As Grenada continues to look back on the passage of Tropical Storm, Bret in the early hours of Tuesday, the advisories issued by the National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA) is now the subject of national debate.

The advisory sent out by NaDMA giving the green light for school to reopen amidst heavy rainfall islandwide has sparked many negative comments on the popular Social Media platform, Facebook.

Minister with Responsibility for Disaster Management, Senator Winston Garraway was heard on a local TV station on Tuesday morning announcing that schools and businesses are to be re-opened as per usual.

“I wanna say to the nation that it is normal working day. So you go back out to work and of course, schools will open as per usual and we are expecting as Grenadians to (come) out and continue to do what we have been doing”, he said.

The Social Media contributors ripped into Sen. Garraway in light of the heavy and constant rainfall in the immediate aftermath of Bret’s passage.

Many of the social media commentators felt that the authorities should not have given the all-clear for children to return to the classroom given the heavy rainfall islandwide.

“The weather is not good for children to go to school”, said one comment while another stated, “Thank God we are away from Bret but this weather is not for Kids, and another offered the following: “So the schools that are being used for shelter, I’m sure there are people still in there, due to the rain they can’t get out so why should we send our kids to school”.

Some of the other comments on Facebook read: “Hey, too much rain. How the people gonna get through with work and other daily doings, “It is really not a good day for the children to attend school; it’s raining so much and “That is not weather for children”.

“Hmm…They should put the day off. There is no water and the weather is not good for children at all, “The system is expected to bring lots of rain which means landslides are expected. Airport opening 10 a.m. but school opening 8…I believe that’s premature”.

Other comments offered by Facebook enthusiasts were the following: “I could understand businesses opening but not schools, “School, are you people serious? What about the rain that’s falling and the areas prone to flooding where schools are located, like Grenville?, “This minister and them crazy…he ain’t see the weather outside…talking about businesses and schools as usual”.

“Buses are not running as normal. What’s going on? I really think we should keep the children home just for precaution, “I strongly believe schools should be closed today, “The road is dead still, not a bus moving and the weather is not conducive to have young children in, “…Normal school in this weather? My daughter class does get wet with little rain imagine this amount and there is still no water.

“Well I want to know what’s going on with the authority or who in charge of these areas. How can children go out to school when rain falling bucket ah drops? No one can leave the house, children have to go out the road for bus and look at the time, come on people do better than that.

“Tell me who in their good mind gonna send children to school. “Sick people”, “Darling, it isn’t umbrella weather. You tell me you are happy to send a child out in the weather we are getting in St. Andrew right now.

Despite, the announcement of the re-opening of schools by Sen. Garraway, a number of private schools had taken the decision to keep their doors closed.

THE NEW TODAY understands that before Midday on Tuesday most government and church-assisted schools were sending children home as rain continued to fall heavily.

Additionally, the state-controlled National Water and Sewerage Authority (NAWASA) had put out an advisory that it would be turning off all water mains.

The reports islandwide suggested little damage to homes but some roads became dangerous for motor vehicle traffic as heavy running water from the river overflowed their banks.

The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) advised motorists to avoid the Balthazar main road as the water rose above the bridge.

Director of Operations at the NaDMA, Kemron DuFont said, “We had very little damage. You had some trees that fell on power lines and in some areas there is no electricity. But more or less, the impact was very, very minimal”.

The storm was the first since the June 1 official start of the Atlantic hurricane season and came on the heels of the out-of-season Tropical Storm Arlene which formed over the central Atlantic Ocean in April.

It produced up to four inches of rain over the Windward Islands and the northeastern coast of Venezuela.

New targets for pensions to public officers

Even though this may have never been the case before, Grenadians waited eagerly to listen the Government’s highly promoted national address by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell on 1st June 2017.

No doubt, the most compelling and significant factor from the promotion being the restoration of pensions and the introduction of a national health insurance. Was the wait vain, or was there a measurable level of disappointment with the address? Did the address present any special serious grandeur; or, were there emphatic confirmations of the disdainful and deceitful modus operandi of governance by the powers-that-be?

