Mini Documentary: A Brief History of Lucian “Kuduro”

•June 19, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Mini Documentary: A Brief History of Lucian “Kuduro”

New location for bust of Charles Eugene de La Croix

•March 18, 2017 • Leave a Comment

The statue of the Marquis of Castries was unveiled in George V Park, yesterday. (2015 article)

​A bust of Charles Eugene de La Croix, Marquis de Castries that was relocated from the Constitution Park in 2014 to make way for the Sir John Compton Monument, was unveiled in George V Park in Castries, on Tuesday.

The French Ambassador to the OECS, His Excellency Eric de La Moussaye expressed his pleasure at the choice of placement and the long-lasting relationship between the Government and people of France and Saint Lucia, during the unveiling ceremony.

“The choice of this spot is very symbolic. France, by choosing this spot and Saint Lucia by agreeing to it, shows once again that our friendship is alive and well,” the Ambassador said.

“Despite our fast changing world and the reality of globalization, it is good to remember how partnerships began and how friendships were born and last. The historical monuments and statues of great men of history, such as the one we celebrate today, exist as testament to this friendship.”

The Ambassador also spoke of the significance of the bust and the involvement of the Marquis of Castries in shaping the friendship between France and Saint Lucia.

“In erecting this statue, we are honoring more than one man; we are honoring the history of a people,” he said. “We are honoring a very important period which Saint Lucia went through and which has contributed to forging the destiny of the island and of its people.

“When Charles Eugene de La Croix arrived in the Caribbean for the first time in 1756, he was part of the expeditionary corps which the French had sent into the region to contest control of the Antilles by the English. As admiral and commander, he very quickly understood that Saint Lucia, with its central position, its rich land and its exceptionally safe and deep harbour was of significant importance. From then on, he did everything to ensure it remained a French territory.”

In his remarks at the unveiling ceremony, Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony spoke of the “long knitted relationship” between France and Saint Lucia and the significance of the bust. “Today’s ceremony is representative of another one of many threads in the long knitted relationship between Saint Lucia and France,” Dr. Anthony said.

“Undeniably, France has been the nation most heavily involved in the early settlement and formation of the Saint Lucia; for while the British were about capitalizing Saint Lucia’s military value for their eighteenth and nineteenth century stratagems, the French were keen on establishing settlements and estates, building roads and raising families and constructing a society in their colonial image.

“And thus, the names of most of our settlements are influenced by the notions of these early French settlers and inhabitants. Many of our places are named for individuals who were governors or who played critical roles in the island’s development: D’Ennery, De Micoud, De Laborie, Choiseul.

“De Castries falls within this class of place names, with the Marquis de Castries being part of a French expeditionary force in 1756 which failed to win Saint Lucia back to the French. It was later restored under the Treaty of Paris seven years later in 1763.”

The ceremony, which was jointly hosted by the Government of Saint Lucia and the Embassy of France to the OECS, was attended by Her Excellency, the Governor General of Saint Lucia and other dignitaries.

Source: New location for bust of Charles Eugene de La Croix

What’s All the Fuss About Hair?

•September 12, 2016 • Leave a Comment

To me, the way that we choose to wear our hair as black women, carries more significance than it being ‘just a style’. Whether we are aware of it or not, whether we choose to accept it or not, the fuss about hair lies on the surface of some perennial racial issues that have finally begun to surface…

Source: What’s All the Fuss About Hair?

REMEMBERING THE LAUNCH OF A REVOLUTION IN ST. LUCIAN RADIO 40 YEARS AGO

•August 19, 2014 • Leave a Comment

REMEMBERING THE LAUNCH OF A REVOLUTION IN ST. LUCIAN RADIO FORTY YEARS AGO

Earl Stephen Huntley - Radio presenter/producer, media Consultant, Diplomat.

Earl Stephen Huntley – Radio presenter/producer, media Consultant, Diplomat.

