A year that will have a lasting impact – CARICOM Secretary-General



End of Year Message

by the Secretary-General

of the

Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

Ambassador Irwin LaRocque


There is no doubt that the events of 2017 will have a lasting impact on our Community.  The ravaging effects of this year’s hurricane season will cast a long shadow over our Community for some time yet.

Six of our Members and several of our Caribbean neighbours experienced the wrath of unprecedented back-to-back Category 5 Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The heavy toll of lives, property and infrastructure had an effect wider than the affected countries.  Our Community has bonded together, as its governments, people and institutions render yeoman support to the stricken countries.  The international community has been at our side in the relief undertaking in a highly appreciated show of solidarity.

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, (CDEMA) the Community’s specialised institution, performed magnificently as it coordinated the relief efforts and helped to set the stage for recovery.  I must extend the Region’s gratitude to the Agency for a job well done.  The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) was also prompt in meeting its commitments to the affected countries with the appropriate policies.

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Christmas in the Caribbean: December Festival for Saint Lucia National Day and beyond

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The official end of a calendar year which signals the start of yet another, provides an opportunity for reflection, an outpouring of gratitude and a purposeful commitment for renewal. It seems only natural then that the month of December would be associated with celebration and feasting. 

The December festivals are a series of traditional and historical festivals which bring Saint Lucians together in the spirit of community through artistic creativity with the use of light – a symbol of rebirth.  Saint Lucia’s National Day, or Saint Lucy’s Day – the feast day of the patron saint of light – is celebrated on December 13. The December festivals with their collective theme of devotion and celebration are a precursor to this major feast. Today, the December festivals are an eclectic mix of Saint Lucian culture that merges into a spirit-filled contemporary celebration of the Christmas Season. The three major events of the December festivals are:

• The Lantern Festival – an inventive and competitive showcase of lantern-making where youth, adults, artists, families and schools test their creative skills. Around this time, in years gone by, families would hang lanterns out in their balconies in honour of the patron saint. The festival keeps this tradition alive through the display of hand-crafted lanterns.

Read more at: St. Lucia Star