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Honour & Legacy In Saint Lucia

by Amanda Alexander
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Lifestyle Columnist, Amanda Alexander

Every year, the month of January in St Lucia is dedicated to the  ‘Nobel Laureate Festival’, in celebration of the achievements of our  ‘Nobel Laureates’ Sir Derek Alton Walcott (1930-2017)  and Sir William Arthur Lewis (1915-1991). This year’s celebration was extra special as it included the inauguration of the ‘Derek Walcott Library’ at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College in Castries. 

But what is a Nobel Laureate? According to the Nobel Prize Organisation such honour is bestowed on those when, “A person or organisation awarded the Nobel Prize is called Nobel Prize laureate. The word “laureate” refers to being signified by the laurel wreath. In ancient Greece, laurel wreaths were awarded to victors as a sign of honour”. Founded by Alfred Nobel (1833-1896), the prize is awarded to those who provide “the greatest benefit to humankind”¹ 

Apparently St Lucia is the only Caribbean island with two Nobel Laureates – Lewis won the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics in 1979 and Walcott for Literature in 1992. 

Lewis was the “fourth of five children, born to schoolteacher parents George and Ida Lewis. He finished high school at the age of fourteen, enabling him to win a government scholarship to study in Great Britain.  At 18 he entered the London School of Economics to study for a degree in commerce”. 

He later went on to become an economist at the James Madison Professor of Political Economy at Princeton University. He was known for his contributions in the field of economic development. In 1979.² 

Walcott on the other hand was a twin to brother Roderick and sister Pamela, born to Warwick, a civil servant, and Alix Maarlin Walcott, an elementary school teacher. Walcott was raised in Castries, by his mother after his father died when he was one years old. 

Walcott’s first published poem was printed in the newspaper The Voice of St Lucia at age 14. By 19, he had self-published his first two collections: 25 Poems (1948) and Epitaph for the Young: XII Cantos (1949). 

He received a scholarship to study at the University College of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica, where he majored in French, Latin, and Spanish. After graduation, Walcott moved to Trinidad, where he became a critic, teacher, and journalist. 

As a teacher and lecturer, Walcott travelled across the globe. He was the University of Alberta’s first distinguished scholar in residence, served as Professor of Poetry at the University of Essex from 2010 to 2013, he taught at Columbia and Boston Universities (1981-2007). While there, he founded the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre.³ 

In conclusion both men left astounding legacies for us now and future generations. Among many, accolades Lewis has institutions named after him i.e, ‘The Sir Arthur Lewis Community College – Castries, The Arthur Lewis Building – University of Manchester, Arthur Lewis Auditorium, the main auditorium of Robertson Hall, home of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, his portrait appears on the Eastern Caribbean 100-dollar bill.4 

Walcott’s list is not exhaustive either; for instance he has a public square and park in central Castries, called ‘Derek Walcott Square’. The Saint Lucia National Trust acquired his childhood home at 17 Chaussée Road, Castries, now opened to the public as ‘Walcott House.’ As mentioned previously in January 2023 a library was named in his honour with a collection of his poet and literary works.5 

Both men have left much to motivate and inspire us today, accompanied with strong work ethics. The question and challenge for us in St Lucia and those living  in the diaspora is, ‘What legacy are we going to leave in order to benefit mankind and future generations?’. Let’s get focused, put our hands to the plough and work for the betterment of all. Let’s pray for God to give us the strength to accomplish His will as He did for those two honourable men! 

Join me in congratulating Sir William Arthuur Lewis, and Sir Derek Alton Walcott for leaving us great legacies! 

So until next time, remember that you are beautiful and wonderfully made – With love Amanda x                 

 Amanda Alexander is a Pastor, Teacher, TV Media Journalist

Founder of Female Dignity, Warrior Women, Amanda Alexander Productions. She serves on the leadership team of New Life Church in Bishops Stortford and is ministry coordinator for Patrick’s Mission

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Amanda Alexander

Amanda Alexander

Amanda Alexander is a TV Media Journalist, Founder & Managing Director of ‘Amanda Alexander Productions’. A Christian company committed to writing and producing Christian content.

She’s also the Founder and Director of Female Dignity, an organisation dedicated to providing machinery to girls and women in developing countries to make feminine products utilising the raw materials in their town/country.

As well as being an ordained Pastor and Minister of the gospel Amanda runs her ministry ‘Warrior Women’ which empowers ladies to live and walk in the ‘Fear of the Lord’. She also serves on the leadership team of New Life Church and as a ministry coordinator for Patrick’s Mission.

A Christian for over 25 years Amanda loves people and is adventurous. To contact Amanda please visit her website www.femaledignity.co.uk [email protected] or 07494444064.


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