By Edward Harris

The Executive, members and friends of the Guyana-Saint Lucia Association journeyed from the North to meet fellow Guyanese and their St. Lucian counterparts on Saturday, March 29, 2003 to set in motion, the establishment of a Southern Chapter of the Association.

The meeting was held at the Baron Foods Club House, St. Jude’s Highway, Vieux Fort and commenced at 4.30 pm. Mr. and Mrs. Jones led the gathering in the singing of the National Anthems of the Republic of Guyana and Saint Lucia. Mr. Edward Harris said prayers. Dr. Mervin Devonish was the Master of Ceremonies and he did a wonderful job in keeping the discussion lively. Miss Gene Neptune – President of GSA gave Introductory Remarks and expressed her pleasure at the turn out of Guyanese and St. Lucians and specially thanked her Executive for a 100% turn out. Mr. Lokesh Singh, Hon. Consul for Guyana to Saint Lucia took the opportunity to express his appreciation for work that the Association is doing and promised to continue to support the various programmes. He had a word of caution for those Guyanese who are in the country illegally and made it abundantly clear there is nothing he can do about regularizing their status. They must abide by the laws of Saint Lucia. However, his office will facilitate the renewal of passports and keep Guyanese abreast of developments in their homeland.

The Constitution of the Association was discussed and it was revealed that certain amendments would have to be made to accommodate the establishment of a Southern Chapter. Mr. Horace Fraser promised to give guidance in the matter. The meeting agreed that a Steering Committee be established in the interim and appointed the following persons, Messrs Mervin Devonish – Chairman, Ronald Ramjattan, Emmanuel Lewis, Mrs. Indra Beepat and Miss Indira Deonandan. It was further agreed that the Southern Chapter will hold it first Annual General Meeting by the end of May, 2003 prior to Association’s AGM which is scheduled for early June, 2003. The President of the Southern Chapter will be a member of the 2003-2004 Executive of the Association.

During the discussions, many Guyanese expressed the view that enough is not being done to highlight the positive contributions of Guyanese to the St. Lucian society. They complained that Guyanese only receive negative press and it is time for more balanced reporting.

The meeting was told about the success of the Guybassadors Soft Ball Cricket Team and their proposed encounter with the St. Kitts National Team in St. Kitts shortly. Mr. Terry Campbell, President of the Guybassadors Club expressed thanks to Mr. Shamsundar Jarbandon, Managing Director of S& K Manufacturing Ltd., Manufacturers of Garments for equipping them with uniforms for the proposed matches in St. Kitts.

Although the main purpose of the meeting was to initiate the establishment of a Southern Chapter of the Guyana – Saint Lucia Association, the highlight of the afternoon was the presentation of gifts to Mr. and Mrs. Jones who have made significant contribution to St. Lucia at the professional and community levels. Mr. Frederick Jones was the Country Representative for the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and Mrs. Maxine Jones was a member of staff of the Division of Arts, Science and General Studies, and Physics Coordinator at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College. There were actively involved in the work of the Salvation Army. They depart for the USA shortly to be with their children. The opportunity was taken to thank them sincerely for presenting the positive sides of Guyanese and for their contribution to the Association. They will long be remembered for their leading in the singing of the National Anthems and the folk and patriotic songs of the Republic of Guyana. After accepting the gifts, Mr. and Mrs. Jones responded and promised always to remember their many friends back in St. Lucia. They ended the words of appreciation with the rendition of a patriotic song of the Republic of Guyana entitled, My Guyana, Eldorado!!!

The occasion marked another opportunity where Guyanese and St. Lucians rekindled the joys of yesteryear. Refreshments were served, including Cook Up Rice and Eldorado 15 Years Old Rum. Musical Entertainment was provided by sound system featuring exclusively, outstanding Guyanese recorded artistes. The Baron’s hospitality was at its best and everyone concluded it was once again a memorable occasion, Guyanese style.

Stay tuned for the BIG SPLASH, Oldies / Goldies Party, Guyana Style sponsored by the Guybassadors. Plan to be there. It is going to be the Party of the Old and New Millennium!!!!!!