The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

The Bo­li­var­ian Re­pub­lic of Venezuela cel­e­brated its 204th An­niver­sary of the Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence from Spain on Sun­day, July 5, 2015. In Saint Lu­cia, the Venezue­lan Em­bassy and the Gov­ern­ment of Saint Lu­cia col­lab­o­rated to com­mem­o­rate the oc­ca­sion with a wreath­lay­ing cer­e­mony at Place Bideau in Castries city cen­tre on July 8.

The cer­e­mony was at­tended by sev­eral dig­ni­taries in­clud­ing the Am­bas­sador of the Bo­li­var­ian Re­pub­lic of Venezuela to Saint Lu­cia, Her Ex­cel­lency Leiff Escalona, Deputy to the Gover­nor Gen­eral, Mr. McDon­ald Dixon, and Saint Lu­cia’s Prime Min­is­ter and Min­is­ter for Fi­nance, Eco­nomic Af­fairs, Plan­ning and So­cial Se­cu­rity, Hon. Dr. Kenny D. An­thony.

An un­told num­ber of Saint Lu­cians fought in the Venezue­lan revo­lu­tion. One such, Jean Bap­tiste Bideau, was an ad­vi­sor to Venezue­lan leader Si­mon Bo­li­var; both are memo­ri­alised at Place Bideau. Prime Min­is­ter An­thony spoke at length of the con­tri­bu­tion made by Bideau to the revo­lu­tion. But the Prime Min­is­ter also pointed out that more than 200 years af­ter the land­mark Venezue­lan dec­la­ra­tion, the hope of true in­de­pen­dence in the re­gion is as yet un­ful­filled.

Said Dr. An­thony, “The strug­gle is not over when so many of our peo­ple still live in poverty – or just barely out of poverty, so much so that they could easily fall back in with any mi­nor shock, be it nat­u­ral or oth­er­wise.

“The strug­gle is not over if we still face se­ri­ous health crises among our pop­u­la­tions and where peo­ple can­not af­ford or ac­cess life-sav­ing healthcare.

“The strug­gle is not over if our chil­dren can­not re­ceive an ed­u­ca­tion which is just as good as any­where else in the world.

“The strug­gle is not over if our coun­tries are mired with debt; if our coun­tries can­not feed their cit­i­zens.

“The strug­gle is not over if race and gen­der and class dis­crim­i­na­tion per­sist in our lands.

“The strug­gle is not over if our coun­tries are treated as sec­ond-class states in global af­fairs.”

Saint Lu­cia is among the six sov­er­eign mem­ber na­tions of the Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Eastern Caribbean States who are also mem­bers of ALBA (Al­ter­na­tiva Bo­li­var­i­ana para las Améri­cas), also known as the Bo­li­var­ian Al­liance of the Peo­ples of Our Amer­ica. One of the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s goals is the deep­en­ing of in­te­gra­tion and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the Caribbean and Latin Amer­ica.

Deputy to the Gover­nor Gen­eral, Mr. Mac­Don­ald Dixon, Her Ex­cel­lency

Leiff Escalona and Prime Min­is­ter Dr. Kenny D. An­thony.

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