At 7:30pm on the 19th(**) August 1974, St, Lucians heard the theme song of a new programme on Radio Caribbean International; it was “Pint O’Wine” by Joey Lewis and His Orchestra from Trinidad and Tobago and it introduced – “Radioa Se San Nou”- the first magazine programme in St. Lucia Kreyol or St. Lucian Patois as it was more commonly called then. The presenter was a young man, Sam Flood from Gros Islet, who was later to style himself Jouk Bois, Rapping Rhapsody, Jamadar- but it was the Jouk Bois sobriquet that was to remain with him. The producer and creator of the programme was your humble servant, Earl Stephen Huntley, who had already been producing and presenting a Caribbean news analysis programme – Carib Report- for the station.
Today, therefore marks forty years since that programme hit St. Lucia’s airwaves and changed radio in St. Lucia. As I look back at its origins, I realise at the time I was only partially aware of the revolution that I was creating. The programme concept was born out of a workshop I had attended in St. Vincent and the Grenadines a couple of months earlier, organised by the Communications department of the Caribbean Conference Churches (where I was to work a few years later as a radio producer/presenter), on the theme, “Communications for Development”. From the discussions, I concluded that if radio in St. Lucia had to be the agent for change and development in St. Lucia that I had accepted it should be, it needed to communicate in the language of the people of St. Lucia- Kreyol – Patois- Lang Maman Nou; the fact that it was known as Lang Maman Nou- our Mother tongue, but in the St. Lucia context, I would suggest that the more correct translation is the Language of Our Mothers, underlined that it was indeed the language of the majority of its people; and in 1970’s St. Lucia, it certainly was, especially in the rural areas of the island.
When I approached the Englishman who was the manger of the then Rediffusion owned Radio Caribbean, David Gardiner, with the idea, he endorsed it because he had previously worked in Mauritius where Kreyol was spoken and he understood the impact that it could have. However there was opposition from some members of the staff of the station who thought that “patois on the radio” would degrade RCI. That was the historical attitude to Kreyol in St. Lucia – a dialect which was not for the elite and the educated classes. But it was the language of the people and Gardiner saw the commercial potential in it. He agreed to do it. However, I had been the product of this very same thinking that patois was not to be spoken and as a child of two school principals, I had not been allowed to speak patois, even though I lived in Monchy, one of the most country areas of St. Lucia in the 1950’s -1970’s; so my Kreyol was just too limited to present the programme myself. That’s how Jouk Bois came in to radio.

Wednesday 21st August 1974 "The Voice of Saint Lucia" article on the advent of Kweyol(then called Patois) radio programme on Radio Caribbean International.

Wednesday 21st August 1974 “The Voice of Saint Lucia” article on the advent of Kweyol(then called Patois) radio programme on Radio Caribbean International.

He had been one of the dynamic Kreyol speakers on the platform of the St. Lucia Labour Party candidate for Gros Islet in the 1974 election campaign and in scouting around for a presenter, he was brought to my attention. He had just exited a job as a meter reader with St. Lucia electricity services and agreed to audition for the programme. Peter Ephraim, one of the technicians at RCI who was my technical producer for Carib Report, and who is now a co- owner of RCI, worked with him on the consoles. The programme was about one month in preparation as we searched for music and I prepared the features I would be presenting. As a former French Caribbean station, RCI had a vast library of French Caribbean Kreyol Music and as fate would have it, two Dominican music groups, Exile One and, Grammacks had just begun their own revolution in Kreyol music with the cadencelypso genre; we had the fuel for the show; we were ready.
Radio Se San Nou hit St. Lucia like a hurricane. Sam Jouk Bois Flood was perfect for the programme- dynamic, witty, energetic, speaking the language of the people as they were used to conversing with it daily. To be hearing it on the radio every night for the first time was for them extraordinary. I had felt and known the programme was going to be successful but I had not anticipated the extent. Commercially, it brought immediate and significant income to RCI, to those who advertised on the programme, to the makers of a St. Lucia manufactured transistor radio, Akay which could not keep up with the demand for it, and for the merchants who sold transistor radios generally. An additional half hour was added to the hour with which the programme was launched (from 7:300 to 9:00pm). More importantly, it gave St. Lucian Kreyol its rightful place in the electronic media in St. Luca and brought respectability to the language that it had hitherto lacked. Instead of degrading Radio Caribbean International, it elevated it and turned it into the people’s radio station. We also allowed the voices of the ordinary people to be on the radio. I sent Sam Flood around the island’s communities with a tape recorder to record their answers to the question: “Ki Sa Ki Ka Affecte Ou?”; and they told the nation- of course largely to the discomfort of the then Government; so before the talk shows which are a staple of radio in St. Lucia today, Radio Se San Nou” on RCI had pioneered this and really taken radio to the people.

