Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Walcott place closes

Press Release:-The Saint Lucia National Trust wishes to announce the closure of Walcott House as of today, May 31st and until such further notice. This decision has regrettably been taken due to a number of funding cuts resulting in the Trust no longer being able to fund the operations of this memorial space in honour of artistic icons, the late Derek and Roderick Walcott, and their family.

The vision of creating a museum using the childhood home of Derek and Roderick was held for many decades, particularly as the house converted into the Lithographic Press and eventually abandoned and fallen into ruin.  The property at 17 Chaussée Rd was eventually acquired and in 2006, the Government vested the property to the Trust with the mandate of creating a museum.  In 2008, the concept of the house museum was included in the Vision Plan Document of the Government. While no physical manifestations with the project were achieved for many years, a UWI Open Campus symposium held in 2011 on the Walcott legacy reawakened interest in the project.

There were also moves afoot by the Government to address crime in the inner city and the Government expressed the intention to acquire lands at Grass Street adjoining the house in 2011.

The dream to realise the childhood home museum finally began to take form through the agreement of the Taiwanese Government to provide a grant of US$2.8 million or EC$7.53 million towards what was called the Walcott Place & Grass Street Urban Enhancement Project. This came after much effort, planning and manpower by the Trust and so many other partners.

The grant funds provided by the Republic of China on Taiwan were to have been used to fund the first two phases of the project.

Ground-breaking occurred on January 17, 2015 and Phase 1, which was the reconstructed house, was opened on January 24 2016 in the presence of a deeply moved Derek Walcott. The Trust was fortunate to have the active guidance and vision of Sir Derek Walcott in fashioning the project, which we had always wished to be strongly focused on education, as his mother Alix Walcott was foremost a teacher.

Phase 2 was due to have commenced before the end of 2016 and this involved the construction of an adjoining 3-level structure which would have provided a museum interpretation level; a branded bistro, gift shop and entertainment courtyard at ground; and the third level supporting a library, studio and support offices. After phase 2, it was envisaged that the project would become viable as a touristic product providing a visitor product within walking distance of the cruise ports, offering live performances capturing the works and artistry of the Walcott legacy.

Phase 3 would have involved the creation of an EC$16 million arts centre, complete with a 130 seat black-box theatre, music, arts studios and training space. The Trust was actively seeking international funding to finance Phase 3, and established a fundraising committee which was undertaking a number of activities to achieve this.

12 additional lots had also been acquired by the Government for phases 2 and 3.

Additional funding was also secured through the Caribbean Development Bank’s Basic Needs Trust Fund to extend Grass Street to Leslie Land Rd, creating an attractive street capable of hosting outdoor events.

The project hoped to spur other undertakings which would be complementary to its development including the branding of Castries through the creation of “City of Walcott” walking routes that used soft interventions: Way finding and art in public spaces to engage visitors through the city and to Walcott Place. It was hoped that this would be realised through plans for the OECS Tourism Competitiveness Project being funded by the World Bank.

It was expected that upon completion of Walcott Place, 40 persons would have found direct employment, and the project was looking at engaging in training to assist persons in the community to create economic opportunities as well.

The Grass Street community was engaged at every stage of the project and representation from the community was vital in building good will for the project. The project assisted in the re-establishment of the Grass Street Development Committee and through the generosity of Dr. Winston Parris, a Special Scholarship Fund was established, by the Trust, for children of the community.

Unfortunately, while the Trust has not yet been able to engage the Government on this project, funding related to it has been cut. Thus far, the Taiwanese Government had transferred to the Government US$1.25 million (EC$3.36 million) and approximately $1.8 million had been spent on the project. As such, over $5.7 million of committed grant funds was still available from the Taiwanese Government for the project. Additionally, it is the Trust’s understanding that the road extension project has also been placed on hold.

