St. Lucia embraces Diaspora over independence

NEW YORK – As St. Lucia, “The Helen of the West Indies,” registers its landmark thirtieth anniversary of Independence from Great Britain on February 22, its top diplomat at the United Nations wants more of its overseas-based nationals to participate in the nation’s development.

Speaking from his Manhattan office this week, Ambassador Dr. Donatus St. Aimee called for greater communication between the St. Lucian Diaspora and the country’s government representatives abroad. “We are making this a priority and our Independence activities will help galvanize the strengths of our talented pool of intellectual resources in the marketplace,” he said.

The ambassador said he wants to see the relationship between St. Lucians at home and abroad transcend remittances, and include greater investment in small enterprises at home, boosting trade between St. Lucia and the United States as well as the development of peer counseling and mentorship programs. “It requires a two way communication and I think we will be off to good start this month,” he assured.

Reflecting on the theme of this year’s activities “A Journey to be proud of, A future to look forward to,” St. Lucia’s Minister Counsellor Sarah Flood-Beaubrun hopes this year’s celebration will help unify St. Lucian links in the spirit of national socio-economic prosperity. “We have a diverse population of St. Lucians here in the New York Tri-State area and we look forward to sharing ideas and learning from each other in the weeks and months ahead,” stated the former Cabinet Minister and Speaker of the House, who currently lives in New York.

Ambassador St. Aimee expressed content with the development priorities of St. Lucia given the economic challenges facing the world economy. “We have had successive governments who understood what development is all about,” he stated, adding that tourism, agriculture and manufacturing each offer hope for the future. “We have seen a progression that is calculated and gives us an opportunity to make adjustments along the way.”

St. Lucia gained its Independence from Great Britain on February 22, 1979.

The 2009 Independence activities slated for February and March in New York follow:

Sunday, February 15, 2009
5 p.m. – 8 p.m. – Official opening of week of activities at Club Caribbean City (103 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11225).

Monday, February 16, 2009
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Manufacturing display of products and congratulatory book signing at St. Lucia Consulate and UN Mission, to run throughout week. (800 Second Avenue, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10017).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Flag Raising Ceremony at Brooklyn’s Borough Hall (209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, NY 11209).

Thursday, February 19, 2009
6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. – Poetry Night: Helen and the Arts – A celebration of the literary and visual arts at St. Lucia Consulate and UN Mission.

Friday, February 20, 2009
6 p.m. – 8 p.m. – Ambassador’s Reception – Location to be confirmed.

Saturday, February 21, 2009
10 p.m. – 4 a.m. – Cultural Fête – Various locations.

Sunday, February 22, 2009
4:30 p.m. – Anniversary Mass Service – St. Matthews Roman Catholic Church (1123 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11213).

Saturday, March 14, 2009
9 p.m. – 2 a.m. – Independence Gala – Grand Prospect Hall (263 Prospect Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215).

For further information about the 2009 Independence activities, contact:

Martha Claudie Smith,Vice Consul, Saint Lucia Consulate General 800 Second Avenue, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10017 212 697-9360 or via email,

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