Wednesday 21st August 1974 "The Voice of Saint Lucia" article on the advent of Kweyol(then called Patois) radio programme on Radio Caribbean International.

Wednesday 21st August 1974 “The Voice of Saint Lucia” article on the advent of Kweyol(then called Patois) radio programme on Radio Caribbean International.

Forty years later, Kreyol broadcasting has not developed as much as I had hoped and thought it would have and as it should have. It is true that other radio stations have taken up Kreyol broadcasting, Sam Jouk Bois Flood and I brought morning kreyol radio to Helen FM 100 in the late 1990’s; and Kreyol has also crept into television; but Kreyol radio is still too limited in scope and content; sadly Radio Caribbean International, which pioneered Kreoyl broadcasting and gave St. Lucia other notable broadcasters as the late Hilarie Alexander and Marcellus “Man” Miller, has dropped its Kreyol programming; so it is refreshing to see that the latest radio station in St. Lucia, WVent has accorded Kreyol four hours daily in the morning.
Forty years later Sam Jouk Bois Flood is still on radio. He has developed in his own inimitable way and is now one of the most controversial and certainly the most listened to radio announcers in St. Lucia and the most successful. As for me, I have been in and out of the media since then, following a diplomatic career but not forgetting my roots in the media. 2014 also marks forty years since I began radio production and broadcasting with an interest in current affairs; and with the diplomatic career almost at an end, it is likely that I will return to what has really been my first love – radio and the desire to use it to inform and educate. As I contemplate that move, I cannot help but reminisce about that night on August 19th(**) 1974, when Pint O wine (chosen by Sam Flood and which he still uses as his theme) heralded Radio Se San Nou and we changed radio broadcasting in St. Lucia. We had indeed opened a chapter in communicating for development in St. Lucia. Forty years later, it is a night I have not forgotten and will not ever forget.——Earl Stephen Huntley

Taken from Facebook post Monday 18th August 2014

** Post script: Initially Mr. Huntley had placed the date as August 18th but later provided the following correction. “I need to make a correction to that post on the Launch of Radio Se San Nou. The date of the commencement of the programme was not the 18th August but Monday 19th August as the attached photos of an article from the Voice in 1974 reporting on the programme show. As a historian , I am embarrassed to say that yesterday being Monday, somehow I got it confused between Monday 19th August 1974 and the 19th August 2014 which is a Tuesday- the 19th August. The 40th anniversary of the programme is in fact today- 19th August.”

Earl Huntley(comments from the same post)
“….In fact the name for the programme – Radio Se San Nou ( which incidentally was borrowed from a programme with a similar name from the previous French service for Martinique and Guadeloupe- David Gardiner suggested we use the same name) was quite apt since it truly made radio, a radio of the people as it gave them a power they had not previously enjoyed because they were expressing themselves on the radio in their language. By the way the technique used then was what was called ” VOX POP” from the Latin Vox Populi- the Voice of the people- as it recorded peoples views and played them back on air. Social media and live phone in programmes were moons away then.”

“….. the programme was also extremely popular in Dominica where Kweyol programming was unknown and DBS Radio was to follow the trail set by RCI. In fact Dominica recognized Marcellus Miller for his contribution to Kweyol in Dominica through his long stint with the programme at RCI at one of their early Kreyol Music festivals”

St. Lucia Rastafari Hold Emancipation March and Deliver Reparations Petition to Governor-General

•August 6, 2014 • Leave a Comment

 

La Toc Road entrace to Government House, official residence of Governor General of St. Lucia.

La Toc Road entrance to Government House, official residence of Governor General of St. Lucia.

Marching near La Toc.

