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This report is taken from PN Review 216, Volume 40 Number 4, March - April 2014.

Letter from St. Lucia Vahni Capildeo
The only way that the blueness of the sea at night could be deduced was from the blackness of the ships. Lamps, not many, burned on their tall masts. Arrayed level with each other and much too close to shore to neutralise the human sense of a vanished horizon, much too far for the average swimmer or arrow-shot, the ships brooded. The only way that the dimensions of the resting ships could be discerned was from the sway and glimmer of a few lines.

Sitting behind the raised wall, we shivered; not from the cold that does rise from the sea in that climate, St. Lucia’s, but with déjà vu overwriting our twenty-first-century awareness that these were leisure ships, merely an economic and ecological invasion. Our fear was eerie, like the reality inhabited by those who believe in genetic memory, ‘hard wiring’, time-slips. It was as if we had seen this line-up before, in dismal, bloody circumstances. And what should we do in Ilium?

A few days previously, on 24 December, the atmospheric pressure disturbance known as a ‘low-level trough’ had struck St. Lucia, causing devastation to many areas; winds, rain and rivers destroyed homes, roads and bridges, especially in the south-west. Vital supplies, such as water, were in some cases allegedly deviated to or hoarded by the institutions serving the tourism industry, notably in the much-sung and better-funded north. A worker spoke of seeking his way home along the edge of the island, navigating around no longer existing routes, to learn that ...


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