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A moment please, Doctor!

Published: 
Saturday, May 12, 2018

Sir Derek Anton Walcott (January 23, 1930-March 17, 2017) is a St Lucian. He was not one of the Nobel Laureates “produced” by Trinidad and Tobago as stated on May 1, 2018, during one of your twice weekly radio commentaries aired on i95.5.

While I do not wish to dwell on a semantic interpretation or connotations of the word “produced,” it stands to reason that if, as you stated, “Trinidad and Tobago produced two Nobel Laureates in the persons of Derek Walcott and VS Naipaul,” there is the implication that Derek Anton Walcott came from/was born in Trinidad and Tobago, and that, by extension, he is a Nobel Laureate from Trinidad and Tobago.

Such a statement is erroneous.

While it is a known fact that Sir Derek moved to Trinidad in 1953, and spent many years there, founding the Trinidad Theatre Workshop in 1959 and producing many plays, he was not produced by Trinidad and Tobago.

That is fake news, ironically, the same type of news denounced by you over CNC3 on the very same day (May 1, 2018) during the 7 pm broadcast.

Online searches and readily available literature reveal that Walcott was born in St Lucia on January 23, 1930.

The Nobel Prize for Literature was bestowed upon him in 1992. Incredibly, St Lucia’s first Nobel Laureate, Sir William Arthur Lewis (January 23, 1915 - June 15, 1991), was also born in St Lucia on January 23, fifteen years before Walcott.

Sir Arthur Lewis received the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1979.

The rarity of two Nobel Laureates being born on the same 238 square mile island of approximately 170,000, on the same date, in the same month and only 15 years apart, is a phenomenon many will never comprehend.

It is this incredulous achievement which makes commemoration imperative, and propels St Lucia to proudly celebrate Nobel Laureate Week annually in January, with a series of activities in honour of St Lucia’s two ‘Nobel’ sons.

Dear doctor, you are an admired journalist, and your commentary is sound, profound, and most times, on point.

However, you erred on May 1, 2018. Please correct your commentary.

As Sir Derek succinctly immortalised using the intermix of French and French Creole evident in many of his works, “moi c’est gens Ste Lucie…c’est la moi sorti; is there that I born” (From the poem, Sainte Lucie, in Sea Grapes, 1976).

PETRA MITCHELL
Educator,
Via email

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