The celebration last Saturday of the first set of Indians to arrive in Saint Lucia was a smashing success attributed by the amount of people who attended the event held at the National Cultural Center and the reviews it received.
The commemorative part of the event was attended by many people of Indian ancestry and local Saint Lucians with many women and men wearing Indian attire. They enjoyed the tasty and delicious Indian and local cuisine, drinks and refreshments that were showcased.
The event, known as ‘Palmyra 2022’ was hosted by the Indian Cultural Foundation (ICF) Saint Lucia. This celebration was to mark the first ship ‘PALMYRA’ which arrived in Castries, Saint Lucia on 6th May, 1859 about 163 years ago, carrying a group of Indian indentured workers to work on Saint Lucia sugarcane estate and plantations.
Saturday’s event started with the National anthems, Invocation prayers by Dr Swamy followed by a welcome introduction by Doodnauth Shivnauth. Greetings and Remarks were presented by Ms Solange Charles – Belizaire, Deputy Permanent Secretary Ministry of Tourism, Investment, Creative Industries, Culture and Information.
Lokesh Singh (Guyana Honorary consul to Saint Lucia) presented on Indian arrival and legacy in the Caribbean.
Dr Jolien Harmsen (Author, Historian, Journalist) gave a historical perspective on the Indian arrival to Saint Lucia while Dr Leonard Surage (President, Indian Cultural Foundation) spoke on the significance and impact of Indians in Saint Lucia.
Dr Fleming Salapuddi was honoured for 50 years of outstanding service and contribution to Saint Lucia. Presenting the Commendation was Lokesh Singh.
The programme was blended with Cultural Performance in between like a Semi classical dance with strong hues of Kathak imprint with Bollywood technique by Rashmi Subhash; English fusion song with classical Bharatanatyam steps- different rupam of Lord Shiva by Sneha Senthial and a beautiful folk song by Keila Bynoe-Cenac (singer/song writer/artiste).
Shivnauth had the audience reeling with laughter with his ‘Life on the Plantation’ performance.
Closing remarks and Vote of thanks were given by Dr Swamy.