“And from time to time, in various ways, how we have managed to make our families, our communities, and our Federation stronger, safer, better, may we always remember that it was the Right Excellent Sir Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw, The Right Excellent Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell, and the Right Excellent Sir Joseph Nathaniel France who, like all great liberators across the sweep of time and space, grabbed the reins of history and set us, their people, on a new path so that today, on a positive, upward trajectory, we might continue moving ourselves ever-forward,” said Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas.
He noted that it was fitting to be having the event in St. Paul’s in the lush and beautiful Capisterre, watched over by what the colonial powers called Mount Misery, and which, at the time of independence, was re-named Mt. Liamuiga.
“The highest point on our island was named Mt. Misery with good reason, Ladies and Gentlemen. For the exploitation and degradation to which that mighty peak bore silent witness, for centuries, was wrenching indeed. And it was in St. Pauls and surrounding villages that the colonial powers – and their allies – did the least to relieve our suffering,” said Prime Minister Douglas to the audience which included Governor General His Excellency Sir Edmund Lawrence and Lady Lawrence; former Governor General, Dr. Sir Cuthbert Sebastian; Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Dr. Earl Asim Martin, Cabinet Ministers ; Speajer of the National Assembly, Ambassadors and Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Senior Government officials, relatives of the national heroes and a wide cross section of the general public.
Dr. Douglas noted that co-existing with the degradation, however, was a deep sense of caring and community among the men and women who toiled all throughout these fields.
“And from that caring and community grew a bond that produced great courage. And from that courage there grew great vision. And from that vision there grew a determination to join forces with others, elsewhere on the island, who were determined to lift our people up,” he said adding: “And from that there grew two great movements – the trades and labour union movement, and the political movement that it produced, creating the extraordinary momentum that swept this land as our parents and grandparents were awakened to their God-given rights by Bradshaw, Southwell, and France and as, all together, we awakened to the wonder of our true potential.”
He called on residents to use the annual ceremony to seek ways to improve on those things that have always been done.
“And so, in this our thirtieth year of Independence, an Independence for which they worked so long and hard, often in the face of bitter resistance, we thought it only fitting that we honour our National Heroes in a way that will outlive the sound of my voice on the wind this morning and that will bear witness long after you can hear this tribute no more.”
Following the inspection of a Guard of Honour comprising members of the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force and the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force by Sir Edmund and remarks by Prime Minister Douglas, a cousin of Bradshaw and who also hails from St. Paul’s, wreaths will be laid by the Governor General, the Prime Minister, the Commander of the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force, Lt. Colonel Patrick Wallace; Commissioner of Police, Mr. C. G. Walwyn; the Ambassadors of the Republic of Cuba, the Republic of China (Taiwan); the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Republic of Brazil; Mrs. Etsu Bradshaw-Caines, daughter of Sir Robert; the Chairman of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, the Hon. Marcella Liburd and the President of the St. Kitts-Nevis Trades and Labour Union, Mr. Joseph O’Flaherty.
Press release from Erasmus Williams (CUOPM)