For three young Saint Lucians it was supposed to be a very special day; a day they had often dreamed about while still attending St Mary’s College and St Joseph’s Convent. How could they have imagined the events in a sister island, initially brought about by a group of London-trained lawyers, schoolteachers and self-proclaimed revolutionaries, that would render their dream come true almost unremarkable?
Nearly four years earlier, in 1979, while Grenada’s prime minister, Eric Gairy, was in New York, Maurice Bishop and his New Jewel Movement had seized power in a coup. Alas, an internal power struggle would soon plunge the island into further trouble. The altogether illegal activities that were celebrated throughout most of the Caribbean—by the people, if not by their self-interested leaders—had suddenly taken a nightmarish turn.
On the same morning that Maurice Bishop and scores of his supporters were shot dead by an insane faction of Grenada’s so-called revolutionary government loyal to Bernard Coard, three recently graduated Saint Lucian lawyers were scheduled to participate in the most important event of their young lives: the ceremony at the main Castries courthouse that would mark the start of their careers in law.
Alas, even as they were being called to the bar to the strains of congratulatory speeches, the buzz around the courtroom had everything to do with the stunning events in Grenada.
The date was 19 October 1983. For Peter Foster, Wilkie Larcher and Lorraine Williams—as well as for millions throughout the Caribbean and elsewhere—a day to be recalled either with pride or great regret. In any event an unforgettable day.
Some thirty years later, now House Speaker and Queen’s Counsel Peter Foster doubtless has much to celebrate. As does, former Attorney General and Minister of Gender Affairs Lorraine Williams, recently returned home following stints in Ottawa, where she served as OECS High Commissioner to Canada, and as Assistant Director General at the FAO, in Geneva.
As for Wilkie Larcher, he continues to operate his own prominent law firm and was until fairly recently a frontline Labour Party figure. He is especially appreciated for his enduring interest in the less fortunate among us, both young and old, and for his promotion of local sports.
We at the STAR take this opportunity to congratulate Peter, Wilkie and Lorraine on their achievements this far. Ambitious young Saint Lucians need look no further for inspiration, especially in these not so happy days!