The future welfare of public officers and government retirees in Grenada has been grossly jeopardised with the refusal by the powers-that-be to honour their constitutional entitlements on pensions; a disparity and injustice to which the Heads of Caricom continue to be unconcerned and mute.

This predicament commenced with the suspension of the 1974 Independence Constitution and with the enactment of the 1983 Pensions (Disqualification) Act by the People’s Laws of the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG).

The anxiety to have the restoration of the pensions was intensified when the Constitution was completely restored by August 1991, but allowable to exist and be applied subservient to the Disqualification Act.

Various rulings by the London-based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council condemn the unconstitutional conduct of withholding the pensions; yet those rulings are being ignored by the powers-that-be.

From 1995, public officers with their trade unions have been taken on a cruel ride toward arresting their distresses about the pensions, by Dr. Mitchell’s New National Party (NNP) Government; interestingly, Mitchell has been associated with the powers-that-be and its insensitivity on the pensions issue from the post-PRG era (virtually1984 to date).

The ride covers the establishment of review committees, consultant studies, pensions reforms and project proposals at huge financial and opportunity cost to taxpayers; but a cost which is yet to be grasped and ascertained fully.

The internet circulated article “No Prime Minister Mitchell: Not Again !” makes for good references on how the pensions issue has been made a recurring decimal and a blame-game, with the parameters constantly shifting to arrive at an answer.

In the 2016 Throne Speech, Her Excellency Dame Dr. Cecile La Grenade, postulates “pension reform remains perhaps the most significant issue negatively affecting the Public Service” and that the Government remains firmly committed to finding a collaborative and comprehensive solution to this problem …. has begun the process of bringing this issue into resolution within an eighteen-twenty four month period …. the first step taken was to seek independent, technical advice from the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC).

The political rhetoric and unconscionable betrayal to public officers and trade unions continue to unfold as Labour and Economic Affairs Minister Oliver Joseph aggrieved them by failing to give concrete statement on the pensions issue when addressing workers on International Labour Day, 1st May 2017.

Joseph, a past unionist who at one time then commented that the Public Workers’ Union develop a strategy to get Government to agree to the restoration of pension rights and other related matters, generated hype amongst the workers for the celebrations, as he had promised at a Press Briefing to make a major announcement on the issue.

The NNP Government has been trying to convince persons that it is challenged financially to restore the pensions; but this is being done without it giving a clear account or breakdown of the cost. Moreover, no one is certain on whether or not the Government has recognised and incorporated the pensions-amount as part of the national debt.

Minister Joseph declared that “some studies have estimated a cost for pension restoration to be within the vicinity of one billion dollars” and added “the government will solve the problem and restore pensions to state employees in a manner that is sustainable and just”.

However it must be disturbing to realise that earlier, the Government had reported on 27 April 2017 that Dr. Mitchell says that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will assist his administration undertake a reform of the existing pension scheme; the IMF pledged the continuation of technical assistance in the area of pension reform and Mitchell said that “they know we have a difficulty there.”

What will be the cost-benefits and the fiscal arrangements on this issue with the involvement of the IMF?

The Washington-based financial institution, IMF, has recently supported Grenada with a three-year (2014–2016) so-called Home-Grown Structural Adjustment Programme which placed austerity measures on the people, with increases in taxes and with constraints on public spending by the Government.

The Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2015 was introduced cleverly, which amongst other things instructed that public officers undergo a salary freeze and abide with set limitations for industrial negotiations.
Regrettably, public officers are ensnared to make the most sacrifices and to be forever at a disadvantage, whilst facilitating the pleasure of the continuous receipt of pensions by other State officials such as the Governors-General and the parliamentarians, as well as facilitating vast tax-reliefs for foreign investors.

