In September 2011, the National Conservation Authority announced the commencement of its newest project at the Pigeon Island Causeway.
That project would include toilet facilities, a parking area, eating facilities and a lifeguard tower.
With the New Year came an end to the project by Ministry of Social Transformation.
Minister- Harold Dalson says while the Pigeon Island upgrade started with good intensions, it has since fallen way short of its goals.
Minister Dalson says the project was a little over fifty percent complete with a large sum of money already spent towards its completion.
There is also the puzzling issue of outstanding amounts owed to contractors. Minister Dalson says the main objective of the ongoing audit is to justify the outstanding payments still owed.
Discussions have also been held with the Gros Islet Town Council in relation to management of the new facility.
The Social Transformation Minister says the initial project made no allocation for its management.
The project, six years in the making – must now await the results of the audit to know its fate.
Nursing students up in arms Story byCarmy Joseph
It was the second meeting of the Parents Association of Nursing Students in Cuba; another one to discuss three lingering issues.
Spokesperson Nathanial Reynolds says these began when the students were first selected to study in Cuba.
The close to 150 students left Saint Lucia for the Spanish republic in 2006. Reynolds says while other Caribbean countries like Jamaica and St Vincent have moved to resolve at least one of these matters – the Saint Lucian government has an agenda that does not include discussions with parents or students.
But while Reynolds is focused on matters of principle – loved ones are concerned with the immediate issue of getting the students home.
Valentine Moise says students – now down to 94 from 149 – graduated on July 16th. He says they remain in Cuba because the government has refused to pay their airfare to return home. A frustrated Moise also made this comparison.
Marina St Rose is equally adamant her daughter needs to be returned home. The Cuba nursing program – which began under former SLP Health Minister Jon Odlum has been wrought with problems from its inception.
St Rose says students and parents have endured a lot for educational advancement and now it is time for the government to make good on its promises.
The meeting was held on Thursday afternoon at the Castries Town Hall.
LUCELEC responds Story byCarmy Joseph
The press release came in a little after 2AM on Thursday. LUCELEC through its Corporate Communications Manager sought to address what had become the topic of the day on at least one local talk show and newscast.
The island’s lone power company stood accused of dismissing one of its managers over her religious affiliation – her unavailability to work due to her Sabbath.
LUCELEC defended its action; characterizing itself an equal opportunity employer who never has and will never engage in discriminatory practices, least of all those that impugn the constitutional rights of employees.
We understand the Union that represents the dismissed employee is claiming just that –accusing the company of violating Section 267, subsection 1 of the Labour Code.
The matter is also said to be before the Labour Commissioner. LUCELEC says its decision to terminate the employment of the employee identified as Andrea Vidal was purely related to a breach of the terms of her contract of employment, her refusal to work when requested to do so, and after all efforts to have her comply were exhausted.
The company also made reference to its responsibilities as an essential service pursuant to the Essential Services Act.
LUCELEC also explained its hiring process stating equal opportunity and fairness is assured in its contracts; that the company does not vary those to accommodate any one person or group and further all offers of employment are free to be accepted or rejected by all.
The dismissed employee – it says - accepted the terms of employment and then subsequently refused to abide by these terms.
Smiles is launched Story byWinston Springer
Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony says the seeds of the SMILE program were planted way back in 2006.
Although the policy measure was outlined in the Labor Party Manifesto during that election year, the SLP administration lost at the polls to the resurgent Sir John Compton Led UWP.
Now a reincarnated pilot version of the jobs training program has been launched. Dr. Anthony, spoke to the deep seated and pervasive unemployment problem and the seeming burden on mothers and young women he witnesses first hand as an MP.
The government leader says there is no time to apportion blame for the social problem and the situation calls for remedies and solution to carve out a brighter future for the country.
Dr. Anthony lauded the work of the National Skills Development Centre which was tasked with the execution of the project including its conception.
Although the government’s goal is to reduce unemployment there are challenges in the current labor market which need attention.
The Prime Minister emphasizes there is a long term need to re-tool and re-train the workforce as rapidly as possible.
He says basic skills will be vital in keeping with the government’s ambition of creating a WIFI society and modern labor force.
Dr. Anthony says once the NSDC has established the training and employment projects the focus will shift to comprehensive re-training programs.
He says although it is a mammoth task it is necessary to develop a modern and efficient workforce.
