Aug. 25, 2007 — Nearly 200 people helped kick off Caribbean Friendship Week Friday evening with a formal reception and recognition ceremony at Government House in Christiansted.
Gov. John P. deJongh, Jr. signed a proclamation setting aside the week through Sept. 2 to recognize the close links of the Caribbean peoples and to foster friendship between the greater Caribbean and the Virgin Islands.
The V. I. Caribbean Friendship Committee sponsored the evening, and its president, Condon L. Joseph, gave the opening remarks before four people were honored for their contributions.
The V.I. Eastern Caribbean Friendship Celebration became officially recognized in 1972.
The first honoree ,Claire Roker, has been a community activist, public servant, past president and member of numerous groups and organizations for years.
"The time has come for some of us to step aside and let others come forward to serve. But as long as I have the strength to continue to serve my community I will," Roker told those in attendance.
Next was Dr. Arakere Prasad, who began his career as an emergency room physician at Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital, where he continues to work as a pediatrician. He also has a private practice.
"I haven't served as much as Claire, but I am here to stay, work and be useful to society," he said.
Honoree Steadroy "Pudding" Williams fell in love with steel pan music as a boy on Antigua. He came to St. Croix in 1984 and decided to spend the rest of his life teaching others the uniquely Caribbean music. Williams is also a DJ on WSTX with a program of morning devotions at 4 a.m.
The last to be honored was Stevie Webster, now a health inspector during his career with the Department of Health.
A special presentation was also made to Sinclair Williams, commissioner of housing, parks and recreation.
Keynote speaker Joanne Massiah, minister of food production and marine resources for Antigua and Barbuda, commended the Caribbean Friendship committee.
"They are mindful and appreciative of our African culture. I would also like to remind the adults here it is their duty to teach the youth our history and culture," Massiah said.
Gov. deJongh gave closing remarks and mirrored Massiah's message by saying, "We need to instill in our children to be involved and to instill pride in our heritage and culture."
Four women provided entertainment for the evening from the St. Lucia Creole Dancers while Tony Romano provided music. Roy Joseph and his staff from Roy Catering provided hors d'oeuvres.
The Caribbean Friendship Celebration Village at Agriculture Fairgrounds schedule begins Aug. 31 at 6 p.m. with DJ Karl followed by the Encore Band and St. Kitts Dance Group from 8 to 11 p.m. Stroker Band will then perform until 2 a.m.
On Saturday the entertainment begins at 6 p.m. with DJ Porter followed by Excitement Band, St. Kitts Dance Group and ending with the Express Band at 2 a.m.
Sunday's entertainment will be provided by DJ Johnny, Liquid Sounds and Bonny Cepeda y su Orquesta. Monday the show begins at 5 p.m. with DJ Comumbo and closes at 12 p.m. with Visitors Band.
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