Top performers at Youth Fest get prizes

Omar Davis has every reason to complain about the lack of financial and institutional support given to the annual “Youthfest,” which he and his team organizes. The event is the only national youth promotion and developmental event that directly involves young people themselves.                 And after all, the founder of the event and his team has every single year delivered on their promise to contribute, from the event, to youth development programs here and has also been on time in paying out on performance fees and prize money to performers. Not the same can be said for the CDF (for carnival) who in recent times has been late and short on prizes and has also been dismal in the handling of “the people’s money” not to mention being unprofitable and not developmental (as the “D” in their name should stand for), but rather “dysfunctional.” But more on that later.
Youthfest 2010 thanks to sponsors like WINERA, First National Bank, Bank of Saint Lucia, Lime, Coconut Bay Beach Resort, Baron Foods, Blazin FM and a few others worked a miracle with what they got to produce another event catering to entertaining and developing young people.         And on Monday representatives from some of these sponsors namely WINERA, ECFH and 1st National Bank pledged their continued support for this worthwhile venture.
At the 2010 Youthfest prize giving ceremony that was held on Monday February 7, 2011 at the Bay Gardens Hotel, the guest speaker was asked to make a presentation on sponsorship. Adrian Augier said he consented since he saw the importance of the subject, stating that as a society, sponsorship has to be seen as a matter of responsibility.
“As a business we can buy and sell and trade and bank our profits…but that’s not really going to change the nature of the society in which we live and if we are going to be responsible corporate citizens then we should be part of the process of improving the society in which we live and do business,” Augier stated. He called on companies to see themselves as part of the citizenry in which they operate and to look at things beyond the bottom line. “You cannot be simply extracting profits from a society and not care where they come from and what effects it may have on the society in which you operate,” Augier added.
“Youthfest” 2010 was held on Sunday December 19 in Vieux Fort under the heading “Youthfest-ah just de blessings,” and according to committee member Kenisha Charlery it was a resounding success despite the inclement weather on that day. “The annual Youthfest provides a forum to showcase, promote and develop musical and related talents of aspiring young artiste, whilst utilizing their talents and influences to spread positive values and healthy lifestyles,” Charlery said Monday.
Last year’s event, which for the second year featured a song competition component, highlighted a number of talented young performers from across Saint Lucia with Mr Vegas from Jamaica closing. Youthfest featured two dance groups from Vieux Fort a fashion show by an aspiring designer from the Vieux Fort Secondary school, Zionomi, Trish, Q-Pid, 4th world, Shane Ross, Teddyson John, Young Mecca and Invader.
“The activity is also a significant fundraiser for youth development programs undertaken by NGO’s….and in response to the hurricane Tomas rehabilitation appeal  the performers and competitors of Youthfest agreed to contribute forty percent of their appearance fees and prize monies to assist youngsters disadvantaged by this tragic disaster,” Charlery said. She then called on the Minister of Tourism to honour a commitment to assist the event and the young artistes.
On December 14, 2010 the organizers of Youthfest contributed EC$10, 000 to the National Community Foundation and on Monday presented another EC$10,000 to the organization. Accepting on behalf of the NCF Ms Juliana Alfred stated that she really wanted to commend Mr. Davis and his committee for their efforts. “It was so heartening to hear about this event where young people were able to showcase their talent and to just do positive things. And when we heard that they wanted to make this contribution we were even more elated” Alfred said. The contribution is expected to go towards schools and youth development project, post hurricane Tomas.
During the prize-giving segment itself; in the 12 and under category the second prize was awarded to Shan Lucien and in the first place Deshawn Augustin. In the teens category Pearleta Avril received the second prize whilst Michael Robins
on won the top prize. In the twenties category Olivia Abraham won second
place and Malana Stephen won the first place prize of EC$10,000 She also received the overall youth star 2010 Boots Joseph trophy. (More on Malana Stephen in the weekend Star.)
The top three performers then performed for Monday’s gathering after which a vote of thanks was delivered by Stephen Edmund following closing remarks by Omar Davis.

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