Wal­cott Place Un­der­way

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

The in­ter­sec­tion of Chaussée Road and Grass Street came alive on Satur­day Jan­uary 17, 2015 at the sod-turn­ing cer­e­mony for the Wal­cott Place Project.

The event was graced by Hon­ourable Derek Wal­cott, his fam­ily and close friends. Also present were Gover­nor Gen­eral of Saint Lu­cia and Pa­tron of the Saint Lu­cia Na­tional Trust (SLNT), Her Ex­cel­lency Dame Pear­lette Louisy, Tai­wanese Am­bas­sador James Chi-ping Chang, Min­is­ter of Phys­i­cal Devel­op­ment Hous­ing and Ur­ban Re­newal - Se­na­tor Hon­ourable Stan­ley Felix, Par­lia­men­tary Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Cas­tries Cen­tral – Hon­ourable Richard Fred­er­ick, of­fi­cials from the var­i­ous Min­istries in­volved in the Wal­cott Place Project, res­i­dents from Chaussée Road and en­vi­rons, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Grass Street Devel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, SLNT Coun­cil­lors, mem­bers and staff, renowned in­di­vid­u­als from the Arts so­ci­ety and the me­dia.

Upon the ar­rival of the Gover­nor Gen­eral, a most riv­et­ing ren­di­tion of the Na­tional An­them was given by Gale An­nius fol­lowed by a heart­felt prayer by Mon­signor Pa­trick An­thony. The vi­brant mu­sic in the dis­tance her­alded the ar­rival of the Mas­quer­aders from Kid­diCrew and stilt walk­ers from La­borie: Les Ti Zeansez de Labowi. The pro­ces­sion and per­for­mance was en­joyed by both those seated and the nu­mer­ous on­look­ers who lined the side­walks.

The gath­er­ing was ad­dressed by Se­na­tor Felix who said that no ur­ban space is de­void of is­sues and cau­tioned that if not ad­dressed it might re­sult in the death of a city by ne­glect.

In his re­marks, the Tai­wanese Am­bas­sador stated that his coun­try has pledged US$2.8 mil­lion to­wards the project of which US$500,000 was dis­bursed on Oc­to­ber 24, 2014. His Ex­cel­lency Chiping Chang in­di­cated that the funds will as­sist in con­vert­ing the child­hood home of No­bel Lau­re­ate Derek Wal­cott and his twin brother Rod­er­ick Wal­cott into a na­tional cul­tural land­mark. There­after, ex­cerpts com­piled by Ken­del Hip­polyte from the Wal­cott broth­ers’ works, en­ti­tled ‘The House on Chaussée Road’, were per­formed with much vi­vac­ity by Ken­del and Jane Hip­polyte and Vladimir Lu­cien.

Dur­ing his ad­dress, MP for Cas­tries Cen­tral, Richard Fred­er­ick said he had spo­ken to the res­i­dents and they were rather pleased about the project. Nonethe­less, he took the op­por­tu­nity to en­cour­age them to em­brace the project and treat it as their own. He went on to say that Derek Wal­cott is one man who has cat­e­gor­i­cally refuted the no­tion that from where one hails will de­ter­mine one’s des­tiny and, as such, he ad­vised the gath­er­ing that each per­son, ir­re­spec­tive of their back­ground, can make a con­tri­bu­tion in their re­spec­tive fields.

Sec­re­tary to Cabi­net, Dar­rel Mon­trope apol­o­gized on be­half of the Prime Min­is­ter, Dr. Kenny An­thony, who was un­able to at­tend. In the Prime Min­is­ter’s re­marks, as de­liv­ered by Mon­trope, ref­er­ence was made to ‘Grass Street and Later Mem­o­ries’ by Cle­tus Springer and ‘Omeros’ by Derek Wal­cott. The gath­er­ing was then wooed by the tal­ented Bar­bara Cadet who soul­fully and pas­sion­ately per­formed an in­stru­men­tal ex­cerpt from “Tom Fool” and “Sha­son Marie Anne”.

