Taiwanese Ambassador to Saint Lucia, His Excellency Douglas Shen, on behalf of the government of The Republic of China (Taiwan), presented a cheque for $310,000 to the Castries Consituency Council on Thursday November 23, 2017. According to Press and Communications Manager in the Office of the Mayor, Jason Hullingseed, the money will go towards “the procurement of lights” to beautify Saint Lucia’s Festival of Lights which takes place annually on December 13.
Prior to handing over the cheque to His Worship, Mayor Peterson D. Francis, Ambassador Shen stated, “Everyone loves seeing colourful, ambient lights decorating the streets and houses. In Taiwanese culture, light is the symbol for warmth and hope and, just like Saint Lucia, we also have the lantern festival during the lunar New Year holiday.”
It is the Embassy’s hope that the donation will go a long way and will contribute significantly to a festival which brings joy to “Saint Lucians all across the nation, especially the children”.
Mayor Peterson D. Francis, upon receiving the cheque, expressed his, and the Constituency Council’s gratitude towards Taiwan and its continued support. “Last year, this was done and I notice that the cheques are growing,” Mayor Francis observed jokingly. He added, “Mr. Ambassador, I want to assure you that this money will be put to very good use.”
Ambassador Shen took the opportunity at Thursday’s event to commend Mayor Francis and his team at the Council for the work they have done to improve the business environment, safety and sanitation of Castries.
According to the Cultural Development Foundation, the Festival of Lights, which coincides with Saint Lucia’s National Day, is associated with the patron saint of light, Saint Lucy, and symbolizes “the triumph of light conquering dark, good overcoming evil and the renewal of life”. To commemorate the occasion, lantern-making competitions are held for children and adults and, on December 12, lanterns are paraded through the streets of Castries, followed by the switching-on of lights at the Derek Walcott Square and a subsequent firework display.