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Dr. Karl G.D. LaCorbiniere

Dr. Karl G.D. LaCorbiniere

Dr. Karl G.D. LaCorbiniere

 

Born: Micoud, St. Lucia

 

“The Sleeper Stirs”

 

– tribute to the late great Saint Lucian scholar and parliamentarian Karl G.D. LaCorbiniere C.B.E., J.P., M.I.D., F.S.M.C., D.opt., M.I.O.S.

 

“The heights of great men reached and kept, Were not attained by sudden flight, But the, while their companions selpt, Were toiling upward in the night.” H.W. Longfellow

Today I sing of the nobel and illustrious deeds of a great and God-filled man – a sincere servant of the people of our Saint Lucian society. And, believe me, the theme for my song is decorated with the touching memory of our dynamic Dr. Karl LaCorbinere, an outstanding humanitarian and luminary in St. Lucia’s political, economic and cultural Renaissance.

My song is short not primarlly because the mysterious phenomenon of death is generally painful to the heart and can remain long as it were, but principally because life itself is short. And so we must not dismiss the possibility that the up building thoughts which Dr. LaCorbiniere left behind him might be lost to these shores forever.

EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Dr. Karl LaCorbiniere was born in Micoud. He obtained his early education at the St. Aloysious Roman Catholic Boys School in Castries and later attended St. Mary’s College.

As a person of tremendous pride in his homeland and ambition to succeed in life he relentlessly pursued the goals of furthering his education first in medical affairs which he began to accomplish at the Victoria Hospital, St. Lucia and then at the Royal Air Force Technical Schools he studied to become an aviator.

His later studies in the professional field of his first choice -ophthalmic Science – took him successfully to West Ham Municipal College and London Refraction Hospital… England. He qualified as a pharmacist, St. Lucia F.C.M.C., M.I.O.S., D.opt., England.

He was recognized abroad for his stong passion for MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS and was made freeman of the City of London, England, and Justice of the Peace, St. Lucia.

MAN OF THE PEOPLE

Apart from the several notably high offices which our distinguished St. Lucian patriot held, Dr. Karl LaCorbiniere was a man of the people, and he died a man of the people made by the people for the people. His great vision and restless intellect sought to impact some feeling for cultural reorientation while at the same time preserving certain traditional expressions of the art forms.

He encouraged the development of organised bodies and institutions in the community as a whole.

In fact, if all of Dr. LaCorbiniere’s attributes towards moulding the moral fabric of our law-abiding society were compressed into a whole, we would still not have defined the ‘the integrity, the dignity and prestige, the poetic justice of the inner man completely, but we would have some general insight into the complexity of his affably diffused and diversely inclined character.

HIS YEARS AT ST. MARY’S (his ‘alma mater’)

What an impressive record of performances he left for today’s generation of Samarians to emulate! Rover Scout, Sea Scout, Queens Scout… Chairman of Scout Council and member of Scout Committee for many years after he left College, St. Lucia. He served with distinction in the St. Lucia Volunteer Force as drum major. He also served with the St. Mary’s College Cadet Corps… cricket, football, and athletic teams of St. Mary’s College in Inter-island School Tournaments against St. Vincent and Grenada.

What a feat for the historians of academic discipline to remember to preserve!

His versatility and natural monumenta, ability were unsurpassed in glowing terms of those scholastic and athletic years of golden achievements.

Flying colours all the way! No doubt about it!

“THE SLEEPER STIRS”

In many ways it is always sad to reflect on the fact that our man died several years ago. But his body is actually asleep, true, forever, although he “THE SLEEPER STIRS” spiritually in his grave. We’ve got to make hime come back and dwell within us, as I am doing now. We St. Lucians who dearly loved him should look back over the years, and then forward at the uncertainty of the future, at that man’s tremendous political success as far back as at the beginning years of Adult Suffrage in St. Lucia.

HIS EFFORTS AFTER FEDERATION FAILURE

Dr. LaCorbiniere was very busy involved in the dialogue of what type of society we create as can be seen in his efforts at West Indies Federation level. When the Federation broke up in 1962 he was here, there and everywhere projecting his immense political and intellectual philosophy to formulate plans for the improvement of the future of the remainder of the disassociated, disintegrated and dissatisfied ‘Caribbean Man.’ Above all, his wife and three children became his first precious disciples for the simple reason that ‘charity – clearly and invariably begins with unity at home.’

Dr. Karl LaCorbiniere’s scholarship and checkered career, as I have mentioned before, were tremendous assets in his life generally. And his contributions to the differing levels of thought which he represented so remarkably well shall always remain indelible in the annals of St. Lucian and West Indian history.

POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC REFORM FOR ST. LUCIA

It was in March 1976 that our beloved pacesetter embarked on a format for making St. Lucian Independence meaningful in the Political, Social, Moral and Economic life of the citizens of the State, and the projection of such viability into the future of generations to come having laid the foundation in reasonably sound planning today. To this end, the hearty co-operation and hard work of all citizens must be a necessary concomitant for success.

Dr. LaCorbiniere’s proposed political and economic objectives for an Independent-Saint Lucia was a re-examination of our priorities, a situation forced upon the whole world by recent events of four years before which exposed the inherent danger of dependency upon the availability of basic raw material from distant and expensive sources when we should be placing more emphasis on developing our natural resources.

The Sea, The Trade Winds, The Sun, and The Thermal Engergy from the Fumeroles at Soufriere, inexhaustible natural resources that neither International Politics or International Policies could find easy or even possible to juggle with their prices or availability.

The potential is limitless, and blessed as we are with being surrounded by sea, with upwards of 300 fierce sunny days annually, with being in the direct path of the trade winds, and the Fumeroles, a power-house – gifts from Heaven Itself.

Dr. LaCorbiniere was not more a dreamer than he was a seer. He envisaged in his time the serious impact which globalisation would make on our local and regional economies today.

The maestro is gone but not forgotten, as we pause and reflect for the sake of ‘God and Country’, as well as for the sake of his blessed family.

And so:

“The lives of Great men All remind us We can make our lives Sublime, And departing leave behind us Footprints on the sands of Time.” H.W. Longfellow

Author Anderson Peter Stanley Desir S.L.M.M.
HJFL Virtual Files Biographies -St. Lucia #2
Source: Catholic Chronicle, St. Lucia Special Edition, April, 2000 Page 3

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