The Upton Gardens Girls Centre is the first ever recipient of proceeds from the inaugural Prime Minister’s Independence Ball which was held on the eve of the island’s 38th Independence Anniversary celebrations this year. The Centre, established since 1980, provides quality day care rehabilitation services in a conducive environment to abused, disadvantaged and neglected young girls.
At a brief handover ceremony on Monday morning at the Office of the Prime Minister, Chairperson of the Upton Gardens Girls Centre Mrs. Rumelia Dalphinis-King expressed profound thanks to Prime Minister Honourable Allen Chastanet for hosting the Ball which raised approximately $59,487.54 for the Centre. Also present at the handover was Upton Gardens Girls Centre treasurer Brenda Duncan, Secretary Diana Thomas and Director Jacqueline Massiah-Simeon.
In her opening remarks, Mrs. Dalphinis-King was especially thankful to the Prime Minister’s wife Mrs. Raquel Duboulay-Chastanet and the team who put the Ball together.
“On behalf of the management and staff of Upton Girls Gardens Centre, and more importantly the girls who will benefit from this donation, I wish to thank you, Honourable Prime Minister, for selecting the centre to be the recipient of the proceeds of the first annual Prime Minister’s Independence Ball,” said Mrs. Dalphinis-King.
“We also wish to thank the embassies and the business houses, who as a result have shown interest in the work of the centre as well as our future programmes that will enhance the skill and wellbeing of all of our girls. We also wish to send our heartfelt thanks to Mrs. Raquel Duboulay-Chastanet who worked tirelessly to put the Ball together. We cannot thank her enough.”
Mrs. Dalphinis-King explained that the girls at the centre have oftentimes been through life-changing traumas which can result in them manifesting behaviours that their parents, schools, communities and even the girls themselves, find challenging.
Said the Chairperson: “Through our programmes we are assisting our girls to create a better tomorrow not only for themselves and their families and their future families but also in terms of Saint Lucia. Once again Honourable Prime Minister we thank you very much for this generous donation.”
Prime Minister Honourable Allen Chastanet was on hand to present the proceeds and took the opportunity to thank the members of the Board for their efforts in bringing attention to Upton.
The Prime Minister described the donation as “a small way of saying thank you for what you do every day”.
“We must become a nation of compassion, we must understand that we have not succeeded as a nation until everyone has a minimum standard of living,” said the Prime Minister. He stressed that it was Government’s responsibility to ensure that everyone has that opportunity.
The Prime Minister explained the rationale for the event: “The intention behind the Prime Minister’s Ball was to take an event that already has national attention and convert it in a way that we could raise monies for different charities. I want to thank my wife and the committee for helping select Upton Girls. I can’t think of a more worthy cause. I know the burden that women carry in our society and to have one woman lost without the ability to make an input into our economy and society is too many. Unfortunately we do have broken families, we do have kids that go wayward and it is very important that we continue to give them a second, third and fourth chance to be able to succeed.”
The Prime Minister was also pleased that the Ball brought attention to the work of the Centre and noted that several foreign embassies had indicated a willingness to help the organization.
“We will be repeating the event next year and we will be looking at other charities in an effort to highlight the work that people are doing silently to make this a great country.”
The Office of the Prime Minister would like to thank all who made the event possible, especially Mrs. Jaqueline Williams. The Office of the Prime Minister also thanks all the donors and those who supported by purchasing tickets, foreign ambassadors and dignitaries, consular staff and the local business community.