The previous internet article, “An Open Appeal For Amendment to the Pensions Act 1990” also helps to bring the predicaments of public officers and government retirees into sharp focus.

The appropriate context of the Prime Minister’s June 1st address should be derived from the aspect, “there is a clear correlation between our economic policies that have laid a good foundation for sustainable growth going forward, the need to liberalise the energy sector and the need to bolster the services in the tourism sector.

A country that has no sound economic construct can never be able to take better care of its people. …And our move to set up a National Health Insurance scheme, and our determination to restore the pensions of public servants, will never become realities unless there is a sustainable economic construct. That is why everything that we do, as a government, is intertwined in this overall development agenda.

And while we have delivered a lot, we still have these two big ticket items to deliver: pension restoration and National Health Insurance. And we still have more people to lift out of poverty”.
How then must Grenadians consider and conclude the Mitchell’s 1st June 2017 National Address? Particularly; is it a matter of all hopes dashed for public officers and government retirees to receive pensions, having the best scenario being a daunting set of new targets and conditions for the pensions?

Or; is the address a call for re-energising and instigating the people to join forces with the Government to demean and to turn up the heat on Grenlec; as Mitchell elucidates “it is unfortunate that the attitude of GPP/WRB Enterprises (parent company of Grenlec) has been hostile to the very idea of the sovereign government of Grenada seeking to liberalise the electricity sector to provide a fair opportunity for all”?

The Warning: No IMF, No Pensions! No Oil and Gas, No Pensions! No Electricity Liberalisation, No Pensions! Rex Grenadian a poor representation of the Grenadian brand, No Pensions! What is the reaction and resolve of the Labour Movement and Social Groups?

J. K. Roberts

Winners in EZ BREEZE-Y Promotion

The final draw for the EZ BREEZE-Y Promotion was conducted on Friday 2nd June, 2017.

Eleven (11) winners were selected including two (2) from Carriacou.

Two (2) lucky persons won XCD$2,000 CASH each, while nine (9) others were winners of fabulous kitchen appliances.

The winners were presented with their prizes on June 7 at a ceremony held at Foodland Market Square, St. George’s.

The promotion simply required customers to purchase one (1) 900g BREEZE or larger from participating outlets tri-islandwide to be in for a chance to win.

Flow hosts first-ever Tallpree Listening Party

Flow hosted the first ever Listening Party for Tallpree on June 14 at Venus Restaurant & Sports Lounge on Wall Street in the Grand Anse area.

Tallpree at his first ever Listening Party hosted by Flow

Specially invited guests including Minister for Culture, Senator Brenda Hood were able to sample Talpree’s new Soca releases for Spicemas 2017.

The top soca artiste is well-known for hits like Old Woman alone, Jab All Over, and Ole Mas which all include sounds unique to the traditional masquerade of Jab Jab.

In introducing Tallpree to the stage, Flow’s Marketing & Communications Executive, Chrislyn Lashington spoke to the longstanding partnership between the two.

“Tallpree has been an ambassador for our company for over 10 years. His Jab Jab Soca music, which can almost be declared as its own genre, has publicised our carnival traditions immeasurably throughout the Caribbean Diaspora and beyond”, she said.

She added, “Flow believes in the preservation of Grenada’s culture and proudly supports Spicemas this year.”

Tallpree released new groovy and power Soca songs including Mas time again, Oil in she Mas, and Jab Love.

Tallpree with masqueraders of Commancheros and Associates

Making use of the intimate setting surrounded by Flow customers and guests, he gave insight into his creative process and answered questions from the audience.

“Soca is my passion and Jab Jab is a lifestyle. It’s a blessing to be able to create music that my people can enjoy, and to include social commentary in a way that is fun and easy to listen to”, he said.

“I am grateful to Flow for supporting me for all these years, creating a path for the development of our nation’s music and keeping the culture alive”, he added.

“Tallpree” celebrates 20 years of Soca this year which will culminate with Uncle Tallpree’s Kids Fete and Preeday during the festive season.


