New York, NY (Press Secretary, PMO) – The Permanent Mission of Saint Kitts and Nevis, in collaboration with esteemed dignitaries, hosted a spectacular 40th Independence Anniversary Grand Gala and Cultural Extravaganza on Friday, September 22nd. This enchanting celebration, held under the distinguished patronage of the Honourable Prime Minister, was a night to remember, uniting nearly 600 nationals, dignitaries, and friends of Saint Kitts and Nevis in a rich tapestry of culture, entertainment, and honour.
In attendance were Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Jacinth Henry Martin; Governor-General’s Deputy, His Excellency Walford Gumbs; Minister of Foreign Affairs et al, Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas; Minister of Sustainable Development et al, Hon. Dr. Joyelle Clarke; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Kaye Bass; Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office Ms. Naeemah Hazelle; and various other members of the Prime Minister’s delegation.
The evening’s festivities were a vibrant showcase of Saint Kitts and Nevis’ rich heritage, featuring captivating cultural acts, mesmerizing masquerades, enchanting moko jumbies, rhythmic dance performances, and soulful songs that resonated with the spirit of the nation.
One of the highlights was the creation of a cultural village where guests indulged in the signature drink of the islands, freshly harvested coconut water, and delectable sweet treats adorned with the national flag’s vibrant design.
A special cultural presentation was also offered by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, commemorating 40 years of diplomatic relations with Taiwan, adding an international flair to the evening’s festivities.
The gala took a momentous turn with the launch of the Prime Minister’s Diaspora Awards, recognizing outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to their fields. The honorees included Professor Caryl Phillip, recipient of the Prime Minister’s Legacy Award for Leadership and Excellence in the Literary Arts; Dr. Andrea Browne, honored as a Woman of Excellence in Science; and Ms. Phoenetia Browne, who received the Prime Minister’s Youth Excellence Award in Sports.
In his address to fellow nationals in New York, Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew articulated his administration’s visionary commitment to evolving the twin-island Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis into a Sustainable Island State.
“We are on a path to establishing a sustainable island state. A state that is premised on a number of critical principles, one being sustainable and renewable energy sources, making sure that our people have access to water, making sure that our people have access to quality healthcare, making sure that our people have access to housing, making sure that our people have access to education so that they can advance themselves in this world today. And so, your country is pursuing a sustainable island state where all of its citizens can have the opportunity to advance themselves well, so I ask you to be a part of that with us” Prime Minister Drew stated.
He also elaborated on the incentives of the recently launched “Reset Independence 40” initiative during the independence celebrations in Saint Kitts and Nevis.
“Have you heard of Reset Independence 40? That reset programme is really to help our people to get themselves back on track as we move forward in a post covid world… We have done a number of critical things for our people. We have set aside, and we have restructured any debt persons might have accumulated from their electricity bill, their water bill, their student loans, and their NHC housing bill, to ensure that they can move forward in the economy that we are seeking to establish” said Dr. Drew.
He further stated, “We know that our people went through great difficulties during COVID, and as workers of Saint Kitts and Nevis, those who worked hard to build our country, we decided to give our workers of Saint Kitts and Nevis a bonus, to say thank you for all that you have done to make Saint Kitts and Nevis a successful Independent country. We will never forget you and the sacrifices you have made”.
The night’s entertainment was nothing short of extraordinary, featuring stellar performances by Rucas and David House of the Grand Masters Band, Abena Amory, and the mesmerizing sounds of the Breakaway Brass Band. As the music filled the air, guests danced the night away, creating unforgettable memories in an atmosphere of pure joy and celebration.
Among the distinguished guests in attendance were H.E. Dennis Francis, President of the United Nations General Assembly, accompanied by his wife; and Ms. Vanessa L. Gibson, Bronx Borough President; along with Attorney Hugh Campbell, adding to the grandeur of the evening.