As part of their commemoration of Emancipation Day, Rastafari in St. Lucia via the recently formed Iyanola Rastafari Reparation/Repartriation Movement (IRRM) held a march to the residence of the Governor-General Dame Pearlette Louisy to deliver a petition. The march left the Derek Walcott Square from 8:00 a.m. accompanied by police escort onto Brazil and Bridge Street and onward along the La Toc Road. Chanting and singing to the backing of Nyabinghi drums accompanied the entire march with persons along the route coming to observe. The procession arrived at the Governor General’s residence amid heavy downpour. The petition was delivered to officers stationed at the Government House – the residence of the Governor General – to be forwarded by Her Excellency to Queen Elizabeth.

(left to right) Ras Fey, Bongo Wisely, Priest Kailash and Sister Sheba.

(left to right) Ras Fey, Bongo Wisely, Priest Kailash and Sister Sheba.

IRRM Chairman Bongo Wisely Tafari explained what transpired on the day:

“…Today, Emancipation Day 2014, the Iyanola Rastafari Reparation/ Repatriation Movement organized this march [and] a petition where we’ve been collecting signatures. The Petition was delivered to the Governor-General’s residence. Well, unfortunately the Governor-General is on vacation, but we made arrangements with the security forces at her residence.”

At a press conference held on 25th July to announce the march, Bongo Wisely Tafari, President of the Iyanola Council for Advancement of Rastafari (ICAR) explained that the event would be used to bring the attention of Queen Elizabeth (through her representative Governor General) the unpaid compensation and reparations due to descendants of enslaved Africans since the end of enslavement. In addition, he pointed out that it would also commemorate the centenary of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) an organization formed by Marcus Mosiah Garvey which was founded in Jamaica on the 1st August 1914.

Iyanola Rastafari Reparation/Repartriation Movement – 25th July 2014 HTS News Report

Both Hon. Priest Kailash of the IRRM and Priest of the Ethiopia Africa Black International Congress (also called the Boboshanti order) pointed out that the movement (IRRM) was organized “first and foremost to enforce the bonds of love among Rastafari as a people” as well as “addressing the atrocities” that were perpetrated against members of the Rastafari community by the government. He further pointed out that the Rastafari would be seeking formal apologies from the Government concerning the atrocities and ill-treatment of Rastafari at the hands of the State over the years. He noted that as Reparation and Repatriation were causes initially and continuously raised by the Rastafari Community and for which they were ridiculed by the wider society and ignored by the State, a formal apology from the Government would be in harmony with legitimate pursuance of this cause by CARICOM in recent times.

Kes Wesmore and Black Prince.

Kes Wesmore and Black Prince.

Rastafari holding up Ethiopian crosss

The march included Rastafari from the various orders or houses of Rastafari as well as persons from the wider public. Founding member of the Iyanola Rastafari Improvement Association (IRIA), an earlier Rastafari organization, Trescott “Soukou” Augustin, was in attendance at the march and explained the history of Emancipation Celebrations among Rastafari in St. Lucia: “…every time that particular date come around …we feel duty-bound to have some form of public event which normally takes place in the form of a march like what we did there today.” According to Soukou, Rastafari’s commemoration of the event started:

“Way back in the seventies . . . later seventies – ‘79, ‘80 coming up there – because we were always conscious of that. In fact, we always been more intense (sic) on African Liberation Day because we feel that we must make the distinction between [this celebration and Emancipation Day]. Emancipation is some sort of decree to ‘free-up’ the slaves but liberation goes beyond that. Because, as we know, all the ex-colonies they still had their system and their people controlling. So we more look to liberation, you know, than Emancipation. Emancipation is just a stage. So we didn’t really focus on Emancipation Day as much as African Liberation Day. Notwithstanding that, we always recognize Emancipation.”

Rastafari Elders. Trescott

Despite a National Holiday on the Day, official State activities surrounding the event were generally absent before the late 1990s. Previously held on the first Monday in August, the holiday is now celebrated on the 1st of August. Emancipation Day remains the main officially recognized African centered event. Other celebrations include the festivals of the La Rose and La Maguerite societies which developed among African descendants in St. Lucia and which are celebrated in August and October respectively. Among the Rastafari Community events are also held around the Earthday of Marcus Mosiah Garvey and H.I.M Haile Selassie as well as other days such as African Liberation Day.

