msDuty Free Caribbean Holdings in St Lucia has taken the lead in “giving back” to the region’s children, as the company recently presented a cheque for US$5000 to support the work of the Foundation for the Development of Caribbean Children (FDCC).

 

The financial donation was presented by Duty Free Caribbean’s Cheslie LaForce to Consultant Director of the FDCC, Susan Branker, and will go towards supporting the continued work of the Roving Caregivers Programme (RCP) and other FDCC activities. The RCP currently serves families in St Lucia, St Vincent, Grenada, Dominica, Jamaica and Belize.

Miss Branker has commended Duty Free Caribbean for being the FDCC’s first major gift donor in St Lucia and hopes that many others would follow their lead. According to Miss Branker, “The statistics show clearly that the Caribbean needs to increase and improve its Early Childhood Development services (ECD), in order to ensure that more young children have the opportunity to maximize their education when they do enter primary school. The lack of effective stimulation during those formative years, 0-3, really weakens a child’s capacity to live up to its fullest potential. With the help of private companies, like Duty Free Caribbean Holdings, the Foundation will be able to offer and support initiatives which will give many more children that “fighting chance”.”

According to Duty Free Caribbean’s Island Manager in St Lucia, Rosemary Deligny, “philanthropy for us is not only a worth while ideal, it is an expectation of our Company's commitment to our internal and external customers. We are setting a high bar for charitable giving, that we would like other companies to follow.”

Apart from their first donation of US$5000, Duty Free Caribbean Holdings has also entered into a partnership with the FDCC to roll out a range of activities in an effort to promote the work of and support for the Foundation. According to Mrs. Deligny, “We at Duty Free Caribbean feel strongly that we all have to invest in the lives of our little ones. By doing this, we are actually investing in the future of St Lucia and the region as a whole.”

Duty Free Caribbean Holdings was the first member of the private sector in St Lucia to make a financial commitment to the region’s children as the FDCC sought earlier this year to promote its organisation and its work among that country’s private sector. Among the initiatives were a luncheon for the business community and a Fund-raising Gala hosted by the FDCC and Sandals Resorts International.