Approaching St Lucia’s two pitons from the sea can be quite a marvel. It is, if your eyes and everyone else’s is to be believed, one of the most majestic visions in the Caribbean. They suddenly rise up from the blue jewel- like waters of the Caribbean sea into the air like confident, everlasting giants. In furious rain or golden shine, their power impresses upon you, and makes you feel as if you can gaze on that landscape forever. The first inhabitants of the island, the Amerindians, worshipped them. And when you face them, you understand why. You understand why centuries of writers, travelers, artists have over and over again tried to capture and communicate their wonder.
But the pitons only exemplify the story of the island itself. Suddenly rising up into the annals of History, it is a place that was fought for over and over again. When sugar was the most profitable product in the world, the British and the French both desired to secure the place as their own. Fourteen times St Lucia was exchanged between the two. And out of this tug of war of power came the enduring and epic nickname of “St Lucia, the Helen of the West.” Not only was the land as desirously beautiful as the original Helen of Troy and St Lucia was her equal in the newly discovered Western hemisphere, but the long, convoluted and bloody battles that were fought for the island made the comparison one that still appeals to one’s sense of poetry.
And the pitons have also come to symbolize the identity and the aspirations of its people. Ever since it’s Independence in 1979, this young country has worked on charting its own destiny in the world. Today, it is a vibrant and peaceful democratic society that continually strives to embrace the best practices and values of the globalized world, yet maintaining and cultivating its own sense of culture and indentify. The island boasts a year-round calendar of activities and celebrations that keep the country rooted in that identity: from its weeklong celebration of its two Nobel Laureates (a country of that size producing two Nobel laureates is certainly something to celebrate), its Jazz and Arts festival, its Carnival and its incredibly popular Creole Day (Jounen Kweyol).
Alongside the development of St Lucia’s Cultural and Creative Industries have been the incredible transformation of its infrastructural landscape and business potential. Where there was once a small, underdeveloped society dominated by a single agricultural product such as sugar or bananas, there has now emerged diversity of service industries. With its amazing landscape and wonderful beaches, the island was easily ready for a tourism industry. And although that industry remains the island’s main source of foreign direct investment, vast improvements in the country’s road network and transportation system, its heavy investments in healthcare and education, has led to an environment of business-friendly activity and economic opportunity for its citizens and foreign investors. With two airports, two world-class marina facilities, two major seaports, award-winning products (hotels, rums, and an outstanding reputation for hospitality a constant supply of water and human and telecommunication services, this modestly sized island has quickly established itself as a major player in the English-speaking Caribbean.
St Lucia consistently ranks among the best places of doing business in Latin America and the Caribbean and as a place where global celebrities (like Oprah Winfrey, Amy Winehouse, and Matt Damon) return to for the Land, the People, and the Light.