It was a chaotic scene at the Castries City Hall on Thursday as vendors attempted to register for booths for Assou Square.
The commotion drew the attention of many including a Constable of the nearby City Constabulary who attempted to subdue the crowd.
However there was an escalation in the confrontation after a scuffle between a City Constable and merchant Elijah Solomon which led the officer to brandish a handgun, after the vendor refused to comply.
But what lead to the violent confrontation? Earlier in the morning vendors had expressed dismay over what they claim was the exorbitant rental fee for the New Year’s Day booths which was implemented in 2011.
They also unhappy with the late arrival of CCC officials to facilitate the payment plan.
A number of other vendors shared the same sentiment as Solomon. Many of them say they arrived at the Constituency Council early Thursday to beat the expected rush at the scheduled 9am time allotted for registration.
Angry vendors decided to defy the $450 rental fee by signing a petition. However they quickly abandoned the cause when CDF personnel arrived on the scene to begin the registration process.
Prior to the uproar the Cultural Development Foundation, speaking to HTS Newsforce insisted the vendors were the most important stakeholders in the annual event.
The registration process is expected to run from 9am to 2pm on Thursday and Friday. The New Years Day celebration will be held from Midday to Midnight on Tuesday January 1st, and Midday to 10pm Wednesday January 2nd on the John Compton highway.
Teen suicide in Vieux Fort Story by Lovely St.Aime Joseph htsslucia.org
Fifteen year old Jasma Lubin is dead following what police say is a suspected suicide. Her father Andy Lubin made the gruesome discovery of his daughter’s body hanging from the ceiling of her bedroom.
He says the course of events which preceded his daughter’s apparent suicide was disappointing.
But he says he could not have imagined that it would all end in her death.
Andy Lubin says Jasma had left his house Christmas day returning on the Christmas holiday morning. He says his search for the truth regarding her whereabouts on Christmas night ended in tragedy.
Lubin’s neighbor says she was taken aback by the sight of Jasma’s lifeless body but says she quickly sprung into action to try to resuscitate the teenager.
Meanwhile police say a note from the deceased to her loved ones was found at the scene and that investigations into the matter are ongoing.
Reaction to tragic suicide Story by Lovely St.Aime Joseph htsslucia.org
The Principal of the Vieux Fort Comprehensive Secondary, Josephine Eugene has been quick to initiate a de briefing session to address the psychological fall out from the suspected suicide of one of the school’s students.
Jasma Lubin who was found hanging at her father’s home in Bridge Street Vieux Fort attended the Form Three Class of the Vieux Fort Secondary School. Eugene says she had always been a pleasant student.
Eugene says it was important to host the de briefing sessions for members of Lubin’s team. She says this is to ensure that friends and students who may have suffered any psychological trauma get help.
The Vieux Fort Secondary School remains closed until January when schools are set to reopen on the 7th.
The school has a full time counselor on staff who will be available to provide any support to students and faculty.
The debriefing session was held at the District Six Education Office.
Tourism tagline change looms Story by Winston Springer htsslucia.org
Tourism Minister Lorne Theophilus is looking forward to the New Year with sense of enthusiasm.
The official is hopeful the island can reap the rewards of what he characterizes as the labor and sacrifice of the past year.
Theophilus says the tourism officials will launch a new marketing campaign in January which will expose the product more effectively.
He hints at a possible return to the “Simply Beautiful” tagline popularized years ago as Saint Lucia’s main catchphrase for the sales pitch as a destination
The Ministry of Tourism is on course with plans for the appointment of a special officer dedicated to the task of overseeing visitor safety and security.
Over the years, the island has been bedeviled by negative publicity stemming from attacks on tourists and criminal offenses perpetrated against visitors.
Recent copious awards and accolades are being touted as evidence of Saint Lucia’s status as a premier holiday destination.
However, the minister believes citizens must jealous protect and maintain the island’s world class ranking.
