Immediate Past President Errol, President Kingsley of the Rotary Club of Antigua Sundown, Other Past Presidents of the Rotary Club of Antigua, President Shamarie of the Rotaract Club of Antigua, Dr. Vincent Richards, the Outgoing and Incoming Board of Directors, fellow Rotarians, other specially invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, good evening.  It is my pleasure to give remarks as the newly installed President of the Rotary Club of Antigua.


First of all, allow me to give you a brief history of my involvement in the Rotary Club.  It is somewhat strange to say, but I was introduced to Rotary by a non-Rotarian at the time, my friend and now Past President Norma Simon of the Rotary Club of Antigua Sundown.  She was invited to the luncheon meeting at Royal Antigua in 2003 and in turn invited me to go along with her.  The first meeting I attended peaked my interest and I kept going back until eventually I was invited to an Information meeting and became a member of the Rotary Club in September 2003.  Prior to that first meeting, all I know about the rotary Club was that it was made up of a group of men who socialized at a luncheon meeting every week. 


The Information meeting really opened my eyes to the significant work done in the community by the Rotary Club of Antigua.  The work of the Rotary Foundation in the eradication of Polio was particularly interesting as I realized it had already touched my own life since my two daughters would have benefited from being given a polio drop to prevent them from being vulnerable to that disease.  This was a major reason to join the Club, that is, to help to give to others this same opportunity for immunity against the debilitating disease of Polio.  The Meals on Wheels program was also a major attraction. Providing dry goods to the elderly needy in our communities across Antigua was definitely appealing to me.  Of course the opportunity to meet and work with other business leaders in our community did not escape me.


During my first year in the Club, I was elected as Treasurer for 2004-2005 and was awarded as the Most Outstanding Director for that year.  I was re-elected to that position in 2005-2006.  In 2007-2008, I was again elected to the Board as the Membership chairperson and re-elected in 2008-2009 and again in 2010-2011.  I believe that the years I spent on the Board have equipped me to coordinate the activities of the Club with the team of Directors you have elected to serve you for the Rotary year 2011-2012.


I want to now speak with you about the goals and objectives of Rotary for the New Year. Rotary International President Elect Kalyan Banerjee has established the theme for the Rotary year 2011-2012 as “Reach within to Embrace Humanity”.  He challenges us to reach within our own heart to understand that all of humanity has the same dreams, similar hopes and similar problems.  We must therefore work together to ensure that all of humanity realize their dreams and hopes and solve our problems.  He further states that there will be three areas of emphasis.  The first is the emphasis on strengthening the family.  We want to strengthen families since here is where everything begins and it is through individuals in families that we are able to carry out our work.  The second area is that of continuity.  We want to continue to do the things we do well and take them to even higher levels to further our support for humanity. The areas in which he suggests we continue to work are providing cleaner and safer water, mitigating disease and illness, spreading literacy, working with youths and striving for peace.  The final area is that of change.  He admonishes all Rotarians “You must be the change you wish to see in the world’’ as Mahatma Ganghi asserted many years ago.  He further explained, “If we want to have peace, then we must start by living in peace with ourselves, in our homes and in our communities. If we wish to end polio or want any other disease in the world to stop, if we wish environmental degradation to stop, if we wish to reduce child mortality, to spread literacy or to prevent hunger, we must be the instrument of that change and recognize that it must start within each of us.”


I want to challenge us this evening that we can make a positive difference in the world through the practical application of our love for humanity.  This love can be expressed in lending a helping hand wherever it is needed, feeding the hungry and practicing justice. This is the fulfillment of our motto ‘Service above self”.


In keeping with the theme and three areas of emphasis established by Rotary International President Elect Kalyan Banerjee, our District Governor Elect Lara Quentrall-Thomas has also established some goals and objectives.


In the area of strengthening the Family, she has established three activities to be undertaken.  First, we are to recruit new members to the Rotary Family.  Second, we are tom undertake a family activity in the month of December. And third, we are to adopt or fund a project in Haiti.


In the area of continuity, she wants us to continue with existing community and health projects such as the focus on Diabetes and for the continuity of the planet, she had challenged each Club to plant 10 trees to help the environment


In the area of Change, the challenge is to make an extraordinary impact in the various avenues of service in our community during the year


District Governor Elect Lara has added Rotary Foundation as a fourth area of emphasis and encouraged each Rotarian to contribute at least US$100 per year toward the fight to eradicate polio from the world. 


It is important to know that Rotary has contributed over US$1.0 Billion in the fight against Polio and Rotarians have contributed countless volunteer hours to immunize more than 2 Billion children in 122 countries.  Rotary is now involved in raising an additional US$200 Million in response to a US$355 Million challenge grant from the Gate Foundation towards the eradication of polio.


As a result of the unique partnership with UNICEF,the World Health Organisation and the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention,

polio cases worldwide have decreased by 99%, 5 Million cases of paralysis have been prevented and 250,000 pediatric deaths from polio have been averted.  Polio is now only found in 4 countries.

We are all encouraged to support the fight against Polio by making our annual contribution to the Rotary Foundation.


Our Board has also established an action plan to meet the goals and objectives set by Rotary International and our District.


In the area of strengthening the family, we have pledged our full support for greater involvement with the Rotaract Club of Antigua and the Interact Clubs.  We have also made contact with other Rotary Clubs in the Eastern Caribbean and will be involved in a service project with at least one of them during this year.  Related to making these contacts, Past President Cordel will be participating in the Rotary Partnership Celebration in July. We wish to say thank you to Vicki Bullet of Lotto for her generous contribution towards making this possible.


In the area of continuity, we will continue our Meals on Wheels project, the Computer and Chess projects in the schools, the sewing machine project and the Diabetes project as we continue to help to meet the needs of our Community.


Finally, in the area of change, we want to add a remedial literacy program and to enlist a core of national volunteers in Antigua and Barbuda.


In closing, I would like to remind us in the words of Thomas Woodrow Wilson, “You are not here merely to make a living.  You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement.  You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”


I challenge us to live our motto of ‘service above self’ in order to leave humanity better than we met it.


I thank you.