Letters & Opinion

After 36 Years – Time To Get It Right!

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By John Peters

AS a nation we are celebrating 36 years of independence and yet there are issues relevant to our existence as a nation that still require extreme correction. We have to start with the very name of our country, is it St. Lucia or Saint Lucia?. Should there be an abbreviation or should the full name be written out in official documents. Your passport would have the words SAINT LUCIA on the front and then the first page speaks to citizens of SAINT LUCIA. However on the same page it refers to the Ministry of Home Affairs, St. Lucia. So even in the most official document to travel there is the apparent confusion.

We have to begin to spell it right, there is no St. Lucia, and there is only one country in the Caribbean by the name Saint Lucia. Every Government Department and every official document should begin to convey this fundamental truth of our geographical history. It is time to put ST. to rest permanently and to let the SAINT arise into its glorious position. We live in SAINT LUCIA and we are SAINT LUCIANS.

The second aberration that requires correction is the geometry and colour scheme of our national flag. On March 1st 1967 the national flag designed by Dunstan St Omer was adopted symbolizing SAINT LUCIA’S status as being self-governed. The description as stated by Mr. St Omer was as follows:

‘On a plain blue field, a device consisting of a white and black triangular shape, at the base of which a golden triangle occupies a central position. The triangles are superimposed on one another the black on the white, and the gold on the black. The black ends as a three-pointed star in the centre of the flag. The width of the white part of the triangle is one-and-a-half inches on both sides of the black. The distance between the peaks of the black and white triangles is four inches. The triangles share a common base the length of which is one-third of the full length of the flag.’

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The dimensions of the National Flag are 6 ft x 3 ft. In 2003 due to the preponderance of wrong colours and shapes, the government decided to publish the following clarification:

‘Due to concern over the various representations of the National Flag on souvenir items and other memorabilia, and the need for standardization of such items, permission should be sought from the Office of the Prime Minister before the importation of all souvenir items bearing the Coat of Arms and Flag of Saint Lucia.
This request is in accordance with Clause 15 of the Third Schedule Part II (Restricted Imports) of the Customs (Control and Management) Act No. 23 of 1990.
The official colours, proportions and dimensions of the Saint Lucia National Flag are given as follows: Colours of the Saint Lucia National Flag: Cerulean Blue (Process Cyan 100%), Light Chrome Yellow, Black, White.
Proportions of the Saint Lucia National Flag: Width of the white part of triangle – 1 ½ inches on both sides of the black; Distance between peaks of black and white triangles – 4 inches; Dimensions of Saint Lucia National Flag: Pole Flag – 6 feet x 3 feet; Hand Flag – 9 inches x 4 ½ inches; Desk Flag – 6 inches x 3 inches; Casket Flag – 11 feet x 5 ½ feet.
It is also recommended that the Coat of Arms, as the Official Seal of Government, should not be reproduced for commercial use or sale.”

Now let us look at the trigonometry of the details given by St Omer on the design of the flag assuming it is 6 ft long and 3 ft wide, for simplicity 72 inches x 36 inches.

The Golden Triangle occupies the central position, that being where the diagonals of the rectangle meet. So if you measure 36 inches across and 18 inches up you should find the apex of the golden triangle. In the series of isosceles triangles that contain the golden, white and black, the golden base occupies the central position, and thus is of a width of 72 inches divided by 3 which is 24 inches. If the white portions are 1.5 inches wide then the small isosceles triangle at the top of the triangles has a base of 3 inches and a height of 4 inches.

By comparing similar triangles, the white isosceles triangle at the top to the large isosceles triangle of the whole internal triangle, then we can look at a small white triangle at the top with a base of 3 inches ( close assumption) and a height of 4 inches and a larger triangle of a base of 24 inches. It means that the height of the entire triangle in the middle of the flag is 8 times 4 inches which will be 32 inches. It means that there is a 2 inch space from the top of the large triangle to the end of the flag and the same space to the base of the triangle and the base of the flag.

So the quickest way to know if the flag that you are looking at is the right flag, look for two inches from the top and two inches from the bottom of the large triangle in the middle of the flag. If it is not 2 inches then it is the wrong flag.

Now drive around Saint Lucia and look at all the flags flying all over, you will then be stunned as I am that after 36 years we still have not got it right. If you are the ultimate perfectionist then begin to look at the blue and see if the Cerulean Blue is there.

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