The main opposition UWP has vehemently railed against the decision to change the current tourism the current tagline “Live the Legend” which was coined during the reign of the Stephenson King Administration.
They argue the change is too costly and unnecessary.
King’s Christmas address Story by Winston Springer htsslucia.org
Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition, Stephenson King has called on Saint Lucians to unite amid the tough economic times this holiday season.
In his 2012 Christmas Day address, the former Prime Minister says while this Christmas may not be merry or the new year happy, it requires that the country bind closer together free from social and political acrimony
He urged Saint Lucians to be mindful of their less fortunate fellow countrymen. While the leader of the opposition made a plea for less rancor and victimization he vowed to exert pressure on the incumbent to ensure the completion of many projects started in his constituency during the former administration.
The Castries North MP who expressed appreciation to the electorate in the district also alluded to the construction of facilities and infrastructural developments made during his tenure in office.
Fletcher’s reform quest Story by Winston Springer htsslucia.org
Minister for Public Service, Dr. James Fletcher wants to get the public sector modernization program up and running in the New Year.
The government minister says he would like citizens to experience an improvement in their daily transactions with the public service.
In addition he vows more focus on transformational aspects of the public sector reform process.
Fletcher who also has responsibility for “Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology” says the water sector in particular the beleaguered utility “WASCO” will also receive top priority in 2013.
Dr. Fletcher is aiming for advancements in diversifying the island’s energy portfolio. This will include reducing the reliance on fossil fuels and more importantly the cost of energy.
In addition to clear energy policy, the Minister is looking at ways to increase public awareness on the risks posed by climate change.
He believes the phenomenon is not only a threat to the country’s economy but its way of life and existence.
The Minister readily admits 2012 was a daunting year. However despite the anticipated challenges in 2013, he is eager to give impetus to the broad process of reform within his respective ministries.
Traffic plan for Assou square Story by
Sant Justin htsslucia.org
As tradition, the Traffic Department of the Royal St. Lucia Police Force has put together a traffic management plan to guide motorists through the City during the annual Assou Square activities.
The plans are intended to ensure safety, while reducing congestion and confusion while entering or leaving the City of Castries.
Inspector Attached to the Traffic Department, Benson Deterville
says the strategy includes the closure of a number of roads in the Vigie and Sans Souci areas. Inspector Deterville says there will be no access to Vigie or La Clery from the Waterfront Round about.
Police say exceptions will be made to authorized vehicles and Taxi cabs which will be allowed to travel down the waterfront and onto the Point Seraphine Shopping Complex.
Traffic will not be allowed through Sans Souci onto the John Compton Highway or Sans Souci through Lance Road.
The senior police officer says parking will be allowed in the City of Castries.
The Royal St. Lucia Police Force has assurances of the safety of vehicles which will be parked in around the City circuit. There will also be increased patrols in the capital.
Southern taxi comfort bay donation Story by Lovely St.Aime Joseph htsslucia.org
Comfort Bay Senior Citizen’s Home was visited by members of the Southern Taxi Association and Southern Company Limited on Christmas Day.
President of the Southern Taxi Association, Francisco Jn Pierre, says the association made the decision to donate two thousand dollars to the home because of its important mandate to care for the elderly.
He commended the staff of the institution for providing such a service to the community.
Social Worker at Comfort Bay, Nadia St Ange, expressed gratitude for the donation. She says the institution has established good ties with corporate entities and donors.
Comfort Bay Senior Citizen’s Home was opened earlier this year in Black Bay.
LIME Comfort donation Story by Winston Springer htsslucia.org
Residents of the Comfort Bay Senior Citizens Home have been enjoying holiday television entertainment after LIME made it possible to receive free Cable TV service, just in time for Christmas.
LIME has given the Home two flat screen television sets, plus free LIME TV service, including the Extreme and Movie packages, in perpetuity. Residents can now enjoy over 150 channels including movies, news, sports, religious and educational programs. They also have local and Caribbean content and more - all free of charge!