Grenada has not been able to attract large sums of grant funding, like the rest of the Windward Islands, for social sector projects from the European Union.

This information was presented to a group of Caribbean journalists, who met on Tuesday in Barbados, with officials of the EU headed by Ambassador and Head of Delegation, John Caloghirou, who had a brief stint in Grenada.

The EU circulated a document among the journalists which showed that Grenada was only able to attract $300, 000 EUR in grant funding from the Europeans, for a Drug Demand programme in the Social Sector/Social Development area.

This is a far cry from the $31 million EUR in grants given to St. Lucia, $30 million EUR for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and $12.5 million ECU for the Government of Dominica.

The document showed that St. Lucia received 20 million dollars for a new hospital project from the EU, as well as 3 million dollars in Stabex funding under the category of “Social Safety Nets”, 1.5 million for an Agricultural Pension scheme, and a further 1.5 million dollars for Education.

In the case of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the bulk of its money, 20 million dollars, went toward social services development in the area of education.

Of this amount, 5.5 million EUR dollars were earmarked for Community College Education, $4.5 million EUR for Secondary Education, $4 million EUR for Technical Vocational Training, and scholarships and rehabilitation of schools.

Non-governmental Organsiations in St. Vincent and the Grenadines also benefited from over 2 million EUR dollars from the European Union under its Stabex funding programme.

Like St. Vincent and the Grenadines, NGO’s in Dominica picked up one million dollars EUR for Social Services spending, $4.5 million EUR for Secondary Education, $4 million EUR for a Social Funding, $1.5 million EUR for Agricultural Pension, $1 million EUR for Social Protection, and $250, 000 EUR each for a drug demand project, and training and scholarships.

EC insiders attributed the insignificant amount of funds given to Grenada in grant funding for social programmes to the priority placed by the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.

A source said that the government of the three other Windward Islands were able to put forward successful projects to the EC for funding based on the problems faced with the future of banana exports to Europe.

A recent study conducted in Grenada showed that 33% of the island’s population was living in poverty, brought on by the demise of the local banana industry.

The Mitchell government is known to have indicated to the international community that its emphasis is on the telecommunications and Information Technology sector, as well as construction, tourism, agriculture and manufacturing.


In the year of Our Lord – 2010, St. George’s “celebrated”, in a manner of speaking – its tricentennial anniversary. In simple language, the citizens of Grenada took time out to mark the 300th birthday of our Capital City, which some say was a non-event as no attempt was made to give the town a facelift.

Cities, being both manufacturers and consumers of goods and services, produce garbage as a (constant) by-product and residue; thus making provision for adequate disposal a necessity. This urban necessity was catered for by our forefathers some 300 years or so ago, by designing and building a brick INCINERATOR at Tanteen.

In those early days the Anglican High School complex was not yet in existence on its present site which is contiguous to the location of the incinerator, and, must have been some distance away from the then Southern boundary of the town for both health and sanitary reasons.

As the population grew and the town expanded, so too with its commerce and trade, the quantity of garbage became too large for the incinerator to effectively manage, and as a consequence a new and bigger location (site) was identified at Perseverance.

The Anglican High School Alumni together with their designer, in their recent media publication indicated that a proposed project is intended to provide a new playing field for the students, but did not mention that the historic incinerator which was located on the edge (perimeter) of the site was to be demolished.

Instead of the decision makers restoring this historic monument and safeguard it as a significant part of our built heritage and a potential tourism site, by incorporating and blending it into the new design, as any creative and attuned designer would do – by maintaining its external features and material, while redesigning internally by conveniently providing a students’ rest room and toilet facility, and at the same time giving the students, a hands-on history lesson on the evolution of Urban St. George, decided to demolish it in the name of so-called development and modernity.

This scenario and similar current occurrences are an indictment on our education system that proudly produces a cadre of “educated” philistines who know the cost of everything but the value of nothing, which is hindering our holistic national development and the blossoming of our PURE GRENADA identity.

