English Premier League striker Jermain Defoe has arrived in his ancestral Saint Lucia for what his camp has described as much needed rest and relaxation in his favorite vacation destination.
During his two-week stay on island, the international footballer will surely hit the island’s majestic beaches, but he is also taking time off for activities designed to give back to his Saint Lucian roots.
The star footballer was here last year for the funeral of his grandmother who lived in the east-coast village of Desruisseaux. Later today, he visits her gravesite to pay his respects.
Defoe will also tour the fire ravaged St. Jude’s Hospital whose operations are now temporarily located at George Odlum National Stadium. He will also visit the Desruisseaux Primary School.
The star will interact with the children of the Holy Family Children’s Home at Ciceron and present them with gift items. He will also make stops at the Football Academy and several scenic locations on the island, including Saint Lucia’s Sulphur Springs attraction.
“Being in Saint Lucia is being (at) home. My Mum is Saint Lucian and I have strived to maintain that one-of-a-kind Saint Lucian identity,” Defoe told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at the Cotton Bay Village resort in the north of the island.
Minister for Physical Development, Housing, Urban Renewal, Local Government and the Environment, Richard Frederick, officially welcomed Defoe and announced plans by government to name him a national Goodwill and Sports Ambassador.
“The Prime Minister has requested that I make this special announcement and very shortly Jermain will be formally appointed a Goodwill and Sports Ambassador. We see such a move as just the first step in our efforts at showing our appreciation for his accomplishments,” stated Minister Frederick.
Flanked by government and other sporting officials, the 27-year-old forward, who participated in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and is well known in the English Premier League for his prolific goal scoring, said he is willing to serve as ambassador for the island.
“Being in Saint Lucia is more than just a vacation … I will gladly carry the Saint Lucian flag with pride,” the Tottenham Hotspur player promised.
A number of British media are currently on island covering the football star’s return to his roots.