Citizens in Calgary gather to share thoughts

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Citizens in Calgary gather to share thoughts
Some members of the Association. The others were engaged in a dress rehearsal.
Some members of the Saint Lucia Calgary Cultural Association. Press Secretary Jadia Jn. Pierre-Emmanuel, who represented the prime minister at the meeting, is second from the left (front row).

Saint Lucians living in Calgary, Canada gathered to share views on current affairs as part of activities organized by the Saint Lucia Calgary Cultural Association to celebrate Saint Lucia’s 34th Anniversary of Independence.

On Friday, March 8, 2013, a town hall-style meeting was held at Greenwood Inn, Calgary, where Consul General Michael Willius was formally introduced to the general membership.

Consul General Michael Willius (left) engaging a member of the Saint Lucia Calgary Cultural Association.

While Willius has been in constant communication with Kenny Husband who heads the association, this meeting provided an opportunity to interact directly with citizens. During his introductory remarks, the consul general reaffirmed his commitment to providing effective and efficient representation to all Saint Lucians in Canada.

During the meeting, several concerns were raised, ranging from the plans of the government of Saint Lucia to protect Saint Lucia’s heritage, to the bottle neck at the registry and immigration department in Saint Lucia.

Citizens lamented the inconsistencies in requests and requirements when processing applications for and rectification of birth certificates, stating that it causes unnecessary delays in receiving new passports which is sometimes very costly.

In response, Press Secretary Jadia Jn. Pierre-Emmanuel, who represented the prime minister at the meeting, spoke of the necessity to verify birth records to protect our identity and avoid fraud. Emmanuel highlighted initiatives such as the data entry assistance provided under the NICE program, as well as the services provided by the Adjudicator’s Office, aimed at addressing some of the delays currently being experienced.

Citizens were advised to tap into the services provided by the consulate in Toronto, as in some cases, misinformation lead to inefficiencies. Following up on questions regarding the processing of applications for passports, Willius reminded all in attendance that the consulate can assist, and in cases where passports have expired, an emergency document can be provided for one way travel to Saint Lucia.

Information on the ongoing construction stimulus package as well as other initiatives in the 2012/2013 budget were discussed.

Members in attendance expressed concern about the impact of VAT on Saint Lucia as well as the ongoing debate about the construction of the Freedom Bay Development in Soufriere.

In response, Emmanuel highlighted that Saint Lucia has the largest basket of exempt goods in the region and noted that currently, water and electricity services are zero rated. The notion that VAT represents an additional 15 percent burden was addressed as Willius reminded members that VAT has replaced consumption tax and environmental levy.

Emmanuel took the opportunity to reaffirm government’s commitment to protecting the Piton Management Area (PMA), stating that the development, which has its genesis as far back at 2006, is within a zone where construction is permissible and does not pose any threat to the outstanding universal value of the PMA.

The meeting highlighted the need for greater information sharing. In his presentation, the consul general revealed that a new website will be launched in the coming weeks, which will provide links to important sites such as the government of Saint Lucia. This, he says, will address the information deficiency which can sometimes lead to inconsistencies and misinformation.

The celebrations continue with the 26th Annual Dinner and Dance slated for Saturday, March 9, 2013.

Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony will deliver the keynote address.

 

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Qualified & competent in what field? Because square pegs like St. Aimee & Stephens were rewarded with these over paid jobs doesn't mean the "syndrome" must continue. They knew very well why they were working hard because there perks to be enjoyed later. Can you please state what cultural & economic development activity or situation has Willius or Dubois been part of on a local or national level. All you can see is red in your eyes. What a damn shame for lucia, I voted Labour the last three elections makak!

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  2. Julian DuBois, Saint Lucia's Consul General in New York and Michael Willius, Saint Lucia's Consul General for Canada are two well qualified and competent Saint Lucians, who have always been immersed in the social, cultural and economic development of Saint Lucia. If you want to be political: Donatus Keith St. Aimee (Laborie's UWP Canadidate in 2006); Eldrige Stephens (UWP Candidate in 1982 & UWP Campaign Manager in 2011)were both Ambassadors in the UWP Government of 2006-2011. I fail to see your stupid point. UWPs are empty heads, devoid of intelligence and common sense. Stop the useless politics.

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  3. Consul General Michael Willius (Canada) & General Consul Julian Dubois (New York) two of Alva Baptiste's (Minister of External Affairs) best friends and 2011 Election campaign managers have been greatly rewarded for their loyalty. When will the "jobs for the boys" syndrome go away...smfh

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    • They worked their buts off so why don't you shut your jaw. You wanted them to give it to you instead. Empty vessels makes the most noise. That goes to the first and third blogger.

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