The Physical Planning Unit and the Natural and Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee which are supposed to be the guardian and protector of our built heritage and the physical environment appear to be impotent, and seem to be a part of the problem. So, QUO VADIS (Where are we going) Grenada?

(The above reflects the views of the Willie Redhead Foundation)

GUT confirms no fundraising activities by schools for one year

The Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) has confirmed that the required apology has not been forthcoming from the Ministry of Education to take back its directive given to school principals and teachers to enforce a one-year ban on fundraising activities from September.

Speaking to THE NEW TODAY newspaper Tuesday, GUT President, Lydon Lewis expressed disappointment with the failure of the ministry to honour the commitment that it had given on the apology issue.

The apology is related to a retraction to the statement issued to the public to dispel the decision taken by the Grenada Boys Secondary School (GBSS) to ask parents to pay for the furniture used by the students.

The GUT felt that the statement threw the GBSS Principal under the bus and took the decision for all schools to postpone fundraising activities for one year.

The issue was discussed at a meeting held June 2 between officials of the union and the Ministry of Education in which an in-house apology was reportedly given for the statement.

However, the GUT demanded that a public apology should be made and a retraction of the statement by last Friday.

According to Lewis, the public apology was never done the union is left with no choice but to go back to its earlier position on the fundraising activities.

“We are very disappointed with the fact that they have not done so because we felt that the discussion we held were very fruitful…but not putting out the press release puts out a different side that we’re not comfortable with….”, he said.

“We would have agreed in principle that we would have withdrawn the action, once the press release comes but that has not happened. As far as we know, the action is still on”, he added.

The GUT boss stated that the time for retraction of the statement by the ministry has passed to make the impact that it was intended to do.

“…The time in which we felt that it would have had an impact has already passed but as a matter of principle we still asking that it be done because that would be the only reason that would cause us to ask our Principals to go ahead and raise funds”, he told this newspaper.

“…The fact is that they gave a commitment that it would be done and we expect them to keep their commitment,” he said.

Lewis also addressed reports that circulated in the country that the Ministry of Education was contemplating taking disciplinary action against the GBSS Principal, Phillip Thomas on the school furniture issue.

He said the ministry has denied at the meeting with GUT that any action would be taken against the Principal.

“I particularly asked the Ministry about that and they denied it… and that they gave a commitment that there would be absolutely no victimisation regarding the actions that were taken (by) the Principal of Grenada Boys Secondary School…”, he said.

According to Lewis, as far as the union is aware the issue “was dispelled around the table…we do not expect anything to happen”.

Relations between GUT and the Keith Mitchell-led government have been rather “hot and cold” over the past five years.

Fighting for Crumbs and Crowns

There is always newness about life and its mystery is fresh by the moment! Thankfully, the Father did not grant a say to mankind regarding life. But life is full of this and that, of yes and no, of more and less, of crumbs and crowns! None of these things are new nor is man’s sometimes relentless drive to get what they want in life.

Many do not trust or wait upon the Lord to lay a table before them. It is truly a blessing that man does not have to fight to save his soul! If he had to fight for that crown he would never leave the table of crumbs.

For centuries spanning the old and the new worlds, men fought for kingdom (territory), ethnicity and religion, in the main. On the African continent, the Ethiopians were triumphant in an epic fight to remain free from the invading and colonising European in 1896. By their example, we know that the fight is won from the head, not the arm, and that victory is not a function of race.

Unless I have my history wrong, here in the English-speaking Caribbean, our exploited forefathers, barring a few revolts, hardly put up a fight for freedom. Some may argue that they favoured the spiritual high-ground. Instead, the ‘fight’ to free the slaves transpired in the British Parliament.

The fight for freedom must rank as a distinguishing feature of any civilisation’s existence. Not owning this distinction, the Caribbean man appears to have taken a ‘joy ride’ to freedom and that lack of fight may well help to explain the use to which we have put the freedom won for us by others.