Following the delivery of the petition, the procession returned to the Derek Walcott Square (formerly Columbus Square) where speeches and chanting continued into the early afternoon.

 

Entrance to Government House, official residence of the Governor General of St. Lucia.

It is important to note that the political status of St. Lucia like most countries in the British colonized Caribbean remains that of Constitutional Monarchy. Three exceptions to this status are the Republics of Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Dominica. As such, these countries retain Governors-General who are representatives of the Monarch as part of their political structure. Included below is the text of the petition presented by the IRRM to the Governor-General:

Iyanola Rastafari Reparations Repatriation Movement Inc.

P.O. Box 462, Vieux-Fort P.O. Vieux-Fort, St. Lucia. W. I.

WE CHARGE GENOCIDE/ECOCIDE
(PETITION RECOGNIZING GENOCIDE/ECOCIDE BY THE BRITISH STATE
AGAINST ARIKAN PEOPLE)

The Undersigned Make the Following Heartfelt Declaration:

•   The immoral and inhuman treatment inflicted on Afrikans by the money making Europeans has never been addressed.

•   The racist mindset which fuelled the transatlantic slave trade from the 15th century to the late 19th century has not been terminated.

•   The lack of accountability by those responsible confirms the ongoing racism which creates disproportionate detriment to the offspring of the millions of individuals that were stolen from Afrika.

•   Today the offspring of the stolen Afrikans encounter direct and indirect racial discrimination daily.  This results in poverty, lack of education, unemployment, imprisonment and ill health.

•   The damage that has been done to Afrika also needs to be addressed in a structured and effective manner.

•   The blood, sweat and tears of our Ancestors financed the economic base of the United Kingdom. Therefore it is just and fair that Reparations be made to their offspring.

•   Repatriation should be a viable option for any Descendant of Afrikans captured, enslaved and financially exploited by the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations (UK) and their European counterparts.

•   The immoral acts inflicted on Afrikans against their will cannot be undone. But there has been no real attempt by the perpetrators to address the harm that has resulted from their actions.

•   Now is the time for the victims of the inhumane atrocities to demand reparation for the wrongs that continue to be inflicted on Afrika and Afrikans.

Whereas  we, the undersigned, recognize the destabilisation, oppression and terrorisation of our Afrikan heritage communities, the proliferation of guns, the distribution and sale of drugs and the resultant Black on Black self-annihilation has reached epidemic proportions, causing harm to Afrikan heritage communities within and beyond the St. Lucia and prolonging the war and Holocaust of enslavement (Maangamizi) against Afrikan peoples all over the world; We understand this harm can only be described as acts of Genocide/Ecocide by the State through its agencies of the police, armed forces, security and intelligence agencies and other organised as well as unorganised manifestations of structural,  systemic and institutionalised racism of the white supremacist order of global apartheid. Genocide as defined in Article II of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide adopted on December 9, 1948 explained that “genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily harm or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to prevent births within the group; and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

In addition to the acts of Genocide/Ecocide perpetuated through various instruments of the British State and its European super state, acts of Genocide/Ecocide can also be attributed to the British Government’s misuse of resources extorted through taxes from people in the United Kingdom and plundered from all peoples, communities and nations subjugated to the oppression and exploitation of British/European Imperialism. This is evidenced by the following: (1) the denial of Afrikan and Black human and peoples’ rights; (2) the mentacide of Afrikan heritage youth and adults through the state mis-education system; (3) brutality by police and security agents including deaths in custody; (4) unemployment and mal-employment; (5) the expanding prison and psychiatric industrial complex; (6) racist immigration policies; (7) privatisation schemes including the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA’s) of the European Union (EU) being forced on Afrikan Caribbean & Pacific countries; and (8.) the crimes against humanity inherent in the aggression committed against Afrikan and other majority world peoples. The results of these inhumane public policies have caused devastation to Afrikan heritage within and beyond Britain. Out of these have also arisen environmental injustice, violence, poverty, ignorance and anti-Black racism such as Afriphobia resulting in the destruction of generations of Afrikan heritage people, all amounting to geno/ecocidalcrimes against humanity for which we demand reparations, including voluntary repatriation, as a matter of restorative justice.

