THE appointment of 12 Goodwill Ambassadors to Saint Lucia has been finalized according to Fortuna Belrose, Minister in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Industries. The announcement was made yesterday at a pre-cabinet brief at the Office of the Prime Minister.
It was early in the year 2019 that Belrose said the Cultural Development Foundation (CDF) approached the Government of Saint Lucia with respect to the creation of a Cultural Ambassadors Program. After a thorough review of that submission Belrose said that the Cabinet of Ministers felt it was necessary to develop a broader programme that incorporated Saint Lucians across all sectors of society. What materialized from this review was the creation of the Goodwill Ambassadors Program.
Belrose said, “The Goodwill Ambassadors Program is a programme that caters to allowing citizens of Saint Lucia who have achieved international acclaim, and who have been consistent in terms of their work internationally to be able to leverage what they bring to the table for the country.”
The 12 individuals who were appointed as Goodwill Ambassadors are Ronald ‘Boo’ Hinkson for Music; Gordon ‘Commissioner’ Williams for Music; Taj Weekes for Music and Philanthropy; Jermain Colin Defoe for Sports; Levern Donaline Spencer for Sports; Darren Julius Garvey Sammy for Sports; Les Ferdinand for Sports; Jallim Eudovic for Art; Nina Compton for Culinary Arts; Joseph Marcel for Theatre and Film; Dr David Williams for Academia and Kent Chitolie.
The Minister stated that the potential Ambassadors had all been written to in regards to their appointment and that feedback concerning their acceptance was expected by 20th January. She said that feedback from some of the appointees had already been received.
All 12 of the aforementioned individuals will receive the title of “Your Excellency” upon their acceptance to the appointment of Goodwill Ambassador. The tenure for this role is a period of three years.
In addition to the Goodwill Ambassadors Program, Belrose also announced the newly-developed Brand Ambassadors Program. Belrose declared, “Importantly for us as a Government is to ensure that there is a clear pathway for our artistes in Saint Lucia. And so what we’ve done is to develop a programme called the Brand Ambassadors Program which allows young upcoming artistes the opportunity to be in the spotlight, and more importantly, leverage to what they bring to the table for our country.”
The recently appointed Brand Ambassadors were Teddyson John for Music, Ricky-T for Music, Taj Weekes for Music; Arthur Allan for Music, Lashley ‘Motto’ Winter for his contribution to the Dennery Segment; Johnnick ‘Freezy’ Leo for Dennery Segment and Johanan Dujon for his work in Climate Change and Algas.
After announcing Saint Lucia’s Brand Ambassadors, Minister Belrose remarked, “The important thing is for these outstanding citizens that we have named to be able to use their celebrity status to leverage support for Saint Lucia. We are hoping that these artistes and of course other workers can contribute to stimulating greater interest in Saint Lucia and help us build the industry in a way that has never happened before.”
The Cabinet of Ministers also appointed a committee with the responsibility of ensuring that the Cultural Ambassadors meet the correct standards and work in an appropriate way. The committee is composed of senior representatives from the Ministry with responsibility for Culture and Creative Industries, the Cultural Development Foundation (CDF), the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA), the Folk Research Centre (FRC), the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Tourism.
Some of the benefits which the Brand Ambassadors will receive, include income tax exemption on income received from foreign sources, visa facilitation, issuance of an official passport, access to developmental assistance from CDF and the Ministry with Responsibility for Culture and Creative Industries, access to grant funding to facilitate the procurement of specialized equipment and updated technology, and eligibility to apply for duty-free concessions on equipment and materials to facilitate their respective trade or creative field.