People of Soufriere

The 2010 Population and Housing Census records St. Lucia as having a population of 166,526. Out of this number, a total of 8,472 persons reside in Soufriere. This means that 5.1 % of the total national household population resides within the district. Over the period 2001 to 2010 the population grew by 10.7%. This figure is high when compared to the marginal growth rates experienced between the periods 1980 to 2001.

Soufriere is the sixth most populous out of 10 enumerated districts in St. Lucia, which includes Castries, Gros Islet, Anse La Raye, Canaries, Choiseul, Laborie, Vieux Fort, Micoud and Dennery. With a population of only 4,280 males and 4,192 females, and a population density of 434 persons per square mile, Soufriere remains the least densely populated district in St. Lucia.

Soufriere population

(Source: Census 2010)

As a result of the topography, a large percentage of the residents reside in the town centre, most residing in the suburbs of Palmiste and New Development. The majority of the remaining residents live in the agricultural community of Fond St. Jacques and its satellite communities.

Chart

(Source: Census 2010)

The people of Soufriere are predominantly of African descent. However, persons of East Indian, Amerindian and Caucasoid descent also live and work in Soufriere. The town’s populace can generally be described as friendly, family oriented and fun-loving.

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NOTE-WORTHY SOUFRIERE PEOPLE

FRANCIS JOSEPH CARASCO, SLC, OBE.

1910 – 1990

F. j. carasco

Francis “Puck” Carasco was born in Soufriere on 2nd April, 1910 to Louis and Lucie Carasco. After completing his primary education in Soufriere he proceeded to Castries to attend St. Mary’s College. He intended to pursue a profession in law but his plans were thwarted by the devastating 1927 fire that forced him to leave school one year earlier so that he could enable his father rebuild the family business – a dry goods store.

In 1931 Carasco was made a partner in the business. Carasco went on to become an outstanding business-man and nation builder. He served on a number of Boards including the Castries Town Board, the Housing and Planning Authority, Saint Lucia Sugar Association, Roman Catholic Vestry, Saint Lucia Library Board, Harbour Advisory Board and the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce. He was a founding member of the “Penny Bank” which was later known as the St. Lucia Co-operative Bank and now the 1st National Bank and the local Saint Vincent de Paul Society.

He was also a sportsman, benefactor and trade unionist.

For his contribution to nation-building he was awarded the country’s highest honour, the Saint Lucia Cross. The Roman Catholic Church honoured this Soufriere boy by appointing him St. Lucia’s Ambassador to the Vatican.

Francis Joseph Carasco passed away in 1990.

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ANDRé DUBOULAY

1898 - 1982

Andre duboulay

André Cornibert Duboulay was born in Soufriere in 1898. His early education was acquired in Soufriere prior to attending the St. Mary’s College. When he was a young man of seventeen his father passed away and he was faced with the huge task of caring for his mother and eight siblings (seven sisters and one brother) as well as taking care of three estates: Soufriere, La Perle and Diamond.

André immersed himself in running the estates and he concentrated on the production of limes and coconuts, both of which oil were producing. He was in the forefront of the St. Lucia Lime Producers Ltd. and went on to sit on the board of the Trinidad based West Indian Limes Association. He was convinced of the potential in the copra industry and worked tirelessly to improve that sector, importing dwarf coconut trees from Malaysia and eventually petitioning the government to establish its own copra manufacturing plant rather than exporting copra to Barbados and re-importing the end products.

In 1953 the Copra Manufacturers Ltd. was formed with Duboulay in the driver’s seat. He was a founding member of the St. Lucia Coconut Growers Association, serving as Manager-Director for over thirty years.

He was Chairman of a number of committees in Soufriere: Soufriere Town Coucil, Soufriere Roman Catholic Vestry and Soufriere Poor Relief Cases Committee.

He was Managing Director of La Perle Estates Ltd. and was a nominated member of the legislative council.

André Cornibert Duboulay retired from the St. Lucia Coconut Growers Association in 1977 and concentrated on the running of his estates and the enjoyment of his retirement.

He died on 19th October, 1982.

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JONES MONDESIR

1915 - 1996

J. e. mondesir

Jones Mondesir was born in 1915 in Soufriere, Saint Lucia. In 1930 he entered the teaching profession in Soufriere. In 1936 he moved on to the Soufriere Library to the position of Librarian, but remained there until 1940.

