The National Volunteer Programme, Volunteer Saint Lucia, officially expanded into another community this past weekend. On Sunday, November 1, 2015, the organisation’s Vieux Fort chapter was launched in a ceremony at Independence Square, under the auspices of Her Excellency, Governor General Dame Pearlette Louisy and Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony.
Prime Minister Anthony delivered the feature address, reminding the audience of the importance of volunteerism, suggesting that citizens and communities can empower themselves, and benefit the nation as a whole, when they work together to uplift others.
Said Dr. Anthony,
“Today, I am given hope that you can change the status quo that exists in Saint Lucia. I am given hope that we can rekindle our home grown volunteerism and return to the culture we once knew; that we might find our goodness once again; that we might exercise our free will to take action. Not for money or gain, but for the collective betterment of our community and our nation.
“Your decision to be part of this network of volunteers demands strength of character, sense of purpose, and of course, courage. Your actions will provide a point of reference for many others in your community. We need to reach a point where an individual should not feel disadvantaged in doing good for another human being. You will be discouraged, even ridiculed, but trust me – in helping others, you will discover who you are, and what you are.
“Volunteering is a national good; it can add greatly to the national equation for development.
“For us as small states with limited means, the only way we can balance our development is if we can, by our own acts, of our own free will, achieve certain things for ourselves by our individual and collective efforts. We will never be able to afford everything that we must do as a nation without people doing for their country, for their communities, for themselves”.
The Prime Minister went on to thank pre-existing volunteer groups, including church and religious groups, Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis, for their crucial support in helping feed the hungry, tend to the sick, and support persons in need, among other tasks.
He also recognised the work that has already been done by the Vieux Fort chapter, including tree planting and fund raising for fire and disaster victims. Coming in for special commendation from Dr. Anthony were student volunteer organisations set up recently at two schools, Micoud Secondary and Vieux Fort Comprehensive, La Ressource.
During Sunday’s ceremony, over three dozen volunteers were presented with certificates by the Governor General, the patron of Volunteer Saint Lucia.