The Saint Lucia Diaspora celebrated their 37th anniversary of Independence last Saturday at the Brighton in Scarborough with a prayer by Joan Herby:
“Heavenly Father we ask you
For guidance and protection
Upon our beloved land, Saint Lucia,
Cradle it in your arms
Like Mother nurturing her babe.”
Those words and “Justice, truth and charity, our ideal forever be” from their national anthem set the tone for Consul General and dean of the Caribbean Consular Corps Michael Willius who said, “We pay homage to our country on this joyous occasion. I wish all Saint Lucians at home and abroad peace and good health, God’s blessings and a memorable 37th Independence Anniversary Celebration.”
In light of the Zika virus permeating the Caribbean region, Willius told Camera Publisher Anthony Joseph at the gala that Zika is being addressed by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CT)) and that group will be informed of the newspaper’s GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to assist public health authorities in the Caribbean in fighting the virus. (Visit GoFundMe.com/xtmy5drn to donate.)
Willius told the gathered Saint Lucia Diaspora and Caribbean nationals that the country’s advancement speaks to the maturity of their political leadership and the quality of the human capital of their people.
“I want to thank you for your unwavering support for our homeland, despite the daily challenges which you endured in your attempt to secure a better life for your family in your adopted country of Canada,” he said.
Willius said Saint Lucians, undaunted by the by limitations of size, small population, and financial capacity their country, are engaged in shaping international policies on issues of particular interest to small island developing states.
“In this context, I wish to quote from Prime Minister Dr. Kenny D. Anthony in the Jan. 25, 2016, National Address: “The government of Saint Lucia played a leading role in the negotiations that led to the adoption of a historic international Climate Change Agreement in Paris in December 2015.”
The Paris Agreement, as it is now known will come into effect in 2020 and will establish new rules and procedures on how the global community will reduce emissions of dangerous greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. “This is critically important for vulnerable small island states like ours that will feel the impact of climate change, like dangerous sea level rise, more extreme hurricanes and increased prevalence of some infectious diseases.”
Ross Cadasse, president of Saint Lucia Toronto Association, noted that the anniversary theme chosen by the government is The Journey Continues. “This theme is fitting for our organization as we are on a journey ourselves, one of transition, transformation and evolution.”
He added, as Saint Lucians they have a unique history and cultural tradition that many have fought to protect and is important that second- and third-generation Saint Lucians understand this history so they can take his organization to the next stage of its evolution.