Three persons were employed at Walcott Place, including 2 individuals from the community. While the Trust wishes that it could have absorbed the recurrent costs of the facility which includes 24-hour security, it simply cannot do so at this time given that it has also experienced a zeroing of its subvention in this financial year. As such, the Trust has been left with little choice but to close Walcott Place for the time being. The Trust takes the opportunity to thank the many partners who worked on this project, particularly the Grass Street Development Committee and the community of Grass Street, the Ministry of Physical Development, the Ministry of Housing, the Saint Lucia Social Development Fund, the Caribbean Development Bank, the Cultural Development Foundation, the University of the West Indies Open Campus, the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, the Castries Constituencies Council, the families of the late Derek and Roderick Walcott, the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan), and Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy who provided much guidance and direction as the chair of the Walcott Legacy Committee.

The Trust wishes to assure the public that it will continue to work assiduously to ensure that Walcott Place becomes a fitting national cultural landmark in honour of the Walcott Brothers, the Arts Guild movement and the significant accomplishments and contribution to the arts, locally, regionally and internationally.





  1. Lol smh what the national trust is up to ?Don’t worry SNT the government will make it a government priority to see the legacy of Dereck and Roderick lives on.

  2. Who gives a damn, the man strung a few words together (more gibberish than anything else), he didn’t “split the atom” or anything significant. Shut the doors and forget about it. Not worthy of the fees to maintain it.

    • if that is how you see it well O.K.But that however, is not the view of the rest of the world. Stay in your pigeon hole.

    • Not your fault. Cannot accept your own people achievements and success. Imagine your thinking on Darren, Lavern, Johnson ….

    • Allen is that you writing ? So sorry Derek didn’t teach you how to string some words together.

    • Omg. You are so seriously ignorant. I’m pretty sure you are some low paid idiot who either has had the same job for forever or doesn’t have a job and hates the world because of your own self inflicted inadequacies. Peace be with yoj

  3. Throw away your heritage then. Dishonour a great mind, a powerful spirit. Just after the man pass. That is what St. Lucia has come to because we do not have a righteous leader.

  4. Quincy Anderson.. . SMH. I really don’t understand you. What is the National Trust supposed to do under those circumstances? Didn’t the government think before it acted? Stop supporting your party blind foldedly. Be a patriotic St. Lucian.

    • The government think? zPerish the thought.They only count money – theirs… If the NT offered to kick back 5% the subvention would appear as if by magic.

  5. This is ridiculous! Are you saying to me, that the Ministry of Culture, has not defined a Visitor’s Cultural Trail? A trail that can be marketed to every tourist, visiting St.Lucia? When will the Caribbean wake up to entrepreneurship? This is not a World Bank project, it should all be funded by the “profit motive” through private enterprise. If there were 187,000 bed nights sold in St Lucia in 2015, then a simple extrapolative calculation assuming a charge of $20EC per head, shows that such a cultural trail (plus other value added sales e.g. food, drinks etc) could yield annual revenues of $748k @ 20% takeup, $1.496m @ 40% and $2.224m @ 60%. This is just a basic calculation… This outcome is disgraceful and shows clear lack of initiative on the part of government ministries.

    Think of the opportunity to showcase St.Lucia’s manufacturers and artisans… The ministry could run entrepreneurship schemes to guide traders… Come on, this outcome is not good enough!!!!

    • That is a very good point. And you could charge MUCH more than $20EC per head. More like $200EC seeing as how much other tourism things cost.

      Someone should start it as a private initiative. You got me thinking now Alvin.

  6. Why is it that when anything goes wrong we blame the prime minister. Come on he is only one person . Stop the crap already. Stop pointing fingers

    • JA he is the leader he has to take all the praise and all the falls that is what leadership is all about

    • Why don’t you crawl back where you came from! When the previous government was in power it was “Kenny this” and “Kenny that”. And you were one of the accusers! Today, you want people to not say Chas? Not me! He is the one at the helm and he has to take the blame! He is the one with all portfolios, so he must take the blame! It is all Hurricane Chas’ fault! Hell yea!

    • Because he caused this dear! Aren’t you following what is happening in your own country? Didn’t you read the press release? He chose to take the money away from the project and he took away the subvention from the Trust because they didn’t want a Dolphin Park at Pigeon Island. This is vindictiveness at its heights and this is just a result of that. Sad sad day for Saint Lucia.

