"The Grass Men" Documentary

by Aiko Roudette

The vetiver grass mat and basket construction project, funded by the Mustique Trusts, has been highlighted in a documentary ‘The Grass Men’, by Aiko Roudette. Aiko is a documentary filmmaker and the daughter of Vonnie Roudette, who created the vetiver grass project in 2015. Vonnie described the film as “An example of artists and prisoners collaborating to create social change”. The Mustique Trusts became involved in this fantastic rehabilitation project after receiving a proposal from Vonnie. Lavinia Gunn was present at a screening of the film and told reporters: “We wanted to help stem the tide of so many young people, repeat offenders, coming back into the prison system; so that is why it was chosen, because there were so many positive impacts that would take place and indeed there are”.

Since the programme started in 2015, the 39 participating inmates who have left the prison have not returned. Indeed many of them are using their new found skill to make a prosperous living as the products they create are in high demand. Vonnie Roudette also explained that the project has become sustainable now that the prisoners are training the new participants the grass weaving skills without the need for external trainers. The response from the inmates has been extremely positive and there are currently 26 inmates in Kingston and at the Belle Isle Correctional Facility enrolled in the programme.

The Mustique Trusts are delighted to congratulate Vonnie Roudette and Aiko Roudette on this extremely successful project and the wonderful documentary film that highlights this important work.

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