Caribbean call to build diaspora bridges
A regional hotelier and entrepreneur has renewed calls on the Caribbean's public and private sector leaders to get behind the diaspora to help move the region forward.
SOUFRIERE, St Lucia, Friday March 16, 2012 - Bring Caribbean islanders living abroad closer to the center of our plans, urged a St. Lucian businesswoman.
Eroline Lamontagne, a regional hotelier and entrepreneur, has renewed calls on the Caribbean's public and private sector leaders to get behind the diaspora to help move the region forward.
Lamontagne, proprietor of the Fond Doux Holiday Plantation resort in the charming old colonial St. Lucian town of Soufrière, believes the region's approach towards leveraging the intellectual resources and financial capital of the diaspora has been weak.
Rather than treating Caribbean peoples living overseas as an afterthought, she asserted, "diasporic relations must be central to our development strategy."
Speaking on the occasion of Saint Lucia's 33rd Independence anniversary last month, the successful entrepreneur pointed to remittances, travel, investment and philanthropy as four areas in which members of the region's expatriate community contribute the greatest.
She advocated a more deliberate approach to harness the goodwill and skills of the diaspora: "We must formalize our ties for their impact to be even better felt and their contributions to be better appreciated."
Fond Doux recently threw its support behind the Saint Lucia House Foundation's gala in Brooklyn which culminated New York activities celebrating St. Lucia's independence from Great Britain.
"The Saint Lucia House Foundation is quite pleased with the outpouring of support it received during this year's activities in New York to mark our beloved nation's 33rd anniversary of independence," said Jeremiah Hyacinth, the Foundation's New York-based public relations officer. He thanked patrons, sponsors and the island's external affairs minister, Alva Baptiste, for making the activities a success.
St. Lucia gained its independence from Great Britain on February 22, 1979.
For further information, visit www.fonddouxestate.com.
About Fond Doux Holiday Plantation
Fond Doux Holiday Plantation is a 19th century eco-friendly colonial plantation nestled in the heart of Soufrière, Saint Lucia. The Green Globe-certified resort sits in a 250 year-old working plantation and features an assortment of 10 uniquely crafted cottages, two onsite restaurants and a collage of outdoor swimming pools. Fond Doux is conveniently located just minutes away from some of the island's key attractions, including the Sulphur Springs - the Caribbean's only drive in volcano. It is in the neighborhood of the world-renowned twin peaks, the Pitons, which offers the best diving sites on island - all within the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage Site. Fond Doux provides guests with an evocative plantation experience, and they are encouraged to actively engage in the day-to-day running of the cocoa plantation, experiences enjoyed in 2008 by Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
The plantation adheres closely to the spirit of eco-building and cultural preservation. Rescued from demolition, Fond Doux maintains intricate French Colonial wooden buildings more than 100 years old. The buildings were painstakingly dismantled and transported to the estate, where they were lovingly restored as guest accommodations and today stand as monuments of the island's rich colonial history. The Guardian Newspaper in the United Kingdom rated the organic estate and eco-resort as the number two Plantation Retreat in the world.