In 1941 he gained the Saint Lucia Teacher’s Certificate of Proficiency and the Trained Teacher’s Certificate from the Government of Trinidad. Mondesir continued his studies and gained the Associate-ship of the College of Preceptors (A.C.P.) in 1952 and the Licentiate-ship of the College of Preceptors (L.C.P.) in 1958.

In 1957 he served as an Inspector of Schools and functioned as a Supervising Teacher - a post he held until 1967. In 1960 he gained a diploma in the teaching of English as a second language from the Moray House College of Education, Scotland.

Jones Mondesir returned to the United Kingdom in 1967, this time to the University of Reading, Institute of Education, completing a Diploma in Guidance and Counseling.

Mondesir served as Education Officer from 1967 to 1970 and as Acting Chief Education Officer from 1970 to 1972. He later retired from the position of Principal of the Corinth Junior Secondary School.

Jones Mondesir spent the better part of his last thirty years researching information which now comprises his Dictionary of Saint Lucian Creole (1992).

During his early days he wrote many poems about the Caribbean, some of which were set to music and sung by school children. Among his other publications are Pas Bon Dieu Qui Faire (1977), a book of poems, and Annou Di I an Kweyol (1992), a collection of folk tales, poetry, jokes, proverbs puns and limericks.

Jones Mondesir died in England on November 17th, 1996.

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HENRY JOSEPH BELIZAIRE

1882 - 1954

H. j. belizaireHenry Joseph Belizaire was born in Soufriere on 20th September, 1882. He was the son of E. Belizaire and Eudoxia neè Prospere who had settled at Piton Estate.

Belizaire’s earliest education began at a small school which was managed by the Mico College of the Antiguan Moravian Church. Later, he attended the newly constructed Roman Catholic School at Soufriere. On completion of his elementary studies, he joined the teaching staff of the Etangs Catholic School. He was able to successfully complete the Pupil Teacher’s Course offered by the College of Preceptors in England and this qualified him for the position of Head Teacher of the Soufriere Boys’ School, a position he held for many years.

Henry Belizaire loved children very much and always showed a keen interest in them. For children who lived far away from the school and were unable to go home for lunch, he would make certain that they got something to eat. The parents of many of his students being poor peasants could not afford to buy expensive school books for their children. This prompted Belizaire to write his own Geographical Terms in 1920, a book which was sold cheaply. It is still being used in most schools today.

In 1934, Henry accepted the post of Head Teacher of the Castries Catholic Senior School.

While in Castries he became President of the Saint Lucia Teachers’ Union. He served for the period 1934 to 1939.

After his retirement from teaching on December 31st, 1940, his interest in the education of children did not diminish. He then prepared another Booklet, “English Grammar for Beginners” in 1940. This book, he thought would give students a good start to their study of the English Language.

Henry was always a religious man, kind but firm, helpful to others, studious, full of humor and laughter. A leading member of the Roman Catholic Church, he was a founding member of the Holy Name Society. He was also a member of the Vestry, the Sacred Heart and Mount Carmel Confraternities. Henry spent his time giving talks to the youth of the Catholic Youth Organization (C. Y. O.). When the Saint Lucia Catholic Parents and Guardians Association were formed, he helped to draw up the rules for the Association.

He took an active part in politics but was never lucky at the polls. His failure might have been due to his sincerity, because he could not bluff the electorate with false promises. His slogan was, “I have offered my services and if returned I will do my best to help my constituency.” But such slogans do not earn votes, as the electorate love to hear the impossible.

In his later years, he assisted with the accounts of a company owned by his son, Russell; The Lafayette Fruit and Produce Company Limited. It was from this post, having lived a good honest life; he departed this life after a brief illness, on April 8th, 1954.

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CATHERINE RUTH LAWRENCE

1928 – 1997

R. r. lawrence

Catherine Ruth Lawrence was born to Catherine Morgan in Soufriere on April 30th, 1928 and was married to Lilburn Alexander Kenneth Lawrence on 11th April, 1953. They had three girls and one boy.

Catherine Ruth Lawrence was educated in Soufriere, St. Joseph’s Convent and Carleton University, Canada. Catherine was the first girl from Soufriere to win a Scholarship to the Convent.

