Tribute on the retirement of the Hon. Joseph W. Parry

By Hon. Denzil L. Douglas, Former Prime Minister and Federal Leader of the Opposition

Today I would like to wish my very good friend and ally, the Hon. Joseph Walcott Parry, a happy retirement. Joseph Parry is one of those rare personalities you meet that you instantly become friends with. He is a genuine and principled individual. To be truthful, neither time nor space would permit me to do justice to the contribution that he has made to the social and economic development of Nevis, its people, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, and the Caribbean as a whole. However, I am absolutely clear in my mind that there is no-one, anywhere, more patriotic and more committed to the development of this country and its people than Joseph Walcott Parry.

Over the course of his remarkable life, Mr. Parry’s aim has always been to serve and lift people up. He did it as a teacher, as a pioneer in the banking sector in Nevis and as a sportsman extraordinaire. And he did it with passion and fervor, and he did it out of his love of people and of country. It was his inclination towards servant-leadership that attracted him to the field of politics as this would allow him a greater platform for service and advocacy, and he did exploits for the advancement of our people at both the local and Federal levels.

I got to know the young Joseph Parry when he was a student in the upper forms of the grammar school when I started attending that same school in 1965. He was a role model for us younger students. He was bright and engaged in sports. In many ways, he was what every lad in school those days wanted to be. In my view, his life took its natural course – service to his people at the very highest level where he has been able to utilize his academic training, his broad socialization, his people skills and his patriotism to move us all forward and upward to a higher dimension of progress and prosperity.

I had the good fortune of working closely with the Hon. Joseph Parry and seeing, up-close, the full display of his patriotism and love of people. While he was Premier, the local and Federal governments enjoyed a refreshingly open, frank and mutually-beneficial relationship. I always felt comfortable engaging him on important matters of state, since he was very knowledgeable and concerned with improving the relationship between St. Kitts and Nevis. I learnt and benefited tremendously from his wisdom and keen insights.

Ours was a relationship that was not solely based on politics, but on the idea that we could accomplish so much if we did it together, for the benefit of the people we collectively serve. I built connections and friendships through my relationship with him, and for these I am better off. I am a little wiser myself for having worked with Mr. Parry.

After some thirty-two years of an illustrious and fulfilling political career, Mr. Parry has left an enduring legacy on which future generations of leadership within the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) can build. The NRP therefore, has a strong foundation on which to launch its next generation of leaders and to recalibrate its platform to meet the emerging political imperatives of their time, such that the people of Nevis and of the Federation can be made to live out their true potential as citizens of the global community.

Mr. Parry’s life’s work and mission have lifted so many ordinary people out of the dust and has helped to bring our people into an era of greater material and social well-being. His unique style of engaging people and serving our country has made him a living legend in the hearts and minds of the people of Nevis and the Federation as a whole. That Joseph has given yeoman service over so many years is a testament to his unrelenting commitment to improving the welfare of people, and of his unceasing faith in what is possible.

Those who have been privileged to know the Honourable Joseph Parry and who have served beside him on his remarkable journey have all been edified by their encounters with him. There is one particular experience that stands out in my memory that speaks volumes about Joseph’s integrity, honesty and loyalty as a friend and ally. I recall the process leading up to the opening the Federal Office on Nevis. I remember discussing that project with the then Premier of Nevis and the Hon. Joseph Parry in the context of enhancing the relationship and dialogue between the Federal government and the Nevis community. I proceeded with these plans having been assured of that initial support. To my surprise, the opening of the Federal Office was used as a reason to trigger Clause 113 of the Constitution of St. Christopher and Nevis. However, despite heated debate, the Hon. Joseph Parry remained true to his word. His word was his bond. This experience cemented the bond of friendship between us that has flourished over the years.

The Hon. Joseph Parry has been a tower of light and positivity on the socio-political landscape of St. Kitts and Nevis over the course of his lifetime of service. Today, he can say that he has run the race with honour and he has finished the course with his pride, integrity and dignity still intact.

On behalf of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party and the Next Gen SKN Team of Leaders, as well as on my personal behalf I want to thank the Honourable Joseph Parry for being the exemplary Statesman and role model that he has been. I wish him and his family all God’s richest blessings as he hopefully takes on more leisurely pursuits. I know that Joseph, in true character, will never completely remove himself from service to the good people of Nevis and the Federation as a whole. He will always remain a guiding hand and gentle voice of reason in the governance affairs of St. Kitts and Nevis. I want him to know that his insights and elder perspective will always be welcome in a new Next Gen SKN Labour Administration!

I wish you God speed my friend!

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