by The Rt. Hon J.G.M. Compton
In the unchanging laws of nature, a family, an organisation or a nation survives if, like a river, it constantly renews, refreshes and changes with changing times and circumstances; if it always attracts to itself the new and refreshing tributaries of energy, of thought and enterprise – always drawing new strength from these changes and these additions.
Thus the Devaux family and the commercial firm of Minvielle and Chastanet with which this family is so closely identified, and of which the 125th anniversary is being observed this year, epitomises this edict of nature.
To succeed and to survive for such a long time, in an environment where the mortality of companies, organisations and institutions is so high, is a tribute to the family which has provided leadership to this leading St. Lucia company for so long.
Success in this environment requires foresight, energy and drive, determination and – yes – sacrifice and grit when the going gets rough – the type of determination which has driven the family, in a single generation, to build and rebuild again and again and yet again, after four disastrous fires. The type of foresight which guided the company to enter new fields and to diversify from retail trading into shipping, manufacturing and agriculture; the adaptability which permitted the family to remain admired and respected through colonialism, self-Government and independence; the social conscience and public service of the family which now associates with the name “M & C” as the patron of the arts in St. Lucia, and which has given so many Young St. Lucians an opportunity to improve themselves through education.
Truly the Devaux family and the various enterprises which they have founded and led, have served St. Lucia well. It is the quality of service which permits us all to join with the Devaux family not merely to observe, but to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Firm of Minvielle and Chastanet.
To the family and to all who built up this organisation into a national institution, the Government of St. Lucia extends its warmest congratulations.
John G. M. Compton