Lo­cal Fash­ion steals Of­fi­cers’ Ball days be­fore Na­tional Day

The Star (St. Lucia) - - ENTERTAINMENT -

Make it Hap­pen Foun­da­tion's An­nual Of­fi­cers' Ball came to life at the San­dals Grande Beach Re­sort & Spa on Satur­day De­cem­ber 1. Ev­ery year the fundrais­ing gala brings to­gether po­lice and fire of­fi­cers on the is­land for a night of en­ter­tain­ment to raise money for projects which build upon the strength, re­sources and morale of their var­i­ous de­part­ments. Held in the am­biance of the Bill Clin­ton Ball­room, the fundrais­ing event saw the at­ten­dance of many of the is­land's top rank­ing of­fi­cials.

The event usu­ally pays ho­mage to lo­cal cloth­ing de­sign­ers by en­cour­ag­ing guests to use na­tional colours, fab­rics and de­signs. Show­ing sup­port for the lo­cal fash­ion in­dus­try, the event once again un­folded with a Saint Lu­cian fash­ion theme, with guests in­vited to show off lo­cal fash­ion rang­ing from cre­ole wear to cre­ations by lo­cal de­sign­ers. Belle of the Ball, Mrs. Raquel Duboulay-Chas­tanet made an un­for­get­table de­but in a gown made by renowned lo­cal de­signer Queen Es­ther. Half­way through the evening, the orig­i­nal green num­ber was swapped for a riv­et­ing black one, also de­signed by Queen Es­ther. For­mer In­spec­tor Ger­ald Cyril, last year's Life­time Achieve­ment Award win­ner and a two-time best dressed win­ner, won the award again this year. Ash­ley Ge­orge, wear­ing a cre­ation by Cherry Ann Gail­lard, won the Best Dressed award for the ladies. Trendy duo Agnes Mon­plaisir-Pel­lerin and Chris­tian Pel­lerin won the Best Dressed Cou­ple award.

Or­gan­iser of the event and chair­per­son of the Make It Hap­pen Foun­da­tion, Mrs. Raquel Duboulay-Chas­tanet, wife of Prime Min­is­ter Hon. Allen Chas­tanet, noted that Saint Lu­cian po­lice and fire­fight­ers put their lives on the line daily, ask­ing for very lit­tle in re­turn. She viewed the ball as a way of cel­e­brat­ing of­fi­cers and giv­ing back.

“This year we take the op­por­tu­nity to re­mind you about the many sac­ri­fices our fire and po­lice of­fi­cers make, and the chal­lenges they face daily in the most dif­fi­cult of cir­cum­stances,” Make it Hap­pen's chair­per­son said to a sold-out ball­room. “We hope this evening in­spires many more of you to work with us to try to im­prove their work­ing con­di­tions and to en­sure they're treated with the re­spect and dig­nity they de­serve.”

Raquel Duboulay-Chas­tanet pointed out that the foun­da­tion was not try­ing to step into the shoes of gov­ern­ment but, in­stead, “play our part as pri­vate cit­i­zens to as­sist where we can”. She voiced that it was un­rea­son­able to ex­pect of­fi­cers to per­form their roles ef­fec­tively with­out the proper en­vi­ron­ment, tools and re­sources to do so—some­thing Mrs. Duboulay-Chas­tanet has al­ways em­pha­sized.

As part of the event, a new des­ti­na­tion video for Saint Lu­cia was re­leased and, later in the evening, a short fea­ture demon­strat­ing the work of the Make it Hap­pen Foun­da­tion, de­tail­ing how funds are in­jected into var­i­ous projects ben­e­fit­ting the is­land's es­sen­tial ser­vices. The Foun­da­tion's chair thanked all of­fi­cers who were present and those who were work­ing the beat. She it­er­ated the need for more pos­i­tive sto­ries re­lat­ing to the po­lice to re­ceive pub­lic at­ten­tion as, for most of­fi­cers, recog­ni­tion and grat­i­tude are hard to come by.

Last year's ball raised $125,000, with the pre­vi­ous year bring­ing in roughly $115,000. The pro­ceeds went to­ward the re­fur­bish­ment of sev­eral po­lice and fire sta­tions around the is­land, the im­ple­men­ta­tion of new lounges and kitchens within the fa­cil­i­ties, and the ad­di­tion of new fur­ni­ture and fea­tures in­clud­ing wa­ter tanks. Thus far, ben­e­fi­cia­ries in­clude the Gros Islet Fire Sta­tion, Gros Islet Po­lice Sta­tion, Marc­hand Po­lice Sta­tion, Choiseul Po­lice Sta­tion, plus La­borie and Den­nery Po­lice Sta­tions, with many more ex­pected to re­ceive as­sis­tance in the com­ing year.

In 2018, or­gan­is­ers of the Make it Hap­pen Foun­da­tion in­creased out­reach to in­clude lo­cal schools, work­ing with fa­cil­i­ta­tors at Od­sun Pri­mary School and Fond As­sau Com­bined School to cre­ate and re­fur­bish the schools' li­braries. From all ac­counts, the im­prove­ments were well re­ceived by teach­ers and stu­dents. Mar­ian Home, Cor­ner­stone House and Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal were also ben­e­fi­cia­ries of fundrais­ing ef­forts.

At Satur­day's gala event, Life­time Achieve­ment awards were pre­sented to for­mer po­lice and fire of­fi­cers who demon­strated the power of the hu­man spirit and built their ca­reers on the backs of their own ded­i­ca­tion and drive. The first went to a man de­scribed as “a le­gend of the fire ser­vice”, Mr. Joseph Mathurin. Pre­sen­ters noted that still to­day, many spoke ad­mirably of Mr. Mathurin, who was cred­ited with hav­ing been a staunch cus­to­dian of dis­ci­pline and in­tegrity.

The se­cond Life­time Achieve­ment award went to Ru­dolph 'Toto' Charles, a man of hum­ble be­gin­nings and a mu­si­cian at heart. Charles played a sig­nif­i­cant role in the for­ma­tion of what is to­day known as the Royal Saint Lu­cia Po­lice Band.

The third award of the evening went to Ge­orge Rock, a man with a high level of mo­ti­va­tion and in­no­va­tion, and a rep­utable de­tec­tive who solved cases that went down in his­tory. All re­ceived com­mem­o­ra­tive awards and other prizes.

A rapid-fire auc­tion of­fered trips, cruises, jew­ellery, ho­tel stays and more. Guests com­peted fiercely for the best prices. Pro­ceeds of the auc­tion will go to­ward the Foun­da­tion's 2019 bud­get.

Set to con­tinue mak­ing things hap­pen in a big way for Saint Lu­cians, or­gan­is­ers are grate­ful for the event's suc­cess and con­tri­bu­tions from spon­sors and cor­po­rate part­ners. Plans are al­ready un­der­way to make an even big­ger im­pact in 2019.

STAR Pub­lish­ing's fab­u­lous man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Mae Wayne (left) and cor­po­rate man­ager Chris­tian Wayne.

Like fa­ther, like son, with a touch of cre­ole.

Belle of the Ball, Mrs. Raquel Duboulay-Chas­tanet.

Kather­ine Atkin­son, one of the night's two MCs, wear­ing a cre­ation by lo­cal de­signer Lisa Bar­ton Vol­ney of De Kloze­line.

She def­i­nitely came to "slay" with this num­ber!

A thorn among roses.

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