Cultural community loses another icon

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St. Clair. * File photo

(PRESS RELEASE) – It is with great sadness that the Government of Saint Lucia extends condolences to the family of Gandolph St. Clair who died on 11 February, 2018.

For the fourth time the cultural community morns the loss of another member, this time in the form of poet, playwright, actor and singer, Gandolph St. Clair, he was sixty six.

A native of Vieux Fort he won a UNESCO bursary in 1979 to attend the Jamaica School of Drama, where he majored in Directing. His numerous credits include: The Hustlers, a one act play written with Robert Lee, and directed by Hayden Forde which has been twice staged (2003 and 2005). In 1999 Gandolph St. Clair wrote and directed ‘A Twist In Time’, a forty three minute film, which has been shown locally and in St. Maarten at the Soulaiga Film Festival. He also wrote and produced the Radio Play “1+1+1” for Saint Lucia’s 15th Independence Anniversary.

In 2016 he published THE CALABASH TREE….a collection of poetry

In April 2014 the Saint Lucia Public Library honored Gandolph St. Clair for his invaluable contribution to the Literary Arts in Saint Lucia. In 2015 as part of the 36th Independent Anniversary celebrations, he was awarded the Saint Lucia Medal of Merit GOLD for long and dedicated contribution in the field of Culture and the Arts. While in March 2017 the Saint Lucia Writer’s Forum hosted Gandolph in the Laureate’s Chair.

Gandolph St. Clair’s work is presently on display at City Hall as part of the 2018 Nobel Laureate Festival.

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  1. OK. He made his own mark culturally. It was mostly personal achievement. But then, did he move the country other than culturally, from Point A to Point B? Did he?

    He did well for himself. But when will this country ever produce people to form a critical mass, who tackle our developmental needs in combinations of human and natural resources that are available locally? When?

    Is it not past the time to examine the bigger picture?

  2. Life expectancy is low because Saint Lucians vote for too many jackass ignorant politicians with no balls to be good ministers of health. See the capital mess such ignoramuses, some with degrees, have made of the hospitals.

  3. Words seem inadequate to express the sorrow felt by the loss of Gandolph St Clair - aka Gandy. I extend my deepest sympathy on the loss of this precious son of the soil to his family and friends In St Lucia.

    Gandolph was such a thoughtful and caring person.He was affable and amiable. He was erudite.I last spoke to him a while back when he asked me (on the phone) to get him a copy of the former British Prime minister's speech back in 2001. This was Tony Blair of course.He spent a year in London back in the mid 80's and wrote for BBC radio. He was very influential on the local arts scene. He was a bit controversial at times. I remembered a piece he wrote in the Voice newspaper lambasting Albert Deterville for having the temerity to create an organization called the National Cultural Council. Albert hit back by denouncing Gandy at a cultural show he kept at the Halcyon hotel near the airport.Gandy reckoned that Deterville's NCC was unfit to be coined 'The National Cultural Council.'

    He was from the South of the island namely Vieux Fort.I spent a day with him just before he went to London.I was visiting St Lucia at that time. We were both stranded on Morne Fortune and was offered a ride to Vieux Fort in the company of the Tru Tones guitarist Map, who I understand is St Vincent-born. During our long drive, we stopped at a bar on a hill in Dennery, where we sampled the local culinary delights washed down with fresh juices. We then proceeded to our final destination which was Map's family house in the center of Vieux Fort. The family welcomed us with open arms and cooked us a sumptuous breakfast the next day before we embarked on our journey to the Western part of the country.

    A friend in London once told me how he gave a copy of Gandy's anthology "Urf Song" to a student who was sitting her GCE English exam and encouraged her to keep reading it. She followed his instructions and went on to get an A grade in English. Gandy wrote songs and sang a few as well. One which springs to mind is a Kwayol number entitled ' Mesier Garder' . This was about a man who ventured out to visit a local psychic to find out whether his wife was having an affair. He wrote the hit song 'Let Us Start A Revolution' for the Survival band from his Southern enclave. Gandy was a poet and his love of poetry came first before anything else.He also reviewed the arts without mercy. He was a colossus.

    Gandolph St Clair served his country well. If anyone deserves to be honoured for services to the arts in St Lucia, I say afford the honour to Gandy. He was a patriot who loved St Lucia. He was offered many opportunities to leave St Lucia and to work elsewhere but he refused to do that. He was a loyal patriot who gave a lot to his country.St Lucia has lost a larger than life literary giant who was full of character. I read many of his poems, and like painting the more one piece takes your fancy the more you are likely to ingratiate yourself further. His poetry was enlightening and refulgent. His narrative and prose ooze radiance. He wrote in a language that everyone including the average man can connect to. He reached out to everyone.

    During my last piece about Nobel Laureate week, I called on the powers that be in St Lucia to refrain from wasting our taxpaying dollars on hosting ineffectual and unproductive events like Nobel Laureate week and I got endless flack for saying so.I felt that Walcott and Lewis, our two Nobel laureates did little to merit having such an illustrious event held in their honour.These two men held our splendid island with utter disdain scorn and derision.They did not give a flaming hoot about St Lucia. Now, look at the contrast. When you compare these men to Gandy - There is no comparison frankly. Gandolph stands out from these two self-centered, stingy mercenaries. Gandy gave so much to St Lucia and he deserves to be honoured. I would rather see our tax dollars being spent on hosting an event that befits someone of Gandy's ilk.He was there and he served well. He never gave up on his people.He was noble and generous in spirit. He was selfless.He was a superstar of the arts.

    What moves through us is a silence, a quiet sadness, a longing for one more day, one more word, one more touch. We may not understand why you left this earth so soon, or why you left before we were ready to say goodbye, but little by little, we begin to remember not just that you died, but that you lived. And that your life gave us memories too beautiful to forget.

    I will always cherish the beautiful memories though not many that we had together.May there be comfort in knowing that someone so special will never be forgotten.St Lucia has lost a Colossus.With love and remembrance.Goodbye, my friend and Comrade. May your soul Rest in Perfect Peace.My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time.
    Nothing, they say is more certain than death, and nothing more uncertain than the time of dying.RIP Gandy!

    Malcolm L'Overture
    Haitian- Lucian
    Berlin Germany


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