BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, January 25, 2018 (PLP PR Media Inc.) — Year 2017 was a significant one for the Peoples Labour Party (PLP)/Prime Minister’s (PM) Monthly Health Walk. For the first time walks were held in other constituencies, as opposed to the traditional Constituency Number Seven setting.
After a short winter break, the first walk for 2018 returns ‘home’ to Constituency Number Seven on Saturday January 27 starting at 5:30 am. Walk enthusiast who every last, and sometimes first, Saturday of the month join Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris are getting ready for the walk which will take them from Belle Vue bus stop to Ottley’s hard courts.
The now hugely popular PLP/PM Monthly Health Walk, which draws scores of health conscious individuals from across the island of St. Kitts, and even from Nevis, was initiated in April 2007 by the Area Parliamentary Representative for St. Christopher Seven, Dr the Hon Timothy Harris. It was then known as the Dr Harris Constituency Number Seven Health Walk.
The walk took a whole new meaning after Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, as the Political Leader of the Peoples Labour Party (PLP) was elected the Prime Minister of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. That was after his party’s teaming up with the People’s Action Movement (PAM) and the Nevis-based Concerned Citizen’s Movement (CCM) as the Team Unity Movement which swept to power after the February 2015 elections.
“The idea of the health walk came about because most of the constituents wanted to see more of their representative while he at the same time, being a man of the people needed to have a first-hand opportunity to personally know everyone in the constituency,” explained Mr William Phillip, who is a founding member of the Peoples Labour Party.
According to Mr Phillip, members of the Constituency Number Seven group decided that they would come together and organise walk-throughs on Saturday mornings within the constituency from one village to another. Many in the villages were happy to see their area parliamentary representative coming to them instead of their going out to look for him.
“So we started from village to village, and then we realised that in any one day we could only capture one or two villages,” noted Mr Phillip. “We decided to change, and take a route that could capture the whole constituency. That is when we started, rather than going like from Molineux on a Saturday or Phillips on another Saturday, we decided we start from where the constituency ends to where it begins. That is how we started walking from Black Rocks (Belle Vue) straight up to Ottley’s Village.”
With Dr the Hon Timothy Harris becoming the Prime Minister of the Federation, the walk had been attracting people from the entire island who come not only to enjoy the health benefits it offers, but also to have a chance to talk with their Prime Minister on a one-on-one basis. The number of people from outside Constituency Number Seven turning up for the walks has increased tremendously as they would bring their friends for the next walk.
“Prime Minister Harris, who is also CARICOM’s lead spokesperson on human resources, health and HIV matters, has been taking the matter of healthy lifestyles ever since the idea of the health walk was actualised over ten years ago, and today although he is still our Area Parliamentary Representative, he is the Prime Minister of all and he wants his message to go out to all,” noted Mr Phillip.
The walk was rebranded last year and renamed the PLP/PM Monthly Health Walk, and the Peoples Labour Party (PLP) National Executive saw the need to have the walk take place in other constituencies to give everyone an equal opportunity to enjoy the health benefits of the walk, and also have time to meet the Prime Minister on a one-on-one basis without their having to travel to Constituency Number Seven.
This was realised on Saturday July 1 last year, with the first walk out of Constituency Number Seven that saw walkers starting from St. Peter’s in Constituency Number Eight, traversing through Constituency Number Two, and ending at the Frigate Bay Pasture in Constituency Number One.
The second walk outside #7 was held on Saturday July 29. It started in Constituency Number One, traversed Constituency Number Two, and ended in Constituency Number Three. The third one was held entirely in Constituency Number Four on Saturday August 26, while the fourth one was held in Constituency Number Six on Saturday November 4.
Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, who is taking seriously the fight against the scourge of NCDs among the public through practical ways, has sent out a special invitation to all to join him on Saturday January 27 for the first health walk in 2018. It will take the walkers along the Island Main Road from the bus stop at Belle Vue through the various picturesque Constituency #7 villages of Tabernacle, Mansion, Christchurch, Bourryeau, Lodge, Lodge Project and end at Ottley’s Hard Court.