AFTER serving Saint Lucia in the highest office in the land for twenty sterling years, Governor General Dame Pearlette Louisy announced last week that she would be demitting office as of this Sunday.
Having taken up the position twenty years ago with some trepidation when former Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony offered her the job, Dame Pearlette has gone on to demonstrate that while leadership does have its challenges, it also gives leaders the opportunity to stay grounded while delivering on the mandate of governance, crucial of which is to ensure that people’s lives are enriched and their nation prosper.
Undoubtedly, filling Dame Pearlette’s shoes will be a very tall order, given the fact that she is probably the Governor General people remember – or identify with – most. The longest-serving in the position has been one of tireless service that has seen Dame Pearlette manage her busy schedule keeping up appearances and working assiduously with various groups to accomplish many things, including Nobel Laureate Week.
In a nation where many people still feel that Saint Lucia still places too much emphasis on its mother country, especially in terms of how its business gets done, Dame Pearlette seemed to be the right conduit that erased such apprehensions. Known for her humility and grace, she embodied the Saint Lucian success story of coming from humble beginnings to rise to the top and remaining humble.
For now, the mystery is thick as to who will be the nation’s next Governor General. However, there is no mystery to the fact that anyone who steps into Dame Pearlette’s shoes when she leaves office will be under the microscope almost indefinitely. It is one thing to set the bar. But setting it very high makes it difficult for any successor to live up to people’s expectations. Such is the legacy of the little girl from Laborie who went to school barefooted and mastered every challenge placed before her.
As to how Dame Pearlette plans to spend her retirement years is anyone’s guess. But it’s hard to fathom her recoiling from the many commitments she has had to various charities over the years. Maybe she might even embark on school tours to inculcate in our students the value of a great education, something that can be used to lift people from their worst socio-economic standing to be able to stand among giants.