There is no denying that when it comes to making the news, and being the “ worthy topic of the day”, the accolades bestowed on both our People’s Choice “Person of the Year” and the STAR’s own “Person of the Year” are well deserved. In 2013 they continued to blaze a fearless trail, treading where many dared not go, standing up for what they believed in and for that both Mary Francis and Kenita Placide have really earned their STAR awards. No need to say more as Rick Wayne puts a bold case forward where Mary Francis is concerned (see page 12-13) and Dee Lundy-Charles goes one on one with Kenita Placide (page 9).
There were of course other worthy news-makers in 2013, among them Timothy Poleon of RCI/CHOICE News who, after reading an item from Caribbean News Now on his Newsspin program, found himself in hot water with certain public officials. On the brighter side, Poleon was able to hold his own as the nation’s favourite television news anchor. Andre DeCaires of the Green Party also had our attention in 2013 as an advocate for the agricultural production of hemp and the decriminalization of marijuana. The case was also put forward for the exploration of medicinal marijuana here.
We tip our hats also to Gaspard Henry of ‘Feed the Poor’ ministry and Bannah Suffren who started a successful grooming program for under-privileged schoolboys. We say bravo to both young men. In 2013, former senator and tourism minister Allen Chastanet won the nod to become the United Workers Party political leader. Victory also went to Ricky T, who won three carnival titles and Louise Victor was the aptly-named winner of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Queen Pageant.
Of course there were also personalities and quotes in 2013 which were unforgettable for all the wrong or right reasons, including the “over my dead body” statement by the Labour party’s self-proclaimed president of Laborie, Alva Baptiste, the “five dollar lunch” remark by Phillip J Pierre and the “response in kind” by the MP formerly known as Harold Dalson, now Dalsan, hurled at Allen Chastanet over the opening of a bridge in Soufriere.
In 2013 the island was also plagued by a number of suicides and attempted suicides, as well as reports of a number of teenagers running away from home. Some pointed to the economic times as causing more persons to go through depression as the island sank deeper into economic woes.
VAT, of course which was introduced in 2012 continued to be a hot topic in 2013 as well as unemployment and the rising cost of food and fuel that continued to plague Saint Lucians. We had some moments of levity and celebration, including the Caribbean Cricket T20, the newly overhauled Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival and the first ever Caribbean Premiere League T20. Here’s a glance at some of the highlights of 2013:
Police Chief Vernon Francois praises the police, reporting in January that of the 44 homicides for the previous year, thirty had at that point been “solved.”
STAR freelance photographer Bill Mortley wins SOL’s photography competition for their 2013 calendar.
A number of young Entrepreneurs steal the spotlight at the Chamber Business Awards and SLTB launches the rebranded Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival, announcing featured acts R. Kelly, Akon, The O’Jays, Ronald Boo Hinkson and Kassav.
Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott expresses outrage after a sod-turning ceremony for another resort (Freedom Bay) within the Piton Management Area in Soufriere.
Wilfred St. Clair Daniel, the island’s longest serving house speaker, passes away at 89 years of age.
An exciting CT20 kicks off, and the STAR names Ubaldus Raymond as Person of the Year 2012.
The two men accused of the 2000 Cathedral attack and fire in which XX victims died, Francis Phillip and Kim John plead guilty to Manslaughter.
CSA wage negotiations with government reaches a deadlock and members catch an unexpected “flu” followed by massive sickouts.
Government zeroes Airport Development Tax; the state of the art Audi Showroom opens at Choc; police introduce polygraph testing of suspects; a six year old is shot and wounded by lawmen during a cross-fire.
A prisoner’s escape is aided and abetted by at least one police officer.
Politician Jon Odlum is laid to rest.
One of the island’s telecommunications company Digicel observed ten years of operation in Saint Lucia.
CSA takes strike action for wage increase.
LIME launches directory featuring George Theophilus, founder of FICS (Financial Investment and Consultancy Services).
On April 1, 22-year-old Krystal Felix is shot dead in Vigie Cove.
Veteran broadcaster Vaughan Noel dies at age 70. The same month we also lost Ione Erlinger-Forde, historian Robert Devaux and Bishop Cornelius Robinson.
Sharon Tanner wins the fashion event, Caribbean Collection.
