Ernest Hilaire, MP for Castries South and Member of Cabinet and Deputy Prime Minister of St Lucia, addressed the delegation of the EXPO 2022 Dubai on Sunday, February 27, 2022. MP of St Lucia Hilaire stated that he is delighted to lead a St Lucian delegation in Dubai at EXPO 2022.
While expressing his pleasure, Deputy Prime Minister Hilaire cited, “This week was extraordinary. Like many Saint Lucians, I looked forward to the celebrations of our 43rd Independence. But this time, I would be leading a Saint Lucian delegation in Dubai at EXPO 2020, where we would celebrate our Independence Day as part of the EXPO celebrations“.
He further explained EXPO 2022 and reiterated that the EXPO is not a UWP or SLP thing and stated his various programmes in which he said that he was the Permanent Representative to the Bureau for International Expositions and participated, as part of the assessment team, in visits to proposed host cities.
Deputy Prime Minister emphasized, “St Lucia voted for Dubai. The administration changed in 2016, and it was up to the UWP in Government to finalize plans for Saint Lucia’s participation. The EXPO was supposed to be held in 2020, but because of the COVID pandemic, it was postponed from October 2021 to March 2022. Again, the administration changed in July 2021. Our approach was to review what was planned and to ensure that we fully utilized this opportunity to showcase Saint Lucia to the world”.
This required significant changes to the proposed activities and plans offered by the last administration. More on that later. Monday was a big day for the country as the nation hosted St Lucia Business Forum. It was a chance to showcase the tourism product, highlight ongoing and proposed investment projects, manufacturing and export opportunities and outline our citizenship options and thinking on the future of the citizenship programme, underscored Ernest.
He further informed that Tuesday was St Lucia’s EXPO 2020 National Day, which coincided with Independence Day and was another fantastic day. The delegation had the honour of meeting high-ranking officials of the United Arab Emirates Government and sharing words of solidarity, and expressing best wishes on behalf of the Prime Minister, Government and people of Saint Lucia.
“We were also required to present a short cultural presentation showcasing our culture and history. We also took part in a parade at the EXPO announcing our Independence Day. We also held Cooking and Fashion shows. The highlight of the day was the presentation of our cultural show in the evening, “Helen’s Songs”. From all accounts, it was a truly memorable and exciting display of who we are as a nation”, reiterated Deputy PM.
“Wednesday was travel day and a chance to reflect on the Dubai experience. Amidst all the noise and distraction, there was a significant outpouring of national pride and identity. I think we have set a clear strategic plan to open up new markets and possibilities, and the opportunity was fully utilized to do so. The door has been opened; the hard work now begins”, exclaimed Ernest.
While explaining about Thursday, he asserted that it was a day of meetings in London discussing various interests in property development and the citizenship programme. Some exciting news and developments are ahead of us.
Friday morning was a continuation of meetings. I was honoured to be invited to the High Commission to attend the formal welcome for the new High Commissioner, H.E. Anthony B. Severin. He is a seasoned and highly skilled diplomat who will make Saint Lucia proud. Good luck, Your Excellency. The night ended in Hackney visiting some Saint Lucians who held a celebration of our Independence. After nine days of eating different culinary options, Lucian’s food never tasted so good, expressed Ernest.
Saturday was travel day once again. Getting back home never felt so good. Like Derek Walcott wrote, “This island is heaven – away from the dust blown blood of cities; See the curve of the bay, watch the straggling flower, pretty is The wing’s sound of trees, the sparse-powdered sky when lit is The night” he concluded.
Anglina Byron, developed a deep-seated passion for journalism. Anglina is recognized for her tenacity, strength, and unwavering commitment to delivering honest and reliable news across the Caribbean. She covers general affairs of the region.