The Office of the Prime Minister has expressed sadness and surprise over the closure of Walcott House; the museum opened in honour of Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott.
The Prime Minister’s Administrative Attaché has accused the St Lucia National Trust of taking a decision to shut down the building before the government could respond to a request to provide for funding for the museum.
Nancy Charles said it was an unfortunate decision. However she said it was now up to the National Trust to decide if the building will be reopened.
According to Ms. Charles, the National Trust wrote to the government on May 19, 2017 requesting financial assistance for the museum.
The government, she said, responded asking for an attachment that was referred to in that request.
Less than two weeks later on May 31, 2017 the Trust announced the closure of the institution.
Ms. Charles said the government only received the additional information on June 1, 2017, after the announced closure of the museum.
She said there was no dialogue and engagement with the government on the matter.
“I’m not sure how it works with those institutions, but where I come from, when you write a letter requesting for something, the normal thing would be to at least do a follow up, call and say I’ve written a letter, we’re expecting a response and so forth,” Nancy Charles said.
She added: “I don’t know if the intention was just to write the government and then to close down the place.”
She suggested that a decision to shut down the museum may have been taken before the St Lucia national Trust wrote to the government requesting financial support.
Ms. Charles said it is now up to the St Lucia National Trust to determine the way forward.
“Now it’s up to the Trust to tell us what to do because they have sent us this request, we have the request. It is a request that we would have given consideration to but now that they have decided to close Walcott House they now have to write back to us and tell us what their intentions are,” she said.
The St Lucia National Trust said the closure of the museum was “due to a number of funding cuts resulting in the Trust no longer being able to fund the operations of this memorial space.”