Trib­ute to Hon. Sir Derek A. Wal­cott from the Saint Lu­cia Labour Party

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT - By Philip J. Pierre

Our coun­try awoke on the morn­ing of March 17 to the sad news that a Saint Lu­cian ge­nius, an icon of the world, had passed. It is im­pos­si­ble for any­one to be able to ex­press in words the life of this Saint Lu­cian No­bel Lau­re­ate only his own mastery of the English lan­guage could aptly de­scribe his life work and achieve­ments.

Sir Derek was born on Chausee Road in Cas­tries, Saint Lu­cia 87 years ago. I was pleased to be part of the gov­ern­ment that started to memo­ri­al­ize the home where he was born and where he lived dur­ing his for­ma­tive years on that fa­mous street in Cas­tries where Sir Arthur Lewis, the other Saint Lu­cian-born No­bel lau­re­ate, also lived.

To say Sir Derek was a ge­nius of all times is an un­der­state­ment. He ranks in the lit­er­ary world of Wil­liam Shake­speare, Longfel­low, V.S. Naipaul and oth­ers of that ilk. His works have been pro­claimed glob­ally and he was a men­tor to many lo­cal writ­ers like Robert Lee and McDon­ald Dixon.

His first an­thol­ogy In a Green Night: Po­ems 1948-60 was de­scribed by The Lis­tener as “a strik­ing first col­lec­tion. His writ­ing be­longs to the plea­sure band of the spec­trum; it is full of sum­mary, melan­choly, fresh and sting­ing colours, lus­cious melody and in­tense aware­ness of place . . . his vol­ume hums with echoes of Vil­lan and Dante, Cat­ul­lus and the meta­phys­i­cals.”

Sir Derek con­tin­ued to blaze the trail with his po­etry and writ­ings, al­ways re­mem­ber­ing the coun­try of his birth, Saint Lu­cia. From Re­turn to D’En­nery Rain to A City’s Death By Fire, Saint Lu­cia was his oa­sis, his play­ground from where he would in­form the world of his na­tive is­land, in­tro­duc­ing the lo­cal pa­tois in his po­etry, proud of his her­itage and his coun­try. This “great­est liv­ing writer” is gone but thank­fully his writ­ing will re­main for the world to en­joy and share with gen­er­a­tions still un­born.

On be­half of the Ex­ec­u­tive, mem­bers and Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans of the Saint Lu­cia Labour Party I wish to ex­press my deep­est sym­pa­thy to the fam­ily of the late Hon Sir Derek A. Wal­cott. May his soul rest in peace.

Saint Lu­cia’s No­bel lau­re­ate Sir Derek Wal­cott.

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