PM’S WIFE STAGES BIG EVENT AT SAN­DALS TO BEN­E­FIT FIRE­MEN AND COPS PAST AND PRESENT!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT - ---Rick Wayne

It’s not of­ten you hear or read some­thing good oc­cur­ring in the name of the po­lice and fire­fight­ers of our na­tion. Not only has their im­age over the last sev­eral years taken a beat­ing—these brave men and women who daily risk their own lives to pro­tect the rest of us—but they also have been scape­goated by suc­ces­sive ad­min­is­tra­tions; too of­ten forced to take blame for cir­cum­stances be­yond their con­trol. Still they per­se­vere, do­ing what they were trained to do, re­gard­less of weather, with­out the most ba­sic equip­ment.

Last Satur­day evening some car­ing cit­i­zens showed their ap­pre­ci­a­tion by putting on a spe­cial event to ben­e­fit po­lice of­fi­cers and fire­fight­ers, past and present. The venue was the San­dals Grande at Pi­geon Point. Burst­ing at the seams was the Bill Clin­ton Ball­room that housed the show. It was taste­fully done up for the spe­cial oc­ca­sion. Not only were the din­ing ta­bles rem­i­nis­cent of the more fa­mous big-city lux­ury restau­rants Ciro’s and Spago Bev­erly Hills, to name just two (at any rate, as seen in the movies), the three-course meals sang in high praise of the pro­fi­ciency of San­dals Grande’s culi­nary wiz­ards. Adding another touch of Hol­ly­wood to the oc­ca­sion was a bat­tal­ion of gre­gar­i­ous wait­ers, in po­lice head­gear that may or may not have been fash­ioned out of pa­pier mache.

The evening’s pro­gram seemed de­signed to se­duce guests into light­en­ing up their pock­et­books. There were raf­fles for just about any­thing you might name,

from over­seas va­ca­tions for two, bliss­ful nights at ho­tels here and else­where, to cruises, sump­tu­ous din­ners for cou­ples, and the lat­est TV sets. Then there were the spe­cial awards for the best-dressed ta­bles. (Ob­vi­ously some­thing went ter­ri­bly off course when a best-dressed choice turned out to be Sam ‘Juk Bois’ Flood. But se­ri­ously, is there another lo­cal celebrity as well liked as Sam? His heh-heh-heh sig­na­ture chuckle sev­eral times brought the house down. But the roof-raiser was when he de­liv­ered—in im­pec­ca­ble English if you please—his thank-you re­marks: he claimed his wife had hand-sewn the win­ning en­sem­ble. True or false? With Juk Bois, who can tell for cer­tain? And any­way, who cared? The packed house was too busy crack­ing up at the very idea!) To set the record straight, he won his award for “Best Dressed To Avoid Buy­ing A Ticket!” My opin­ion? So­cial com­men­ta­tor Richard Peterkin was far more de­serv­ing of the spe­cial recog­ni­tion. (I dread the next time some­one hands Richard the MC’s mike at a show. I an­tic­i­pate a blis­ter­ing time!)

Another cher­ished celeb was Queen Es­ther. It turned out she had de­signed and sewn sev­eral of the ar­rest­ing dresses and gowns in the ball­room, in­clud­ing those worn by the prime min­is­ter’s wife Raquel DuBoulay-Chas­tanet. (I swear she must’ve changed four times be­tween cur­tain up and the event’s end. Talk about ef­fec­tive ad­ver­tis­ing for a lo­cal de­signer!) The in­side word is that the more at­trac­tive dress shirts were also by Queen Es­ther. In all events, she more than de­served her spe­cial recog­ni­tion on the oc­ca­sion.

Also tak­ing home awards—and much ku­dos—were long re­tired but un­for­get­table po­lice of­fi­cers Ger­ald Cyril, Chriselda Bran­ford and Win­ston Bastien; also former fire­fight­ers Hi­lary Al­bert and Harold Gill. Cyril’s sur­pris­ingly lu­cid and in­spi­ra­tional thank-you speech had some in the au­di­ence lay­ing tear­ful tracks in their make-up while oth­ers screamed with de­light. The long re­tired cop had spe­cial words of en­cour­age­ment for young of­fi­cers, while also lec­tur­ing on the evils of bribery.

Lighter en­ter­tain­ment was pro­vided by star vo­cal­ists Shayne Ross, who sang the Judy Gar­land ev­er­green “Chest­nuts Roast­ing On An Open Fire”; Frankie DuBoulay, who rocked Pe­lay’s cre­ole sta­ple “Tradi­cion Noel”; the house-breaker Derede who threat­ened the San­dals walls with ren­di­tions by Tina Turner, and Ted­dyson John.

My own im­promptu con­tri­bu­tion was “I’ll Have A Blue Christ­mas With­out You,” backed on gui­tar by my long­time pal, the fab­u­lous Len­nie Stone. (Thanks again, Len­nie!) Hope­fully Raquel and her hard­work­ing elves (do elves have

gen­der?) had as much fun count­ing dol­lars for the po­lice and fire­fight­ers as those who packed the Bill Clin­ton Ball­room to hap­pily do­nate to this most wor­thy oc­ca­sion!

I al­most for­got to men­tion the man who through­out the evening kept things mov­ing like clock­work: Rus­sell Lake. He proved yet again that though the dogs may bark his car­a­van stays on track to the stars. The ver­sa­tile en­ter­tainer em­ceed the event while hav­ing as much fun as his au­di­ence. Here’s hop­ing he knew he was closely mon­i­tored by the day’s most pow­er­ful man in the land as through­out the evening he whis­pered what­ever he whis­pered in his wife’s ear!

Con­grat­u­la­tions to all who in one way or another (not for­get­ting the po­lice band!) helped to make Satur­day’s event the suc­cess it was—in par­tic­u­lar the workaholic Raquel Chas­tanet who seemed at once to be all over the joint, al­ways with that irresistible smile of hers. Here’s to next time!

What is there to say about these two, other than they ob­vi­ously en­joyed bump­ing into each other?

Com­merce Min­is­ter Bradley Felix with gor­geous mis­sus.

St. Lu­cia Po­lice Band guar­an­teed the night’s mood was right.

PM’s se­nior com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer (l) Ni­cole McDon­ald and Cindy.

Noth­ing blue here!

Clau­dia Ed­wards (l-r), Tom Lan­der, Mae Wayne and Velda.

Noth­ing could’ve pre­vented of­fi­cer Win­ston Bastien from show­ing up for his award.

PM made cer­tain he did not mis­place this brief­case!

A view of the room that Raquel and her elves chose to Make It Hap­pen for po­lice of­fi­cers now and back in the day!

Singer gui­tarist Len­nie Stone pro­vided spe­cial sup­port for Rick Wayne.

Re­tired fire­man re­ceives award.

Raquel with her mom Jane.

Er­rol Hunte and Raquel.

Chriselda Bran­ford in fine com­pany.

Pop­u­lar crooner Shayne Ross de­liv­ered some chest­nuts.

Ger­ald Cyril with PM Chas­tanet.

Re­tired of­fi­cer re­ceives award from Dun­stan Du Boulay.

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