Saint Lucia Celebrates Its 43rd Anniversary of Independence: “Douvan Ansanm – Celebrating our People”

Saint Lucia Celebrates Its 43rd Anniversary of Independence: “Douvan Ansanm – Celebrating our People”

By Manuel Holguin

Saint Lucia celebrated its forty-third anniversary of independence inside the halls of Borough Hall. The flag-raising event was held indoors due to the rain forecast. Still, it did not dampen the spirits of its attendees. Health and lifestyle coach Dionne Nicholls hosted the ceremony. She began the event by speaking of family and those that came before. She talked about the importance of the stories we all share and knowing and staying connected to one’s roots. “That’s the other piece for this legacy to continue,” Nicholls said. “Make sure we are planting seeds for the next generation to want to come back, uplift, and empower our community.”

The room stood and joined in a prayer led by Pastor Kerol Daniel of Waymark Ministries. On the agenda was the Consul General of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Hon. Howie Prince, who represented the CARICOM Consular.

Consul General of Saint Lucia in New York, Hon Jeremiah Hyacinth, delivered the feature remarks and spoke on the resilience and dedication of the Saint Lucian Diaspora. He said: “I would like to begin by thanking our Prime Minister, the Honorable Philip J. Pierre, our External Affairs Minister, the Honorable Alva Baptiste, and their entire cabinet for granting me the privilege to serve as Saint Lucia’s Consul General to New York. In doing so, they have demonstrated their confidence in me and acknowledged my devotion toward our beautiful island nation. I am enormously grateful for this honor and will endeavor to fulfill my duties to the best of my abilities.

With Independence 43, St. Lucia embarks on a new chapter under the leadership of Prime Minister Pierre. We look forward to his leadership with great optimism. However, we are faced with an ongoing pandemic that continues to wreak havoc on our people and our country. In light of this dire situation, we have chosen a theme for this year’s celebration, “Douvan Ansanm– Celebrating Our People,” that reflects our defiant response to the havoc brought about by this disease. We must remind ourselves that there is still much to celebrate and remain resolute in our belief that there will be better days ahead.

This year’s theme also recognizes the contributions of overseas-based Saint Lucians. Despite the severe challenges of the last twenty-four months, our brethren abroad have continued to support their family members and friends back home, both financially and emotionally. You are more than worthy of being celebrated for your resilience and your unwavering commitment to the place of your birth.”
Consul General Hyacinth also thanked the city of New York, specifically the borough of Brooklyn, for their generous support and goodwill to Saint Lucia and its citizens.

Poetry and music were also present. Violinist Grace Andrews filled the room with a beautiful rendition of Saint Lucia’s National Anthem. The OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature recipient, Poet Vladimir Lucien, read poems bursting with images of nostalgia and food.

Hon. Diana Richardson, the former Assemblywoman for Brooklyn’s 43rd district, introduced herself to the crowd. It was her first event as she was newly appointed Brooklyn Deputy Borough President. Being a daughter of immigrant parents from Aruba, Ms. Richardson reminded attendees that “While we have different islands, it’s one Caribbean Sea.” She also assured everyone that Brooklyn has two children of immigrants at Borough Hall who understands the immigrants’ journey, challenges and experiences and will be working hard to improve their lives.

Hon. Antonio Reynoso, Brooklyn’s Borough President, took the podium and spoke on what independence means, “It’s about a country’s struggle and self-determination to be recognized.” He then presented the Consul General with Saint Lucia’s forty-third Anniversary of Independence Celebration Day Proclamation. The Vice-Consul General of Saint Lucia in New York, Ms. Victoria Bousquet, delivered the closing remarks.

Guests showed up ready to represent and show love for their home of Saint Lucia. Some were decorated in their island’s blue, yellow, white, and black from head to toe. In closing, guests were led outside to look upon the flag of Saint Lucia flying high on top of Borough Hall. Despite the drizzle, guests and speakers gathered on the steps of Borough Hall for a photo waving their handheld flags with pride and joy.

All photos are credited to Manuel Holguin.

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