Letters & Opinion

Goodbye My Friend

The Independent Eye - By Kensley Peter Charlemagne

I make most people look short and so when I meet someone who gives me some latitudinal competition I am always in awe. Mr. Cornell Charles was one of those persons. When my wife saw him earlier this year at Literary Night she said: “Now I know what you will look like when you grow old.” I am guessing she meant wise, stately and ever so handsome.

I knew nothing of Mr. Charles until a few years ago when I met him at a book launch of his at the Gros Islet Branch Library. I was introduced to him by Miss RosemundStanislas who was in charge of the library at the time. She wanted me to put on an excerpt from his play, “Verdict of the Gods”. I loved the language. It was challenging. I liked the theme as well. It resonated. Government was imposing a major tourism project that would have displaced an entire rural community. Much of the intrigue still is evident in today’s real life scenarios. We did intend to produce the entire play sometime. I hope this can still be done. Writing takes you into the minds of the writer and I am deducing that as a business person, Mr. Charles had issues with the trajectory of our country’s development trends.

If Mr. Charles liked you, you knew it and I am supposing if he did not, you would know it too. Mr. Charles was to have occupied the Writers Forum’s Laureate’s Chair earlier in the year but sadly the postponement is forever.

I often encourage children to take up writing. I tell them that their work is property that they can will to their children. And of course writing well means reading a lot and so I am happy when we have the noted works of our Lucian-reared writers that our children can turn to.

Mr. Charles was a philanthropist as well. I know because I saw his picture at an institution in Anse la Raye. When I mentioned it to the administrator she told me of the work of Mr. Charles with Save the Children Fund and his part in sourcing funds to erect the said building for the children of the village.

“Calm on Troubled Waters” is the redoing of “Verdict of the Gods” in narrative form. Having read both versions, I prefer the play.

Mr. Charles was not a person of grand show. In fact it was a hassle to get him to put on the book launch and he said he would have sat on the Laureate’s Chair only because of me.

I read somewhere that in life you do not live forever, your mission should be to create something that does. Mr. Charles you have. Your legacy lives on in the books you’ve written. I am happy that the Central Library was able to honour you in April of his year at Literary Night. Go well my friend.

1 Comment

  1. II am responding to the fact that he contributed to the establishment of a library in a west coast village/town.
    The rise to power of an emperor who is distrustful of academics (unless he can forge them into his own puppetry (e.g, Rigobert le Amazonian Bald) and prefers the lure of currency exchange shenanigans;
    coincides with the loss of a supporter of books -if not creative intelligence.
    History recalls that the burning of books and the purging of intellectuals as enemies of the state has been the strategy of ruthless dictators.
    RIP -great reader.
    Praying that your passing is not an indicator of the historical “burning of the books /holy Inquisition” anti intellectual dogma, to befall St.Lucia.

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