National Assembly pays tribute to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of National Hero Sir C.A. Paul Southwell

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JULY 24th 2013 (CUOPM) – The St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly has paid glowing tribute to National Hero, the Right Excellent Sir C.A. Paul Southwell to mark the 100th Anniversary of his birth.

Ms. Pixie Southwell, Prime Minister the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas,  Mr. Rustum Southwell and Miss Clytie Southwell
Ms. Pixie Southwell, Prime Minister the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, Mr. Rustum Southwell and Miss Clytie Southwell

Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas in his placed into the records of the lawmaking body a resolution commemorates the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell’s birth.

“Mr. Speaker, we are grateful to almighty God for preserving from his birth in the beautiful island of Dominica. We are grateful to almighty God to have nurtured him, to the point where he travelled eventually as a young man to St. Kitts and Nevis and put down his bucket and worked to improve the lot of the ordinary man and not so ordinary man in St. Kitts and Nevis and beyond.

Today, because this Parliament is meeting, we thought we would use this occasion most fitting to bring to the attention of the World, the gratitude and the resolve of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis to continue to hold this man high in our esteem and in the esteem of those who knew him and worked with him and served with him all around the World,” Dr. Douglas said.

The resolution read: “Whereas the Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis recognizes Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell as an exemplary Statesman and National Hero, and whereas Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell was born in Dominica on the 18th day of July, 1913 and worked his way up through the ranks labouring for the masses in St. Christopher and Nevis by being first employed in the Sugar Industry in 1944 and eventually being recruited into the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Union in 1946; where he worked as an organizer for the next 10 years rising in 1947 to the position of Vice President, a position he maintained until his death.

And whereas Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell served with distinction as a Parliamentarian when he was elected to the legislature in 1952 and subsequently elected to the Executive Council in 1955; and whereas upon the introduction of the Ministerial System, Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell became the Minister of Communications and Works, eventually being appointed as the First Chief Minister of the great trinity of islands, St. Christopher-Nevis and Anguilla, where he served until 1966 and then as Deputy Premier under the late Premier Sir Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw in 1967.

And whereas Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell was catapulted into the position of Premier, following the demise of the late Sir Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw in 1978, but who himself succumbed on the 18th day of May 1979 and whereas Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell was involved critically in the area of Tourism and land development becoming the Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Association and Chairman of the West Indies Associated States; and whereas Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell was dedicated to the cause of CARICOM having had the foresight to recognize that such a regional body had a vital role to play in negotiating as one voice for the entire Caribbean region.

Now be it resolved therefore by the National Assembly of the Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis as follows; that since tomorrow July 18th 2013 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell, that he be publicly recognized in this Honourable House for his outstanding contributions to St. Christopher and Nevis and to the wider region.

That he lauded for his contributions as Statesman, as a brilliant Economist and Social Architect; for his contributions to Tourism and Land development in the Federation, having masterminded the concept of the development of the Frigate Bay Lands in 1971;

That the National Assembly acknowledges that the life of Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell has been characterized by a legacy of social service, dignity and a healthy regard for democracy and the rule of law.

That the support of the National Assembly be wholeheartedly given to the recognition of the role of Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell in the development of the Federation and the Caribbean Region as a whole.”

Parliamentary Representative for Central Basseterre, Hon. Marcella Liburd in her tribute noted it was always good to give honour where honour is due and Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell is one of those persons who have been honoured and who we are happy to associate with as tomorrow, we will commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth.

“Mr. Speaker, Mr. Southwell symbolizes a number of things for us; one of course is the inclusion and his dedication to resilient immigration. If you just look at Mr. Southwell himself; he was born in Dominica, died in St. Lucia, married a Nevisian (who was born in Cuba) and he lived in St. Kitts.

That alone spells out what we are talking about in terms of his inclusion and we as a party, the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party and the Union, embraced him regardless of his place of birth, until he held the top leadership position in the country on more than one occasion during his lifetime.”

“Mr. Southwell was also a cultural icon; I noticed nothing was said about that in the resolution but I want to say that Mr. Southwell introduced our very first Arts Festival in 1964.

As the Minister of Culture, it is important that we point these things out for those young ones who won’t know about this. He introduced our Arts Festival in 1964 and gave the opportunity to the exponents of our Art Form to use their creativity and Imagination to have it there on display.”

She pointed out that Mr. Southwell was also someone who exudes and exhibits strong leadership.

“He not only held the position of Premier, Chief Minister and Deputy Premier but he led in many other areas, for example in tourism. He was the leader there, a visionary and I think what is Frigate Bay today may not have been what it is today had it not been for Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell’s visionary leadership as he tried to develop Frigate Bay as an investment area.

Back then many persons criticized him for it but today we see the fruits of the imagination and the creativity that he had and the fore sight of what Frigate Bay is today is in large measure Mr. Southwell is/was responsible for it.”

“He was a family man as you can see from the members of his family who are here to commemorate this anniversary. Very strong on families and we know that I have always built on the slogan that stronger families build stronger communities and also stronger nations.

His family meant everything to him; he spent quality time with them to be able to help them develop and grow into responsible adults and responsible citizens.

Education also meant a lot to him and he was not only concerned about the education of his own children, but the education of all who came into contact with him and all who was within his sphere of influence; because he, coming from a working class background would know that sometimes that is all that we have.

So we have to encourage our children to go to school, stay in school and to learn. Mr. Southwell did just that knowing that that was the key to take many of us out of poverty and out of the lives we had and out of the situation we grow up in,” said Ms. Liburd, the Minister of Health, Social and Community Development and Culture.

Sen. the Hon. Richard Skerritt noted that Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell was a visionary himself and he lived for today and for the future.

“It has been a great privilege for me to sit in a position that has impact on the commercial and economic livelihood of this country and I have had good reason to reflect on the work of Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell over the years but especially as we were preparing for the commemoration….as we speak right now several members of his immediate family have come home from all around the world to celebrate.

“So Mr. Speaker it is indeed a pleasure for me and an honour to have been involved in the publication of a small booklet which is also being circulated right now. The booklet features basically two speeches that I have made, one I made in 2004 on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of his passing at the Annual Requiem Mass put on by the St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party,” said Minister Skerritt.

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