Chairman of the OECS Authority, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris of St. Kitts and Nevis extends his condolences to the people of St. Lucia and the Caribbean, who today, Friday, March 17th, 2017, lost Sir Derek Alton Walcott, KCSL OBE OCC, a verbal virtuoso who became the first Caribbean writer to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992.
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1992 was awarded to Sir Derek Walcott “for a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment.”
Sir Walcott’s poetry was a reflection of his deep commitment to his country and the Caribbean, as it masterfully captured the physical beauty of his milieu. It was this idyllic social environment that he gravitated towards throughout his life, choosing to spend much of his time in his homeland of St. Lucia where he died today at the age of 87.
For the celebrations marking his 80th birthday on Saturday, January 23rd, 2010, Sir Derek Walcott invited other literary giants such as the late Irish poet Seamus Heaney and the African playwright Wole Soyinka to St. Lucia, where no doubt the sea played a starring role in the festivities.
Sir Walcott told The Economist in 1990 that, “The sea is always present. It’s always visible. All the roads lead to it. I consider the sound of the sea to be part of my body. And if you say in patois, ‘The boats are coming back,’ the beat of that line, its metrical space, has to do with the sound and rhythm of the sea itself.”
Today, the Caribbean and indeed the world grieve the passing of Sir Derek Alton Walcott, KCSL OBE OCC whose soul will forever live on through his body of award-winning literary works. May he rest in eternal peace!