Derek Walcott laid to rest (GIS REPORT)

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Derek Walcott laid to rest (GIS REPORT)

17499226_1737315979892711_2253255335975712177_nGOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICE – The funeral of Sir Derek Alton Walcott KCSL, OBE, OCC, was held on Saturday, March 25, at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Castries.

Sir Derek passed away on March 17 at his home in Cap Estate, Saint Lucia. He was 87 years old.

The funeral service which took place in close proximity to the street where the poet and playwright was raised as a boy, drew professors, writers, the media, government officials and dignitaries from across the globe.

Professor Emeritus, Edward Alston Cecil Baugh, was a close friend of the 1992 Nobel Laureate. The Jamaican poet and scholar is recognized as an authority on the work of Derek Walcott. He edited Sir Derek’s book of Selected Poems in 2007.

Professor Baugh delivered the eulogy.

“We mourn and we celebrate a genius who was a prodigy, a maker. A Caribbean man who has made us and the world see more clearly the Caribbean landscape, Caribbean light. But we also mourn and celebrate a person. Someone with the virtues and the shortcomings that defined him, as the persons who knew him valued. I remember him as unassuming, never one to blow his own trumpet not one given to talking shop but famous if not notorious for his corny jokes. When I read his poem “The Muse of History at Rampanalgas”, I asked him if he knew the community of Rampanalgas, a remote place on the north-eastern coast of Trinidad. He said that he didn’t but then quipped that a guy called Rampanal once had a gas station there.

“He was a generous man, considerate of others, always willing to promote talent where he spotted it. He was a kind and considerate father, and in his daughters’ words, a doting absolutely besotted grandfather.”

For those touched by the genius of the literary titan, Professor Baugh wished him a fond farewell.

“On behalf of the Governor General of Saint Lucia, Dame Pearlette Louisy, the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Allen M. Chastanet and the government of Saint Lucia. On behalf of his loved ones, Sigrid, his bright spirited unwavering partner of 30 years, his son Peter, Lizzy and Anna his two dear daughters, to use a phrase from one of his poems, his grandchildren, his nephew Nigel. On behalf of his friends, Saint Mary’s college, on behalf of the people of Saint Lucia, on behalf of the West Indies and the world, we say to the boy from Chaussee Road, Sir Derek Alton Walcott. May that effervescent but transcendent light shine on you and may you rest in the radiant moment that is the season of phantasmal peace.”

Prior to the funeral, the body of Sir Derek Walcott lay in state in Parliament. He was laid to rest at Morne Fortune near the Inniskilling Monument, within proximity to fellow Nobel Laureate, Sir Arthur Lewis.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. It's a big shame for someone who had accomplish so much. He was respected all over the world but not in his homeland. I'm not surprised cus we're a dead hero society.

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  2. What I keep asking myself is why wasn't he buried on his land....(Derek Walcott Square) Why on Sir Arthur Lewis'???
    Maybe its just me but it doesn't make much sense. RIP Sir Walcott

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  3. I am in two minds to write this about Sir Walcott farewell. I ask myself should i let him rest for a few weeks into his new home? The answer I came up with was no !!
    Nothing surprise me with this inept UWP Administration. This is an administration that found $500,000.00 for a swearing in ceremony in VFORT. Yet this administration was not ready to spend half the amount to bus school children from around the Island to attend this son of the soil (GREAT CARIBBEAN MAN) finial celebrations.
    I know there are some of you that will ask the question, why is politics in every thing we do or say? The answer is simple, yes! politics is part of each and every one of us life.
    Fortunately for me, I got the answer in Sir Walcott writings.
    This administration also found the answers in Sir Walcott writings and therefore was not prepared to give him the 100% send off. One of the answers goes like this, “A NEW SLAVERY WITHOUT CHAINS” and the second one goes like this, “PROFIT WITHOUT GUILT”.
    Allen this is why DSH must be stopped, Sir Walcott has given us the warning, as a people we must protect our culture.
    Allen like Sir Walcott said in his second paragraph in OMEROS, “AND HE FIRE A WHITE RUM”….
    Well Allen I will fire one to ensure I stop you and your administration with this mad DSH project.

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    • Using Derek's death to score political points...unimaginable.....this represents the ignorance of our people

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      • JOHN !! "Using Derek's death to score political points...unimaginable.....this represents the ignorance of our people"

        John I read in the Trinidad Guardian, PM Allen was hand shaking and waving to and at people as the military parade was making it way to the church from Government Buildings. Is this not politics ?????

        You have a PM that does not understand protocol and you want to blame me for my comments. GO figure John......

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  4. I absolutely agree. Reminds me of the saying " A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home." This was a man worthy of respect for his contribution to the world and his country. Some have said he spent more time in Trinidad and US and elsewhere, and only his latter years marked his presence on home soil. Truthfully this man could've never been who he was had he remained in St. Lucia where even your peers tear you down and opportunities are limited especially in the field of education. The wider world gave him the recognition and respect and loved him and his work apparently. The handful of persons who showed up came out of genuine love and respect for this man, and therefore better the genuine few than the crowd of gawkers with little respect to the ceremony. May his soul rest in Peace. Farewell Mr. Walcott, been in your presence a couple times and it was an honour. Thank God for the talent he gave you! ( where is the national pride and respect for the flag? draped so wrinkled at a state funeral with what appears to be some cheap fabric. Lucians get your act together!!)

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