Fire has destroyed the building housing the Folk Research Centre (FRC) but it hasn’t destroyed the concept of the facility which is the development of the national and cultural identity.
That’s according to founding director of the FRC, Fr. Patrick Anthony, when he addressed a press conference on Monday, March 26, 2018, hours after a late-night fire destroyed the entire building.
No one was injured and the cause of the fire is under investigation.
Describing the incident as “sad and tragic”, Anthony said the FRC lost “everything” in the inferno.
The facility housed an extensive library of publications, audio visual recordings and photographs and was the major study centre for work carried out into Saint Lucia’s folk culture by both nationals and visiting researchers and students.
But Anthony said the loss of the material gain will not kill the legacy of the institution.
“FRC was in a building but FRC was not a building. FRC was a concept of development, FRC was a vision of culture and national development and identity, and where as fire can burn a building, fire cannot burn a vision, cannot burn a concept,” Anthony said.
FRC Executive Director Hilary La Force echoed similar sentiments. He said while the building and the valuable information – print, video, audio, – gathered over the past 45 years was destroyed, it may be difficult to replace them “but the heart and soul of our culture is still with us”.
“We hope that St. Lucia would rally behind St. Lucia’s culture, not FRC per say, but around St.. Lucia’s culture and ensure that this life continues long after people like myself and the rest of us,” La Force said.