      • Indeed, and JUST after the man pass. I hope Derek Walcott can do some poetic justice from beyond the grave. He is one St. Lucia’s most respected sons. I don’t think Chastanet has any idea how respected he is in literary circles worldwide, or the value of his work. Disgrace.

    • Yes,but he is the minister of all things,with a firm grip on all his MPs’ wallets because of their titles

  7. Nice come back national trust. Tic for tat will never end. When a riot ensues then people will begin to point fingers. St Lucia will know no peace according to the ifluencer.

    • Now if they did not inform the public and just closed down the place you would have bashed them. Apparently, nothing they do is good enough…poor National Trust

  8. If the Trust earned in excess of $2mil in revenue last year and sits on additional millions worth of assets, can proper management not find ways to make the Walcott Museum to maintain operating? If not, then the entire management team needs to be shown the door. At its Phase 1 stage, please state its expected operating cost to justify that the $700k was needed for that. While at it please state once the full concept was completed, would the revenue be able to sustain its new level of operating cost and then draw back on if the $700k would justify sustaining it.

    Not withstanding, it speaks of using politics to play on the emotions of St. Lucians’ and it becomes more sickening how the labour bugs have manifested in the National Trust to turn it from green to red.

    • The people playing politics with everything are you and the prime minister. All you see is red and yellow. You do your wickedness and now you want to blame the other side for what you’ve done. Very mature.

    • It is sad really. The trust should find a way to be self sustaining. I have not seen the financials but from some of the comments they seem to have the means to generate sufficient income to be viable. Management seems to be devoid of any vision as is the case with most entities in this country.

  9. Chastanet don’t give a dame about st lucian all he want to do is steal as much land as he can get rich and get the hell out of here. He will go back to his country of origin he don’t speak like us he don’t have our accent he don’t understand our mother language the man don’t give too hoot about us. Tell us Mr P.M. after vf where in St Lucia are you going to steal next please let us no. Between you and your goolie hog father St Lucian don’t stand a chance to strive.

  10. Since the Trust so needs the $700k subvention to stay afloat, its best the SLNT closes shop and let a new body efficiently manage these assets.

    • Did we read the same article? The Taiwanese gave millions of dollars for this project and the Gov’t cut it…this is not about the $700k….

    • Why don’t you go close the race track that’s not built yet that won’t make money according to the prime minister. Laura Jn Pierre said its a “loss leader!” Its so sad that not even something that’s good for the country will change the way you hacks think. No heart. No soul. No love of country. Only Party Party Party.

  11. “Oh yes, let’s shut down the Walcott House, let’s see what the PM will do now”
    “Right, let’s turn the country against them fellers, close the house man”
    Yep tic for tat indeed. Be St. Lucian people and not political. What’s next SNT.
    Why not show your resilience and prove your worthiness and gain your respect.
    “Wow, let’s show them we can manage on our own, we can truly survive if we try”
    “You bet we will, we just need to publicly report what we are doing for all to see”
    “Sure, we might even get some corporate sponsorship in the process”
    “Great idea”
    Now that sounds more like it people. I am Saint Lucia.

    • Now if they did not inform the public and just closed down the place you would have bashed them. I guess they should have gone there at midnight and move the things and don’t tell a soul…rubbish

  12. Good job chastnet. Next will be pigeon island , Maria Islet? Or sell our marine reserves . Who knows. Thanks to ridiculous chastnet. Too bad he can’t sell the pitons.

      • I see a city of Russian mafia living on the Pitons with their St. Lucian passports, and we have to serve them imported Russian beer.

  13. thought these guys were making over $1.4 million after expense, every year? We will not fall for that cheat shot SNT.

  14. Sounds like a fight back from the national trust. Hit where it hurts.
    When will political games stop in this country. This suppose to be independent organizations

    • Were they not supposed to release a statement on the closure Walcott house? …Just shut down the project with no word on it? Okay.

  15. The Prime Minister is correct to have this on hold for now we have more important
    things to think about in this country. I had always said that the site for such a project was not the best

    • What are you talking about? … “the site for the project was not the best”???…. The Walcott house project was constructed in the same location the original walcott house was!!! Where did you expect the project to be located? Rodney Bay? Cap estate? Where?

