“We see countries being torn asunder because their people have spent their entire lives without ever once having had a chance to vote. And so they now risk their lives – in their hunger for the rights that National Heroes Bradshaw, Southwell, and France so valiantly secured for us all, so very long ago,” said Dr. Douglas.
“And like you, I see neighbourhoods, drenched in blood because fathers, and brothers, and cousins were long ago hauled off by governments and locked away, out of the reach of spouses, out of the reach of friends, out of reach of their children, simply for having one political view or another and for daring to express them. We are, indeed blessed, blessed we are to live in a country where, in the words of our national anthem, our people do, indeed, ‘stand free’,” said Prime Minister Douglas, during his annual Independence Day Address.
The four term Prime Minister stated, “I long for an end to the death and destruction. And this makes me give thanks, in the privacy of my own heart that we are able to live in ‘a country where peace abounds’. Like you, I understand the value of living in a land in which, despite our political differences, despite our religious distinctions, despite whatever superficial details may distinguish us one from another, we have, and have long had, what the people in many countries are literally – and tragically – dying to achieve,” Dr. Douglas told the Nation.
He referred to the trauma and tumult taking place in other countries, pointing out that some nations are being shaken to the core by rage over political prisoners, denial of rights, and the absence of the vote, others are being brought to their knees by trade imbalances, fiscal shortfalls, massive debt, unmanageable deficits, unemployment and socio-economic desperation.
“Yet here, through the grace of God, we stand on these two islands. Not impervious to the tumult in the world, but nonetheless forging ahead. Striving to provide – and indeed providing-social, economic, and political opportunities for the people of this land. In the midst of the dire conditions beyond our shores, we can and must rejoice today that through planning and hard work, St. Kitts and Nevis has stayed afloat.
It is a positive reflection on us all that this tiny nation that we call home has stayed the course,” said Prime Minister Douglas as he commended “each and every one of the 50,000 Kittitians and Nevisians living at home, and the thousands living abroad who have helped to make our tiny nation the brave, competent, praise-worthy one that it is, in the sea of the six thousand million persons, struggling and striving, all around us.”
He said the rights and privileges enjoyed today did not come by the wave of a hand.
“Our forefathers struggled. And suffered. They were shot down in the foothills of Mount Liamuiga, and at Buckley’s as they endured great hardship to win for themselves – and for us – many of the rights that are ours today. In light of this, then, though we have all slipped, and though we have all erred, let us, nonetheless, valiantly strive, in all we do and say, to prove ourselves worthy of their sacrifice,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who declared that the true wealth of a nation, in the final analysis, is found in its people.
“I know that the wealth of our nation most certainly resides in our people. For it is in a nation’s people that one finds the impulse to plan – or not plan. The willingness to strive– or not strive. The propensity for conflict or the instinct for peace. It is a matter of record that the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, as a result of their own character and vision, have established and maintained a vibrant, respected democracy,” said Dr. Douglas.