EXECUTIVE Director of the Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT), BishnuTulsie, on Tuesday, spoke to The VOICE about the planned temporary reopening of Walcott House during Nobel Laureate Festival, which begins on January 15.
Tulsie said the SLNT was also effusive in praise of the Grass Street community and the protection that it continues to afford the Walcott House.
“The Grass Street community also protected and continues to protect the building and look out for it,” Tulsie said, recalling a burglary that occurred at the facility on Chaussee Road. “Recently, someone stole the compressors from the air conditioning system that are at the back of the house and through the help of the community we were able to retrieve the items.”
Tulsie also highlighted the general “support the project has received from the Grass Street community” and said for the Walcott House reopening, “we are looking forward to the same support and we will continue to engage the community as far as possible.”
“The Grass Street community embraced the project (from its inception); they expressed their concerns when it was stopped. But during construction, we engaged them (as far as) possible in the actual construction,” he said.
Speaking on how the project provided jobs for some of the community’s residents, he said: “(At the time), we had that arrangement with the contractor and we actually did a survey in the community and presented him with all the names of people who were willing to work and what skills they had. Some people were, in fact, hired to do that.”
Tulsie said Grass Street is “an interesting community” and spoke about the history and influence the community has had, including many St. Lucian greats trace their roots to the area.
“Sir Arthur Lewis grew up not far from there; Harold Simmons, his home is still there. John Compton spent time not far from there as well. So that community has a very rich history in terms of the contribution people from that area made to St. Lucia and the world.”
When asked if he wanted to recreate the environment in Grass Street, which produced such great St. Lucian icons, Tulsie spoke about a scholarship programme that has commenced with assistance from Dr. Parris.
“We certainly wanted to uplift the community; we want to create opportunities for business, and through the help of Dr. Parris, we started a scholarship programme. Two children from Grass Street will each year get a scholarship to go to secondary school. Each year, two will be added to it. It is a 5-year scholarship. Dr. Parris wanted to make that contribution to the intellectual development of the community.”