BADLY placed structures that blocked the view of members of the public at Sunday’s ceremony at the Phillip Marcellin Grounds in which Prince Charles was the guest of honour somewhat marred the event which was supposed to be a major highlight of Saint Lucia’s 40th Anniversary of Independence.
Then there were the complaints by some members of the local media who had to stay in a tent erected for them far away from the stage where the action took place putting them in an awkward position where proper coverage of the event was concerned.
This was Prince Charles’ third visit to Saint Lucia, the first being in 1989 to celebrate the country’s 10th Anniversary of Independence, the second in 2008 when he visited the scenic town of Soufriere.
Although his third visit did not have as much expectation, appeal and crowd enthusiasm as his second it nevertheless drew Saint Lucians to the Grounds.
But for some coming to view him live and in living colour was a waste of time as viewing of the event was blocked by the tents erected for officials, media personnel and others. The tents were erected directly in front of the stands where members of the public were expected to sit and view the proceedings many of whom said they would have been better off staying home.
Media personnel also had complaints as they were unable to get close up views and photographs of the Prince as he inspected the guard, handed Dorothy Phillip her Point of Light Award and delivered his address. This was not the case for the British media personnel who entered the Grounds with him and were allowed access to the stage area. Local media personnel were relegated to the tent set up for them which was not strategically placed for proper coverage of the event. Local media personnel were not allowed near the stage nor were they allowed in front of the VIP tent to take photographs of the Prince and other officials present.
Prince Charles did present a photo opportunity for local media when he went up to the crowd located near the perimeter of the Grounds to shake hands and chit-chat with them, but even that had its challenges.
Prince Charles’ presence on the Phillip Marcellin Grounds was brief, about two hours long; however, during his time there he tried to focus the attention of Saint Lucians on climate change saying there is no greater challenge facing all of us than that of climate change, stating that it posed an existential threat to Saint Lucia and the region.
“I saw for myself the devastation that Hurricanes Maria and Irma wrought on Dominica, Barbuda and the British Virgin Islands when I visited those communities in November 2017. Tackling the truly alarming threat of climate change, and finding some ways of mitigating the risk it presents, is, and must continue to be, a top priority for the Commonwealth. I am particularly pleased to know, therefore, that through the Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme, the mapping of Saint Lucia’s seabed will not only inform our understanding of the effects of climate change, but has the potential to help develop Saint Lucia’s vital Blue Economy in significant and sustainable ways. For this, and so many other reasons, I have great hope for the future of Saint Lucia and her people,” Charles said.