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Contact: Earl Bousquet

Thursday, January 20, 2005 - Prime Minister Dr. Kenny D. Anthony pays an official visit this weekend to Cayenne to boost historical ties and deepen existing relations with the French territory where St. Lucians feature in every aspect of life.

The Prime Minister leaves on Saturday for French Guiana, at the head of an official delegation that will include External Affairs Minister Petrus Compton and St. Luciaís Consulate General to the French Antilles Cass Elias.

The visit, which runs from January 23 to 27, will include meetings with St. Lucian nationals and members of St. Lucian Associations in the French territory, which sits on the shoulder of South America.

The Prime Minister, on his first visit to Cayenne, will be met at Rochambeau Airport in Matoury by President of the Region of French Guiana, Antoine Karram, with whom he is also scheduled to hold talks about strengthening ties between Castries and Cayenne.

The Prime Minister will also hold official meetings with the Prefect of French Guiana, the President of the Regional Council and the Mayor of Cayenne.

Dr. Anthony and his delegation have also been invited by the Mayor of Kourou, site of the internationally-renowned Guianese Space Centre, to visit the massive complex from where major European space satellites are launched.

Among the major highlights of the visit, however, will be the Prime Ministerís meetings with the St. Lucian community in French Guiana and members of the St. Lucian associations there.

St. Lucian roots go deep in French Guiana. Located in the north-eastern part of South America with Suriname, Guyana and Venezuela as neighbours, it was heavily populated by St. Lucian migrants, who went mainly in search of gold. Many remained, and over several decades, their numbers are said to have multiplied into the tens of thousands.

St. Lucians and their descendants can be found at virtually every level in French Guiana. President of the Region Antoine Karramís mother, for example, hails from Vieux Fort.


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