Charlestown-Nevis-The CIRCLE of PEACE youth program, hosted a significant awards ceremony at the Michael Sutton auditorium of the NEPAC building, on Tuesday 23rd January.
Founder of the vibrant group, Mr. John Prentice, in his remarks, noted that he founded the body with the stated purpose of helping youths in trouble to get back on track with life and to become law abiding citizens, who can yet make a meaningful contribution to the development of the country.
The group was founded in 1991 and Prentice thanked those persons who have encouraged him to continue, despite the many hardships and discouragements.
He indicated that the ceremony was three fold: Awards were to be presented to some of the long standing contributors/supporters and friends; to persons who were incarcerated and have shown remarkable improvement and to the winners of a poetry competition that his group initiated for persons who are currently in prison.
The poetry contest allowed the residents of her majesty’s prison, to demonstrate their literary abilities by writing a poem on the theme ‘my action, my pain, you wouldn’t like to be me.’
He indicated that the poems were of a superior quality and brought out the message to the young persons within the federation, that jail is not a place to be.
The ceremony was ably chaired by Director of Youth on Nevis, Miss Zahnela Claxton and commenced with the singing of the national anthem by Mrs. Angela Prentice and the invocation by Pastor Alfred Forbes.
Opening remarks were delivered by Mr. Ramie Gumbs, former inmate, now making a positive impact on the community, who noted that a pen and a pillow can be used for good or bad purposes. ‘ It’s all about the choices we make in life,’ he said.
Minister responsible for Community Development, Hon. Eric Evelyn, had high praise for Mr. Prentice and his initiative and pledged the continued full support of his ministry, towards the upliftment of the youths within the society.
Two of the top placers in the poetry competition, Ricky Ferlance and James Ham, delivered portions of their poems, which were well received.
In the absence of Premier Brantley, who was at a parliamentary session, his Permanent Secretary, Mr. Wakeley Daniel, gave sterling remarks and alluded to the fact that everyone should be given a second chance.
He looked at real life stories of persons making a positive impact after an initial mess up in their lives and even referred to the biblical story of Joseph, who was wrongfully jailed but ended up as one of the most powerful men in Egypt.
The following awards were presented by the Hon. Spencer Brand; Mr. Wakeley Daniel and Mr. Alton Liburd (Supt. of Prisons):
Hon. Mark Brantley; Hon. Spencer Brand; Mr. Ernie France; Mr. Hensley Daniel; Mr. Jevon Weekes; Carib Brewery (St. Kitts-Nevis Ltd); Mr. Dale Claxton; Mr. Alton Liburd and Mr. Richard Lupinaacci
Mr. Vusline Lapsey; Mr. James Allen and Mr. Ramie Gumbs
Poem competition winners
Mr. Ricky Ferlance; Mr. James Ham and Mr. Lumumba Matthew.