CASTRIES, St Lucia, Monday March 27, 2017 – St Lucian Nobel Laureate Sir Derek Walcott was laid to rest over the weekend, and was eulogized as a Caribbean man and a genius who also had his shortcomings.
The state funeral for Sir Derek, who passed away on March 17 at his home in Cap Estate, St Lucia at the age of 87, took place at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Castries, near where the late poet and playwright was raised.
Professor Emeritus Edward Baugh, a close friend of the literary titan, praised his talent, influence and work.
“We mourn and we celebrate a genius who was a prodigy, a maker. A Caribbean man who has made us and the world see more clearly the Caribbean landscape, Caribbean light,” said Baugh, a Jamaican poet and scholar recognized as an authority on Sir Derek’s work.
“But we also mourn and celebrate a person – someone with the virtues and the shortcomings that defined him, as the persons who knew him valued.”
Baugh spoke about Sir Derek as being generous man, considerate of others, and always willing to promote talent where he spotted it.
“He was a kind and considerate father, and, in his daughters’ words, a doting absolutely besotted grandfather,” he added.
For those touched by the genius of the literary titan, Professor Baugh wished him a fond farewell.
“We say to the boy from Chaussee Road, Sir Derek Alton Walcott. May that effervescent but transcendent light shine on you and may you rest in the radiant moment that is the season of phantasmal peace.”
Prior to the funeral, the body of Sir Derek Walcott lay in state in Parliament. He was laid to rest at Morne Fortune near the Inniskilling Monument, within proximity to fellow Nobel Laureate, Sir Arthur Lewis.