Dr. Geoffrey Hanley pays tribute to Dr. Earl Asim Martin “a gentle giant”

Erasmus Williams

Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 8, 2018 – Describing outgoing St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) East Basseterre representative, Dr. Earl Asim Martin, as “a gentle giant,” former school principal, Dr. Geoffrey Hanley, paid glowing tribute to Martin, who represented St. Christopher 1 (East Basseterre) in parliament for five terms (1993 – 2015).

“Dr. Martin has been a great Labour leader in our constituency, with an outstanding record of service to all our hardworking people and to the nation as a whole. We know him as a gentle giant of few words. But for twenty-two years and more, we saw his passion for service helped to change our lives for the better,” said Dr. Hanley, who is expected to succeed the Cuban-trained medical doctor-turned politician.

Dr. Hanley told a pre-Labour Day public meeting by the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) on Sunday night, that Dr. Martin “in his focused and quiet ways, gets things done and in that way, he accomplished many things for the people of East Basseterre and this country without flourish or fanfare.”

“The young people of Newtown, the young people of Ponds Pasture, Gillard Meadows, Bladens, Bird Rock, Frigate Bay and all of East Basseterre, stand proud to celebrate the work of Dr. Earl Asim Martin, Labour’s standard bearer in the East.

I celebrate Dr. Martin and praise his contributions to people empowerment and community development in his roles as a medical doctor, parliamentarian and minister of government,” Dr. Hanley told thousands who attended the George Street meeting and watched on FaceBook and listening via radio.

Dr. Hanley celebrated his predecessor’s “work as a pioneer in health sector improvements in this country. This started with his choice to study medicine in Cuba. He was the first of the many Cuban University graduates. The man is a trendsetter. Unselfishly, he did not pull up the ladder but as a minister of Government, Dr. Martin opened the way for more of our young people to receive that same quality tertiary education that is why we have more doctors and nurses, even engineers, architects and accountants coming from the length and breadth of this country.”

He pointed out that by 2004 Dr. Martin was celebrated as the Dean of Health in CARICOM where his colleagues celebrated   his accomplishments.

“They observe St. Kitts and Nevis’ rise in the UN Social Index rankings through the delivery of better healthcare. It was under his able watch, that J.N. France General Hospital and Pogson Medical Centre were upgraded and modernised. It was under his watch that all the health centres across the island were refurbished and better equipped to serve the people. It was under his tenure as Minister of Health, that Dental Care Unit, here in Newtown was expanded and upgraded to better serve all our people,” Dr. Hanley said.

“While doing this, Dr. Martin looked out for the nurses and other health sector employees when he skilfully sought and gained improved salary scale adjustments for these workers by 1998. So if you hear today that health workers are going home with less pay, know that they had it better with Dr. Martin and Labour,” he said.

“It was Dr. Martin who led the way for infrastructure upgrades on George Street when new water mains were put in and the roads throughout Newtown were resurfaced, not patched.  Through careful analysis and purposeful action, he corrected the drainage issues which for years caused flooding in Ponds Pasture whenever there was a heavy downpour,” in a powerful presentation, which stirred a jubilant crowd.

“Muchos gracias Señor Asim Martin. You have been a champion of progress. You have been leader, a comrade and brother, who has delivered in the interest of all. Your life is truly the embodiment of our party’s creed…. ‘For the Good that We Can Do,’ said Dr. Hanley as he saluted Dr. Martin on behalf of “the grateful people of East Basseterre.”

“We rise higher on the legacy of your twenty-five years of service to the party, this constituency and this country. It is my distinct honour and profound, to present this plaque to you, Dr. Martin as a symbol of deepest and heartfelt appreciation for the work you have done and continue to do.”

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