As a young Caymanian, I would like to express my sincere condolences to the Jamaican people with the recent lost of cultural icon, the Late Louise Bennett-Coverly.
I was born in the Cayman Islands and at age 12 I discovered a book called “Jamaican Labrish” by Ms Lou.
Before this time, I had never heard about this remarkable lady, which I consider rather odd seeing the proximity of Cayman and Jamaica and the other close ties that we share.
Ms Lou certainly inspired me in to the world of performing arts, drama and theatre.
At age 12 I recited the poem “Roas Turkey” in the National Children’s Festival of the Arts and was awarded a Cup for outstanding performance, according to the judges.
From that moment I made it my business to acquire books, and anything Ms Lou related as I was fascinated by the Jamaican patois, her rhythm and her vibrant personality.
Ms Lou was a walking, talking Jamaica.
She appreciated the heritage, history and culture and was very proud of it.
A true ambassador and Queen of Jamaican culture, not only will she be missed by Jamaicans, but by the Caribbean region and the world.
Ms Lou has taught me to respect culture and not be ashamed of it.
So I say thank you Ms Lou.
Thanks for your vision, artistic creativity, and most importantly, thanks for liberation.
Indeed, in your many years doing what you did best as a storyteller, folklorist, humorist and teacher; you inspired many (indeed a whole nation) to be proud of individuality and identity.
You were able to take a backyard lingo (patois) and transform it into an art form and bring it to the stage, radio and the world.
So again I say thank you for your effort, you have most certainly not laboured in vain.
Your works will live on forever! Your candle is now extinguished, however you’ve lit many, many candles, which will continue to burn.
I will be in Jamaica on 9 August to pay my last respects to this phenomenal lady.
May the soul of the late Louise Bennett-Coverly rest in peace,