PRIME Minister Allen Chastanet has praised the arts and sports as means of building character during a ceremony to present three local organisations with proceeds from the second annual Prime Minister’s Ball.
“If a child can find a passion through any kind of form, whether it is playing football, whether it is dancing, whether it is playing an instrument – all those things in order to become excellent at it, requires the same skill sets. You have to be disciplined. You have to be focused. You have to be competitive,” Chastanet declared.
“I don’t care where a child finds that, but it unearths a talent in them,” he explained.
The three organisations that were presented with cheques totalling over $60,000 were the Saint Lucia Blind Welfare Association (SLBWA), the Holy Children’s Family Home and the School of Ballet and Modern Dance.
The biggest slice of the funds, $30,067.24 went to the Saint Lucia Blind Welfare Association (SLBWA), while $15,000 each went to the Holy Children’s Family Home and the School of Ballet and Modern Dance.
In regard to the School of Ballet and Modern Dance, Prime Minister Chastanet indicated that he had heard the term ‘bourgeois’ being used in connection with the institution.
“You would be amazed to know how many kids from needy families have been given the opportunity to join the School of Ballet,” he told the ceremony.
Chastanet explained that it was for that reason that the school was chosen.
“The Blind Welfare Association, I don’t think it has to be said – that any organization, even when it is funded by the government, to be able to help more vulnerable people in society, particularly people who have handicaps and particularly one as difficult as being blind. I challenge any Saint Lucian to take the blind test – blindfold yourself for a week. Don’t take it off for one week and see what it’s like to walk in the steps of somebody with that kind of handicap.”
“Do we as a society owe them more? Isn’t every Saint Lucian entitled to a certain standard of living?”
The Prime Minister declared that the work the SLBWA is doing behind the scenes under the most difficult circumstances, deserved to be highlighted.
In terms of the Holy Children’s Family Home, Chastanet observed that in adopting orphans, the institution was doing an act of kindness in the society that needs to be applauded and supported.
“If you don’t have the ability to bring an orphan child into your home, the next best thing is being able to financially support entities that are doing that,” the PM stated.
He noted that the future of the society lies in its children.