On Saturday November 11 His Worship, Mayor Peterson D. Francis, along with his team at the Office of the Mayor, planned and executed the body’s first-ever award ceremony themed “Simply the Best”, highlighting excellence in the Castries Constituency Council.
“The night belongs to you, team members . . . Please accept my congratulations on this wonderful recognition of merit,” Francis told the audience of mostly staff and their family members. Also in attendance on the evening were Saint Lucia’s Governor General, Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy, former prime ministers Vaughan Lewis and Stephenson King, several former Castries city mayors and the then acting Prime Minister, Hon. Guy Joseph.
Cheers from the crowd flooded the city hall and poured onto the streets of Castries as over 40 accolades were given in the following categories: long service (20 years-plus), most promising, most improved, best attendance and most outstanding.
Individual awards also went to Aubrey St. Juste from the City Police Department for Employee of the Year, Winston King from the Sanitation Department for Supervisor of the Year, and Press and Communication overseer, Jason Hullingseed for Manager of the Year.
Bringing the night to a climax, Mayor Francis himself took to the stage to present the ‘special awards for excellence’: to the Sanitation Department as ‘Department of the Year’ and to Annette Charles from the
Property Tax Department, with the overall Mayor’s Award.
Deserving of praise are the event’s organisers who succeeded in putting on a stellar ceremony. From pairing trophies with cash rewards, champagne, Office of the Mayor pins and Monroe College courses, to live entertainment by Nicole David, Makoosa Theatre Company, Radelle Leonce, Gus Skelly and Shirley Ann Cyril-Mayers, it was clear that quality was the standard, thus setting the precedent high for years to come.
Former prime minister Stephenson King used his turn at the mic to praise the efforts of Mr. Francis: “On this occasion I believe it is fitting for me to applaud the now Mayor, Mr. Peterson Francis, who has in the past year and a half demonstrated his full commitment through his performance as Mayor by bringing about the necessary changes here in the City of Castries and, hopefully, to bring the kind of local government administration that I believe Saint Lucia is longing for.”
During his time on stage, acting prime minister Guy Joseph echoed King’s sentiments: “Today I want to single out an individual – Mr. Peterson Francis. I think we all can attest to the fact that since Mr. Francis became the Mayor of Castries, we have seen some great changes taking place within the city.”
While the occasion radiated positivity, the challenges encountered by council members in their jobs and the subpar performance of Castries as a capital city was not lost that night.
Minister Joseph clarified that the purpose of the council was not merely to clean the streets but, with the right leadership and vision, coupled with the efforts already put forth by council members, it is his hope that “we can make Castries the envy of other cities and places in Saint Lucia.”
He also did not miss the opportunity to interject government discourse, adding, “I believe that the city council is well placed under the mayor to be the ones to handle the CDCs and what is happening in the city of Castries,” an idea which was met with resounding applause from the audience..
At the close of the event, attendees were invited to enjoy a ‘cocktail and mingle’ session in a secondary room, further savouring celebrations as the Gala also marked the organisation’s 50th year of being in operation.