The most devastating boating accident within the entire Eastern Caribbean, took place 50 years ago, to the day, Saturday, August 1, 2020.
The MV Christena was the main ferry being utilized at the time, between St. Kitts and Nevis and on that fateful day in 1970, was being captained by a Mr. Ponteen.
The boat sank off Nag’s Head and only approximately 90 of the purported 320 plus passengers, survived. Fifty years later, Stevenson Manners has teamed up with Almond Dasent, to produce a grand documentary of the event.
In the process, they have conducted some 51 interviews of persons who were actually on the boat and/or relatives, or persons who played significant and varied roles, in that afternoon’s drama.
The two gentlemen, in collaboration with Winston Crooke, the St. Kitts and Nevis Swimming federation chief and SWIM TO WIN and others, have teamed up to pull off a swim by a brave foursome, who will swim from the site, on to Pinney’sBeach, where a ceremony will be held, after their arrival.
At 4.10 pm, the approximate time that the boat sank, everyone on Nevis and beyond, is kindly asked to observe a minute’s silence, in commemoration of the brave souls who lost their lives on that day.
Stevenson Manners, in a recent interview with NTV Sports, made the connect between Cricket and the MV Christena:
Travelling on the boat on that day, was Livingstone Sargeant, then arguably the most prolific batsman in the Leewards islands and his nephew Loughton. Loughton was also showing promise as an outstanding left-handed stroke maker.
He informed Steve that he managed to get clear of the boat and miraculously, a bench appeared and he held on to it for dear life until he was rescued.
Livingstone, on the other hand, was helped by several persons, who went out of their way, to assist the cricketing star.
He survived by holding on to a drum, along with some other men.
Orville Morton, at the time, an opening batsman for Nevis, happened to be celebrating a birthday that same day and was being toasted in the Captain’s cabin. Unfortunately, he did not survive the ordeal.
According to Steve, the Nevisian public was shell-shocked, for several years following the disaster and only managed some semblance of real celebrations and joy, when Elquemedo Willet, at age 19, made history, just three years after the disaster, in becoming the first Nevisian and indeed Leeward Islander, to make it into the prestigious West Indies team.
Willet effectively threw the flood gates open, to allow more Nevisians and many others from the Leeward Islands to follow suit.