Bouton residents pray for a miracle at Christmas!
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.