Claudius J. Francis is the fourth son of five boys and fourth of eight children, a #girldad, insurance consultant, talk show host at a popular local radio and television station, and the current Speaker of the House of Assembly in Saint Lucia since 2021. He has served as president of the Senate between the years 2011 to 2016 and as chairman of the Saint Lucia Labour Party for four years ending in 2018. He professes to be ‘all CDC’, having grown up in the Castries Development Corporation (CDC) buildings from the 1960s, which he still visits frequently to spend time with his family and friends situated there. As a nod to his first alma mater- the R.C. Boys Infant and Primary Schools, he wears blue every Monday and even admits to blue being his favourite color. Many may be surprised to know that the current speaker of the house worked in the hospitality industry after obtaining a Hotel Trade School scholarship from the Hotel La Toc now known as Sandals Regency St. Lucia. He spent two years giving back to the hotel, understudying in every department, and favoring work in the kitchen. Thereafter, he moved to the insurance industry where he remains today. His one regret is that he was not as appreciative of education as he should have been during his younger days. Nevertheless, recognising that the key to mastering his life and accomplishing anything is the direct result of his thoughts, Claudius has cultivated a positive philosophy and attitude. It was my pleasure to converse with the Speaker of the House who was warm, affable, and gracious with his time to answer my zippy 47 questions.
Daisy: Hello Claudius. Hope you had a productive and joyful day. Thank you for agreeing to speak with me this evening despite your busy schedule. I appreciate it (smiles).
Claudius: Hello Daisy. I am well. We can get right into it when you are ready.
D: Wonderful, let’s do that Claudius. I know that you are unfamiliar with my column but the questions are not difficult and not too serious. You will survive (laughs). Your first question is, “On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest and 1 being the lowest, how excited are you about life right now?”.
C: A 7.5. I am always a very optimistic person.
D: That’s good…umm, it is all about your outlook on things.
C: Yup, perspective is everything.
D. Definitely. What is your biggest strength?
C: My biggest strength is my self-belief.
D: What would you say is your biggest weakness?
C: Umm… how do I say that? My biggest weakness is believing that everyone else thinks similarly, that is, they believe in themselves.
D: What is your profession? – I know you have several (laughs).
C: I am an insurance consultant.
D: Thank you. What is one thing that people don’t know about you?
C: How introverted I am. People assume I am extroverted because of the type of profession I am in.
D: Going back to the profession you mentioned, what is one thing that no one tells you about working in the insurance industry?
C: People don’t tell you about the fraud they commit.
D: When are you most inspired?
C: When I am told I cannot accomplish something.
D: Sweet or savory?
D: What song can you listen to on repeat?
C: Any Teddy Pendergrass song.
D: What makes you smile the most?
C: Accomplishing a difficult task.
D: What are three things you can’t live without?
C: My daughters, books and friends.
D: Leather or lace?
C: Neither, I go for the purely traditional.
D: Okay. I will leave that to the readers to decipher (smiles). What is the most adventurous thing you have done in your life?
C: Going on a political platform while in school.
D: That took some guts. You know I will ask a follow up question. Were you at primary school or secondary school?
C: Secondary School.
D: Nice. How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
C: Professional and ambitious.
D: LOL…that’s 2, one more.
C: Oh the “and” does not count…(laughs). Let’s see. I would say adventurous actually.
D: That is definitely 3, thank you (smiles). What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
C: That failure is not an option.
D: I love that. What is one thing you wish people understood?
C: That nothing in life comes easy.
D: It doesn’t? (Laughs)
C: Nope, nope, nope. For instance, I get home at 7 o’clock most nights and all I want to do is go to sleep. On weekends I meet people that I cannot otherwise meet during the week because they are working. Sometimes I have a 7-day work week.
D: That is true and I can understand that. Sometimes my loved ones say that my work week never ends. How do you normally start your day?
C: My day starts with prayer.
D: That is important for grounding oneself. What is your pet peeve?
C: Someone not trying.
D: What is your biggest regret?
C: I was not as appreciative of education as I ought to have been.
D: What is the one thing you wish you knew at age 19?
C: How much I could have really accomplished if I had put my mind to it.
D: That is a profound awakening. It is something that many do not come to realise. What is the one talent you wish you had?
C: I wish I could sing.
D: Okay…so are you saying that you cannot sing? (Laughs)
C: Not to save my life (laughs).
D: Singing is a beautiful art form. What is something you still want to be doing in 10 years?
C: What I do now- being an insurance consultant.
D: Super, I can tell you enjoy it. What is the best thing that has happened for you this year?
C: My daughter commenced work as a medical doctor.
D: Congratulations to her! I wish your daughter every success. What is one thing you had to learn the hard way?
C: That not everyone is as genuine as they appear.
D: Coffee or tea?
C: Coffee, definitely (chuckles).
D: What is one thing you are tired of?
C: People’s dependency syndrome.
D: I totally understand where you are coming from with that statement. What is a trend you would like to see disappear forever?
C: Men wearing pants below their bottoms.
D: (Laughs)That could never be you, right?
C: Absolutely not.
D: Hahaha. Diamonds or pearls?
D: What is the biggest learning experience you have had?
C: Losing government.
D: Mmmm…must have been hard for you. What makes you feel accomplished?
C: Helping someone less abled.
D: Favorite food?
C: Ahhh…I would say green figs and saltfish.
D: The national dish? Cool. Favourite snack?
D: What is a super power you wish you had?
C: That I could end poverty.
D: (Shakes head) That’s a big one. Do you think that if you ended it, would that fix everything or create something else?
C: It probably would create something else but at least everyone would have a decent living.
D: True, I will accept that. What is your favourite colour?
C: Blue, but many people think it is red though. I actually wear blue every Monday morning from my R.C. Boys school roots.
D: Interesting. Now I will look out for your outfit on a Monday.
C: Well, the only time I have not worn blue on a Monday is when I was at St. Mary’s College and Morne Technical because they had uniforms.
D: Cool. What is something you would like to see happen in our society?
D: A good state of amity generally. What is the most important thing your mom taught you?
D: It is a virtuous quality to have. Who is your role model?
C: Martin Luther King.
D: Do you care to tell me why?
C: He had the ability to achieve so much without using violence and succeeding where others using violence or force failed.
D: That’s quite an observation and I share your sentiments. How would you describe your upbringing?
C: Fairly ordinary.
D: What gets you out of bed in the morning?
C: Knowing that there is a full day ahead of me.
D: What do you want to be remembered for?
C: Having done the best that I could.
D: What is the best compliment you have ever received?
C: That I was fair.
D: How do you de-stress?
C: I watch television.
D: Since you are part of the social media vibe, what would you say is your favourite hashtag?
D: What is your biggest fear?
D: Any last words for your audience?
C: You will only fail if you think you cannot do it.
D: Super. How do you feel now that we are done?
C: We are? (laughs)
D: Yes, we are. As you can see that was pretty zippy…it was not difficult. I kept it to the point. Thank you so much again. I am truly grateful for the gift of your time and wish you a restful evening.
C: Thank you and it was my pleasure. Good night, Daisy.