu­tors to di­vest 50 ‘car­res’ of land to the peo­ple of Bou­ton.

Ac­cord­ing to “Clause 1” of the will, a copy of which was made avail­able to the STAR, the land, “more or less at Anse Jam­bou, quar­ter of Soufriere, Saint Lu­cia,” was be­queathed “to the parish priest, for the time be­ing, of Ca­naries, for the uses of the parish, the poor­est on the is­land.”

The 50 car­res of land ac­counts for about ninety per­cent of what is now Bou­ton. Two ex­ecu­tors are men­tioned in the will, one of them pur­ported to be Boucher’s care­taker.

“When we dis­cov­ered this it was 2006,” Cadette told me, “We im­me­di­ately did a search at the land reg­istry.” It emerged that the name of own­er­ship had been changed from Charles Hip­polyte Boucher to Kelvin Ed­ward Felix, the arch­bishop, “on be­half of the church.” He pro­vided doc­u­ments sup­port­ive of his claim.

“We are now con­tend­ing there was an er­ror,” said Colin Mercier. “We are be­ing con­ser­va­tive here, in terms of the change of own­er­ship which was done through the courts. We hope it is an er­ror, be­cause

Paul J. Au­guste (L) and Joseph Cadette: two res­i­dents of Bou­ton are stand­ing up

for what they be­lieve right­fully be­longs to the peo­ple of their com­mu­nity.

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