On April 18 a mother of two Tracey Lawrence is electrocuted in Dennery.
April 25 sees the budget presentation in the House.
The first Rise film festival is held, a large cocaine bust is effected and the CSA calls off strike.
In April, the STAR’s Rick Wayne was the first to raise the question: “Has US Stopped Funding Local Police?”
The newly rebranded Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts festival features R. Kelly, The Jacksons and others is deemed a success. The first ever Hot Couture fashion show forms part of the event, spiced up by some controversy.
The Unions are handed what they had first refused and two more homicides are recorded on May 27. The town and village council report of possible impropriety by the former administration was released.
LIME signs local singers TJ and Stacy.
The US State department lists Saint Lucia as a haven for human trafficking and local sex workers, and Saint Lucia signs UN arms trade treaty.
A father and his two children receive public sympathy and support after they are evicted from their home at Cas En Bas following a court order.
In sports news, Jackie Joyner Kersee comes to Saint Lucia for Sport in Black and White Conference. Also, Jermain Defoe establishes foundation here.
Darren Sammy is named the region’s first BMW brand ambassador.
Carnival crowns Amy Stephens as Queen, Menel is Calypso Monarch and Ricky T wins Groovy and Power Soca as well as Road March.
Ronnie Walters lifeless body is found in Babonneau after he had gone missing for several days.
Allen Chastanet is elected to head the UWP, and United Airlines makes its inaugural flight to Saint Lucia.
Eugene St. Romain, accused in the Verlinda Joseph case, receives bail after being on remand since 2004.
Derek Walcott’s O Starry, Starry Night premieres at Samaans Park.
The tourism industry loses Bay Gardens Resorts’ John Parle.
Police shoots mentally ill man Mandy Louis at Babonneau.
Taiwanese president Ma Jing-jeou pays Saint Lucia an official visit, and the RSLPF attend a workshop to have a better understanding of the gay community.
London’s Globe Theatre brings Shakespeare’s King Lear to Saint Lucia, with our own Joseph Marcel as the lead.
In an address to the Nation on August 20, Prime Minister Kenny Anthony announces that the United States government had indeed suspended financial assistance to the Royal Saint Lucian Police Force. The action was in response to what the US had cited as human rights violations, pertaining to a number of police killings between 2011-2012.
Saint Lucian Lauren Lambert wins Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model.
Ravindra Mangar enters Sir Arthur Lewis Community College after topping the 2013 CXC/CSEC results with twelve grade ones, including ten distinctions and three grade two’s.
Teenager Chereece Benoit found dead in her home.
Olympic high jumper Levern Spencer receives a royal welcome home, while the justice minister sues Timothy Poleon.
Green Synergy crowns DJ Yellow and Saint Lucia Tourist Board holds the island’s first ever Weddings Symposium.
Some GIS staffers are deployed to other Ministries.
Saint Lucian tenor Blaise Claudio Pascal dies in New York.
2NITE magazine hosts an exciting Bikini Bombshell event, this time in conjunction with organizers of the annual Saint Lucia Billfish tournament and Louise Victor is crowned Caribbean Tourism Queen.
Chopping incident rocks the community of Belle Air.
EC$1 million promenade opens in Bruceville, Vieux Fort.
Chakadan Daniel dies mysteriously in Micoud jjail cell.
Baron Foods wins ANUGA event with Banana Ketchup, Mongstar wins ‘All for One’ singing contest and FIFA World Cup Trophy arrives in Saint Lucia.
COURTS OECS Reading Competition takes place here in Saint Lucia.
A national reparations committee is formed here and gender rights advocacy organization United & Strong leads the charge in the observance of World Aids Day.
The Molly Allen bullying case makes the news and Timothy Poleon offers apology. Prime Minister Kenny Anthony also talks about a LIAT guarantee.
STAR features Laurah John who won a major award at UNESCO’s Youth Forum and United & Strong stages UNFPA Caribbean Regional Gender Workshop on Sexual Violence here in Saint Lucia.
Buckeye officially opens after taking over from HESS Oil.
Saint Lucians mourn the passing of Nelson Mandela.
A nameless trough brought 24 hours of rain to Saint Lucia on Christmas Eve. In the end five lives were lost, several roads and bridges were damaged and flooding in some parts of the island affected homes.
At year end the number of homicides stood at 36.