Below is a comment that was submitted to an article published on our website this week. Our news team decided to print this comment separately, as an article, because we believe it would stir interesting discussion. Please note, however, that the views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the staff and management of St. Lucia News Online and its parent company.
Why is St. Lucia keeping a Nobel Laureate Festival week for two men who did not give a flaming toss about their country?
I am calling on the powers that be in this country to use the taxpayers’ money wisely by allocating the resources that will be utilised on this pomp and ostentatious display in other areas that will benefit the country in the long run.
St. Lucia can do without this ceremonial splendour and pompous proclamation of two men who spent their entire adult life outside of the country and contributed very little towards it’s welfare and well-being. There is hardly any country in the world where such pomposity is being celebrated. We are becoming obsessed with any little occasion and opportunity to have a good time like there is no tomorrow.
The question I need to ask is this: What did these two lordly men of self-importance do for their country? The simple answer is nothing. I remember having a conversation with the late Romanus Lansiquot, a while back before he passed away and he was of the opinion that (Derek) Walcott had spent all his life away from the confines of our beautiful island and had done precious little to help in its development. The Right Honourable gentleman was echoing his views to me during a short visit to London back in the 90’s in reference to the Pitons controversy which Walcott became embroiled in.
Arthur Lewis left St Lucia for London back in the late 1930’s to pursue an economics degree from the London School of Economics. He then taught for a while in the UK before embarking on a journey to West Africa, where he met with luminaries like Kwame Nkrumah and set about devising an economic plan for what was then the Gold Coast. He then returned to Europe where he penned a few books on the subject he became enamored and infatuated with.
I remember an instance back in the early 80’s where a student at St. Mary’s College asked a very pertinent question about Lewis’s commitment to St. Lucia, and the poor boy was chastised and thrown out of the institution for daring to question Lewis’s patriotism or lack of. I cannot recall one project that Sir Arthur Lewis undertook in the country before he departed from this life, yet we are celebrating this man’s contributions to the world of economics.
He afforded others the opportunity to benefit from his acquaintance with this science other than his own country. Why do we allow people of such ilk to continue to belch/burp on us profusely? We are suffering from the crybaby syndrome in this country. This is partly because we are lacking in self-confidence as a people and so in order to make up for our misgivings and apprehension we seek solace and redemption in the arms of men with imperturbable masks and ignominious intentions.
We act as victims when we are not. If Lewis wanted our folks to continue to pay homage to him then he should have put things in place to do so. He could have bequeathed some of his largesse to a trust fund so that the people who want to honour him religiously can do so. I do not believe that state funds should be used for that purpose. The money being used to do so can be put elsewhere. It can be used to help the homeless, and other desperate causes in this country. Taxpayers money should not be used for that sole purpose.
We are beginning to glamourize and encourage our naïve citizens in the pursuit of knowledge in non-productive academic careers such as poetry and playwright which are not actually relevant to our quest for development in today’s digital world. Another reason for awarding the Nobel Prize to people like Derek Walcott and Arthur Lewis is to further fool the poor black Caribbeans into pursuance of courses in those areas completely irrelevant other than romanticism, so as to waste our precious time away, reciting such foolish, childish, archaic, irrelevant, sentimental songs as ‘twinkle twinkle little star ‘in place of modern science and technology which the West and of late the East have adopted as their academic mantra.
The white man’s aim is to perpetually make the Caribbean and Africa underdeveloped so that industrialisation will not pollute it. Its people should remain ‘The wretched of the earth’ and the best way for the Europeans to do that is by bringing to the limelight, mystifying and glamorizing unproductive elements like Derek Walcott who eat freely from the sweat of the hapless St. Lucian and Caribbean peasants, who eat more than they contribute. The truth is that Africa and the Caribbean has long been designed to remain a virgin land for the future use of the Europeans when they finally achieve their aim of reducing the world’s population to 500 million through creating and promoting these types of elitist/ academic area boyism to facilitate some of the ways of achieving that long-term plan.
Walcott spent most of his time in Trinidad and the United States. He set up the Trinidad theatre company and never looked back. He was regarded as a son on the Trini soil and made very little reference to the land that gave birth to him and bred him before he left its shores. Apart from having a property on the island, he contributed very little. He hardly patronised the arts, the very discipline which afforded him the Nobel Prize.
Professor Walcott was better known for appearing on the pages of glitterati magazines’ colourful pages and patronising upper crust party where he is more at home with a posh glass in his hand than a biro and paper; he is happier being in the limelight than in drama studios and language laboratory parroting out long archaic English words he memorised, in the ancient 1940s/50s, from ‘Larcombes’ and ‘students’ companion’ books.
So let me quickly add that where true intellectuals gather Walcott cannot dare go there, for no longer is his ACE, the meandering colonial-era English regarded as fashionable in this internet age. The days of bamboozling and holding the people spellbound with comically entertaining words such as Hot Gospeller, Churched Sky, Tallow, Bird-Rocked are over, please. In today’s dynamic intellectual world even academic bulldozers, both past and present, are aware of the dynamic changes the academic world is rapidly undergoing.They can at best be good in the historical perspective but presently considered as analog.
Both Walcott and Lewis were prodigiously wealthy and caked-up and could have so easily left something in their will for the people of St. Lucia which would be beneficial in the long run. Between this two colossus scholarships and institutions of higher learning could have been set up. The Morne Fortune educational establishment should never have been named after Sir Arthur Lewis. There are distinguished persons right here in St. Lucia, this college could have been named after. We are often told that there is nothing for nothing in this world. In order to get something, you have to do something in return. You have to contribute. These two ancient dinosaurs did nothing for St. Lucia.
Walcott resented the fact that he had St. Lucian connections by way of birth and family. He was a lothario who was deprived of teaching poetry at Oxford University. A prominent member of St. Lucia’s arts establishment once remarked to me that Walcott was all about money after he decided to cancel a film that was being put together under his watch. I believe had he not been found out as being St Lucian-born he would have continued masquerading as a Trinidadian academic.
I read somewhere, where the Lewis family rattled on about their Antiguan roots. None of these men really relished being St. Lucians, and it is for this reason I am calling on the powers that be in St. Lucia to spend the state’s taxpayers dollars wisely. Do Not spend it on such lavish ceremonies and the people are suffering. These men have gone and did not give a flaming toss about our people when they were alive.
The funds being used to keep this unnecessary, pointless and superfluous commemoration should be spent on healthcare, housing for the homeless, food for the needy and hungry, and not on the hosting of any ceremony for uncharitable and inconsiderate souls like Walcott and Lewis.
If their family want to keep a ceremony to remember them then, by all means, they are entitled to do so, providing they are using their own funds to do just that.
Our hard-earned tax dollars should not be used to fund Nobel Laureate Festival week. No way Lucia! There is so much more to do with this money.
Wake up, St. Lucia! Wake up my people and save for a rainy day and bumpy road ahead!
Viva St. Lucia the land of my beautiful mother!