Marking St.Lucia independence

Gala celebration, church service and flag-raising to mark St. Lucia’s 33rd anniversary of independence
Black-tie affair planned in Brooklyn to include awards, music and prizes

Thalia Panton (left), a Metropolitan Transit Authority vice president, is joined by former City Councilwoman Una Clarke during last year’s St. Lucia independence gala.

Thalia Panton (left), a Metropolitan Transit Authority vice president, is joined by former City Councilwoman Una Clarke during last year’s St. Lucia independence gala.

From their capital of Castries to New York City and beyond, St. Lucians will be celebrating the Caribbean nation’s 33rd anniversary of independence with vigor — and a number of special events

Under the theme “One People, One Nation, Limitless Possibilities,” the St. Lucia House Foundation will present an event-filled independence gala on Saturday.

Alva Baptiste, St. Lucia’s minister of external affairs, international trade and civil aviation will be special guest at the formal affair — which features dinner, a raffle and awards presentation — at Grand Prospect Hall, 263 Prospect Ave. (between Fourth and Fifth Aves.) in Brooklyn, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Musician and philanthropist Taj Weekes will receive the foundation’s Humanitarian Award “for his selflessness and dedicated humanitarian efforts.” Weekes is founder of the They Often Cry Outreach charity, which aids underprivileged Caribbean children through sports, health, and enrichment programs.

Entertainment will be provided by popular St. Lucian musician Michel Aubertin, DJ Eryk and Natural Sounds.

St. Lucia’s Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa and Jet Blue Airways, major donors to this year’s gala, have pitched in to create great raffle prize — donating a five-night stay in a one-bedroom luxury suite and two airline tickets.

This is the second year the St. Lucia House Foundation, headed by President Mathias Wilkie, has presented the independence gala.

New York’s commemoration of the independence anniversary begins today with an ecumenical service at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, 583 Throop Ave. at McDonough St., in Brooklyn, at 1:30 p.m.

It continues Wednesday – the actual Independence Day – with a flag raising ceremony at Brooklyn Borough Hall, 109 Joralemon St., hosted by Borough President Marty Markowitz at 10 a.m.

And on Thursday, “An Evening with Saint Lucian Artists,” featuring poet Alvin Hippolyte and others, will be held at the St. Lucia House, 438 E. 49 St. (between Church and Snyder Aves.), starting at 7 p.m.

Tickets for Saturday’s gala are $100 per person. For information, contact Jeremiah Hyacinth at (917) 539-1607 or [email protected] For information on independence events in the area, call the St. Lucia Consulate at (212) 697-9360.

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