The Star (St. Lucia) - - FRONT PAGE -

Even be­fore she was the wife of Saint Lu­cia’s prime min­is­ter, Raquel Chas­tanet (pic­tured with for­mer St. Vin­cent prime min­is­ter Sir James Mitchell) had been qui­etly stag­ing fundrais­ers to ben­e­fit the is­land’s more de­prived.

H osted in the Clin­ton Jef­fer­son Ball­room of the San­dals Grande Re­sort - Saint Lu­cia’s re­cently eclipsed sec­ond largest ho­tel - the Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter held the an­nual Eve of In­de­pen­dence Ball, an in­tri­cately de­tailed and some­what gold-plated event cel­e­brat­ing Fair He­len’s un­shack­ling from colo­nial­ism.

The high­light of the even­ing was un­doubt­edly the char­ity auc­tion aimed at

rais­ing funds for the Up­ton Gar­dens Girls’ Cen­tre. The cen­tre’s mis­sion is to re­ha­bil­i­tate un­der­priv­i­leged, abused, ne­glected or aban­doned teenage girls on the verge of delin­quency.

The or­ga­niz­ers of the event, led by the prime min­is­ter’s wife Raquel Chas­tanet, part­nered with the pri­vate sec­tor to pro­vide goods to be auc­tioned. Among the high­priced items were a va­ca­tion for two at San­dals, a pre­mium bot­tle of Dom Perignon, and jew­ellery by Harry Ed­wards. The most un­usual item was a paved road, cour­tesy one of Charles Da­her’s com­pa­nies.

A panel of fash­ion judges that in­cluded SHE Caribbean pub­lisher Mae Wayne was an­other pop­u­lar feature of the fun-packed event. An un­usu­ally dap­per Peter Josie in a white tuxedo made the best-dressed list. Many in the full house claimed this was the first time they’d seen the for­mer rad­i­cal politi­cian and gov­ern­ment min­is­ter in jacket and tie. In the end Samuel Agiste, who is fast de­vel­op­ing a rep­u­ta­tion as a man­u­fac­turer of at­trac­tive Saint Lu­cia-flavoured bow ties, took the top prize.

In the cat­e­gory of best dressed women, Sa­man­tha Gar­cia was be­stowed the high­est hon­our, com­pet­ing against the likes of Jade Moun­tain’s Karolin Trou­bet­zkoy and Agnes Francis of the Tourist Board. Awarded in the Most Pa­tri­otic cat­e­gory was the Gen­eral Man­ager of Bay Gar­dens Re­sorts, Wal­trude Pa­trick. Top prizes were sponsored by A La Mode Bou­tique and Saint Lu­cia Dis­tillers.

By far the most thrilling an­nounce­ment on the even­ing was that the event had raised for the Up­ton Gar­dens Girl Cen­tre a to­tal of $50,000!

Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chas­tanet ad­dress­ing guests at the oc­ca­sion.

Cuban Am­bas­sador Jorge Soberon with wife.

SHE Caribbean Mag­a­zine Pub­lisher Mae Wayne with STAR Cor­po­rate De­vel­op­ment Man­ager Chris­tian Wayne.

Peter Josie was high on the even­ing’s best dressed list!

John Francis with wife Agnes Francis who best dressed con­tender for the eveni

Raquel Duboulay Chas­tanet, wife of the Prime Min­is­ter, stunned in a gown by Queen Es­ther.

Sa­man­tha Gar­cia, win­ner of the women’s best dressed cat­e­gory, ap­plauded by run­ners-up Karolin Trou­bet­zkoy (cen­tre) and Agnes Francis.

Mark Maraj and wife.

Min­is­ter for Eq­uity, So­cial Jus­tice and Em­pow­er­ment Lenard Montoute with wife, and one of the fash­ion judges at the event, Bar­bara Montoute.

Min­is­ter for Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, Hous­ing, Ur­ban Re­newal, Trans­port and Civil Avi­a­tion Guy Joseph and wife.

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