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Famous St. Lucian Son Sir Dunstan St. Omer Laid To Rest

MAKE ST. OMER A HERO – Msgr. Anthony Says He Will Lead Campaign.

Monsignor Anthony's proposed petition for Sir Dunstan being named a National Hero received both resounding applause and standing ovation.
Monsignor Anthony’s proposed petition for Sir Dunstan being named a National Hero received both resounding applause and standing ovation.

A packed audience at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Castries paid tribute yesterday afternoon to acclaimed Saint Lucian painter, Sir Dunstan St. Omer.

Hundreds of schoolchildren waving flags lined Peynier Street as the hearse bearing Sir Dunstan’s casket left Parliament building on Laborie Street and turned onto Jeremie Street before turning right into Peynier Street and halting at the church on Micoud Street.

Inside the church were hundreds of family members, friends, well-wishers government officials and dignitaries who came to say farewell to the man who specialized in the art-form, Prismism, and designed the Saint Lucian flag 48 years ago. The artist’s flag and paintings played a key role in setting the theme for the service.

Tributes were varied throughout the service. A pre-recorded Charles Cadet song, “The Requiem”, was followed by ElraErmay performing Schubert’s “Ave Maria”. Ave Maria Girls Primary sang “Soon and Very Soon” and a pre-recorded Carlos St. Omer song specially composed for the late artist filled the Cathedral where the late artist’s painting adorn the walls. Guitarist Ronald “Boo” Hinkson did a masterful performance of Charles Cadet’s “Chanson Marianne”.

Childhood friend, Derek Walcott, paid tribute to Sir Dunstan – affectionately known as “Apilo” – the way he knows best: through poetry. Walcott, whose twin brother, Roderick, shared a deep and lasting friendship with Sir Dunstan, also attended a tribute concert at the National Cultural Centre last Monday evening where he read a poem for his late friend.

Poet McDonald Dixon read a moving eulogy, elaborating on the friendship and advice that he and Sir Dunstan shared ever since their childhood. He also had some words of comfort for Sir Dunstan’s widow, Cynthia, who sat with her children and other family members just a few feet from her husband’s casket draped in white.

“There is nothing I can say to you, Lady Cynthia, short of bringing back Sir Dunstan that will console you,” Dixon said. “But as you relive those 63 years you spent together and the nine replicas the two of you created, assure yourself that Sir Dunstan continues to parade through those memories and in the lives of your children and grandchildren.”

Monsignor Patrick “Paba” Anthony, a longtime friend of the St. Omer family, delivered the homily in which he painted Sir Dunstan as a man of love who went through rough patches in his life but was nevertheless able to inspire an entire nation through his artistic genius. Monsignor Anthony said Saint Lucians can all reference Sir Dunstan’s tenacity to achieve greatness.

Living heroes, Monsignor Anthony said, need to be celebrated in the best possible way. Nevertheless, he called for the title of National Hero to be bestowed on the late painter posthumously. He implored Saint Lucians to nominate deserving Saint Lucians for national honours whenever such requests are made. He promised to start the process in Sir Dunstan’s case.

“I will fill out the form and send it to the Commission in the name of everybody here in church and I will say to the Commission that I, Monsignor the Honourable Dr. Patrick Anthony, SLC, in the name of the people of Saint Lucia recommend the Honourable Sir Dunstan St. Omer to be our next national hero,” Monsignor Anthony said.

A resounding applause and standing ovation followed, prompting the first smiles on many faces in the church.

For his sterling service to country, Sir Dunstan was named a national cultural hero by the Folk Research Centre (FRC) in October 2007 and conferred with a knighthood in April 2010. He passed away on Tuesday, May 5 at 87 after becoming ill which resulted in repeated stays in hospital since last August. He is survived by his wife, Cynthia, and nine children.

Stan Bishop began his career in journalism in March 2008 writing freelance for The VOICE newspaper for six weeks before being hired as a part-time journalist there when one of the company’s journalists was overseas on assignment.

Although he was initially told that the job would last only two weeks, he was able to demonstrate such high quality work that the company offered him a permanent job before that fortnight was over. Read full bio...

