Indo-St Lucians can look forward to one special day when their heritage and their continuing contribution to the island’s development will take centre stage as they are afforded their rightful place alongside other nationals of other races.
That’s the word from the President of the newly formed organization: “Indian Heritage Association of St. Lucia” Keith Compton. On the final whistle-stop of a series of gatherings around the island, where St Lucians of Indian descent were brought together to recognize their ancestor’s journey and to acknowledge just where they came from as well as to plot the way forward, Compton said that it was timely now to recognise Indo-St Lucians.
“It’s always been said that one has to know from where they came to know where they are going. History is extremely important and while Indians began arriving here in 1854, we have lost our history and a true sense of who we are – they changed our names; we lost the way we dance, our religion, our culture, our mode of dress, even our food and how we cooked. We would like to give Indo-St Lucians their pride back. Our forefathers came here as Indentured Labourers to help develop the island and they lost so much. This is an effort to try to give back to their descendants, the present day Indo St Lucians.”
Adamant that this was a move to further integrate and not segregate Indo-St Lucians Compton pointed to the Association’s newly revealed motto: “Unity in Diversity” that was unveiled alongside the group’s logo that features the Indian and St Lucian flags and some musical instruments that traveled from India and are still used in some Indian communities around the island – the drum and the Man jira.
“We have no intention to push anyone aside” Compton explained, “We just want to take our rightful place and pay the correct respect to the contribution Indians have made to the development of the island in the last century and a half. We have excelled in many areas, notably – law, agriculture, medicine, communications and a host of other areas. And just as there is a ‘Jounen Kweyol’ to honour the contributions the Africans made, we want to do the same for the Indians.”
Plans are afoot for the hosting of St Lucia’s first-ever “Indian National Day” on Sunday, August 18, 2013 in the southern town of Vieux Fort where the highest population of Indians is centered.
The celebration will be of a grand scale also involving the overseas communities of Indians working and living in St. Lucia from Trinidad and Guyana and Mother India together with the dynamic contributions of Indo-St Lucians from every nook and cranny of the island.
Compton says it will be a “glorious” day of celebration and recognition for the St Lucian Indian of music, food and dance and various talks on the contribution of the Indian here as well as tracking his journey to where he is today.