Mr. Andre de Caires
GROS ISLET CONSTITUENCY
Mr. Andre de Caires
Gros Islet Candidate
Andre de Caires' enchantment with Saint Lucia began when he was a youngster: "We visited my family here during summer holidays back in the 60’s. I also visited a few times as a teenager and have fond memories of the enjoyable time spent here."
Andre recounts daily excursions to Rodney Bay, coupled with visits to La Toc beach, with all-day swimming as a key highlight of his adventurous experiences. , Partying at Vale Night Club was but an added bonus. These were undeniably fabulous and memorable times. De Caries was fortunate to have been presented with a career opportunity, which he could not refuse.
February 21st, 1987 marked a turn in Andre's life, when he migrated to Saint Lucia to commence a new life. "It was the best decision I ever made! Back then in that time I worked in the small community of La Caye in the Dennery North constituency — where I worked for a large Government farm, Dennery Farmco, as one of the managers involved in agricultural diversification.
It was there that my love for the country grew even more. It was the people, it was the poor man, the average man. The love and respect that they showed me were almost overwhelming! I knew then that Saint Lucia would be my home for life," was Andre's account of his foundational Saint Lucian experience.
He further highlights, "Having being brought up in a middle class family in Trinidad and then being thrown into a small island rural society, it was an exterme change of lifestyle for me. I had never been exposed to so much poverty on a daily basis. What struck me almost immediately, was that although these people were financially poor, they were rich in heart and sprit — happy and jovial in spite of their plight in life.
This revelation made me reassess my perception of what was really important in one's life." He continues, "What does one require to be happy in life? At that moment, I realised that it would be my life’s mission to help improve the lives of the poor and needy. Back then, I never saw myself taking on a political role in order to make my contribution towards the upliftment of the poor."
In 1995, after working in the Dennery Valley for eight years and obtaining his Saint Lucian citizenship, he left Dennery Farmco and went off to develop his trade in vegetable farming in the Cul de Sac, though still focused on creating a far greater improved agricultural system for the country — which would stop the rapid decline of the agricultural sector.
"That year, industrial hemp was introduced to me by Randall Bain. We spent the following year doing research on the plant and in 1998 we eventually submitted a project proposal to the then government of the day, an SLP administration, requesting permission to conduct research trials with the plant (cannabis sativa).
The plan was to grow hemp for seeds, then press them for oil, which would be the main ingredient in a body care line. The coconut industry was under attack at that time, a result of misinformation about the dangers of consuming coconut oil and its effect on colesterol levels.
Converting the factory to one which manufactures body care products as opposed to manufacturing cooking oil, would have saved the industry. Unfortunately the idea fell on deaf ears and that was the end of the industry.
We continued lobbying, with the aim of Government approving our plans for the next ten years with little success. It then became apparent to me that this rejection of cannabis was more of a human rights issue than an agricultural project issue. I was fully determined to correct the injustices of this draconian, racist law.
As a result, leaders with absolutely no desire or vision, with no ideas, drove me to get political. So in 2010, I formed the Lucian Greens political party and subsequently ran in the 2011 general election. We missed the 2016 election as it was a snap election.
Fast forward to 2021, the Lucian Greens has now morphed into the National Green Party, which consists of a vibrant mix of selfless Lucians and other residents, young and old, male and female, from all faiths and walks of life — with a genuine love for country, banding together for a common cause, that is, to create a conscious collective of like minded individuals that when acting in unison, will effect real change, change that would set solid foundation for the people today, and for generations to come.
It is an honour and a most humbling experience to have the support and backing of so many people who have faith in my leadership role.
I consider myself an honest, hard working man with a burning desire to create an environment in which all Saint Lucians can reach their full potential by creating pathways of social upward mobility for all — while protecting our natural resourses and achieving all our sustainable development goals.