During the sixties and seventies, we were happy to negotiate Independence with the British. The new status brought with it assurances of crowns for the new elites and the promise of less crumbs for the masses, though it must always be remembered that a promise is not a prophesy.

Interestingly, those of us who were born into these new circumstances have not really fought for development and governance, two vitally important crowns of nationhood. We have established ourselves as ‘receiver societies’, welcoming foreign education, ideologies, systems of government, cultures and technologies in a largely ad hoc, ‘come-what-may’ manner.

Look at us in Grenada; we do not even put up a fight for better economic and social conditions. So then, how do we justify our Independence? Do you know anyone who is fighting to eliminate poverty? Do you know anyone who is fighting to save our young people from the trap of the Diva culture? Do you know anyone who is fighting to bring governance closer to the people?

Are you able to say who is fighting to create economies in the parishes, outside of St George? But we fight for the vote with big dollars and loud mouths because victory delivers a crown of privilege and plenty!

We have put up certain fights in the past and may agree that we are willing to fight today, but for what? Today’s fights are not about national causes, they are about individual crowns. Today we fight for party and for leader because we expect personal reward through those preferred relationships.

We are prepared to fight fellow citizens who may have no appetite for our ‘political mango’ of choice.

In that fight, we often belie our true character purporting to be ‘ethical’ on Facebook and pure and honest on radio and newspapers.

Actually, we are fighting to win public favour using foul means and tricks and traps. Fighting is often a dangerous thing! Its consequences may be devastating at the national level (October 1983), and its incidence may fall recklessly on innocent victims, in which case the fight is said to have been unjust.

In the late seventies, the Mongoose Gang fought, brutally for Uncle Gairy! That fight was for power not justice. The most recognised fight put up by Grenadians in our era was that to secure the freedom of Maurice Bishop. When we got him away from the first encirclement of guns we celebrated, “We get we leader”. We had fought for a man we loved, a crown we valued!

In more recent times, we have displayed a variable willingness to fight for Keith and Peter and Victor.

While methods have differed, the objectives have been the same. People fight for individuals whom they glorify as providers of the material things they desire in life. The fight is not about what they believe in as a people. Thinking aloud, the popular fights are waged by poor people, ordinary folks who crown others and happy themselves with crumbs.

William Joseph

“In My City”

Akeem “A#keem” Abraham, one of Grenada’s rising popular Urban Reggae/Pop Reggae has released a brand new single called “In My City”.

“In My City” tells the story of the Grenadian way of life, past and present and the role it has played in shaping the life of every Grenadian.

The song was released across the globe on Tuesday and is now accessible on YouTube and other popular music websites and social media sites.

“In My City” was developed upon a rhythm complied by globally recognised German DJ Densen.

“I believe Grenada is a magical, magical place and just having the privilege to write about Grenada is gonna boost not just myself as a reggae artist but my nation, to let people know more about Grenada and its rich history, said A#keem”, when asked about the inspiration behind the collaboration.

Answering the call from the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) for artistes to become more involved in promoting the brand through music, A#keem is hoping that “In My City” will do just that.

He said that “men like Malcolm X and Maurice Bishop both have strong roots in Grenada and that’s the kind of richness Grenada possesses” and he is hoping that people will extract the positive things about Grenada from “In My City”.

The song launch will be followed by the release of the official music video in three weeks.

With his sight of breaking into the European music industry, A#keem is hoping to travel to Europe in the future to further explore the new Grenada/Germany music collaboration.

Dereck Walcott Lives

One of the first thing it is important to know about Derek Walcott, is that he was a child prodigy. A child prodigy is someone who begins at a very young age to exhibit extraordinary ability at a particular skill.

At a very young age, Walcott displayed unusual talent as a writer and painter. Indeed, he published his first book of poems in 1984 at the age of 18. The standard of the poem is attested by the fact many of them appear in a recent collection entitled, ‘The Poetry of Derek Walcott: 1984-2013’.

