Charlestown, Nevis, July 16, 2018 (DBSKN) — When the Ministry of Tourism in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) honoured the movers and shakers in the Nevis’ blossoming tourism industry on Saturday May 26 at the prestigious Four Seasons Resort, one award had necks craned to find out who its recipient was.
The Tourism Awards Gala and Dance, which had as its theme ‘Eat Well, Live Well, Be Well’, was hosted by Premier of Nevis (also Minister of Tourism in Nevis) the Hon Mark Brantley. It was attended by the Governor General His Excellency Sir Tapley Seaton, the Acting Deputy Governor General for Nevis Her Honour Mrs Marjorie Morton, and Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris.
There were eight Tourism Awards categories and with a theme that spoke of eating well, living well and advising one to be well, it was no wonder that everyone wanted to know who would be the recipient of the ‘Best Nevisian Culinary Experience’ Award. Ms Esmie Parris of Butlers Village, owner and manager of Esmie’s Sunrise – Superette, Snackette and Bar, was the lady of the moment.
A short biography of the award winner was read before the name was announced, and the award was presented to Ms Parris by Mrs Sharon Brantley, Premier Brantley’s wife. Among those coming out that evening to congratulate her immediately after she received the award was Ms Hyacinth Pemberton, Manager at the Nevis Branch office of the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis.
The two have had a long working relationship because when Ms Parris felt the need to expand her business after it had made a name for itself, she approached the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis and was the proud beneficiary of Fresh Start Loan Programme.
“Ms Parris is a Fresh Start Programme recipient to upgrade her existing business to better serve her clientele which includes tourists who visit the historical Eden Browne Great House,” said Ms Pemberton. “We visited and were impressed with the business and wanted to align ourselves with a community-spirited business and also the empowerment of a woman in business, which were two of the aims of the Fresh Start Programme.”
Ms Parris was born and raised in Butlers but her parents had moved to St. Kitts. She joined them in 1981 and was employed by two different companies but after they closed down, her brother assisted her to set up a shop in 1985 in St. Pauls. She said that she started selling beer but realised that to keep her good clients sober they needed to be fed well and that is how she started cooking local foods.
She moved back to Butlers in Nevis in 2007 and opened a small shop in the village, and after five years there, she felt that the business had outgrown the premises and wanted a bigger area where she could have a bigger operation and also to have parking spaces for her many clients. She almost gave up as tragedy hit her in the very month she started the expansion of her business when her brother was gunned down in St. Kitts.
“I had not even told him that I had started pouring the concrete,” recalled Ms Parris. “I was feeling like giving up but I do not know something told me to just continue. I had to continue because it is something that he started and I do not know how he would have felt like seeing me give up just like that. So I continued with my goat water and the different local dishes.”
The new location is at the gateway to one of Nevis’ most historic site, the Eden Browne Great House. It has great views of the Caribbean Sea with the Nevis Peak lying smack in the background, where she serves all her clients, locals, visitors and tourists. Other popular local foods include, but not limited to, bull foot soup, pig foot soup, cook-up, johnnie cake served with fried sprat and salt fish, provisions, green banana, potatoes, breadfruit and coconut dumpling.
“I finished building without Development Bank, but in between I got loans to make additions to the building and also funding to build the stock – I never get trouble with them,” stated Ms Parris. “As a business person I advise all to try Development Bank because it is the right thing to do. They are always encouraging me. They always tell me how to improve my business,”
Commenting on the Nevis Island Administration 2018 Ministry Tourism Award she won, Ms Parris said: “I think it was wonderful and I think of my hard work and dedication to the customers – I think well, that was my achievement.”
Esmie’s Sunrise – Superette, Snackette and Bar is open seven days a week. Monday to Saturday it opens from 6:00 am until; and Sundays it opens from 12:00 noon until. On Saturday she usually has a welcome addition in the form of entertainment provided by the Sugar Hill String Band. Occasionally there would be the Big Drum and a masquerade troupe doing additional entertainment.