Castries, Saint Lucia: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism- Ernest Hilaire highlighted the reflection on the month that November has so far in Saint Lucia. He outlined various activities and share its glimpses to boost the tourism industry.
He added that as he sat here at Heathrow awaiting his flight back home, he could not help but reflect on the month that November has been so far. So many emotions; yes, life is a rollercoaster, after all.
“It started with the empty feeling fed by the death by violent means of two persons whom I knew personally. One was a young person, still a teenager and shot tragically – a couple of days before she was expected to dance at our Jounen Kweyol celebrations in Banane. The other, a young man was always positive and encouraging to me, always reminding me why he voted for me and his high hopes for what I can do for the constituency, “said the deputy prime minister.
Further, Saint Lucia and the tourism ministry launched the Community Tourism Programme. Ernest Hilaire expressed uber excitement by the possibilities of this Programme to transform the tourism industry. It will offer greater opportunities for people to participate in the industry and, more importantly, to own the industry.
Then it was over to London for World Travel Market, a leading tourism trade show where travel partners meet for updates from each other and business arrangements can be finalized. The prospects for our industry are amazing, and Saint Lucia can look forward to an exciting season. Of course, Ernest Hilaire also celebrated my birthday and thanks to so many people, it was memorable.
Then back to Saint Lucia for the Global Piton Awards. This is a recognition exercise where the agents who best sells Saint Lucia are celebrated for their hard work and commitment. It was a fantastic few days, including a cocktail hosted by the PM, Gala Night and a fun boatride.
Then head to the Middle East to attend the Global Citizens Forum where Ernest Hilaire participated in a Panel on the Challenges facing Impact Investing. It was great to put across the viewpoint of a small island state. The Forum was an excellent gathering of persons who all wish to help build a better tomorrow by committing to promoting global citizenship. He even met his friend Chris Gayle, still commanding attention like only the universe boss can. Machel also made his contribution displaying his limitless talent.
Whilst there, Saint Lucia and the tourism ministry undertook an intense schedule of meetings with our CIP partners, over 10 in two days. The Ministry of Tourism have fully reviewed and are ready to significantly reposition the Programme to bring maximum benefit to our people. The highlight of our trip was a cocktail for Agents in the region to reconnect and restore our position. The feedback was tremendous.
Meanwhile, Saint Lucia continued to receive awards for its tourism product. Most noted was to win once again, World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination. The preliminary data on arrivals for October 2022 was shared with me and the news keeps getting better. October will register our numbers to be 94% of the highest numbers which was October 2019. Even without a rebound of regional travel, we are almost back to 2019 numbers.
Then, it was sad news again. The tragic death of Kezia is a shocker.
He added, “We had a wonderful relationship, she loved to challenge me about the constituency and politics. I would accuse her of not voting for me and she would just laugh. Last month. she came to see me on Constituency Day, indicating she was ready to fulfil her promise to help me transform the constituency. She wanted to know what she could do to help me because everyone needed to help out, given some of our challenges. She said she knew I was really busy being a Minister and would need help. Just last month and now this.”
Ernest Hilaire, while sharing the update, outlined that tomorrow they would hold internal discussions on the Proposed Agreement with GPH, and over the next few days, there will be meetings with stakeholders. Then more meetings and field trips to finalize some projects in tourism and my constituency. A lot to do, but sometimes the spirit needs nourishing.
He has always been a student of dialectical thought and he was reminded of Gramsci words which have been stated as “Pessimism of the intellect, optimistism of the will”.
Ernest Hilaire cited, “I have always tried to synthesize these two feelings. I take the world as it is, with all its challenges and realities, knowing my failings and faults but I also know that we must be courageous, have faith in our ability to create a better world and steadfastly move forward.”