The Gover­nor Gen­eral be­gan her re­marks by say­ing that through the po­etry re­cited ear­lier and Cadet’s re­fresh­ing per­for­mance, the au­di­ence got a taste of the vi­brancy, mu­sic and art that the project hopes to re­vive in the com­mu­nity. She went on to say that the arts can help to pro­vide em­ploy­ment and that she an­tic­i­pates the project can trans­form the space into a place of hope and hon­our.

She then made her way over to a plot of land ad­ja­cent to the Wal­cott House and turned the sod, thereby declar­ing the of­fi­cial in­au­gu­ra­tion of the Wal­cott Place Project.

There­after, Ca­lyp­so­nian, Rob­bie Cal­ixte (who is orig­i­nally from Grass Street) brought sev­eral of the at­ten­dees to their feet as he per­formed his mo­ti­vat­ing and orig­i­nal piece, “I’m Gonna Make It”. In the end the Direc­tor of the SLNT, Mr. Bishnu Tulsie took the op­por­tu­nity to thank the Gov­ern­ment of Saint Lu­cia, the Tai­wanese, the Gover­nor Gen­eral, all the gov­ern­ment Min­istries, the RSLPF the Wal­cott Fam­ily and the res­i­dents of the com­mu­nity for their con­tin­ued sup­port.

He re­it­er­ated the fact that Chaussée Road and en­vi­rons has given many he­roes to Saint Lu­cia and per­haps it is the Wal­cott Place Project that will in­spire the res­i­dents, es­pe­cially the chil­dren, to aspire to achieve great­ness.

The fol­low­ing Satur­day, Jan­uary 24, there was a gath­er­ing at the Pi­geon Is­land Na­tional Land­mark for the cor­po­rate launch of the Wal­cott Place Project. Sim­i­lar to the sod-turn­ing cer­e­mony, the pro­ceed­ing was held un­der the aus­pices of the Gover­nor Gen­eral of Saint Lu­cia and Pa­tron of the Saint Lu­cia Na­tional Trust, Her Ex­cel­lency Dame Pear­lette Louisy. It was an evening laced with heart­warm­ing and melo­di­ous per­for­mances by Elra Er­may, Bar­bara Cadet, Ron­ald “Boo” Hink­son and Man­may La Kay.

A trib­ute to Rod­er­ick Wal­cott by Mr. MacDon­ald Dixon gave greater in­sight into the life and works of both broth­ers. There­after, an in­sight­ful video bi­og­ra­phy of the Wal­cott broth­ers was shared with the gath­er­ing. A concise Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tion, which served to ce­ment the in­for­ma­tion con­tained in the SLNT Fundrais­ing Prospec­tus given to the in­vi­tees, was done by SLNT Coun­cil­lor, Mr. Cal­ixte Ge­orge Jr.

Re­marks were also made by Tai­wanese Am­bas­sador, His Ex­cel­lency James Chang, Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and Min­is­ter for In­fra­struc­ture, Port Ser­vices andTrans­port, Hon­ourable Philip J. Pierre and Dame Pear­lette Louisy, who chairs the Wal­cott Place Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee.

In his re­marks, the Act­ing Prime Min­is­ter en­cour­aged Cor­po­rate Saint Lu­cia and all cit­i­zens to step up and do­nate to this worth­while ini­tia­tive. Di­rect dona­tions can be made to Bank of Saint Lu­cia ac­count num­ber 933313673 – Saint Lu­cia Na­tional Trust – Wal­cott Place Ac­count; on the SLNT web­site: http://slu­na­trust.org/ pro­grammes-projects/pp-the­wal­cott-place-project or by con­tact­ing the SLNT: 452 5005 or email na­trust@slu­na­trust.org.

The cer­e­mo­nial sod-turn­ing for the Wal­cott Place Project which took place on

Jan­uary 17.

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