On every 1st August, Emancipation Day, collections of this petition will be submitted to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II through the The Governor General Office of Her Majesty’s Government of Government House Morne Fortune, Castries. This petition highlights continuing abuses of human, peoples and Mother Earth rights perpetrated against Afrikan heritage communities within and in countries colonised by Britain. It is also meant to mobilise support for the All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry and galvanise grassroots work towards the Peoples International Tribunal for Global Justice (PITGJ) with a view to putting a full stop by way of reparations to all acts of Genocide/Ecocide.

Three Rastafari ladies.

Three Rastafari ladies.

Two young Boboshantis at the head of the march.

Two young Boboshantis at the head of the march.

Rastafari assembled at the Derek Walcott Square holding placards before march.

Rastafari assembled at the Derek Walcott Square holding placards before march.

Discriminating the Dead | St. Lucia Voice News

•November 25, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Discriminating the Dead | St. Lucia Voice News.

During the nineteen thirties in the village of Laborie, one would normally hear of the refusal of the Parish priest who, for one reason or another, would refuse permission for one to be buried in the parish cemetery. The only choice was for that burial to take place outside the boundary of the cemetery, in what was called “aba kanan”, “under the kanan”, a series of tall grass resembling those sugarcane plantations, and such burials became “taboo” on the deceased family for life.

Several other rules were arbitrarily enforced by Roman Catholic priests in the various districts, among which were baptizing infants born out of wedlock on Mondays and those born in wedlock on Sundays; the entrance for girls of the St. Joseph’s Convent born out of wedlock on Coral Street and not on Micoud Street which was reserved for those born in wedlock; segregated pews in churches, the omission of the father’s name on birth certificates if the child was born out of wedlock, an anomaly which is now causing headaches for anyone having to renew or obtain a passport in this new dispensation.

As I mentioned in previous articles, because of St. Lucia’s French orientation and the majority of her population speaking French Creole, the Holy See recruited and stationed priests of the FMI Order who were not bilingual and only spoke French in St. Lucia while, for what I have knowledge of, priests of the Dominican Order were stationed in Grenada, and both those of the Dominican and Jesuit Orders were stationed in Trinidad and Tobago.

Being very close to Father Brochard in Laborie, I became curious about the FMI Order and, as an engineering student in London in the fifties, my research on that Order terminated in the crypt of the Brompton Cathedral in Knightsbridge, London, which was within walking distance from my hostel at Hans Crescent. There I was informed by priests of the Dominican and Jesuit orders, that the FMI Order originated in specific monasteries in France, and is of a lower Order of priesthood to those of the Dominican and Jesuit Orders..

The Windward and Leeward Islands were under the diocese of the Archbishop of Port of Spain who visited the parish of St. Lucia once a year to confirm those who took the Holy Communion for the first time, and on one occasion, I was one of those to be confirmed. Hector, the chauffeur for the Catholic Church met the Archbishop at the then Beanefield Airport at Vieux Fort, and transported him to Laborie. The car stopped at the foot of the La Croix hill, and footmen lifted the Archbishop, sat him on a stretcher, and deposited the stretcher on an appropriately decorated covered canopy. Six pallbearers then carried the Archbishop under the canopy to the church where he conducted the confirmation ceremony. All along the route to the parish church, those of us to be confirmed and other onlookers chanted “Vive Monsignor, Vive Pierre Brochard”.


