Partners and clients joined the company for its official Opening Ceremony and Ribbon Cutting on the sunny afternoon of Sunday November 22nd at the brand new property.
Special guests in attendance included the Governor General of Saint Lucia Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy, The Honourable Deputy Prime Minister & Minister for Infrastructure, Port Services and Transport, Mr. Philip J. Pierre, First Citizens Group CEO Mrs. Karen Darbasie, Deputy CEO – Business Generation Mr. Jason Julien and First Citizens Investment Services General Manager Ms. Sana Ragbir.
The event was held immediately in front of the green and grey refurbished location and began with a spirited rendition of Saint Lucia’s National Anthem by First Citizens’ talented songbird Ms. Petra Phillip, followed by opening prayers by Father Athanase Joseph.
In her opening remarks, Regional Manager for First Citizens Investment Services Mrs. Carole Eleuthere-Jn Marie was elated and all smiles as she noted the occasion was also a celebration of ten years of operations in Saint Lucia and the OECS.
“In July of this year, our First Citizens – St Lucia Branch marked a decade of successful and very professionally rewarding operations in Saint Lucia and the Eastern Caribbean,” she said, adding that the theme for the anniversary was ‘Celebrating a decade of Trust, Service Excellence & Growth.’
“Over the last ten years, with a dedicated team of go-getters, committed to our Corporate Vision’s vows of Innovativeness, Service Excellence and Sound Corporate Governance our small St. Lucia staff compliment have achieved many noteworthy milestones,” she explained while attributing this also to the unwavering trust and service excellence endorsements over the years from loyal clients.
“We can now boast of having a strong brand and a sound reputation in the Eastern Caribbean. Over the last ten years our contribution in the Bonds, T-Bills & Equity markets of the Eastern Caribbean have significantly supported the economies of the Currency Union and in particular St Lucia.”
First Citizens Group CEO Karen Darbasie noted that “the new location provides us with the distinct opportunity to enhance our customer service with growth in mind.”
She referenced the exceptional financial performance of the Group and the many accolades that First Citizens has received among them the fact that two weeks ago the ‘BBB+/A-2’ rating and stable outlook which was reaffirmed by Standard & Poor’s and the second consecutive accolade by World Finance: Best Banking Group 2015 – Trinidad & Tobago and being named amongst the Top Safest Banks by Global Finance. She also highlighted First Citizens Investment Services winning the St. Lucia Business Awards for Service Excellence in 2013 and 2014.
“These achievements are a direct result of the dedication of every staff member throughout our ‘regional operations’. Each team works feverishly to ensure that every customer enjoys a memorable experience, as the organization works assiduously to bring value to the lives of residents in every community that we have a presence,” stated Mrs. Darbasie.
“Even as First Citizens continues to expand in St. Lucia, our intention is to build a solid reputation while partnering with each of you. Our presence here will continue to be a successful bond between St. Lucia and the First Citizens Group.”
For his part the Deputy Prime Minister lauded First Citizens for its latest move, stating that it proves the Bank’s confidence in the marketplace, particularly locally. He singled out the financial institution’s most meaningful impact on the region as helping nurture the development of the regional securities market through its active involvement in the bonds and treasury bills market, from which Saint Lucia has been a beneficiary.
“Saint Lucia has benefitted tremendously from the involvement of First Citizens in the regional market as the bank holds in excess of $250 million in domestic bonds and treasury bills for the government of Saint Lucia,” said Pierre. “Regionally, the bank holds approximately $1 billion in government debt instruments.”
Following the brief deliveries, it was on to the exciting ribbon cutting which led the way into the glass doors of the new home of First Citizens Investment Services – Saint Lucia. Guests got a tour of the two-storey structure and there were audible oohs and aahs. The evening continued with the beautiful saxophone music from Barbara Cadet and cocktails and conversations!
The celebrations carried on into the next day as the first client of the day, Bernard Thomas, received a special surprise gift hamper filled with First Citizens goodies.