Year In Re­view 2014

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

JAN­UARY

Saint Lu­cians ush­ered in the New Year bur­dened with the woes of the pre­vi­ous year, and then some: shock­ing crime, in­creas­ing un­em­ploy­ment and eco­nomic de­pres­sion. With sev­eral busi­nesses con­sol­i­dat­ing, oth­ers lay­ing off staff and some shut­ting their doors, Neal and Massy ar­rived in Saint Lu­cia. Al­ready a house­hold name in Trinidad & Tobago, it was an­nounced early in the year that Neal and Massy was now the sole share­holder of Gable­woods Su­per­mar­ket and majority share­holder of Con­sol­i­dated Foods Ltd, with a sixty per­cent share in­ter­est.

A STAR ex­pose of George Ben­son, the 2013 win­ner of the prime min­is­ter’s award for in­no­va­tion, goes vi­ral. Em­ploy­ing women un­der the “SMILES” pro­gramme, the company Celles­tial had pur­ported to be lo­cally man­u­fac­tur­ing cell­phones and tablets, claims later proved false. Celles­tial and its CEO have since van­ished into thin air.

On Jan­uary 4, 51-year-old Ian Bruce Sul­li­van per­ished when his Suzuki Grand Vi­tara crashed into a con­tainer at the Bois D’Orange Bridge, then un­der con­struc­tion. This led to an is­land-wide fury of angry com­ments about in­ad­e­quate road signs and light­ing on the is­land’s roads.

And on Fri­day Jan­uary 17 Roger Pratt, 62, from War­wick­shire was killed and his wife Mar­garet in­jured by armed men who climbed aboard their yacht while it was moored off the

dock in Vieux Fort. FE­BRU­ARY

It was not all love dur­ing Cupid’s month. How­ever, Saint Lu­cians demon­strated much affin­ity with the de­parted Sir John Comp­ton when fi­nally the long-awaited mon­u­ment in his hon­our was un­veiled in Con­sti­tu­tion Park on Fe­bru­ary 21, the eve of our coun­try’s 35th an­niver­sary of In­de­pen­dence. More rea­son to cel­e­brate the mem­ory of the Fa­ther of the Na­tion was sup­plied by his daugh­ter Chef Nina after she made it to the fi­nals of Bravo’s Top Chef re­al­ity-TV show. Nina lost the top spot to Ni­cholas Elmi but was de­clared Saint Lu­cia’s culi­nary am­bas­sador by the gov­ern­ment as the is­land launched the 2014 Saint Lu­cia Jazz & Arts Fes­ti­val on Fe­bru­ary 6.

Ques­tions about the is­land’s health care fa­cil­i­ties were raised once again after two mys­te­ri­ous deaths were recorded in Fe­bru­ary. Firstly Sa­man­tha Atkins died at the St Judes hos­pi­tal on Fe­bru­ary 5 dur­ing child­birth. Then on Fe­bru­ary 12, Daniel Es­nard of Soufriere died, hav­ing been stabbed dur­ing an al­ter­ca­tion on Jan­uary 26. Es­nard had been treated at the Soufriere hos­pi­tal the day of the in­ci­dent, his wound stitched, and he had been dis­charged. How­ever, his fam­ily claimed his wounds were more se­ri­ous than di­ag­nosed and he later suf­fered some in­ter­nal bleed­ing. MARCH

This was prob­a­bly the month of for­eign af­fairs or mis-af­fairs. On Wed­nes­day March 5, while ad­dress­ing the open­ing cer­e­mony of a re­treat for heads of mis­sions, Gov­er­nor Gen­eral Dame Pear­lette Louisy high­lighted sev­eral lapses in the ap­point­ment of such heads as well as the op­er­a­tions of those over­seas-based mis­sions and em­bassies. Saint Lu­cia also got a lot cozier with ALBA by an­nounc­ing that the Den­nery Bridge, when com­pleted, would be named the ALBA Bridge after the re­gional trade block the Bo­li­var­ian Al­ter­na­tive for the Amer­i­cas.

In more for­eign link­ages, a Rus­sian re­gatta knocked on Saint Lu­cian doors for the first time. The event was held March 21-29.

Dur­ing the month of March calls went out for the clo­sure of the de­ten­tion cell, eu­phemisti­cally known as the Cus­tody Suite, due to the in­hu­mane con­di­tions there. The call was started by Peter “Ipa” Isaac who had been de­tained there in Fe­bru­ary.

Thieves also found a new source of in­come - cop­per. In March there were sev­eral re­ports of items made of cop­per be­ing stolen around the city in­clud­ing the cathe­dral and the Derek Wal­cott Square. APRIL

In April, a rel­a­tively new word Chikun­gunya would be­come the new buzz­word, lit­er­ally, for the next few months. The first case of the dis­ease, which is spread by the aides egypti mos­quito, was re­ported here in April. How­ever, the big­gest shocker of the month would be the mur­der of lo­cal hote­lier and busi­ness­man Oliver Go­bat whose charred re- mains were found on April 25. Be­fore that, po­lice made the dis­cov­ery of two other bod­ies, one at Pi­geon Point on April 9 and another on April 15 at the Marisule beach. Both men had ap­par­ently been killed.

