By Peter Ngunjiri (MMS-SKN),
When the Caribbean Wellness Day walk took off on Saturday morning September 12 from the Cenotaph at the War Memorial in Basseterre under the SKN Moves umbrella, among the participants were over 90 employees of the firm Kajola-Kristada Ltd.
Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, who also has lead responsibility for Human Resource Development, Health and HIV/AIDS issues in the CARICOM’s quasi-cabinet, was among the hundreds of walk enthusiasts who took part in the walk that had taken off at 6:10 am.
“The fight against NCDs will only be won if a collective approach is taken to make it a habit for persons to take part in regular physical activities, as they are critical for the success of the fight,” said Prime Minister Harris at the end of the walk. “It warmed my heart to see the large turnout today, and also to see a large contingent of workers from Kajola-Kristada Ltd who participated in the walk.”
Caribbean Wellness Day is celebrated by CARICOM countries on the second Saturday of September as part of a unified response to promote health and prevent and control the epidemic of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). This year it was celebrated under the theme ‘Power Through Collective Action’ with the sub theme ‘Stronger Together 2020″.
“The more people we have involved engaging in any form of physical activity, be it walking, running, swimming or biking will result to their wellness, and I want to thank the management and staff at Kajola-Kristada Ltd for coming out to participate in this event,” said Dr Harris.
The Honourable Prime Minister, who has been organising monthly health walks since April 2007, added: “Other corporate entities should borrow a leaf from Kajola-Kristada Ltd and engage their members of staff in more physical activities as this is a sure way of reducing loss of valuable man-hours as a result of sickness. This will ultimately result in increased productivity.”
According to Mrs Faith Caines, Safety Co-ordinator at Kajola-Kristada Ltd, approximately 92 workers took part. Three of their staff members rode on a pick-up truck distributing water to the walk participants, and Ms Nerissa Wilson had a loud hailer through which she kept on advising and updating the walk participants.
“Apart from just walking, every year we celebrate Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Awareness week,” said Mrs Caines. “We do this every year, and so when I saw the email from the Caribbean Wellness people I decided to merge with them – we partner with them and incorporate my Safety Awareness week in the walk. So that is why we are here today.”
Health-conscious walk enthusiasts had assembled as early as 5:30 am at the War Memorial, and the gathering was called to order by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr Delores Stapleton-Harris, at 6:00 am. After a prayer, the participants were taken through a warm-up aerobics session by fitness guru Mr Wayne Liddie.
The participants who also included Minister of Health the Hon Akilah Byron-Nisbett, and her husband Mr Alexis Nisbett, Deputy Speaker Senator the Hon Dr Bernicia Nisbett, and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Mr William Vincent Hodge, set off at 6:10 am.
They walked, and some including Dr Delores Stapleton-Harris and Dr Benicia Nisbett sometimes breaking into runs, through Irish Town Bay Road to downtown Basseterre and on to New Town Bay Road, and on to the Central Bank roundabout from where they took the Kim Collins Highway, the F.T. Williams Highway, and at the roundabout with the St. Peter’s Road they walked through Fry’s Village, and back to the Cenotaph.
The walk which is part of the independence celebratory activities was held under the SKN Moves umbrella, as had been noted by Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris who on August 29 during Prime Minister’s Monthly Health Walk had advised that every activity people were doing that they try to bring it to the extent possible under the branding of the SKN Moves.
Main photo: Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, Minister of Health the Hon Akilah Byron-Nisbett, and Deputy Speaker Senator the Hon Dr Bernicia Nisbett, pose for a group picture at the end of the walk with a subset of participants at the Cenotaph.