The SPOILER’S RETURN Derek WALCOTT

‘Tell Desperadoes when you reach that hill
I decompose, but I composing still.’ ”
Derek Walcott
A statement so timely on the rot that pervades Trinidad that I had to double check the year it was written because I thought he was talking about our current state. We’ve been doing this nonsense for years.

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Derek Walcott, “The Spoiler’s Return” (1981)

(for Earl Lovelace)

I sit high on this bridge in Laventille,
watching that city where I left no will
but my own conscience and rum-eaten wit,
and limers passing see me where I sit,
ghost in brown gabardine, bones in a sack,
and bawl: “Ay, Spoiler, boy! When you come back?”
And those who bold don’t feel they out of place
to peel my limeskin back, and see a face
with eyes as cold as a dead macajuel,
and if they still can talk, I answer: “Hell.”
I have a room there where I keep a crown,
and Satan send me to check out this town.
Down there, that Hot Boy have a stereo
where, whole day, he does blast my caiso:
I beg him two weeks’ leave and he send me
back up, not as no bedbug or no flea,
but in this…

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A Place for Birdsong Academy

On August 15th the Marshal of the High Court had the authority to return possession of the property on the corner of Connel and St. Vincent Streets in Tunapuna to the landlord. When I visited Birdsong on D-day they were defiant in the face of eviction.

When the Marshal arrived, it was very early on Monday 29th August to remove Birdsong’s belonging from the land, and put up a fence.

The Academy’s directors are now trying to find an alternative space for the school to hold it’s acclaimed after school programme this September. At the Town Hall meeting they held at Friends Recreational Club, mere steps away from their former home and obliquely opposite their proposed new site, Birdsong assured the community that this was not a wake, but a hurdle to cross.

This is a developing story, and I’ll keep you abreast as the news comes to hand.

To help put this story in further context here’s my report from the press conference Birdsong held on the 8th August to make public their plight.

Bird Song Needs a Home

It was a pretty high powered panel that came out on Monday to speak about the eviction notice that was handed out to Birdsong Academy. The owner, Ramdath Maharai will take possession of his property on March 15.

Birdsong say they will not challenge his order but they need 2 years to find a new space.

They already started paying down on this lot of land a short distance from their current location on St. Vincent Street. The land was owned by the Tunupuna Rising Star Friendly Society, but because the friendly society is closing down its assets are under the control of the Registrar of Friendly Societies. There is no Registrar at present so the sale of the land can’t be finalised at this time.

The academy is staying positive, their annual concert takes place this Saturday at Queen’s Hall.

I think the take away from this incident is that we need a national policy on culture, and on pan in particular.