Simmonds to be named next National Hero?

Since that disclosure, speculations have been rife in the country, with many declaring that it could likely be Sir Kennedy Simmonds, who was the political leader who led St. Kitts and Nevis into independence in 1983. Simmonds also gained the distinction of being the first prime minister, serving in that post for 12 years, (1983-1995) after first being at the helm as premier from 1980-1983.

In recent years, members of Simmonds’ party, the People’s Action Movement, PAM, while in opposition, called on the then Labour Administration of Denzil Douglas to bestow the honour on their founding father. The calls were never answered.

However, in 2013, the man who, along with Simmonds, Dr. Simeon Daniel, helped to usher in the dawn of independence in 1983 was named the fourth National Hero, by the Douglas Administration, which at the time held office jointly with the Nevis Reformation Party, NRP.

NRP was formed and led by Daniel from 1970 until his political defeat in 1992.

However, following the general elections of February 2015, PAM and its coalition partners (CCM and PLP), in an alliance known as Team Unity, found its way back into government after almost 20 years in the political wilderness. Their road back to the seat of government was made possible after winning four seats in St. Kitts. Their coalition partners PLP won 1 (Timothy Harris) and CCM – two seats.

Harris however was named prime minister, as part of a package of political collaboration and agreements between the three parties, to unite the twin island nation, which has been rocked by a divisive style of politics.

As leader of the seven-month old Team Unity Government, Harris was speaking on behalf of all coalition members when he promoted the upcoming announcement.

He said, “National Heroes are recognized as persons who (have) made a significant and lasting contribution on our nation’s development. The National Hero must have enriched the lives of others and their legacy must stand the test of time.”

These are some of the attributes that members of the PAM party have claimed for their former leader, Simmonds.

But for Harris, a National Hero also has significance for future generations, saying, “We recognize that our young people need to have symbols of our heritage and our nation’s roots. They must be able to tell their children and grandchildren the story of a determined people that beat all odds; the odds of wretched slavery; of plantation life and its vicissitudes, colonialism and eventually to create an independent St. Kitts and Nevis.”

He added that they must understand that they were also made in the image of Almighty God and that God made them to be free. With this knowledge, the people of St. Kitts and Nevis have a responsibility to take and carry the torch of freedom, of justice, of fairness, of equality and now prosperity, stated the country’s third prime minister. 

For him, Harris opined that those who are named National Heroes must have also improved the lives of their people and the development of the country in such a manner that they pass to the next generation, a country, in a better state than was bequeathed to them.

The official announcement will be made on Saturday, 19th September, when the prime minister delivers his Independence Day nation-wide address.

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