Basseterre, St. Kitts (January 23, 2014) — Ground was broken Wednesday evening (January 22) at New Road in Constituency Number 2 (Central Basseterre), for a state of the art family park that will be a model in the region, and whose delivery date is April.
At a colourful ceremony that was graced by the presence of the Governor General His Excellency Sir Edmund Lawrence, Federation’s Prime Minister the Rt Hon Dr Denzil Douglas praised the vision of the area parliamentary representative, the Hon Marcella Althea Liburd, and the friendship between his country and the Republic of China on Taiwan.
He observed that the new development reflects Minister Liburd’s role as the minister of Health and her own determination to ensure that the nation’s children return to the high levels of free and fun-filled physical activities which have been overshadowed by the advanced levels of modernity, making them shockingly sedentary.
He noted that the Labour-led administration had imaginatively and skilfully conceived of a development that would provide the country’s children with opportunities to have fun by using their bodies to run and play, and providing the kind of activity that is so important to overall health at all stages of life.
“I ask you to join me in applauding our Minister Liburd for her decision to bring into being this effective and appealing means of both enhancing the happiness of our children, as well as improving the levels of fitness,” said the Prime Minister.
“This park will encourage a sense of community among the adults who will come here, and it will encourage opportunities for interaction amongst adults and children as well – a very important aspect of healthy community life that modern life sometimes makes very difficult.”
In commending Resident Ambassador of the Republic of China on Taiwan, His Excellency Miguel Tsao, for his support in the policy development of the Federation, Prime Minister Douglas said that his government cherishes the friendship of the Taiwanese people, and government, and shall do all within its power to preserve it.
He assured people living in the Federation from the rest of the Caribbean that they are “not foreign in our land. You are part of us, and we welcome the opportunities for you to be here to help to build our nation. Never ever from this platform would you ever hear us referring to you as ‘banging water to come here’, never!”
The Prime Minister had the full backing of his cabinet colleagues, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works, the Hon Dr Earl Asim Martin; the Minister of Education and Agriculture, the Hon Nigel Carty; and the Minister Tourism and International Transport, the Hon Ricky Skerritt.
Specially invited guests to the function were the three new St. Kitts Nevis Labour Party candidates, Mr Konris Maynard (Constituency Number 3), Dr Vance Gilbert (Constituency Number 7), and Dr Terrence Drew (Constituency Number 8) who received a thunderous applause when introduced by the Prime Minister.
“I am so delighted to be here as a friend; as a partner of St. Kitts and Nevis, to move forward the first initiative of 2014, that is the creation of the New Road Family Park,” said the Taiwanese Ambassador, His Excellency Mr Miguel Tsao when he addressed the gathering that was made up of residents of New Road, Pine Garden, and Shadwell areas.
He said that when Minister Liburd approached him with the idea of the park, he was moved and after contacting his government he quickly got a response to sponsor the idea which he said will be a trendsetter. He added that five containers are now navigating the high seas from the Pacific Ocean to St. Kitts and promised that the project will be ready in three months’ time.
Host and area Parliamentary Representative the Hon Marcella Liburd said the afternoon was a very special one for the people of New Road, the Constituency and country in general. “You will recall in 2010 we carried a theme of ‘stronger families and safer communities’. And so, within the ministry and within the constituency, that was the sort of mantra upon which all of the projects that we looked at were based.”
She noted that in order to have stronger families, they felt that the focal point of families was children and within the communities they decided to find a way to involve and include the children in positive activities.
Recognising that there were no places for children to play, Minister Liburd said: “We thought that we would need to do a parks project that would have a major family park that is why we are here today.”
She noted that they would also look at other parks in the constituency to make them more user friendly and as a result some of the equipment that is due to arrive from Taiwan would go to Dorset Park for a kids zone, some at the Gardens, others in the Pine Garden-Shadwell area and some at the Paediatric Unit of the JNF General Hospital.
“The Ambassador has promised me that this park will be the first of its kind not only in St. Kitts and Nevis, but in the region,” commented Minister Liburd. “So what you will see here it will have international standards, right here at New Road Family Park.”
The Park will be a place for the family to find recreation, for bringing the community and people together, for bringing the inter-generational movement together which will now mean that whenever the month of the elderly is being observed, the park will now provide them with a place where they could meet.
“I want to pay special gratitude to the Ambassador and to the Government of Taiwan for coming through on the sponsorship of this parks project to the tune of a half a million US dollars,” said Minister Liburd. “Kindly convey our thanks to your government. We really appreciate it.
“I also want to thank the Prime Minister and the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis for being joint sponsors of this project, which is very important to us in Central Basseterre, in New Road and indeed in the entire country.”
Master of Ceremonies was Ms Sharon Rattan, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs, while the vote of thanks was delivered by Ms Veona Garnett. Others attending the ceremony included Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Her Excellency Mrs Astona Browne, and past parliamentarians and government ministers, Mr Rupert Herbert and Mr Cedric Liburd.
An overview of the project was provided through a slide presentation by Engineering Consultant, Mr Peter Jenkins. Six year-old Miss LeAnna O’Loughlin rendered the National Anthem, nine year-old Miss Turquoisa Henry made a power rendition without musical backups, three high school students executed a well harmonised drumology, and a child from the community was one of the persons who turned the sod during the ground breaking ceremony.