Derek Walcott had a twin brother, Roderick, who is a well-known St. Lucian Playwright. Their parents were Warwick and Alix Walcott, both from the light-skinned St. Lucia middle class.

Alix was a teacher and seamstress. Warwick died soon after the birth of the twins. Derek’s mixed parentage (English, Dutch and African) made him a ‘shabine’, the patios word for ‘red nigger’.

One of the things which caused him great pain during his life was the fact that in the 1960s, when the Black Power movement became prominent in the U.S and the Caribbean, being a “red nigger” sometimes made him appear a person of the wrong colour.

For many persons failed to recognise him as a fit candidate for “going back to Africa”.

After graduating from the University College of the West Indies (UCWI) in Jamaica, which later became what we now know as the University of the West Indies (UWI), Walcott settled in Trinidad and became of the Caribbean’s foremost poet, playwright and literacy critic.

Being highly desirous of contributing to the development of drama in the Caribbean, he founded the Trinidad Theatre Workshop, for which he was Chief Director and Playwright.

Walcott’s value as a dramatist is proven by the fact that many of his more than thirty plays have become subjects for study from the CXC to university level.

Derek Walcott was so determined to be a truly Caribbean writer, that while most other Caribbean literary masters left to ply their trade in the metropolitan countries, he opted to remain in the Caribbean. However, he left in 1981 to take up position as Professor of Literature and Creative Writing in Boston University in the U.S. in order to help his daughter through university.

Like most Caribbean writers and intellectuals, one of Walcott’s main concerns is the poverty that is endemic to the Caribbean. He saw our poverty as another of the harsh legacies of slavery and colonialism.

In one of his poems, he describes it as an “incurable sore”. In his poem, ‘The schooner’s Flight’, the poverty is shown in Shabine words, that one early morning, he passed by his “dry neighbour sweeping she yard”.

In Homecoming: Anse La Raye’, Walcott writes of an experience he had in St. Lucia, where he was taken for a tourist by some St. Lucian children, who approached him begging for money.

These beggars were potbellied and had reddish hair, which showed that they suffered from malnutrition. Indeed, in his poems, more than once Walcott has referred to the Caribbean as “slums of empire”.

Poverty is endemic to the Caribbean because the colonisers had left, and “all those bastards had left us” were “words”. Because of “the cunning bitterness of the rich”, they had left us “mandates” (independence constitutions), and no money.

In his biographical poem, ‘Another Life’, he tells us how as an adolescent, he was moved to tears by the plight of the poor. His preoccupation with Caribbean poverty reminds us of the writings of the eminent, Trinidadian historian and statesman, Dr. Eric Williams, and many of the songs of Bob Marley, who also understood some of the destructive effects of destitution.

It also reminds us of the struggle against poverty of labour leaders like Eric Gairy and Tubal Uriah Butler. This poverty is still very much with us, and in fact is proving to be incurable. For Walcott, this is because history is “unhealing”. Indeed, for decades Caribbean people have had to migrate overseas in search of a better life.

Walcott’s intense preoccupation with poverty in the Caribbean indicates how closely he was aligned to our dreams and hopes and aspirations.

In 1992, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature for ‘Osmeros’, another of his long poems. In his acceptance speech, Walcott said; “I was writing as if for the island people from whom I came. In a sense, I saw it as a long thank you note.” This contrasted markedly with the Trinidadian V.S. Naipaul, who when he won the Nobel Prize ten years later, refused to recognise that he was created in the West Indies. Instead he gave thanks to his “adopted home”, England and India, the home of his ancestors”.

When in 1992, a reporter observed to Walcott that a small island like St. Lucia, in recent times, had also been the home of Sir Arthur Lewis, another Nobel Prize winner for Economics, and asked what was special about St. Lucia, Walcott jokingly responded, that maybe it was the food.

Devonson LaMothe