At the invitation of The Saint Lucia Association of Texas, Saint Lucians residing in Houston, Texas were paid an official visit by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Civil Aviation, The Honorable Alva Romanus Baptiste.
During the weekend of October 13-14, 2012, the Minister addressed Saint Lucians in the cities of Houston and Baytown.
The Honorable Baptiste conveyed to the attendees the main purpose of his visit was to meet Saint Lucians living in Houston, listen to their needs, and to report back to the Government his findings. This would allow the Saint Lucian Government to identify how best they can serve citizens living overseas and vice versa.
He thanked Saint Lucians for the remunerations that flow into the island, which continues to assist the local economy. He urged them to help fight the real enemies of Saint Lucia – poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and disease.
During his visit, the Minister, accompanied by Consul General, Kent Hippolyte, paid a number of high level visits to institutions including the Greater Houston Partnership (Chamber of Commerce), The Houston Port Authority, Houston Police Department, and Memorial Hermann Hospital System. He also paid a courtesy visit to the Mayor of Houston, Mayor Annise Parker.
In addition, the Minister visited the campus of Texas Southern University (TSU) where he was greeted by Saint Lucian born, Dr. Humphrey Regis, Dean of Thomas F. Freeman Honors College.
The Minster was well received by the President of the University, Dr. John M. Rudley, Provost, Dr. Sunny E. Ohia and Deans of the various University disciplines. He later addressed students and faculty, where he urged them to not just consider Saint Lucia as a tourist destination, but as a country that could provide opportunities for advanced research and education.
At the conclusion of his visit, the Honorable Baptiste expressed his great pleasure at the results of his trip to Houston which allowed him to not only meet local Saint Lucians, but also receive commitments from various organizations to work with Saint Lucia in the areas of education, trade, public safety, health, direct foreign investments and other areas of mutual cooperation.
Andrea Jean-Baptiste, President of the Saint Lucia Association of Texas stated “it was our pleasure to host Minister Alva Baptiste and Consul General Kent Hippolyte. I am very pleased that the Association was able to facilitate increased opportunities for Saint Lucia and to help it move to greater strength and prosperity”.