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Poverty Reduction Initiative

Year 2014 and Beyond


The growing level of poverty in St.Lucia is of grave concern to all—the government, the church, the unions, and the private sector in general.  For a country that boast of claim to two Nobel laureates making it the highest per capita in the world, two majestic pitons and the only walk-in volcano in the world, the current level of poverty is unacceptable and needs to be urgently addressed. Poverty in my opinion is a crime just like slavery and it must be everyone’s business to do something about it.

We understand that no one of us can do everything but each one of us can do something. We also are aware that we do not have the resources, nor manpower to alleviate poverty but one thing is certain—we can reduce it to make life more comfortable for many of our affected and marginalized citizens.

To this end the Rotary Club of St.Lucia under the leadership of President Chester Hinkson has made Poverty Reduction one of its main initiatives this Rotary Year. Through an appeal to members an amount of EC $6000.00 was raised over a period of three months.  This amount was matched by the club bringing the amount to EC $12,000.00.  It is hoped that some generous Rotary Club in the region that has surplus funds will see the importance of this program and provide further financial support. 

Our club normally feeds the poor and homeless every January 02nd with this year being no exception.  More than 150 persons were fed and part of the plan is to increase the frequency of feeding these needy people to at least four times a year, the next being Easter Sunday.  It concerns us that following January 02nd and the usual Christmas Lunch provided by other generous donors these same poor people go hungry on January 03rd until the next festive season. Correcting this, needs to be the focus of our attention.



It is one thing to attempt to make poverty reduction one of our main initiatives this year and quite another to achieve some level of sustainability.  It is with this in mind that we have formed a committee under the chairmanship of P.P.Malcolm Charles supported by V.P.Leathon Khan and Rotarian Selma St.Prix Auguste.  Following an address to The RCSL by The Minister for Social Transformation, Local Government and Community Empowerment Hon.Harold Dalsan, P.P Malcolm and I as President held a meeting with the representative of the P.S. of the said ministry to discuss the possibility of partnering with us to make this program successful.

Our objective is to find a location where the poor and homeless can come and have a shower, a proper meal and socialize. From further investigation it came to light that there are four such buildings in the gardens.  P.P. Malcolm is following up closely with the ministry to ascertain whether one of these buildings can be made available for a soup kitchen. These talks are still in the preliminary stage. 

We are attempting to sensitize the public to the plight of the poor and indigent in St.Lucia and are encouraged by the verbal feedback we continue to receive  from a number of non- Rotarians who want to help. The government does not have the money to solely support the existing social programs far more to increase the level of support. Solving this problem while challenging, is not insurmountable. There is enough out there to feed this entire country of 170,000. We need to take cognizance of the poor we see around us each and every day eating out of garbage bins ( in direct competition with the many stray dogs and rats roaming the city) by sharing what we have and we need to do it now. We need to engage our government officials in dialogue so together we will make a difference.

We The Rotary Club of St.Lucia will continue to ensure that this initiative becomes a reality by keeping it on the radar screen for the good and wellbeing of the people of St.lucia.


Chester Hinkson
Rotary Club of St. Lucia