Lewis, who now carries the added married title of Viechweg, said that she has been applying to buy land in St. Kitts for over a decade, but for reasons unknown to her, no one seems to be interested in facilitating her efforts to ‘own a piece of the rock’, in the country where she was born, grew up, worked and eventually designed the National Flag, when St. Kitts and Nevis became an independent state in 1983.
The former Newtown and East Basseterre resident explained, “One of the reasons I am still living overseas is that I seem to be unable to buy land in St. Kitts. I have applied for land probably about 8 times but I don’t know why I cannot get land in my country. I have been trying for a long time. I tried, tried and tried. I have just about given up.”
The first time she applied was over 10 years ago and since then she has been making every effort but to no avail.
She said that in her early years as a teacher here, she was not in a position to apply for land, given her small income; but in more recent times, she has explored the possibility and spoken to a number of persons but still no success.
When asked for a possible explanation and if she thought that there were political reasons, she said, “I don’t want to believe that it has anything to do with that. I would prefer to believe that it didn’t, because if it does, it would seem to be petty to me. If a Kittitian wants land regardless to what party you support, (and for the record I am a Democrat). I am not anything else, I am Lewis and I am a Democrat…and that’s my political party.”
“I applied like everybody else, to NHC.” She was asked if she applied for a particular location and she answered in the affirmative but admitted she has lost track of the specific site. She explained however that a request for land was also made just before the 2010 election at the same time when Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas visited the United States.
“This was when the Prime Minister came out just before the elections…and there was all this land that they were offering and I sent my application in and I did get a letter back saying they had my application and I would hear from them,” stated a disappointed Lewis.
She said the application was sent from her home in the US where she lives in Connecticut.
She was asked if she followed up to verify what was happening and why the delay, but she said, “They did not say to follow up with them. And I haven’t heard anything.”
Lewis was then asked how the whole experience has impacted her and how it has made her feel, especially as someone who has made a significant contribution to her nation and she replied, “It does not make me happy. What I tell my friends is if I wasn’t a Kittitian I would be able to get land here but being a Kittitian makes it difficult.”
Lewis-Viechweg said that she is also aware that Kenrick Georges, who wrote the National Anthem, has also had reasons to complain about the type of treatment he has gotten from the government.
When MiyVue.com asked Mrs. Lewis-Viechweg if she ever approached the parliamentary representative for her area (East Basseterre), she said no, she never did, but that “I did speak to the past Attorney General, now Ambassador to the UN, Mr. Delano Bart, on an occasion when he was in the New York and we spoke at a function.” She said he advised her to buy private lands instead because it might be easier to get private lands. Bart she said was her classmate and that was partly the reason she sought his guidance.
“I know him and he knows me. I said to him if I had to buy private land I would never own land in St. Kitts. And then I was advised to go to speak to the minister and I said if I had to go to speak to the minister I would never own land in St. Kitts.”
MiyVue.com also asked Lewis why it was so important for her to own land here and she replied, “I am a Kittitian. I don’t care where ever I live, I don’t care what I do, I am a Kittitian, and this is my home. I am still proud to be a Kittitian, I love my country and nobody can change that.”