4 Comments

  1. Surah Al-Mumenoon
    In the name of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful.

    And We are certainly able to show thee (in fulfilment) that against which they are warned. (95)
    Repel evil with that which is best: We are well-acquainted with the things they say. (96)
    And say: “O my Lord! I seek refuge with Thee from the suggestions of the Evil Ones; (97)
    “And I seek refuge with Thee O my Lord! lest they should come near me.” (98)
    (In Falsehood will they be) until, when death comes to one of them, he says: “O my Lord! send me back (to life)― (99)
    “In order that I may work righteousness in the things I neglected.”― “By no means! it is but a word he says Before them is a Partition till the Day they are raised up. (100)
    Then when the Trumpet is blown, there will be no more relationships between them that day, nor will one ask after another! (101)
    Then those whose balance (of good deeds) is heavy― they will attain salvation: (102)
    But those whose balance is light, will be those who have lost their souls; in Hell will they abide. (103)
    The Fire will burn their faces, and they will therein grin, with their lips displaced. (104)
    “Were not My Signs rehearsed to you, and ye did but treat them as falsehoods?” (105)
    They will say: “Our Lord! our misfortune overwhelmed us, and we became a people astray! (106)
    “Our Lord! bring us out of this: if ever we return (to evil), then shall we be wrongdoers indeed!” (107)
    He will say: “Be ye driven into it (with ignominy)! and speak ye not to Me! (108)
    “A part of My servants there was, who used to pray, `Our Lord! we believe; then do Thou forgive us, and have mercy upon us: for Thou art the Best of those Who show mercy!’ (109)
    “But ye treated them with ridicule, so much so that (ridicule of) them made you forget My Message while ye were laughing at them! (110)
    “I have rewarded them this day for their patience and constancy: they are indeed the ones that have achieved Bliss…” (111)
    He will say: “What number of years did ye stay on earth?” (112)
    They will say: “We stayed a day or part of a day: but ask those who keep account.” (113)
    He will say: “Ye stayed not but a little― if ye had only known! (114)
    “Did ye then think that We had created you in jest, and that ye would not be brought back to Us (for account)?” (115)
    Therefore exalted be Allah, the King the Reality; there is no god but He, the Lord of the Throne of Honour! (116)
    If anyone invokes, besides Allah any other god, he has no authority therefor; and his reckoning will be only with his Lord! And verily the Unbelievers will fail to win through! (117)
    So say: “O my Lord! grant Thou forgiveness and mercy! for Thou art the Best of those who show mercy!” (118)

  2. Surah Ya-Seen

    And when it is said unto them: Spend of that wherewith Allah hath provided you, those who disbelieve say unto those who believe: Shall we feed those whom Allah, if He willed, would feed? Ye are in naught else than error manifest. (47)
    And they say: When will this promise be fulfilled, if ye are truthful? (48)
    They await but one Shout, which will surprise them while they are disputing. (49)
    Then they cannot make bequest, nor can they return to their own folk. (50)
    And the trumpet is blown and lo! from the graves they hie unto their Lord, (51)
    Crying: Woe upon us! Who hath raised us from our place of sleep? This is that which the Beneficent did promise, and the messengers spoke truth. (52)
    It is but one Shout, and behold them brought together before Us! (53)
    This day no soul is wronged in aught; nor are ye requited aught save what ye used to do. (54)
    Lo! those who merit paradise this day are happily employed, (55)
    They and their wives, in pleasant shade, on thrones reclining; (56)
    Theirs the fruit (of their good deeds) and theirs (all) that they ask; (57)
    The word from a Merciful Lord (for them) is: Peace! (58)

  3. Surah Ya-Seen

    But avaunt ye, O ye guilty, this day! (59)
    Did I not charge you, O ye sons of Adam, that ye worship not the devil – Lo! he is your open foe! – (60)
    But that ye worship Me? That was the right path. (61)
    Yet he hath led astray of you a great multitude. Had ye then no sense? (62)
    This is hell which ye were promised (if ye followed him). (63)
    Burn therein this day for that ye disbelieved. (64)
    This day We seal up their mouths, and their hands speak out to Us and their feet bear witness as to what they used to earn. (65)
    And had We willed, We verily could have quenched their eyesight so that they should struggle for the way. Then how could they have seen? (66)
    And had We willed, We verily could have fixed them in their place, making them powerless to go forward or turn back. (67)
    He whom we bring unto old age, We reverse him in creation (making him go back to weakness after strength). Have ye then no sense? (68)
    And We have not taught him (Muhammad) poetry, nor is it meet for him. This is naught else than a Reminder and a Lecture making plain, (69)
    To warn whosoever liveth, and that the word may be fulfilled against the disbelievers. (70)
    Have they not seen how We have created for them of Our handiwork the cattle, so that they are their owners, (71)
    And have subdued them unto them, so that some of them they have for riding, some for food? (72)
    Benefits and (divers) drinks have they from them. Will they not then give thanks? (73)
    And they have taken (other) gods beside Allah, in order that they may be helped. (74)
    It is not in their power to help them; but they (the worshippers) are unto them a host in arms. (75)
    So let not their speech grieve thee (O Muhammad). Lo! We know what they conceal and what proclaim. (76)
    Hath not man seen that We have created him from a drop of seed? Yet lo! he is an open opponent. (77)
    And he hath coined for Us a similitude, and hath forgotten the fact of his creation, saying: Who will revive these bones when they have rotted away? (78)
    Say: He will revive them Who produced them at the first, for He is Knower of every creation, (79)
    Who hath appointed for you fire from the green tree, and behold! ye kindle from it. (80)
    Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth Able to create the like of them? Aye, that He is! for He is the All-Wise Creator, (81)
    But His command, when He intendeth a thing, is only that he saith unto it: Be! and it is. (82)
    Therefor glory be to Him in Whose hand is the dominion over all things! Unto Him ye will be brought back. (83)

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