Such pastoral events continued in St. Lucia until the arrival of His Excellency Count Finbar Ryan, a Jesuit Archbishop of Port of Spain, who aborted this hero worship and, with the help of Father Jesse here, things began to change. Priests of the Jesuit Order participated in evening vespers during the Lenten seasons preceding Easter, and the thinking of even diehard Roman Catholics bergan to change.The powers of parish priests were reduced, discrimination among the living and the dead by FMI priests abandoned. Of course, no one can decry the contributions of Farther Brochard of Laborie, Fathers Vrignaud, Jesse and Gachet in Castries, who later became our first Archbishop. It must be remembered that the Roman Catholic Church first had full control of the education system of St. Lucia. Their priests chaired the Public Service Commissions for several years, and some of the civil servants they recommended for senior positions became future Governors-General, the first principal of the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, and other senior positions in CARICOM.Today, it is a far cry from reality to hear the mother of a young man who it is alleged, and not proven by an ongoing inquest, that he hanged himself in a Micoud Police holding cell, lamenting on prime time television that the Micoud Parish priest refused her permission to bury her son in the Micoud cemetery. This is a matter for government’s intervention. No church has automatic control of burial grounds. The colonists, including Christopher Columbus, the Buccaneers, the British, French, Spanish and the Dutch were always accompanied by their priests, and the conquered spoils were shared among them.

As a result of those conquests, one witnesses the occupation of vast acreages of prime lands in the City of Castries and in the towns and villages by the Roman Catholic Church for their churches, presbyteries and schools with no grant from the Crown. But plots had to be found to bury the dead, and those burial grounds are Crown grants, and not properties of any church, even though they are known in the districts as cemeteries of the specific churches. Cemeteries were not part of those conquests and remain public property.

All the mother has to do is to get her lawyer to challenge the Micoud Parish priest. The lawyer should go as far as lodging a complaint with the Papal Nuncio in Port of Spain, with specific instructions to forward it to the Holy See for the ruling of His Holiness the Pope. No Parish priest should be allowed to make St. Lucia a laughing stock of the world of the internet where news media are instantaneous.

– See more at: http://www.thevoiceslu.com/let_and_op/2013/november/23_11_13/Discriminating.htm#sthash.tjLjzkHl.dpuf

IS “Jounen Kweyol” A Myth or a Reality

•November 11, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Editor’s Note: I disagree with the writer on some points but I think he makes some useful points and raises a discussion worth having.

http://www.stluciamirroronline.org/?p=6543

IS “Jounen Kweyol” A Myth or a Reality
By Dennis Springer

November 11, 2013 1:30 pm11(The Mirror Newspaper)

In my view our cultural patterns are an amalgam of our language, dress and what we eat. Our destinies are tied together by these things.  Yet, in the past we alienated those that held strongly to our culture and language. This alienation at the time was perhaps the most pervasive and insidious development in contemporary Saint Lucian society. Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that it is a myth because of the way we portray that culture.

During the month of October we were bombarded with the “Jounen Kweyol” phenomena. The question on my mind as I have pointed out above is whether it is a myth or a reality. Is it one we have held on to in a cosmetic way or do we make a fuss in order to show how Saint Lucian we are because some are making a fuss during that particular month of the year?

These are fundamental questions when one sees the craze that is taken place by the populace. Therefore, how serious are we about incorporating our history and culture into everything we do? How serious are we and that includes the corporate sector, the government, schools and above all civil society in bringing about a more serious and concrete mode of thinking instead of the false impression I get when we are engulfed with the idea of our Creole heritage for one month of the year.

An idea coming to mind is that during the October month we should all make an attempt to speak Creole whenever possible. Pardon the pun, but how will certain people especially in the political circle survive? I am speaking about those who can’t even speak a word of Creole.

At times I am almost convinced that the public is being screwed for economic reasons as it is a gimmick and one designed to be cosmetic in order to make money. A clear indication of this is the deliberate use of chemicals by criminals in our midst being placed in sources of drinking water in order to catch crayfish to make the extra buck for “Jounen Kweyol”. These people are not interested in our Creole heritage. They are prepared to kill others in order to make the extra buck. What about those proprietors of some restaurants who are prepared to buy that crayfish and going on further to sell stale food once again to make the extra buck? The mind certainly boggles.

My personal view is that our Creole heritage is something too important for us to treat it as a one off event a year. Therefore, government, NGO’s, schools, the Chamber of Commerce, Civil Society and other institutions must make every effort to raise the level of awareness of who we are and where we come from.

