A NATIONAL monument by renowned sculptor, Jallim Eudovic, was unveiled at the Castries Roundabout on the afternoon of Thursday October 3rd. The monument was part of the hallmarks of Saint Lucia’s 40th Independence Anniversary. Seats were assembled under white tents for dignitaries, invited guests and students from various schools for the unveiling ceremony at the Castries Roundabout. Among the many who attended the ceremony were Allen Chastanet, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia; Sarah Flood Beaubrun, Minister with responsibility for External Affairs; Fortuna Belrose, Minister with responsibility for Culture and Creative Industries, and the artist himself, Jallim Eudovic.
Before the unveiling of the monument, Sarah Flood Beaubrun, in her address remarked, “This monument that we are unveiling in such a historic way is supposed to help us reflect on who we are as a people; where we have come from and where we are going… our destiny.” She further added, “We seek to build a new Saint Lucia; we seek to build it knowing that we as a Christian society are going to truly reach a common destiny that is based on a love of neighbour, a loving spirit, a charitable spirit. This monument will continue to remind us that regardless of where we come from, we have a common heritage, we have a common destiny, and being all-in together with the help of God, we will reach there.”
Fortuna Belrose declared that the monument would grace the landscape of the Castries Waterfront for generations to come. She said that it was no coincidence that the unveiling ceremony was taking place at the commencement of the Creole Heritage month celebrations and that the present time was fitting to pay homage to our heritage, to celebrate our values and to reflect on who we are, what we have achieved as a people and where we are headed as a nation. Belrose later proclaimed, “As we celebrate our culture and heritage this month under the theme ‘Découverte Sainte-Lucie, découvertecours’, we plant this sculpture as a permanent symbol of that celebration of unity and peace that characterises our 40th Anniversary of Independence under the theme, ‘All In’.” According to Belrose, the sculpture was worth just under $300,000, a significant amount of which was provided for by the Bi-lateral Corporation Agreement between the Government of Saint Lucia and the Government of Taiwan.
Following the address of Belrose, Jeannine Giraudy-McIntyre, President of the Senate and Chairperson of the Independence Committee, came forth to officially introduce JallimEudovic to the audience. She said, “Jallim is now a leading contemporary sculptor working in the Caribbean region and is best known for his minimalist and conceptual wooden block sculptures. He captures the soul of a place, its essence. When this veil is lifted, behold the inspiration, the music, and the muse for our 40th Anniversary of Independence.”
Jallim was loudly applauded by some of the members of the public who came to witness the unveiling of the sculpture. In his address to the audience, Jallim stated, “I only own the process, the inspiration is of God and the outcome is for the people. Now I stand before you, my people, humbled that I have been given the opportunity to channel the ethos of our collective history, our ancestry, who we’ve become and what we aspire to be.” The artist said that he had a strong love for his people, asserting that Saint Lucians were a “unique specimen amongst all of humanity.” He further emphasised, “The Saint Lucian person is a noble person. We are, in my view, the most talented country per capita in the world.”
He described Saint Lucia as having the world’s best example of interculturalism going on to say, “There is a historical commonality which binds us all together whether you’re Black, White, Amerindian or East Indian; and that is [because] our forefathers all came here by boat.” He spoke of the different circumstances under which the various ethnicities came together to create the unified Saint Lucian community. “Time has unified us all,” he said. He further proclaimed, “We are no longer slaves, colonizers or indentured labourers. We are one nation and one people. This is your sculpture Saint Lucia. This sculpture is symbolic of how far we’ve come and where we want to go. Let us translate the sticks of oars that our forefathers used to get here into symbols of transcendence, and let us use them to rise above mundanity; to rise above mediocrity; to rise above hatred; to rise above pettiness… the Pitons are not the only majestic things on the landscape, we are a majestic people…”
The Prime Minister stated that the monument was a symbol of the collective vision and ideals of the Saint Lucian people. He said that the location for the sculpture was one which was strategically selected. He said, “This is one of the main entrances into the capital from the north, right on our waterfront, for all to see. It will be viewed by all Saint Lucians and visitors everyday as a symbol of our togetherness.” The Prime Minister emphasised, “It is my sincere hope that this Independence monument will instil in all of us a sense of national pride.”
The aforementioned speeches were followed by a grand parade which represented the Amerindians, the Africans, the Europeans and the East Asians. The Independence monument was afterwards, finally unveiled for all to see.