St. Lucian Independence celebration honors outstanding community contributors

The Saint Lucia Toronto Association (SLTA), in partnership with The Consulate General of Saint Lucia, recently hosted a grand celebration to mark the 45th Anniversary of Independence on March 9th. The event, held at the Luxe Convention Centre in Mississauga, included speeches, performances, and a deep sense of community spirit.

Council General of St Lucia Henry Mangal and Samantha Mizzau and Naomi Jules

Luana, President of the SLTA, led off the evening with an emotional address and, despite facing health challenges, conveyed her heartfelt greetings to the diaspora. She highlighted the Association’s long-standing commitment to promoting St. Lucian culture in Canada and emphasized the importance of unity and resilience in the face of challenges.

Reflecting on the Association’s journey since its inception in 1970, Luana spoke of its humble beginnings as a gathering space for the community, which has since grown into a vital organization that supports St. Lucians across Canada. She underscored the need for new members and volunteers to help the Association continue its mission.

Jada Theodore and her mom

As part of the 45th Independence Celebration, the SLTA offered a special discounted membership rate for attendees, encouraging them to join and support the Association’s work. The evening’s theme, “Building a Nation Through Unity, Resilience, and Creativity,” underscored the Association’s commitment to strengthening the community for future generations.

The keynote speech was delivered by the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Hon. Philip J. Pierre, who reflected on the significance of the 45th Anniversary of Independence for St. Lucians both at home and abroad.

The Prime Minister acknowledged the sacrifices and contributions of past generations in the struggle for independence. He emphasized that independence was not just a political milestone but also a cultural and social one, marking the reaffirmation of St. Lucian’s identity and sovereignty.

Chris Precius gets his arard for Uhanna Obaizammwan president of SLTA

Reflecting on the theme of “Building a Nation Through Unity, Resilience, and Creativity,” Pierre highlighted the importance of resilience in the face of challenges, noting that it was the strength of the community that would ensure its continued success. He emphasized the creativity of St. Lucians, both in Canada and at home, highlighting their contributions to various fields such as arts, culture, and business.

The evening’s celebration also recognized outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to their communities and upheld the values of St. Lucian independence. Among them were Jada Theodore and Chris Precius, both from St. Lucia.

Jamaal Magloire and PM Phillip J. Pierre

Jada Theodore, a third-year nursing student at McMaster University, was honored with the SYLC YQUTH EXCELLENCE AWARD for her dedication to promoting and preserving St. Lucian culture. She leads the dance team at McMaster Caribbean Association (MACAWS) and mentors first-year students, while also organizing charitable initiatives such as a clothing drive for The Phoenix Empowerment Foundation in St. Lucia and fundraising for The Caribbean Children Foundation. Despite such a busy schedule, Theodore maintains a 4.0 grade point average.

Chris Precius received the SLTA PRESIDENTS AWARD for his outstanding achievements as a professional dancer, performer, and youth advocate. Starting his career at age 15, Chris has mastered various forms of dance and is known for his expertise in fire dancing, fire eating, and fire dragons.

Prime Minister Phillip J. Pierre shares a joke with Toronto lawyer Nandi A. O.
Deterville and her mom Thecla C Deterville, winner of St Lucia Les Pitons
Gold Medal for Business, Education and Sports (Netball)

He has performed throughout the Caribbean, England, and Canada, showcasing his talents and inspiring youth through workshops and classes in drumming, dance, and fitness. Chris’s dedication to promoting Caribbean culture and empowering young people reflects the spirit of St. Lucian independence.