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Her Excellency the Governor General Dame Pearlette Louisy

Dame Pearlette touts importance of Kwéyòl

The Kwéyòl language has the attributes of any other language, the Governor General said.

Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy, Governor General of Saint Lucia, has said the time has come for all Saint Lucians to embrace the Kwéyòl language and be truly proud of what is theirs.

Speaking at a panel discussion on the literary links between Kwéyòl and French, the Governor General stated that by embracing Kwéyòl Saint Lucians will in turn elevate their own sense of self awareness.

“I’ve been involved in the promotion of Kwéyòl for years. I have taken all kinds of criticism from persons who say that it is all well and good for you to promote Kwéyòl when you speak English, you speak French, and so they do not see why I then should be promoting Kwéyòl to persons who are struggling with English. But what we are missing is the fact that it is part of who we are and we need to appreciate and understand who we are. We need to be grounded in our realities and after when we know who we are and we have that grounding in who we are and what is ours then we can more appreciate others."

The Governor General added that the promotion of Kwéyòl should not be linked to a neglect of any other language. “A lot of people think that when we speak about promoting Kwéyòl, teaching people Kwéyòl and encouraging them to speak the language, to appreciate the language, you are in some way saying to them you must not think about the international languages. That’s not so, in fact what we have been trying to do is to put the language on that kind of footing and tell people that it is a language, not a broken French, not a dialect. It is a language with the attributes of any other language. It has its grammar, its structure, its semantics, everything that you can find in an internationally acclaimed or accepted language, you will get it in Kwéyòl.”

Others who participated in the panel discussion with the Governor General included Paule Turmel-John, and Travis Weekes, lecturers at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College.