Canaries embarks on ambulance fundraising initiative
Thursday, January 17, 2019
by Anicia Antoine, GIS

The Saint Lucia Social Development Fund (SSDF), and the Canaries-UK Association are undertaking a fundraising initiative in order to procure an ambulance for the community of Canaries.

The village had been serviced by an ambulance for 20 years until it broke down four years ago.

Andre Lansiquot, the Immediate Past President of the Canaries Village Council, and Head of the fundraising committee related that the community also procured the previous ambulance via fundraiser.

“Canaries is one of the more isolated communities in Saint Lucia, far removed from most health facilities,” Mr. Lansiquot said. “In 1993, we teamed up with the Canaries-UK Association with the aim to raise the funds needed in order to get an ambulance because in the past we had instances where people actually died because of the lack of a facility to move them from Canaries to the hospitals. We started fundraising in 1994 and by 1995 we had an ambulance serving Canaries. But in 2015 the ambulance encountered mechanical issues and it was advised that we replace the 20-year-old vehicle instead of trying to repair it.

“The people of Canaries—having always been resilient and self-reliant—decided to have a second fundraising drive,” he continued. “This is something that we’ve done successfully in the past, and we take pride in knowing that. Growing up in Canaries, people needed very little cash as the community always rallied together to get things done. This initiative will help rekindle that spirit. It took us a year to raise the funds for the first ambulance, but we are hoping that this time around, we can have the service restored within months.”

One of several fundraisers for the ambulance initiative is a lunch and auction to be held at the Royalton Beach Resort and Spa. It is being supported by the business community.

Minister for Tourism, and Parliamentary Representative for Anse-La-Raye and Canaries, Hon Dominic Fedee, said: “We have a fundraiser planned for Jan 27 at the Royalton where we hope to raise a significant amount of money. We’ve received a great reception from the private sector and the event is already sold out. It is a cultural afternoon which will feature a number of performances of music and dance from various groups in Canaries, and it is when the rest of Saint Lucia will meet Canaries for a very worthy cause.

“The UK Association has also confirmed a fundraiser in London with a view to helping us reach the target, and we will be unveiling other initiatives geared at ensuring that there is community participation at the fundraising level,” the minister added. “I want to assure the people of Canaries and Saint Lucia that the government is committed to improving their health services, and this project is in keeping with that philosophy.”

Minister for Health, Hon. Mary Isaac, commended the community on its resourcefulness.

“While the Ministry of Health has been working on trying to replace the old ambulance, the community felt that it would be quicker if they came on board to assist. I must commend the people of Canaries for their determination, and I hope this will be an example for other communities to emulate,” she said. “Let us all support this activity so that the village can raise the funds it needs.”

The Government of Saint Lucia through the Ministry of Health will provide a driver and first-aid personnel, and will facilitate the insurance and maintenance of the vehicle.