As a tribute to observe St. Lucia’s 35th Independence Day Celebrations, I have been on a mission to feature 10 St. Lucians who are making a positive difference in uplifting the human spirit and adding inspiration and motivation to the lives of others. Well…. there are so many St. Lucians across the globe contributing the world economy, that it became hard to keep up so I decided to feature the amazing executive of the St. Lucia Ottawa Association!
Congratulations to the St. Lucia Ottawa Association for hosting a great 35th Independence Anniversary Celebration in Ottawa on February 22nd 2014. Although the executive of the Association is quite small, you can barely find a group more dedicated to the mission of promoting St. Lucia and St. Lucians in Ottawa. Best of all they do it with class! Below is the picture of the Executive, with Mr. Michael Willius (far right), the Consulate General of St. Lucia, based in Toronto. At the far left, we have the vice president, Ms. Noella Charles, the president, Mr. Raymond Peterkin, the entertainment chair, Ms. Natalie Peterkin, the secretary, Ms. Yvette Lubrun; floor member, Leibert Francis; Helen Glasgow, treasurer and we are missing Gisettle Jean Baptiste who is the chair of the youth and diaspora committee.
The event was held at the classy location of the Westin Hotel with the aim of celebrating both St. Lucia’s 35th Independence Anniversary and also to raise funds to help the relief efforts in St. Lucia after the damaging trough on December 24th, 2013. The theme was “Embracing All Generations for Community Action” and it was inspiring to see the participation of St. Lucians and friends of St. Lucians across the generations. Messages were sent to congratulate the St. Lucia Ottawa Association from the Prime Minister of Canada, the Rt. Honorable Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of St. Lucia, Dr. Kenny Anthony and Jim Watson, the Mayor of the City of Ottawa. The President of the Association called us to reflect on our achievements as a small island state.
“Thousands of our island’s sons and daughters who have migrated across the globe and who are now making our world a better place, were nurtured and educated in St. Lucia. Truly, it is remarkable that we could achieve so much with so little. As we move forward and take our place in our new home, Canada, we should never forget our culture of caring, sharing, respect for the elderly and the friendships that bonded us together.” Raymond Peterkin
One of the keynote speakers was a young man, Raymond Peterkin Junior, a distinguished scholar who holds a B.A.Sc in Computer Engineering, a Master’s of Applied Science and a PhD, has published numerous technical articles, has worked as a part-time professor and is working as a software engineer for Larus Technologies. He delivered a thought-provoking speech on “Giving Back and Community Building” where he challenged St. Lucians in Ottawa to think more deeply about how we use our talent, cultural roots in food and culture to create wealth, and leverage our resources within the community. As a young St. Lucian, he shows success and role models the value of education.
The Consulate General, Mr. Michael Willius, congratulated the Association on their efforts towards relief efforts in St. Lucia and provided an explanation on how funds and assistance is distributed on the island during such disastrous times.
The Executive of the St. Lucia Ottawa Association extended heartfelt thanks to several members of the community who have made an exceptional contribution to the association and the St. Lucian Community over the years. Awards were presented to St. Lucians who have provided countess hours of voluntary help to the community.
(Leibert Francis below with president, Raymond Peterkin)
(Berdeena Charles, Victoria Charles below)
(Natalie Peterkin below)
(Berdeena Charles below)
Another outstanding community member, James John received an award but we don’t have a photo.
Toni Francis was the MC that night. She contributes her MCing skills to host several of the St. Lucia Association Events in Ottawa.
Wilson Jn. Baptiste, the CEO of Gems of St. Lucia (left below) came in from New York for the event and presented a prize for 3 nights stay at the REX St. Lucian. This was won by Eunice Charles who is looking forward to enjoying those three nights! Gems of St. Lucia has previously received support from the St. Lucia Ottawa Association to run a Soccer Clinic in St. Lucia. Community support was great – The St. Lucia Tourist Board donated prizes along with other businesses and there was even a 50/50 draw and raffle prizes.
(Wilson Jn. Baptiste, left below)
(Eunice Charles, left below, won the 3 nights stay at the REX St. Lucian)
The event culminated with a night of dancing – Hypnotic Sounds carried the crowd off with music that could not keep us off the dance floor. Here are some pictures to enjoy! Great work St. Lucia Ottawa Association! You keep the light shining in us for St. Lucia.
(Chad Henry and Wilson Jn. Baptise below)
(Dawn Maxwell below, one of the young volunteers selling raffle tickets)
(Renditions by Viviane Simon, Victor Antoine and Berlayne Smith below)
Here are some stories of more inspiring St. Lucians!
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I will update this blog later about the results of the fundraising efforts.
Contact me if you would like me to highlight someone you think is truly inspiring!
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