Prime Minister Douglas made the assertion on Wednesday September 10 when he led members of the Federal Cabinet, and introduced them to staff and pupils at the Tucker Clarke Primary School in Newton, as part of the country’s celebration of its 31st Independence Anniversary.
While addressing the staff and pupils of the school, the Prime Minister asked them if they knew the theme under which the independence anniversary is being celebrated, and a girl pupil in the crowd said, ‘A Nation on the Move, Celebrating our Progress’.
“She is very bright, give her a round of applause,” said the Prime Minister. “That is the theme around which our independence celebrations this year are being pursued – A Nation on the Move, Celebrating our Progress
“What that means, no one can stop us. We will continue to move forward and upward and as we move forward and upward and we achieve novel things in this country, we will celebrate them.”
The visit to the Tucker Clarke Primary School where the Prime Minister and his entourage were welcomed by the Principal, Mr Sylvester Charles, Deputy Principal Mr Leslie Richardson, staff and pupils of the school was part of the visits to schools by ministers of government which is part of Independence 31 celebrations.
“We are visiting your school on a very special occasion,” informed the Prime Minister. “It is the 31st anniversary of our independence. We became a very proud independent nation 31 years ago, on the 19th of September 1983 and because the occasion is so special, we decided to come and visit you here at the Tucker Clarke Primary School as the Federal Cabinet of St. Kitts and Nevis.”
In the introduction of his cabinet colleagues, Prime Minister Douglas started naming those who are away on government duties, starting with the Hon Marcella Liburd, the Hon Nigel Carty, and the Hon Patrice Nisbett of who he told the pupils, “He is our only member who is from Nevis in the sense that he was elected by the people of Nevis, and now serves as our Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs and Homeland Security and Labour.”
Others he introduced were the Hon Glen ‘Ghost’ Phillip, the Hon Richard ‘Ricky’ Skerritt, and the Hon Jason Hamilton. Before he could introduce the minister who was going to deliver the independence address, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Dr Earl Asim Martin, the Hon Glen Phillip joined them to a loud applause.
“And so this morning I want to introduce to you the final member of the cabinet, apart from myself, and he is the Hon Dr Earl Asim Martin,” announced the Prime Minister, “Dr Martin is the Deputy Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“But more important than that, this Minister was elected to serve for the last 18 years by your mommy, and your daddy and your uncle and your aunt and your family. They voted for him, and so when you go home, this afternoon, you will say to mommy and daddy ‘I see the man you vote for, he was in our school today; Dr Martin was at the school’.”
In his brief message that was well received by the staff and the pupils, Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Earl Asim Martin, said that as a regular visitor to the school, he would have witnessed the progress that has been achieved and promised that more is to come their way.
“I want to say that the progress that we have seen, is not only progress as a nation, but the progress that we have seen here at the Tucker Clarke Primary School over the years, and I would want to take this opportunity to commend (Principal) Mr (Sylvester) Charles and his staff for the tremendous work they have been doing over the years,” said Dr Martin.
He said that the school has done well not only in the academic field, by in the sports arena as well where they have demonstrated progress over the years and added that he had no doubt that they would continue in the same vein.
He observed that the last time he visited the school, he was impressed at how well the physical plant had been maintained and singled out the school grounds which were well manicured and he praised Principal Charles, auxiliary staff and the grounds-men for a job well done, which ended up earning them a special gift from the Deputy Prime Minister.
But before he presented the special gift, he announced that the school paddock would be upgraded by having it levelled and grassed so that pupils will not have to go to the Ponds Extension playing field for cricket or to play football.
“We would have also experienced some difficulties with the drainage right here and Mr Charles as usual and staff would have complained about the drainage here,” observed Dr Martin. “I would have seen it, and I would have also given a commitment as part of the promise and the development of the community.
“We will insure that we have a rehabilitation and reconstruction of the drain right here next to the school and divide the school from the paddock and work has already started there to upgrade that drain. That is part of the progress, and to enhance the health of the Tucker Clarke Primary School.”
Saying that he never left the Tucker Clarke Primary School without bringing some kind of gift, he announced that he was donating on his own behalf a weed-eater and a blower to be used to maintain the school grounds. The present was received by Principal, Mr Sylvester Charles who thanked the Deputy Prime Minister for the gift.
After the presentation by Dr Martin, the Prime Minister handed over to the school principal with national symbols of the country’s national heroes, national flower, national flag, national anthem, and hundreds of miniature flags that they could use whenever they have an important function of a national nature.
As the members of the Cabinet left the dais they were mobbed by enthusiastic pupils seeking for autographs and others seeking to shake their hands of the ministers. The pupils were not let down, as the Prime Minister waded through the mass of students shaking their hands along the way.