Guess who did not show up at last Saturday’s Chamber of Commerce business awards perchance to see who would fill his soiled boots? You guessed it. The now almost invisible George Benson of Cellestial who, once upon a time would not miss an opportunity to smile for the media cameras. Of course the company who claimed to have been putting together tablets and cellphones won the prime minister’s award for Innovation last year. Not that there is anything innovative about not doing what you purport to be doing-is there? Then again maybe there is, judging by what passes for Governance and due dilligence this country. Ah well!
But back to the awards. Prime Minister Kenny Anthony was there and so too was his press secretary, as usual taking selfies for instant Facebooking. Of course, she also had the prime minister’s bodyguards to help out when all else failed. Now here is someone who is really being paid to do what she says she is doing right? The commerce minister Emma Hippolyte was also in attendance, tourism minister Lorne Theophilus as well as the who’s who in local business. The who “was”, well, let us just say they simply stayed home after VAT and the economic crisis forced them shut.
As for the red carpet? it seemed that anything openly yellow appeared to have stayed away. No opposition leader, former or present, no leader of those other parties seemed able to break away from their several hotel meetings and press releases to attend.
Inside the venue it would take a bold MC in the person of Richard Peterkin to loosen up some really tight butts off their chairs with his comic relief. And the opening speeches? While the outgoing chairman Gerard Bergasse was more pointed in some of his pronouncements, newly elected Gordon Charles gave an uninspiring, quoteless speech, truly worth forgetting much like that other one that followed a day later by-guess who. Peterkin seized the opportunity to send him a doozy recommending for him instead some “celestial” intervention. From there on “cellestial” became the “butt” of the jokes at the chamber awards leaving one to wonder if they were really laughing at themselves or at last year’s booboo? The politicians were not spared by the MC either. At one point he told the audience that while the prime minister had called for belt tightening-judging by the size of his girth it would be difficult for him to lead by example. He also pointed out that the PM would be rolling out a new health care plan: Kenny-Care. And guess who he joked would be building the website? Let’s just say the first four letters rhymes with bell.
Now on to the awards. Bay Gardens Resorts emerged as the Business of the Year winner and owner Joyce Destang won Entrepreneur of the Year award. They may have also won for having the most people on stage too.
The Prime Minister’s Award for Innovation went to Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort. Kenny Anthony himself handed that one out after (regretably) missing his chance last year. Sugar Beach also won the award for marketing excellence.
The award for Service Excellence went to First Citizens Investment Services, Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award went to Kurt Elibox of Blueprint which also won the Green Award. Goods Exporter of the Year Award went to Baron Foods, Service Exporter of the Year Award-FDL Consult Inc and the award for Excellence in Human Resource Development- Sandals Resorts International.
Chester Hinkson of Bank of Nova Scotia eventually won the award for Corporate leadership after his name was previously announced as winner in the wrong category.
The Award for Corporate Social Responsibility went to International American University (IAU) College of Medicine and the Idea of the Year Award went to Bannah Severin of Cutty Ranks Barber Shop. His unpretentious speech about his desire to continue helping underprivileged students by providing them with grooming tips, haircuts and teaching them the trade drew resounding applause, maybe the loudest for the night. His only rival was Richard Peterkin and for that they deserve the real awards for innovation and being real instead of that Milli Vanilli award that was won last year by guess who.
The gala event was held Saturday January 25. Entertainment was provided by students from the St Lucia School of Music, Sarai I’Shyne and Shanne James. Lifetime and special achievement awards were also given to George Theophilus of FICS and Robert Devaux founder of M&C. And, no awards were recalled at least not yet!