Officials of the Folk Research Centre (FRC) have vowed to continue the work of the organization after the building and all its contents were destroyed in a late night fire on Sunday.
FRC Executive Director Hilary La Force, described the incident as disheartening and he urged St Lucians to save the legacy of the Folk Research Centre.
“We are sad to say we lost everything,” confirmed FRC Founding Director, Fr. Patrick Anthony at a news conference this morning.
The St Lucia Fire Service received the fire call at 10:19pm. When fire officers arrived on the scene at Mount Pleasant, Castries the building was already fully engulfed in flames, authorities say.
“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, Fr. Anthony said.
La Force said the fire provided a new opportunity for the organization to redouble its efforts to continue the legacy of the Centre.
“While the building and all this valuable information we gathered over the past 45 years, in terms of print, video, audio. These maybe destroyed, it may be difficult to replace them but the heart and soul of our culture is still with us, La Force said.
The Folk Research Centre houses an extensive library of publications, audio visual recordings and photographs and is the major study centre for work carried out into Saint Lucia’s folk culture, according to information on the organization’s website.
La Force called on St Lucians to contribute to save the legacy of the institution.
“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.
Father Anthony said while it was a “sad and tragic” moment for the FRC it’s also a moment of opportunity to recommit, as St Lucians, to national culture and development.