Castries South MP Dr. Ernest Hilaire and Castries Central MP Richard Frederick stressed the need for national unity during the launch on Sunday of the national baton relay 2023.
Hilaire, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism told the event that the relay reflected Saint Lucia’s 44th independence anniversary theme.
“As you move around the Island you are actually forming a chain of solidarity, community by community, people by people and our theme is Douvan Ansanm – one people shaping our destiny,” Hilaire stated.
“It means we must move forward as one and this baton relay captures that. It unites Saint Lucia in a very meaningful and symbolic way. It says ‘Everybody come together. Let’s link – let’s work together,'” he told his audience.
Hilaire, also responsible for Investment, Creative Industries, Culture, and Information, declared that independence celebrations this year call everyone to work together.
“Let us work together. Let is shape our destiny together despite our differences,” the Minister declared.
Castries Central MP Richard Frederick echoed Hilaire’s sentiments.
He recalled that members of both sides of the political divide participated in last year’s event.
“This event sees no political colour,” the Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Housing and Local Government said.
“This event, it is built on the premise of unification of our people,” Frederick asserted.
“We all know that the government has done a lot that brings unity to our people,” the Castries Central MP observed.
In this regard, he recalled in Kweyol that a woman said she had voted for the United Workers Party (UWP) but had worked for Majestic Industries.
Frederick disclosed that the woman asked him recently to thank Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre for paying former Majestic Industries Limited workers because he did not pay ruling Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) individuals and left ‘Flambeau’ – the UWP people, behind.
“Those are the kinds of unification deeds that the government represents,” he said to applause from the gathering.
“I am proud to be part of it,” Frederick declared.
Nearly 200 Saint Lucians were left without wages and terminal benefits when Majestic Industries Limited abruptly ended its operations in 2004.
However, on November 14, 2022, the Cabinet agreed to facilitate a one-time, lump sum payment to the former employees.
The disbursement commenced on December 23, 2022, in the total sum of EC $1.96 million.