She began her career as a clerical worker when she was appointed to the post of Administrative Officer, General Post Office in 1956. In 1960 she joined the Audit Department where she remained until 1962. Between 1962 and 1980, she worked as an Administrative Officer in several Ministries. These included the Ministry of Trade (1962-1970), the Ministry of External Affairs (1970-1974), and the Ministry of Health (1977-1980). In 1963, in conjunction with her duties in the Ministry of Trade, she was also specially appointed the first female Probation Officer.

Over the years Catherine R. Lawrence found time to devote to voluntary service as well as to being a caring wife and mother. She joined the Ladies of Charity (1949-1960), was Lady Cub Master of the St. Mary’s College Wolf Cub Pack (1949-1957) and Commandant of the British Red Cross Detachment from 1950-1957. Catherine R. Lawrence also served as the General Secretary of the St. Lucia Civil Service Association (1962-1966) and became a member of the St. Lucia Women’s Association between 1950 and 1957.

In 1976, she joined the local Club of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women. Between 1983 and 1986, she was the President of the National Association of the Partners of America, and then became involved in the Family Life Education Movement in 1987. During that same year she was awarded a Certificate for Meritorious Service from the Partners of America and in 1988, she was awarded the Public Service Long Service Medal for her contribution to the Public Service. Catherine Lawrence also served as Administrator of the Upton Garden’s Girls Centre.

In 1974, Catherine Ruth Lawrence became the second female to be appointed Permanent Secretary in the Saint Lucia Public Service, a position she held for three years (1974 - 1977). She served as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications and Works from 1980 to 1982.

She was later transferred to the Ministry of Community Development, to function in the same capacity until her retirement in 1983.

Catherine Lawrence died on February 11th, 1997.

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CLEMENT SULLIVAN RODOLPHE D’AUVERGNE

1908 – 1990

C.S.R. d'auvergne

Clement Sullivan Rudolph d’Auvergne was born at Soufriere on 25th November 1908, the second son of the union between Rudolph d’Auvergne and Ida Armand. He attended the Soufriere R.C. Boys’ School and left school at fourteen years to become an Overseer at the Roseau lands. He had no difficulty on the job having learnt from his father who had been Overseer on the Piton lands. He joined the Civil Service and worked with the Inland Revenue department as a Tax Collector. He remained with Inland Revenue and retired at age fifty-five in May 1965 as Assistant Comptroller.

He was a farmer at heart and through his entire career in the Civil Service, he farmed on the one hundred and two acre estate that was held in the name of his wife Agnes at Odsan. On 7th January 1942 he had married Agnes Fontenelle of Vieux-Fort and out of this union seven children were born including Suzie d’Auvergne who became Saint Lucia’s first female Judge. Between 1952 and 1965 he paid for supervision of his estate and eventually he had twenty acres planted in bananas, thirty-two acres in coconuts, five acres in cacao.

He was a member of the St. Vincent de Paul’s Holy Name Society and in the summer of 1975 represented the Society in Canada. For years he was one of three judges on the Land Adjudication Appeals Board, the other two being Fosche Modeste and Sir Neville Peterkin. He was also a founding member of the Banana Association and the Banana Agriculturist Association and for many years represented the island at Oils and Fats regional meetings.

He departed this life on 15th February, 1990.

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SIR JOSEPH QUENTIN CHARLES

1908 – 1993

J. q. charles

The firm J.Q. Charles & Company Ltd., was started by Joseph Quentin Charles, the first Saint Lucian to be awarded a Knighthood in 1985 for his contribution to Commercial Development in Saint Lucia.

Joseph Quentin Charles saw the light of day in Soufriere in 1908 and received his primary education there before moving to Castries to attend the St. Mary’s College.

After leaving St. Mary’s College, J.Q. as he was fondly called, worked as an apprentice with Monplaisir & Company, wholesale and retail provisions merchants, where he learnt all aspects of the trade. During the 1930s, he ventured out on his own as a one man business enterprise, trading in produce and fruits and strategically planning his every move. He took spectacular risks, like his purchase of the Choc Estate at a time when others thought it a foolhardy venture. J.Q. however, proved himself to be a wise and prudent entrepreneur.

