The Folk Research Centre is pleased to congratulate all recipients of National Awards announced yesterday during celebrations of St. Lucia’s 37th Anniversary of Independence.
In particular the FRC would like to recognize honorees whose contributions to the arts and culture have been formally recognized.
For the first time St. Lucia (like Antigua and some other islands) can award their own Knighthoods, the KCSL – Knight Commander of St. Lucia; DCSL – Dame Commander of St. Lucia.
FRC congratulates the Honorable Derek Walcott who has been awarded one of the first KCSL’s and can now be called Sir Derek Walcott. During January the FRC was pleased to host an art exhibition of the work of Harold Simmons, the late Sir Dunstan St. Omer and the Honorable Derek Walcott. We also hosted a lecture on the work of Derek Walcott by Professor Cristina Fumagalli of the University of Essex.
FRC also congratulates Ms Lawrence Laurent the first Dame Commander of St. Lucia. She was a former actress, principal of the Castries Comprehensive School and director of the St. Lucian UNESCO Office. She is also a member of the FRC.
The FRC is particularly pleased with the honoring of the late Harold Simmons (1914-1966). He was mentor to Derek Walcott and the late Sir Dunstan St. Omer (1927-2015). Derek had eulogized Simmons with Dunstan (Gregorias Apilo) in his award winning, book length poem Another Life in 1972. Harold Simmons has been given, posthumously, St. Lucia’s highest award, the St. Lucia Cross.
The FRC has always recognized the work of Harold Simmons and regards him as the guiding spirit of the FRC. He was a pioneer in the research of St. Lucia’s culture which FRC was to take up in the seventies.
In 2012, the FRC established the Harold Simmons Folk Academy which oversees all the educational, research and related work of the FRC,
In June this year, the FRC will re-launch the Harold Simmons Memorial Lecture which had been initiated by Sir Julian Hunte in 1979. The first lecture had been delivered by Derek Walcott. The re-established lecture will be the key note address of the 2016 St. Lucia Studies Conference. This lecture will be delivered by Professor Hazel Simmons-McDonald, niece of Harold Simmons.
The FRC is also now preparing for publication a biography of Harold Simmons.
The FRC recognizes and congratulates other honorees in the field of the arts and culture: Adrian Augier, poet, playwright, producer, painter. He was awarded the Anthony Sabga Caribbean Awards for Excellence in Arts and Letters in 2010. In 2012 he received an honorary doctorate from UWI. He has received the Medal of Merit (Gold) for his contribution to the arts. His book of poetry Navel String, was published by Peepal in 2012;
Earl Bousquet, Journalist and long-standing member of the FRC receives a Medal of Honour (Gold), while Lawrence Poyotte is recognized for his lifetime work in trade unionism. He has also been long associated with the FRC,editing some years ago a biography of National Hero George Charles, published by the FRC. He receives the Medal of Honour (Silver);
Musicians Monty Maxwell, Stephen “Jah T” Anthony, and Taj Weekes are congratulated for their contributions to music and community service, while Kingsley Powlette, former dancer and choreographer is honored for his community service.
The FRC congratulates all honorees and is pleased with the recognition of contributors to our arts and culture.
The arts and culture have been well recognised in this year’s awards, the Walcott and Simmons being of the most significance for our cultural family at home and abroad.