(SNO) — The opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) has pledged to help rebuild the Folk Research Centre’s burnt-out headquarters at Mount Pleasant, Castries when it returns to office.
Speaking in his response to the Appropriations Bill recently, party and opposition leader, Philip J. Pierre, said in March 2018, the 45-year-old Centre burned to the ground with loss of all its “invaluable documents and audio-visual materials”.
He claimed that “to date the institution has not received a report from the Fire Service on the cause of the disastrous fire”.
Pierre said the loss of this “unique Saint Lucian institution” sent shock waves throughout the world, and that the importance of safe-guarding, preserving and “most importantly” digitizing records was re-emphasized by that fire.
“An SLP government will give support to the Folk Research Center in their efforts to digitalize their records. The Saint Lucia Labour Party pledges to work with the Folk Research Center to help rebuild its burnt out headquarters at Mount Pleasant,” he said.
Emergency officials had received the report of the fire at the Centre, on Calgary Road, Mount Pleasant, at 10:19 p.m. on Sunday, March 25, and units from Gros Islet and Castries were dispatched.
The building was found partially engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, and despite their efforts the building was completely destroyed.
There were no loss of life or injuries.
The Folk Research Centre announced in November 2018 that it had moved to new premises — where it now operates — at the building formerly used by Monroe College, on Barnard Hill, opposite the entrance to the National Cultural Centre.
The Centre said it is now reorganizing its educational and research programmes, outreach activities and rebuilding its library.
Officials said they hope to eventually return to its one-acre property at Mount Pleasant where the ruins of its ruined building still stands.
The Folk Research Centre was established in 1973 as repository for cultural heritage, a vehicle for research, study, recording and promulgating Saint Lucia’s rich heritage.
It houses an extensive library of publications, audio visual recordings and photographs and is the major study centre for work carried out into Saint Lucia’s folk culture by both nationals and visiting researchers and students.