He built up a business empire which was, during his lifetime, undoubtedly the largest in Saint Lucia, running the gamut from Construction and Dry Goods to Car Dealerships and Supermarket chains and most recently, carrying Saint Lucia into the twenty-first century with the creation of our very own Mega-Malls.

Starting a small trading business at age 25, J. Q. Charles rose to become one of Saint Lucia’s biggest local businessmen.

In the sphere of community service, he was a founding member of the St. Lucia Cooperative Bank, Chairman of St. Lucia Banana Growers Association as well as Director of Copra Manufacturers Limited.

For his outstanding contribution to the development of the island’s commercial life, he was awarded a Knighthood in 1985.

J.Q. passed away in 1993 leaving behind three sons and two daughters to carry on his legacy.

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SIR STANISLAUS ANTHONY JAMES

G.C.S.L., G.C.M.G., O.B.E.

Sir s.a. james

Sir Stanislaus Anthony James, was born at Soufriere on November 13th, 1919. Saint Lucians know him best as the nation’s Governor General who held office for a continuous period of eight years from 1988 through to 1996. His contribution to this country however, far exceeds this largely titular office, and is marked by a career spanning 57 years of unbroken public service, throughout which he demonstrated his outstanding abilities as a creative thinker and innovator.

His earliest profession was as a teacher, and in 1946, he singled himself out by becoming the first Saint Lucian to obtain a Diploma in Education. Sir Stanislaus stands out as the key architect in the establishment, organization and development of social welfare and community development in Saint Lucia. It is he who was responsible for conceptualizing and implementing youth development and community programs and projects which saw the establishment island-wide for the first time, of youth clubs, sports and community centers and playing fields. Over the years, his work in this area as head of the departments dealing with Probation, Social Welfare, Community Development, Public Relations and Poor Relief, has laid the foundation and structure for activities which are today the shared responsibility of the Department of Human Services and the Ministry of Legal Affairs.

He also played a key role in the establishment of the National Provident Fund Scheme, which is the precursor of the social security program of the National Insurance Scheme. So indispensable were his services that in 1974, Sir Stanislaus was brought out of retirement by the Government to establish a framework for disaster preparedness in Saint Lucia and was responsible for designing our first comprehensive National Disaster Plan.

Sir Stanislaus James departed this life on May 30, 2011.

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HONORABLE JOSEPH MARIE DONALD BOUSQUET

1915 – 1975

J. m. d. bousquet

J. M. D. Bousquet, who was later simply called, “JMD”, was born to Victor and Lucy Bousquet at Soufriere on July 4th, 1915. He attended the Soufriere Roman Catholic Boys School and like most young men of that era left the island to seek his fortune overseas. He worked as a Merchant Seaman for many years and sailed to far away places like Australia, India, South Africa and England. In order to improve himself he attended the Cardiff Technical College, Clarke’s College, in Cardiff, Wales. Armed with a solid education and a wealth of experience he returned to Saint Lucia at a time when politics was changing in the island, and universal adult suffrage was the basis for elections. He joined the St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) and with men like George Charles, Martin ‘Oleo” Jn. Baptiste, Herman Collymore and others determined to improve the lot of his fellowmen.

From 1951 to 1964 he worked with the Labour Party and served as a Minister in that administration. However, when a John Compton led faction opposed the SLP, formed a new party and eventually defeated George Charles at the polls; he sided with the Compton faction.

In 1964 he and his brother Alan Bousquet did not contest the general elections on a St. Lucia Labour Party ticket but rather presented themselves to the electorate as Independent Labour candidates. They both won their seats and shortly afterward crossed the floor to join John Compton’s newly formed United Workers Party.

JMD was wide of girth and large of spirit with a warm smile and cheerful personality and he showed a genuine interest in his constituents. He made it his duty to visit the homes of his constituents and so developed a firm bond with them. He was very fluent in Kweyol and he had no difficulty communicating with those who lived in the farthest areas in Choiseul or Soufriere, the two constituencies he was fortunate to represent. He lost the general election of 1974 to his opponent Evans Calderon and he was soon forgotten by his party. In 1974 he was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for having contributed to politics in Saint Lucia for more than twenty years. He passed away in 1975.

During his time in politics, JMD served as Minister of Housing, Community Development, Social Affairs and Labour in the Government of Saint Lucia.

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