Spencer does not qualify Story byWinston Springer
Saint Lucian athlete Levern Spencer’s hopes of attaining an Olympic medal were dashed after she failed to qualify for the finals of the high jump event.
Spencer was the country’s remaining hope in the 30th Olympics currently underway in London.
Saint Lucians were glued to their television sets in the wee hours of Thursday, fixated on what was a compelling quest for Olympic glory.
However Spencer who is the top rated high jumper in the Caribbean was pitted against a highly competitive field of the superb athletes.
She placed ninth in Group two, clearing a height of 1.90 metres. The qualifying height of 1.96 was only attained by one finalist – the remaining 11 qualifying at a time 1.93.
Saint Lucia’s entire contingent – swimmer Daniel Beaubrun – high jumper Darvin Edwards – sailor Beth Lygoe and Spencer in her second consecutive Olympics failed to qualify for any final in their event.
Brian Bernard lecture Story byLovely St.Aime Joseph
The National Community Foundation will on Monday August 13th host the 8th annual Brain Bernard Memorial Lecture at the Bay Gardens Hotel. Dr Julietta Raymond, Psychotherapist and Social Scientist by profession will deliver on the theme “Ethics and Social Justice: Impact on Mental Health and Crime.” Acting Executive Director, Relle Hippolyte, says this year’s lecture will maintain the legacy of former Commissioner of Police Brian Bernard.
The annual Brian Bernard Memorial Lecture will begin from 7pm at the Bay Garden’s Hotel.
The Brian Bernard Memorial Fund, which was established in honor of the late commissioner of police, was founded as a Donor Advisory Fund on August 12, 2004 by friends and relatives of Mr. Bernard.
The Fund is administered by the National Community Foundation
Ms SLHTA pageant Story byLovely St.Aime Joseph
The 21st annual Miss SLHTA pageant will be held on Saturday 8th September at the National Cultural Centre.
Five contestants representing hotel and tourism properties and industry partners will take to the stage to vie for the coveted title.
The Miss SLHTA pageant has been one of the Association’s most successful community outreach events; supporting deserving charities.
Committee Chairperson Joseph Dubois says the contestants are ready to put on a show that highlights Saint Lucia’s Culture and heritage.
The contestants were all sashed by the reigning Miss SLHTA, Sannyu James. The SLHTA Queen called the pageant an important part of understanding and appreciating the value of the hotel and tourism industry to Saint Lucia.
The five contestants spoke eagerly of representing their companies and sponsors to the best of their abilities and capture the crown.
Pre show preparation activities for the contestants will include familiarization tours of different properties, etiquette, deportment and speech coaching.
Louise Victor Story bySant Justin
Miss Caribbean Culture Saint Lucia Louise Victor says it was an honor and a privilege to represent the island at the cultural pageant.
The former Saint Lucia National Carnival Queen placed second runner up in the 7th Pageant held this past week-end in St. Kitts.
Victor says her participation in the show aimed at promoting Caribbean integration was an amazing experience.
Oneka McKoy captured the Miss Caribbean Culture title when Saint Lucia first participated in the competition last year.
Victor was determined to maintain the island’s recent winning streak in pageantry. She is optimistic about the emergence of talented young contestants from Saint Lucia who will continue the tradition of excellence.
Looking ahead - Victor is preparing to compete in another upcoming beauty pageant in Guyana. She is also vying for pole position in the local leg of the Miss Universe Contest.
Youth Olympic camp Story byDesmond Collymore
NCA audit on the way
Nursing students up in arms
Smiles is launched
Spencer does not qualify
Brian Bernard lecture
Ms SLHTA pageant
Youth Olympic camp
Subventions from government are paid to all aspects of Saint Lucia Carnival. That means taxpayers subsidize everything from bands, to shows and community events. The cash injection is in addition to the bulk funding provided by government to the entity that manages the festival – for the past two years that has been the Stakeholder Committee and before them it was the CDF. Three Carnival bands including the reigning Band of the Year have dropped out of competition due in part to funding constraints. Other associations like the National Carnival Queen Committee and tent leaders have lamented dwindling sponsorship dollars and the need for government funding.
But is it fair to expect Saint Lucians to pay for a product they ultimately have to purchase in the way of costumes, tent shows and events?
Is it realistic for Carnival stakeholders to expect government to subsidize their contribution to the festival?