Laurencia Cadette, head of marketing says the gift of LIME Cable service is one way of saying thanks to seniors for their hard work in laying the foundation for today’s generation.
The Member of Parliament for the area Alva Baptiste thanked LIME for the gesture noting the significance of cable television in the lives of persons who need to be informed and to discuss global issues as they develop.
The staff of Comfort Bay have welcomed the gift from LIME as timely and critical to residents who, like everyone else seek entertainment and information daily. For the Manager of Comfort Bay, television is helps residents cope with daily challenges.
Ms. Hippolyte praised LIME for its quick response and looked forward to residents making the best of the new cable service they have been gifted.
National arts festival appeal Story by Sant Justin htsslucia.org
The Cultural Development Foundation has commenced plans towards activities for the 2013 National Arts Festival.
Following a successful 2012 event, the CDF is seeking to eliminate a centralized approached to the activity.
Marketing Officer- Jimmy Clavier has made a call to writers, producers, musicians, individuals and groups to encourage early registration.
Clavier says the organizing committee is seeking to make changes to the annual event. Clavier says the festival will seek to host a festival in each community, focusing on that community’s strong point.
He says another new feature includes an “Artist Market”.
Clavier says the event will culminate with a grand weekend at the National Cultural Center. Activities for the 2013 National Arts Festival are expected to be held between the months of February and April.
Interested people are asked to visit www.cdf.org to register, call 452-1859 or visit the offices in Bernard Hill Castries.
SLNT youth environment competition Story by Sant Justin htsslucia.org
Mitchel Wilson is the grand winner of the Youth Environment Forum Logo and Slogan competition organized by the St Lucia National Trust.
The initiative which was launched in March 2012 targeted children ages 7 to 18 years, encouraging youngsters to be advocates for environmental and heritage conservation.
Communication and Advocacy officer at the St Lucia National Trust, Karetta Crooks- Charles
explains the competition which included nine entries from all over the island was very stiff. The theme for the competition was, “the green economy, does it include you?” The youth environment forum focused on enlightening three hundred students to become advocates for the environment.
Charles says sensitizing youth on sustainable development is noteworthy endeavor.
Each participant was awarded a certificate of participation. Judges for the competition included St Lucia National Trust Director, Bishnu Tulsie, Mr. Lyndale James of the same organization and Mr. Ted Sandiford of Acid Creations.
Junior Ray Frederick of the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College and Rohan Alfred of the St Mary’s College were the second and third place winners respectively. Prizes included a desktop computer and cash.
Lucelec and Digicel were the main sponsors of the event.
Windjammer presentation Story by Winston Springer htsslucia.org
Windjammer Landing Resort made a presentation of sports gear to the Choiseul/ Saltibus MP Lorne Theophilus on Thursday.
The donation of football equipment will aid two clubs in the vast south western district.
Managing Director at the hotel, Mark Ozawa says the contribution was made possible through the efforts of the travel agent at the resort’s parent company in Canada, Ellis Don.
The government minister says he was pleased to accept the generous donation. He says the donation exemplifies the company’s commitment to community development.
The brief handing over ceremony of football gear was held at the Windjammer Landing Company at Trouya, Bois D’ Orange, Thursday morning.
The Trade Union Federation, a body comprising public sector unions like the Police Welfare Association, Civil Service Association and Saint Lucia Teachers Union began wage negotiations with the Government Negotiating team on Wednesday. The talks are part of negotiations for the triennium 2010 to 2013.
It comes days after the TUF wrote a letter to the Prime Minister seeking his intercession on negotiations they say was being stalled by the Government Negotiating team. While most parts of the agreement, had been ironed out, it was the wage talks they were most insistent had to begin and end before December. Civil servants have not stated the percentage wage increase they are pursuing – however government has indicated this is not the best financial time to increase salaries. This as the main Opposition contends the government wants to give workers a 3% increase over the next three years; a charge the government has denied.
Do you think a wage increase for civil servants is justified at this time?