If we are serious of our cultural heritage and not use it as a fun activity for people to make money or for blocko’s then the ministry of Education should begin to take the teaching of Creole as a serious part of a child learning its culture and language. This in essence is a vital part of that child’s history. It encourages the children to explore their traditional crafts and communal memories that have been absent in their lives. it is the youngsters to come that will resuscitate the dying aspect of our local culture. A culture can be durable and memorable if children are exposed to it early in their lives and that can begin by teaching them to speak Creole. Therefore, it should become part of the schools curriculum.

At this juncture, I want to remind the education authorities that it is through education we seek to change attitudes, through education we seek to change internal feelings, and through legislation we seek to control the external effects of those feelings.

Even though we see what can be termed a spasmodic revival of our culture yet it must be remembered that many still see it as a country thing for the so called uneducated. Some may quickly try and deny it but there is still the stigma attached to one who predominantly speaks Creole. If we are serious then we will begin to teach the language in schools.

History tells us that during our years of colonization by the British have inculcated that stigma and in order to win favour one had to speak English because by speaking Creole the individual would be stigmatized as being uneducated or Jean Bitason (a country person). The British had a way of enforcing their language and culture on others and therefore to get a reasonable job you had to speak English and not Creole. This attitude engendered many to abandon the language or pretend that they could not speak it. It was a traumatic period in our history for many as there was a clear division in our society.

Much of the problem then lay in the fact that we did not know how to read or write the language. It was just a spoken language by many in villages and the countryside.  If we cast our minds back, many old enough will remember that parents were so afraid of their children being stigmatized for speaking Creole that it was literally banned in the majority of homes where the so called better educated people lived.

I must admit that I always took pride and joy in speaking the language even as a boy because that was my mother’s language as she came from Dennery from a humble family where speaking Creole was the order of the day. She never finished her primary schooling then but she was a lady with a tremendous amount of common sense which is not common in our present day society.  I was happy to speak with my mother in the language she knew although we were banned by my father to speak Creole in the house. He was not the only one; it was an accepted rule of thumb that boys going to College or girls going to Convent who wanted a good job later on after their schooling did not speak Creole.

The irony of it all is that it took a white man to come to Saint Lucia to teach us our language yet, we have never given this individual the accolade or reward he deserved for resuscitating our language. Many now can write, read, and converse properly in the Creole language because of this individual Michael Walker.

If we are serious about our culture of which language has become the clarion call to bring us to our senses in terms of our culture then we have no alternative but to incorporate the language into the educational system and to be implemented in all schools. Another important strategy that encourages local language learning is the development of a certification system. Official certificates are a popular addition to the resume of many job seekers especially in Saint Lucia. Certification will also ensure the quality of the local language instruction at both primary and secondary schools. In my view all teachers should learn the Creole language and those refusing or lacking the relevant certification should be phased out. I know it sounds draconian but here we are talking about culture and heritage and nothing meaningful is being done to show we mean business. Therefore only teachers certified in the local language will be allowed to teach such classes.

Countries like Taiwan now take their culture in a serious manner especially the language culture. Whether it is from the mainland of China or from the indigenous people, the aborigines the government is prepared to spend huge sums of money in supporting and encouraging the development of local cultures of which there are many. At one time in their development the Han culture dominated and many of the aborigines similar to Saint Lucia in terms of speaking English took on the dominant Han culture because the Aborigines were seen then as Barbarians which gave a false impression of the diversity in the culture of the Taiwanese people. But with government legislation many are happy to be seeking clarity about their family lines and past.

Although having lived in Europe nearly all my life I have always continued to speak Creole and since coming back I have tried to use the language at every opportunity afforded to me more so on the medium of television or radio.

Yet there are some in our midst who still cannot speak a word of Creole and who make no effort to learn the language. It is sad to witness that those coming from overseas have immersed themselves in the language. I therefore believe that the time has come when all Saint Lucians should be able to converse in the Creole language, the tongue of their forefathers. That will be the day when, “Jounen Kweyol” will become meaningful in the minds of the populace because they are proud of their language and heritage.