Plans for Caricom meeting Story byWinston SPringer
Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Irwin LaRocque paid a visit to Saint Lucia to lay the ground work for the upcoming Caricom conference in July.
Prime Minister of Saint Lucia Dr. Kenny Anthony will assume the chairmanship of CARICOM on July 1st during the heads of government meeting.
LaRocque held briefings with the Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretary on the preparations for the July 4th to 6th conference.
He reveals the heads will focus on the recession, structural reforms at the secretariat and a cogent foreign policy to meet strategic interests of member states amid a complex global environment.
CARICOM heads at the 23rd inter-sessional meeting in Suriname earlier this year agreed to implement recommendations to restructure the Secretariat.
LaRocque was then charged with the search for a change facilitator to help navigate the process. He explains reforms will improve institutional capacity to deliver on Caricom’s mandate.
The Caribbean Court of Justice as the final court of appeal not only on treaty and trade matters but civil and criminal jurisprudence will feature prominently on the agenda.
LaRocque also paid a visit to one of the key Caricom institutions: the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute.
He lauds the work of the staff on water quality, soil testing and believes the work of the entity and other agencies like disaster agency CEDEMA is often overlooked.
LaRocque says the secretariat must dispel the perception CARICOM has no practical impact on the lives of the people of the region despite change being slow and incremental.
A number of meetings will precede the gathering including the deliberations by the Ministers of Finance of the council of finance and planning and the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committees on the single market and economy and external relations.
The result of discussions by these bodies will inform the meeting of the heads of government.
Common entrance Story byLovely St.Aime Joseph
Over two thousand students around the island sat the common entrance exam on Wednesday.
Administered at nineteen different centers – the students are competing for places at the nation’s twenty four secondary schools.
At the Leon Hess Secondary School examination centre, two hundred and forty two students from Carmen Rene Memorial and RC Boys Primary wrote the exam.
Common Entrance Exam coordinator, Ramona Popo, described the mood at the examination centre.
Popo says the advent of universal secondary education has not necessarily helped to erase exam tensions.
She says because a student’s grades will ultimately determine the school they attend, that knowledge comes with its fair share of anxiety.
But with the education minister already discussing the issue of zoning, Popo who is also an English language teacher, says she hopes all parents view the schools on a level playing field.
Students wrote the Common Entrance exam from 8:30 am to 3pm. The results from this year’s Grade 6 students will be released on Friday 6th July 2012.
New TUF executive Story byWinston Springer
The Trade Union Federation plans to be more vocal on matters of national importance particularly issues affecting public servants.
TUF President Julian Monrose says a review of the work of the union which was conducted during the recent biennial convention found the organization too reticent on subjects of national interests.
He says the trade union umbrella organization needs to be more outspoken on socio-economic issues like the introduction of the value added tax system.
Monrose says the union has not held the state to account on a number of matters including the provision of health care.
He says while nurses, police, firefighters and other public servants under the law are entitled to free medical care, these services have not been forthcoming by the state.
He says the TUF intends to sit with the authorities to find solutions to a myriad of challenges confronting public workers.
Another round of negotiations between the Trade Union Federation and the Government has seemingly stalled.
The conclusion of talks is long overdue with the triennium 2010-2013 well underway. Monrose says conditions of work remain the most contentious issue as the union looks to reset the negotiation.
He says the TUF also has plans for the enactment of the Labor Code on August 1st 2012.
The TUF elected a new executive at the recent meeting. Julian Monrose retains the position as President, Cyprian Montroupe is the Vice President, and Former Nurses Association President Alicia Baptist will serve as the Secretary of the TUF.
Shane Felix is the Assistant Secretary and Rufinus James is the Treasurer of the TUF with Trustees, Oliver Lawrence, Jimmy Williams and Christina Mathews.
Customs conference Story byDesmond Collymore
A high level delegation of custom officials is currently on island to discuss several issues pertinent to the profession.
The participants are also looking to strengthen ties within the network and to each other.
AIDS testing for carnival Story bySarah Peter
The National AIDS program Secretariat has warned Carnival revelers and members of the wider public to not become complacent during the carnival season.
The call comes with knowledge of the excessive partying and drinking that accompanies Carnival activities - factors that may lead to sexual intercourse.
Annette Jn Charles, the NAPS counseling and Testing Coordinator has urged St. Lucians to be responsible and use protection.
Jn Charles has further called on Band Leaders to ensure reveler carnival packages include condoms.
