Stella Lady St John upset
Stella Lady St John is hurt. She is outraged that she was not given the chance to deliver, as usual, the Founder’s Day Speech at the official opening of the Oistins Fish Festival on Saturday.
The widow of former Prime Minister Sir Harold St John told the DAILY?NATION it was the first time in the history of the festival that her name was left off the programme of the annual event she created in 1977.
“I am annoyed they didn’t have the bloody courtesy to let me know I would play no part. For 34 years I have made the Founder’s Day Speech at the festival that I started; and this time they changed the format and did not inform me that I was not to speak.
“I have been disrespected, disregarded, and not appreciated,” she lamented.
“For 34 years I have stayed in Barbados for Easter. I have never been out of this country at this time of the year.”
When Lady St John discovered on Wednesday night that she would not be making her 35th successive speech, she opted to miss the Sir Harold St John Memorial Lecture held that same night at the conference hall of the Christ Church Parish Church.
“It was tough missing the memorial lecture, but if they were going to have such disrespect for me, I knew where my place was – and that is in my house. I had to show these people that their disrespect was total,” she said.
Lady St John has also boycotted all other Easter weekend festival events.
“I made the decision that I was not going to grace them with my presence – not the people of Oistins, but those persons on the festival committee who did not have the decency or the courage to do what somebody wanted, and that was for me not to speak.”
Lady St John said she gave a hard-hitting speech last year, and some people probably felt she should not have been heard this year.“
This politics thing is going too far. It’s no doubt a political thing, in my mind. Somebody didn’t want me to speak; that’s for sure,” she added.
Veteran journalist and public relations officer of the festival, Charles Harding, said Lady St John had left an indelible mark on the festival and there was no attempt to minimize her role.“
Tributes were paid to Lady St John, both by myself and Dancin’ Africa. Her achievement has been outstanding and can’t be erased, but there comes a time when you have to make changes to brighten an event,” he said.
Festival chairman Dan Carter said it was just a matter of a change to the format and that it was quite possible Lady St John could be delivering the Founder’s Day Speech next year.