It was just too much for Genevieve Astaphan.
The tears flowed freely as she stood in the line on Independence Day (November 3) waiting to receive the nation’s second highest award, the Sisserou Award for Honor, on behalf of her father, Waddy Astpahan.
The elderly Astaphan was being awarded for his contribution to Dominica in the field of business.
“It was a great honour,” an emotional Astaphan told DNO after the ceremony, which took place at the Windsor Park Sports Stadium. “I just wish my dad was able to be here and that was one of the most touching things for me; that he could not be here to see that his achievements are being recognized…”
Genevieve has reasons to be proud of her father. He joined the family business, known today as J. Astaphan & Co. (1970) Ltd, in 1942 and guided it from the humble beginnings of retailing basic foods to one of the most vibrant and effective commercial business in Dominica.
Its Head Office, Supermarket and Departmental Store, occupy some 70,000 sq. feet of prime space in the heart of Roseau. Just five minutes away is located the 67,000 sq. ft. fully palletized Warehouse and Hardware/Foodstuff Distribution Centre. The manufacture of Furniture, Foam/Foam Products, storage and Automobile Sales and Maintenance occupies over 70,000 s.ft. of buildings on an 8 acre site at the Canefield Industrial Estate.
Genevieve said under the guidance of her father the company has had a great impact on Dominica. “We create significant employment, we give a lot back to the community and we’ve done a lot of expansion in the last couple of years,” she noted. “So I believe that the company has contributed significantly to Dominica.”
She said the company is grateful for the support it has received from Dominicans over the years. “Without the people of Dominica, no company can be successful and I am really appreciative of the support we have received from the communities from north, south, east and west since we serve the entire island. To them we are eternally grateful. The family can never ever say thank you for all the support we’ve gotten from them,” she remarked.
She noted that Waddy, who is ill and bedridden, would have been proud to be present at the ceremony although he is a humble man. “He doesn’t like the fanfare and the whole drama of everything,” she said. “He does his stuff and he does it without wanting the recognition. He is just a humble man but he would be proud and glad that he is being recognized. He would accept it with the greatest of humility.”
Others who received the Sisserou Award of Honour are Valena Geraldine Letang, in the area of Music and Music Education; Alix Boyds Knights for Parliamentary Service and The George Karam Family in the area of Business and Tourism.