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 Hon. Mario Michel

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Minister for Education, Human Resource Development, Youth and Sports

Parliamentary Representative for Gros Islet

Christmas is here again and it is time once more to give thanks and to bring greetings. It is also the end of another year – the first of the century - and an opportunity is therefore provided for some reflection on the year gone by.

This – the first year of the new century and the new millennium - was another good one for us in Gros Islet.

In the course of the year we have seen the completion of the 25 meter swimming pool and aquatic center at Rodney Bay, the 18-hole Golf Course at Cap Estate, the multi purpose courts in Bois D’Orange and Desrameaux and the upgrading of the playing fields in Grand Riviere and Marisule. We have also seen the commencement of work on the multi – million dollar state of the art National Cricket Gorund in Beausejour.

We have seen too, the near completion of a major extension to the Grande Riviere Primary School and the commencement of work on a major extension to the Monchy Combined School. A major drainage programme was also undertaken at the Corinth Secondary School to rescue that institution from a long - standing flooding problem and to facilitate the expansion of the School.

Road works and drainage works have been undertaken in several of the communities in Gros Islet, with some (in particular) being worthy of highlighting. There was the complete resurfacing and paving of the White-rock Road in Grande Riviere, the surfacing of the lower Morne Serpent Road for the first time ever and the long–overdue paving of the Riviere Mitant Road, which, after many years of neglect, now has a smooth barber green surface

The electricity and water problems at Sugar City in Bois D’Orange were happily resolved by Government in the course of this year and Cletus Village in Monchy will soon have its own water supply thanks to ongoing work there by the Poverty Reduction Fund.

These are just some highlights of the work done in the Gros Islet constituency during the course of the year gone by.

Of course, there is still a lot to be done, and not every resident of Gros Islet is as happy this Christmas as are the residents of areas like Riviere Mitant, Morne Serpent and Whiterock.

The Beausejour Road is still a muddy mess, although with the co-operation of C O Williams Construction Co, we did attempt during last week to at least make the road more user friendly for the Christmas season. Some work is also being done in the Belle Vue area, with the support of residents there, to make life easier for the residents this Christmas. In Corinth, major road works on the Corinth main road will not commence until January or February, so Christmas will come a little late for residents there. While, of course, there are still a number of other areas - like Bella Rosa, Cas-En-Bas, Edgewater, Asson Canal and parts of Marisule and Bois D’Orange - which have not had the kind of attention paid to their roads that I am sure many had hoped for.

But, be assured that my efforts at transforming the infrastructure in the various communities of Gros Islet will continue into the New year and, indeed, for as long as I have the responsibility of representing this constituency.

Away from reflections and into thanks, I want first of all to thank the various Ministries and agencies of the Government of St Lucia which have in the course of the year assisted in my mission of transformation, including the Ministry of Communications & Works, the Ministry of Health and Human Services, The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Planning and Development, my own Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development, Youth and Sports, the National Lotteries Authority and the Poverty Reduction Fund. I look forward to thanking the Ministry of Community Development next year when work would have started on our Human Resource Development Center in Marisule and to thanking also the Ministry of Agriculture when it would have delivered on its promise to build the feeder road in Charmond in the La Bourne area.

I want also to thank the business community in Gros Islet which has – as usual – supported me in my efforts at hosting 13 Christmas parties each year for the Primary, Infant and Pre-schools in Gros Islet. The parties once again were very successful and brought much joy and satisfaction to the 1, 500 children who benefited from them.

There were those too who assisted with the Annual Senior Citizens Treat at which over 250 elders from the various communities in Gros Islet were treated to food, drinks and music at the Gros Islet Primary School last Sunday, and to them too I say thanks.

Thanks as well are due to those who assisted with the Annual Sports Award Ceremony which was simply great this year and which saw Gros Islet, St Lucia and Windward Islands star batsman, John Eugene, being crowned as Gros Islet’s Sportsman of the year for 2000 and St Lucia and West Indies All Star Netballer, Germaine Altefois, being crowned as Gros Islet’s Sportswoman of the year for 2000.

Of course, my unqualified thanks to the people of Gros Islet for their continued support for me and co-operation with me. Whereas there are criticisms from some (as there will be) but they only serve to keep me vigilant and ever conscious of the magnitude of my task in the representation of our large and multi-faceted constituency.

To the staff of the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development, Youth and Sports, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for yet another successful year in our Ministry and to urge you to redouble your efforts in the New Year in the discharge of our mission of providing equity of access, increased opportunity and quality service in the areas of Education, Human Resource Development, Youth and Sports for the continuous development of the people of St Lucia.

To the principals, teachers, students, sports persons and young people generally with whom and for whom we work in the Ministry, I extend my heartfelt thanks to you for your co-operation and support to me and the staff of my Ministry.

To the Prime Minster and other Cabinet and parliamentary colleagues, I thank you for your continued confidence in me and for your solidarity and support.

Let me in closing wish a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of the residents of Gros Islet, to the staff of the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development, Youth and Sports, to the principals, teachers, and students of all of our Schools, to the sportsmen, sportswomen and the youth of our country generally and, indeed to every resident of our beautiful island.

Let us enjoy ourselves in this festive season and let us prepare ourselves when it is over for another year of hard work as we collectively seek to improve our community, our constituency and our country against the background of all of the difficulties which small islands states like St Lucia have to contend with in this era of globalization, trade liberalization and economic marginalization of countries like ours.

I wish you all the best and I pledge to give of my best in both my Ministry and my constituency to help make life more rewarding and enjoyable for all those whom my work touches.

Once again, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you.


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