WANTED: Heroes Dead Or Alive!
As part of plans to commemorate Saint Lucia's 40th anniversary of independence in February, the National Awards 2019 was launched this week. The awards will seek to highlight the contributions of Saint Lucians who have made a significant impact on the island. Chairperson of the National Awards Committee, Senator Mauricia Thomas-Francis, is hopeful that nominations will be forthcoming: “2019 will be a particularly important milestone for us as we will be celebrating forty years of nationhood. It will be fitting, therefore, for us to ensure that we receive nominations from across the country to recognize persons who have contributed significantly to building our nation over the years.”
Additionally: “When we talk of forty years of independence there would be no nationhood, no sustainable development without human capital and, more specifically, the collective passion, talent, dedication to service above self, and perseverance of our citizens.”
Thomas-Francis informed her audience: “In that context, let us endeavour to ensure that we celebrate our heroes. Awards don't only acknowledge success; they recognize many other qualities, abilities, struggle, effort and sacrifice. They are a way through which we can encourage and reward good behaviour, sound discipline and patriotism, in addition to providing inspiration, encouragement, hope and aspirations to other members of the citizenry.”
Chairman of the Public Service Commission, Mr. Wilbert King, also serves on the awards committee. He said that many times nominations focus on the careers of the nominees, and that is a big mistake. “There are thousands of professionals, and if this is what you are going to use as the major criterion to select nominees, I think we would end up in a lot of trouble. It has to transcend what a person does as a professional,” he advised. “If you're a doctor or a lawyer and you're very good at your work, you are being paid for your work; you offer a good service, but it's for your money. We are not recommending people for awards based on services you have given for your salary; that's not what it's about. We are selecting people who have demonstrated that, combined with their level of excellence in their profession, they have been able to use their resources—mental, physical and intellectual—to uplift the community, socially in particular.”
Nominations are open for the Saint Lucia Cross, the Medal of Honour, Medal of Merit and the Les Pitons Medal. Nomination forms can be downloaded from governorgeneral.govt.lc/ honors-and-awards or picked up at libraries, post offices, constituency councils and at the Office of the Prime Minister in the Greaham Louisy Building, Waterfront, Castries. The completed forms should be dropped off at the Office of the Prime Minister. Deadline for submissions is January 4, 2019.
To sensitize the public, the committee will be embarking on a campaign that includes hosting town hall meetings and getting together with social clubs such as Rotary and the Lions.
As a correction to last week’s article “Digicel first to launch LTE network” published in this newspaper, Digicel was not the first company to launch an LTE network in Saint Lucia. Telecommunications provider FLOW became the first to introduce a Long Term Evolution (LTE) network on the island last year on 9 September 2017. According to FLOW, the network provides download speeds up to 69Mbps, and up to 25Mbps for upload. However, Digicel claimed at its launch to have the “very first island-wide LTE network”.
Chairperson of the National Awards Committee, Senator Mauricia Thomas-Francis.