Dr The Rt. Hon. Sir Kennedy A. Simmonds
K.C.M.G., M.B., B.S., D.A., F.A.C.A., PhD. (Hon.)
30th Anniversary of Independence Message
Fellow citizens, the 30th Anniversary of our Independence is a significant milestone along the journey of Sovereign Nationhood, but it should also be a time to reflect on where we came from, where we are today, and where we are headed as a Nation.
30 years ago, our citizens at home and abroad embraced with pride and togetherness, the awesome responsibility of taking into our own hands our destiny as a people. As the smallest Nation on earth at the time, we took our place in the world community of Nations and made our participation relevant.
We defied the skeptics by taking St. Kitts and Nevis to the highest level of per capita income growth in the Caribbean and Latin America during the first decade of our Independence. We built the strongest economy in the Eastern Caribbean through empowerment and the development of innovative projects like Port Zante and the South East Peninsula Road.
Perhaps the most important achievement of our Independence was halting the imminent fragmentation of St.Kitts and Nevis and instead finding a way to keep our twin-island Nation united ,strong and free.
Collectively as a people we have earned respect on the world stage, inspired in no small measure by some stunning individual successes. They include Kim Collins 100 metre World Championship in 2003, followed by his recent record as the World’s fastest human over 35 years of age; Livingstone Bramble’s World Lightweight Boxing Championship in 1984; Cicely Tyson’s 3 Emmy Awards and Academy Award nomination, and Joan Armatrading’s international stardom.
While we can be justly proud of the individual achievements of several of our citizens on the world stage and also of our collective achievements as a people, we must recognize that there are obvious ills, hardships and injustices afflicting our Nation.
We have become one of the most debt-ridden countries in the world. Crime has soared to unprecedented levels. Corruption, nepotism and cronyism pervade the highest levels of Government. The very constitutional democracy which our forefathers and our generation struggled to achieve and preserve is under severe threat from those charged with the sacred responsibility to protect it. We are in the midst of an illegal dictatorship.
At this 30th Anniversary of our Independence all of our citizens should look at ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves; have we become complacent, indifferent, uncaring or so self-centered that we no longer care what kind of Country we are leaving for our children and grandchildren? We owe it to our Country whether we are at home or abroad, to rededicate ourselves to right wrongs, redress injustice and heal divisions within our Nation. May God bless us all at this defining moment in our history and may his blessings to posterity extend.
With God in all our struggles: Happy Independence.