These can be collected from the National Aids program Secretariat.
Reverlers are also being encouraged to get tested. Jn Charles says it could be a matter of life and death.
Meanwhile – the general public is asked to come out in large numbers to get tested during an island wide AIDS testing drive.
The initiative is free and will be held on June 29th at various Scotia bank branches across the island.
Saint Lucia Carnival 2012 will end with the traditional Parade of the Bands on July 16th and 17th.
New invader video Story byLovely St.Aime Joseph
Calypsonian, Ignatius “Invader” Tison, has released a six track album for the season along with a music video for his new song ‘Surrender’.
The veteran calypsonian and multiple monarch says he is well equipped for the season and excited about his chances for securing another calypso title.
He says Surrender; the title track off his new album; was inspired by criticism from various quarters over the content of songs for the season.
Invader says Surrender will undoubtedly appeal to purist calypsonians who value social commentary above all else.
He also hopes the song and accompanying video will stir something in every Saint Lucian. The calypsonian is also aiming for the newly introduced prize of best nation building song, sponsored by the RG Group of Companies.
Tison says Surrender will be one of the two songs he hopes to perform in this year’s calypso final.
He says a new song is also in the making; one he called spare ammunition for the year. Invader has been hard at work in the studio working with three production houses on his various tracks for this year’s carnival season.
Ms universe pageant Story bySarah Peter
A grand audition for anyone interested in representing St. Lucia at the annual Miss Universe and Miss World Pageants will be held this coming Sunday June 24th at the Bay Gardens Beach Resort from 1 to 5PM.
Ms Universe Franchise Holder Joan Johnson is encouraging all interested young women from across the island to come out in large numbers.
Interested persons are asked to bring along a bikini, a cocktail dress and a pair of heels. Twelve girls are expected to be chosen from the auditions. That number will be reduced to seven based on votes from the St. Lucian public.
Johnson has expressed disappointment over the lack of corporate support given to pageants.
She believes this may be a possible culprit for the island’s inability to secure victory at an International pageant.
The local leg of the Miss Universe/Miss World competition is expected to take place in August. The winner will represent St. Lucia at the Miss Universe 2012 pageant; the first runner up at the Miss World Pageant in China
Campari poster girl Story bySarah Peter
The finalists in the annual Campari poster girl competition is expected to arrive on the island soon.
The initiative which was the brain child of Carlo St. Omer, regional manager of Campari began in 2009.
The first competition was won by St. Lucian Cathy Daniel. The winner of this year’s competition will be included on posters and marketing items by Campari.
A press conference was held Wednesday at the Bay Gardens Resort to promote the event. Organizers have promised this year’s competition will surpass expectations.
A Grand fashion show is expected to take place next week Friday to showcase the contestants for this year’s Caribbean poster girl competition.
Initially four islands took place in the competition – sine then four other countries have come on board making the list of competing countries, eight.
The participating islands in this year’ Campari poster girl search are St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent,Grenada, St. Martin, Anguila, the Bahamas and Jamaica.
Piton soca starz finalists Story byCarmy Joseph
Thirteen finalists have been chosen for the 2012 Piton Soca Starz competition. The lucky 13 came from the two semi-finals held by the WLBL brand – one in Vieux-Fort on June 8th and the other at Piton Party in the Yard last week Friday June 15th.
Ten of the finalists were selected by the judging panel and they are Roxie, Jay Budz, Soca Physco, Lime Juice, General Bakes, D'Sean, Merle, Small Fries, Blick Productions
and Soca Bandit.
The remaining three finalists – Jaw Bone, Mighty and Subance – are wild card choices from Piton Brand Manager Rohan Lovence.
The Piton Soca Starz 2012 finals will be held on Friday June 29th at the WLBL car park in Vieux-Fort.
Plans for Caricom meeting
New TUF executive
AIDS testing for carnival
New invader video
Ms universe pageant
Campari poster girl
Piton soca starz finalists
The Minister of Education introduced the partial zoning concept during the April budget debate. In the system expected to take effect next year – students will only have three instead of the traditional six secondary school choices. If they fail to pass for these choices – they will be assigned to secondary schools based on their place of residence. In other words – where you live will determine what secondary school you attend unless you are able to pass for a school of your choice. Partial zoning is expected to eradicate the complacency schools say currently exists in common entrance classes since the introduction of USE guaranteed a secondary school place for every child.
Do you agree with the government’s decision to use partial zoning to determine what secondary school Common Entrance students are assigned?