  16. such a waste of our precious time trying to get the community to buy into the project, they get involved, loved it, worked to see it thus far and now just spit on their efforts and expectations??? shame on those who say that the youth have no future when they just sit in their comfortable zones and dictate how the “ghetto lives” should be….so much disrespect to the efforts on national Trust and Sir Dereck Alton Walcott….May he Rest in Perfect Peace

  17. THE MAN HAS PASS what is wrong with y'all move on man. Lest think of all the freaking poor hungry people we have in st Lucia and lest take care of then, and stop talking about a dead man. Chupss


  18. I have to laugh…… chastanent one the National Trust Two…..round one complete…. Games and more Games….thd affairs of the country should not be about polictics but what is for the best interest of the people. Not only the rich St. LUCIANS the one who have and still greedy to suck us dry but everyone….This project was a very good initiative but don’t be full I am sure Sir Walcott didn’t care for it . What he cared for was for our heritage and culture to be valued and our island to be preserved…not sold or mismanaged.

  19. THE MAN HAS PASS what is wrong with y'all move on man. Lest think of all the freaking poor hungry people we have in st Lucia and lest take care of then, and stop talking about a dead man. Chupss

    Smh the man has pass what is wrong with y’all man move on let’s think of all the freaking hungry poor children we have in St Lucia, and let’s try to take care of them, and see how best we can do this. all we do is fight over a building with a dead man name on it please chupssss

  20. ….where have all that money gone..for sure that not a sky scraper that was built…i’ll have to ask the slp government .after all the cost over runs on that 2×4 structure..where is the rest of that money…(Words deleted)

  21. We not donkeys we can see through that.we know y that was done and it only makes people open their eyes more. Stop playing politics

    • Donkeys are wise animals…you are more like …I don’t even know. The government takes away the Taiwanese money from the project so the Trust say they have to shut down until better can be done. Why isn’t anyone asking what the Taiwanese money will be used for instead since as it’s too good for the people of Grass Street?

  22. National Trust playing politics. Nice move Calixte, Nadia and Dania the rabid labour implants. You really don’t care about anything but getting your beloved party back in no matter the cost.

  23. National trust playing politics, are you all blind. I believe the person that’s at the head of national trust need to go.

    • Brilliant Terrence and company what was the National Trust supposed to use after the Govt took the money the Taiwanese gave to manage the project, surely not their pw*l!!! This is not about the 700k it’s about the millions from the Taiwanese…Who is playing politics…

  24. Such a shame that this project which received the blessings of the late Sir Derek Walcott had to close because of a change in policy brought about by a change in Government.
    Sir Derek’s poetry will haunt them from the grave.

  25. National Trust, you think you made a nice move. You ‘ll are attempting to play on the sympathies of the public.

    Answer me:
    What was the true intent of this press release? I highly doubt it was to show that you guys would be unable to run this.

    People are not so stupid.
    Go back to the drawing board, and next time when you put something out in the public do it from a place of heartfelt honesty and don’t insult us with this tit for tat nonsense.
    To the current administration and opposition and all others in between, DO NOT play on the emotions of St.Lucians.

  26. By show of hands. How many people would want to visit a museum in Grass Street. I wouldn’t. Here’s an idea. Move those miscreants out of the area. Scatter them to the wind and let the area develop sufficiently to see visitorship increase.

    • Thanks for the laugh…I guess the many of school children and teachers who visited ‘that’ place during the Open House earlier this year were ghosts…I guess the Trust staged those photos on their Facebook page.

  27. Wow, I have read all these comments an not one have tried to explain why the SLNT is shutting down the project. Just asking. If the ROC gave the monies then why is it that the project can’t continue. Because the monies have been air marked an was made available. Isn’t the remainder of these funds in the consolidated fund. Just asking don’t know .because I read an monies were made available.

    • What you need to ask is how much has been spent so far. Calculate the cost per square foot renovated and then find out who the contractors were.

  28. The slp trust are on a roll…sore losers……what we need is jobs….jobs….jobs…..the building is inthe wrong place……how many ministers would walk to that house……..