Res­i­dents of Coubaril chal­lenged the De­vel­op­ment Con­trol Au­thor­ity (DCA) re­gard­ing ap­proval for the change of use of lands at Coubaril, Castries from res­i­den­tial to com­mer­cial to fa­cil­i­tate the re­lo­ca­tion of the of­fices of the Saint Lu­cia So­cial De­vel­op­ment Fund (SSDF).

In another closely fol­lowed case here, Molly Allen stuck to her guns in a bul­ly­ing case in­volv­ing her daugh­ter. In the end, the courts ruled that the per­pe­tra­tor who had as­saulted her daugh­ter was guilty and or­dered to pay a fine.

And he is now Sir Ju­lian (Hunte that is) after he was knighted by the queen of Eng­land.

April ended with a record crowd show­ing up at the Min­doo Phillip Park for the Saint Lu­cia Jazz & Arts Fes­ti­val open­ing event. MAY

It was the month where things were sup­posed to be spiced up by the an­nual Jazz & Arts Fes­ti­val. How­ever, a new player,“fis­cal deficit” was a main act on the Saint Lu­cian stage that month. Dur­ing his bud­get pre­sen­ta­tion, the prime min­is­ter an­nounced that the is­land was fac­ing a fis­cal deficit of EC$325.9 mil­lion. At­tempts by the gov­ern­ment to gain support for a 5% pay cut from civil ser­vants have since failed.

Car­ni­val bud­get was slashed in May as Saint Lu­cia Jazz & Arts heated up un­til Mother’s Day May 10th with a sort of anti-cli­max by R&B singer Maxwell. How­ever Tes­sane Chin, Elvis Cre­spo, the Com­modores and oth­ers gave mem­o­rable per­for­mances.

SLASPA lost a ma­jor case against boat owner Robert Leo­taud in May. The boat owner re­counted the ob­struc­tions he re­ceived from SLASPA in set­ting up his boat­ing company Reel Irie. JUNE

They were no June bugs but ter­mites caused a pre­ma­ture clo­sure of school at the Corinth Sec­ondary after teach­ers went on strike. The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion sub­se­quently sus­pended classes for a week to al­low for the de­mo­li­tion of a wing of the school which had been in­fested by ter­mites.

The Anti-Gang Act was passed in Saint Lu­cia in June. The Act, No. 4 of 2014, seeks to crim­i­nal­ize gang-re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing gang mem­ber­ship, fa­cil­i­tat­ing gang-re­lated crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties, ad­vis­ing gangs, and re­cruit­ing for gangs.

They were not la­beled as gangs but a group of armed po­lice­men, while at­tempt­ing to sub­due a men­tally ill man in La Res­source, Vieux Fort, shot and killed him on June 16.

Car­ni­val fever was sup­posed to be in the air but hardly any­one was catch­ing it. As a re­sult the June 15 of­fi­cial car­ni­val open­ing at Min­doo Phillip Park flopped mis­er­ably. JULY

There was not much earth-shat­ter­ing or rip-roar­ing po­lit­i­cal satire com­ing from the ca­lypso tents in July although it was cer­tainly the month to “hurt it” any which way one could.

Still there was much more com­ing from the pul­pit, par­tic­u­larly the news on July 6 com­ing out of the church. Parish Priest Fr. Stephen Quin­lan was ac­cused of “in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour, in­com­pat­i­ble with the priest­hood”. The decision was taken to with­draw the priest from pas­toral min­istry.

When common en­trance re­sults were an­nounced here on July 8 it re­flected a de­cline in the over­all av­er­age. 2631 stu­dents wrote the ex­am­i­na­tions, reg­is­ter­ing an av­er­age mean of 60.9%, which rep­re­sented a de­crease of 0.35%. The 2013 av­er­age mean was 61.25%.

Car­ni­val re­sults for 2014: Car­ni­val Queen - Lu­cia Jn Paul, Ca­lypso Monarch - Walleigh, Just Us Kids - Ju­nior band of the Year, Arthur - Groovy Soca Monarch, Ezra - Power Soca Monarch, Sedale - The Wave’s Peo­ple’s Choice, and Rit­u­als - Car­ni­val Band of the Year. How­ever, the most noise for Car­ni­val 2014 sur­rounded a mouse, J-Mouse that is, and his road March song “Hurt It.” And what a scan­dal the theme caused on the road for Car­ni­val Mon­day and our un­for­get­table STAR front page of July 26. AU­GUST

Although the Zouks let us down once again the CPL stirred up the pas­sion of cricket fans here.

The gov­ern­ment of Saint Lu­cia sought par­lia­men­tary ap­proval for a loan guar­an­tee for a UWI ex­pan­sion plan while the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion an­nounced a re­view of school­books. This re­sulted in a school­book rush to­wards the end of Au­gust ahead of the new school term in Septem­ber.

Sev­eral schools, in­clud­ing the Corinth Sec­ondary came un­der at­tack, not by

ban­dits, but by ter­mites.

Ev­ery­one loved Nina the culi­nary am­bas­sador

in 2014.

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