1st National Bank Hosts Virtual Christmas Staff Dinner and Awards Ceremony in Two Countries

By VOICE Reporter

It’s not unusual for companies to fete their staff for Christmas. But in this post-COVID era when the Xmas Season is still as challenging to all as ever, it is unusual – and very welcome – for one local bank to have two Christmas parties, together and in different countries.

That’s what happened when the 1st National Bank (Saint Lucia) Ltd. on last Saturday (December 16) hosted it’s first-ever ‘Soiree Noire’ Staff Dinner and Awards Party, simultaneously celebrated in Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent & The Grenadines.

The unprecedented event, hosted at the Royalton Hotel at Cap Estate (St Lucia) and at Young Island Resorts in The Grenadines, saw the 2023 Christmas party attended by employees , the entire ceremony  was viewed by people in both countries  via Live Streaming.

Staff of all ages and lengths of service – immaculately dressed for the occasion – were graced by the presence of 1st National Bank’s Board of Directors, branch and departmental heads, including Managing Director Fletcher St Jean in Saint Lucia and Country Manager in Saint Vincent Vonetta Rodgers, as well as Deputy Managing Director Sandra Fontenelle, also holding the fort in Young Island.

Following a Cocktail Hour, during which staff were seated and served drinks, brief prayers were said  and opening remarks read by the Managing Director and by Director Juliana Alfred (on behalf of Chairman of the Board of Directors Nigel Fulgence).

Director Alfred, in her remarks on the Chairman’s behalf, said 2024 will be another “Year of Rebuilding”, as well as a “Transitional Year.”

She commended staff “for all your hard work” and the continuing “conversion” towards always providing better banking for all customers.

The director said the event “also provided an opportunity for the bank’s recognition of staff’s work.”

Looking ahead to 2024, Ms Alfred said the “focus will have to be on efficiency and building on gains.”

The online celebratory event was exciting, as  staff on both sides of the channel and the  shared the excitement of seeing and hearing the names of the nominees and witnessing the winners receiving their prizes.

The bank honored persons in departments who had either proven their worth or were nominated by fellow staff members.

Also honored were long-serving staff of 10, 15, 25 and 35 years on the job with the island’s only indigenous, 85-year-old, national bank.

The bank also secured a large amount of prizes from local business houses, to fill the winners’ hearts with added Christmas cheer.

Every award drew applause from both sets of interactive audiences as they celebrated a night out like no other, with a Christmas Menu of salads and soups, entrees and desserts, regular and seasonal drinks, that catered for virtually every palate during the virtual event.

Local staff were over the moon, but more so their Vincentian counterparts sharing their first such event after launching the bank’s first overseas branch earlier this year at 81 South River Road in Kingstown, the Vincentian capital.

Managing Director St. Jean told The VOICE during the event: “I was very pleased to see the turnout of the staff. It reflected, not only their commitment to the Bank, but also their shared commitment to the overall vision and direction we are heading into together.”

He added, “The awards dinner allowed us all to reflect on the hard work of all staff who contributed to our successful year.”

The MD specially thanked Members of the event’s Planning Committee, “who organized such a spectacular event” and worked that night as well, to ensure the seamless operation.

He offered special thanks too, to a specially-invited guest and former President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Sir Dennis Byron, who, he said, “echoed similar sentiments of being very pleased with the event.”

Looking back, the MD said, “The event achieved its objective of showing our appreciation to our staff here and in Saint Vincent, as well as to our Country Manager in Kingstown, our Chairman and Board of Directors, and all who ensured we delivered the first and best ‘Soiree Noire’ of its kind.”

Similar sentiments were expressed by Deputy MD Fontenelle, who said: “It is the season to be merry and our ‘Soiree Noire’ was a perfect example of how persons can connect with shared goals and objectives, even when separated by water and air space.”

She added, “From where I sat in Young Island that night, everyone had a wonderful time both there and here…”

Earlier this month, on Saturday December 9, – just before the National Day celebrations – 1st National Bank also brought the Christmas cheer to over 2,500 children across the island, through a ‘Travelling Santa’ motorcade that lasted from morning  till evening.

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