  29. More and more, Allen is proving to be just like Kenny…intellects with no wisdom. Meme bete, differént pwel!

    • Allen is no intellect. He wishes he were but alas, he is quite the dummy. They guy is basically a box of rocks

  30. It is very sad that a decease which left his print on this earth (not just St Lucia) is been used by the SNT as a political football. I have been to the place and it is empty. A picture and a typewriter. 1 person stands there apparently knows nothing much about Derek Walcott.

  31. Imagine a doltish lehleh like Allen have Lucia in a mess….Chastenet doing like he more hungry that the poorest …grab grab grab

  32. The SLNT has been slack and idle for too long, an organizationally bloated, non-results based, and seemingly unaccountable organization that has slipped under the radar of previous governments though allegedly meeting their reporting requirements, while be noticeably not transparent in publicly disclosing their audit results on a publicly funded web site that has a restricted access “members only” section. (the latter two which both which would strongly suggest a lack of transparency).

    In recent months seems to have been co-opted by disruptive political interests.

    It is time to finally colloquially “pull back the veil”, undertake some long overdue organizational house-cleaning starting at the top.

    As a pilot project for government, it might also be useful to implement a results-based performance management framework (PMF) at the SLNT. This pilot project would allow tweaking of the PMF followed by a phased roll-out across government ministries. This would clarify a mutually understood articulation of yearly strategic outcomes, objectives, results. Consequently, it then provides a valuable addition to the government’s tool kit necessary for taking decisions in sound fiscal management.

  33. Sad to see a project meant to uplift a so-called “bad area” (Grass Street) being stopped. Alas it’s inline with our new vision of the country which if it’s not tourism just scrap it.

  34. SHUT THE DOORS and feed your damn starving children instead. Nobody gives a $hit about a has been poet. He’s gone finni!
    Get on with current affairs and the concerns of the future. Sell off this property for land value to the righteous Russian’s. They are a wise people. Ya’all Lucian’s areargumentive children of the state.

  35. This is bad news. Derek Walcott’s meaning to St Lucia, the Caribbean and the world is deep and wide and spreading still. For us the house is soaked with the spirit of persons and places and emotions that give tone and resonance to the writings of a native genius. I think citizens should take it upon themselves to form a committee and ask the Government to give them a 50 year lease to maintain and run the house, make it a house of literature for young people, a living thing, while seeking support from UNESCO and or other international agencies for the maintenance of a major heritage site. This is the struggle that we have been carrying on in Trinidad to make The Naipaul House a literary museum and an active house for literature and today’s writers. The group doing this is called Friends of Mr Biswas and we were granted a lease. The work is pro bono and we have contrived to pull financial assistance from different sources for particular projects making sure that the house shall not fall and that what it means will eventually mobilize government and country. (please google Friends of Mr Biswas) Come on all of you in St Lucia who love Walcott, the arts and humanities, and the mountains, the sea, and the folk that live in Derek’s work. Let’s get moving. [Incidentally, the House can be a major tourist site and an education centre]


  37. If the SNT board can’t do the job independent of government funds, fire all their arses and hire those who can do the job. The argument of Tiawanise funding the project is valid, however, what would have happened after the funds ran out? FIRE THEM PARTY HACKS AND EMPLOY PATROITIC CITIZENS.

  38. Wasnt the project VISIONARY! Our PM was the one who thought it was not a good he with held the finances for phase 2…all along the project was not political…our PM is behaving like a dictator…his way or the highway…but just a reminder we aint no slaves …the uprising has begun

  39. I want to know what Derek Walcott has done why he is hated so much in some quarters. He was once reduced to a common trespasser and criminal by a some barely literate security guard at the Sandals and now this. Would Trinidadians accept their Mighty Sparrow being treated that way? Would the Brits and Irish ever dream of treating their William B Yates in this way? Would the Portuguese tolerate Ronaldo being attacked in this way? I don’t think so! Only St. Lucians will do such a thing under the careful guidance of that mighty god (having 11 persons in him) Chastanet. If chastanet didn’t build it then it is no good. he is simply a dictator!

  40. Good it closed, useless wastage of money better spent elsewhere. de man he dead, over finished. Forget about it!

Comments are closed.


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