Basseterre, St. Kitts (September 18, 2013) — The smallest country in the Western Hemisphere, St. Kitts and Nevis, has been described as a giant that has risen to great heights because of the indomitability and resourcefulness of its greatest asset: Its people.
“Despite our small physical size, and punching way above our weight we have stood our own in the international arena in academics, music, sports, the arts, economics, healthcare, human rights, social protection, hospitality, and a number of other areas where Kittitians and Nevisians continue to emerge as leaders and beacons of light leading the way,” said Minister of Health, Community and Social Development, Culture and Gender Affairs, the Hon Marcella Liburd.
Speaking on Tuesday evening September 17 at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort at a special Independence 30 Year Award ceremony, where 30 Kittitians and Nevisians were awarded for their contribution to nation building, Minister Liburd said that as the country marked 30 years of self-determination and nationhood, its citizens stood tall and proud.
“Our people remain our greatest asset: Determined, talented, creative and indomitable throughout the years,” said Hon Liburd. “Kittitians and Nevisians have successfully overcome numerous obstacles and challenges, through hard work and an unflatable spirit.
“Our Nation’s success is a reflection of the dedication, service and commitment of men and women who day after day continue to put their country and others above themselves.”
She pointed out that the theme chosen for the 30th Anniversary of Independence, ‘Stability, Creativity and Prosperity’ was in reality a testimony to their lives, their work ethic, their imagination, and their ongoing efforts at being the best that they can be.
According to Hon Liburd, they are the men and women who have over the past three decades made citizens of this proud country to call themselves Kittitians and Nevisians.
“They have represented us in various forums, they have taken our culture beyond our shores and signalled to the world not to watch our small size for we are a force to be reckoned with,” asserted Minister Liburd. “They have become role models not only for us here in St. Kitts and Nevis, but for all Caribbean people.”
The Minister said that as the country celebrated its 30th anniversary celebrations, it was fitting that everyone recognises those stalwarts whose lives and service to community and country have had a positive influence on others.
“They have served selflessly and with distinction and have accomplished feats that appear impossible for some of us,” observed Hon Liburd. “Through it all, they have remained humble, serving not for fame or glory but rather out of love and compassion.”
The colourful ceremony, which was chaired by Mr Konris Maynard, was attended by among others the Governor General His Excellency Sir Edmund Lawrence; Prime Minister the Right Hon Dr Denzil Douglas who also presided in the giving of the medals of honour to the awardees, Minister of Education, the Hon Nigel Carty, and Consul General for St. Kitts and Nevis in Philadelphia, Mr Worrell D. Nero.
Others included the resident ambassador of the Republic of China on Taiwan, His Excellency Mr Miguel Tsao; a group of Kittitians from the US Virgin Islands; and the five 2013 National Honours Awardees, Mrs Hilda Byron, Ms Gloria Mills, Mr Robert Jeffers, Mrs Brenda John, and Mr Kenneth Martin.
There were also, present at the ceremony, three members of an advance party of the Executive Governor of the Nigerian State of Akwa Ibom, His Excellency Chief Godswill Akpobio, who is due to visit the Federation this week: Engr. Emmanuel Ivenso, Arc. Okwunna Ekpunobi, and Barr. Tessy Ekpunobi.
The first to receive their medals of honour were in the field of Health, where Permanent Secretary Mr Andrew Skerritt read their bios. They were Ms Launette Adams (Administration), Ms Cathalina Paulius (Nurse), Mrs Margaret O’Brien-France (Nurse), and Dr Laughton Richardson, whose medal was received by his daughter.
PS Andrew Skerritt remained on the stage as he continued to read bios of the second batch of honourees from the field of Sports. These included Mr James ‘Barman’ Hanley, Mr Alphonso Bridgewater and Mr Elvis ‘Pepe’ Isaac who came forward to receive their medals, and Nevisian Mr Stuart Williams who was not present.
Industry and Commerce presented the third batch of awardees, with Ms Torfrida Rochester, Chief Personnel Officer in the Department of Human Resources reading their bios. They included Nevisian Mr Arthur Evelyn, and Mr Colin Mallalieu whose medal was received by his daughter, Mrs Claire Mallalieu-Rawson.
Others in the Industry and Commerce category were Mr Ian Slack, Mrs Patricia Bartlette, and Mr Kenneth Samuel. Hotelier, Mr Richard Lupinacci of Nevis did not turn up.
Reading the bios for awardees in Education was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs Ionie Liburd-Willett. They included Mr Oswald Elliott, Mrs Yvonne Mulley-Walters, Nevisian Mr Pearlievan Wilkin, Ms Carmen Ward, and Mr John Charles.
The fifth batch of awardees was that of Agriculture, and reading the bios was Permanent Secretary Mr Ashton Stanley. They were Mr Charles Stephens, Nevisian Mr Augustine Merchant, Mr Luther Clarke, Mrs Louise Brudy, whose medal was collected by her son Mr Blyden Brudy, and Mr Keithley Armstrong.
Chairperson of the Independence 30 Celebrations Committee, who is also the Permanent Secretary in Federal Ministry of Community and Social Development, Culture and Gender Affairs, Ms Sharon Rattan, read bios of awardees in the category of Arts and Culture. The first to receive was Cayon-born but Nevis resident, Rev Canon Dr Alston Percival in a special category: Ecclesiastical Affairs.
Others receiving were Nevisian Mr Halstead ‘Sooty’ Byron, Mr Valentine Martin, Mr Lionel Gumbs, and Mrs Joan Mallalieu. Mr Ian Hodge, who was also due to be honoured under the arts and Culture category, was not present at the ceremony.
After Prime Minister the Right Hon Dr Denzil Douglas would have done his duty in awarding the awards to the Independence 30 Medal of Honour awardees, and including assisting wheelchair-bound Mr Valentine Martin return to his position in the auditorium by pushing the wheelchair, the Minister of Health, Community and Social Development, Culture and Gender Affairs the Hon Marcella Liburd came forward to present plaques to the last category.
The Final presentation for the evening was for institutional awardees, all who received plaques. They were the Embassy of the Republic of China on Taiwan that was received by the resident ambassador, HE Miguel Tsao, St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank, TDC Group of Companies, The Cable, Okolo Tegramantine Dance Theatre, and Garden Hot Spurs.