The Christina Disaster 41 Years After

They are also eloquent in their reflections of past events that speak to historical tales of these islands. However they are deficient in their knowledge of those moments that have had a direct impact on their lives and have played a prominent role in shaping the socio-economic realities of their country.

Not only is today, 1st August, 2011, the anniversary date for the end of slavery in St. Kitts and Nevis, it is also the anniversary of the most horrific boating tragedy that has visited modern St. Kitts and Nevis.

On Saturday 1st August, 1970, 41 years ago, the MV Christina, sank while on its way to Charlestown, Nevis, from Basseterre, St. Kitts.

It was the weekend of horse racing and celebration, as countless Kittitians journeyed across the Narrows, to join in the usual Emancipation celebrations that had become popular on the island. The ferry was also packed with returning agricultural vendors, who earlier in the day had completed the sale of their weekly produce to customers in St. Kitts.

The ferry was overloaded and in the end, some 233 persons lost their lives. Only 90 are believed to have survived. To this day however, the statistics are not precise because back then, there was no official record kept of the number and names of passengers that travelled on each trip. Today that has been corrected with new requirements for each passenger to sign their names and gender in an official register before boarding local ferries.Christina_memorial_plaque_at_Bayfront

The disaster struck at the heart of local society. There is hardly a family on both islands that was not affected by the loss of a loved one. The event became a political issue, as Nevisians spoke to the neglect that they had been experiencing from the central government in Basseterre, headed by Robert Bradshaw at the time.

It also led to the formation of the Nevis Reformation Party, NRP, which introduced secession, as its sole cause.

Despite the years of hurt and sorrow, not much was done by government to remember those who perished. It was only of recent time, a monument was erected at the Bayfront in Charlestown and an annual ceremony organized to pay tribute to the victims. The tragedy was comprehensively covered in a book written by Nevisian Whitman Browne, and this provides the most extensive details about the victims, the survivors and the circumstances of the accident.

A second and new monument was recently erected in Charlestown at the Bath Cemetery in Bath Plains, where 13 victims were buried. A special ceremony has been organized for Monday afternoon, (4:00pm), and will have the participation of officials in the Nevis Island Administration, which assisted the efforts of a local civic group to construct the monument.

After 41 years, however, no official report has ever been made known to the public and no memorial event is organized in St. Kitts and no monument has emerged, despite calls for same.

List of some of the victims: 

ALLEN, EZEKIEL

HANLEY, EGLANTINE

NISBETT, HERBERT

ALLEN, MIRIAM

HANLEY, HUGH

NISBETT, LILIAN

ALLEN, SHIRLEY

HANLEY, MELFORD

NISBETT, TONY

ARCHIBALD, FLORETTA

HANLEY, ROSE

NOLAN, DOLDRIA

ARCHIBALD, SAMUEL

HANLEY, ROSETTA (ZENA)

NOLAN, EULITA

ARTHURTON, AMY

HENDRICKSON, MARILYN

NOLAN, TESSA

ARTHURTON, BERTRANNE

HENRY, ROSALYN

PARRIS, FLORENCE

ARTHURTON, EMILY

HERBERT, MAXWELL KING

PARRIS, HANNAH

ARTHURTON, RODNEY

HUGGINS, ALICE

PEMBERTON, CALVIN

AUDAIN, VALENTINE

HUGGINS, NELSON LEROY

PEMBERTON, HELEN

BARTLETTE, ERROL

HUGGINS, SAMUEL

PEMBERTON, RUFUS

BARTLETTE, FRONCILLE

HUTTON, FRANCES

PHILLIPS, BERDIE

BARZEY, ELLEN

HILL, BERHIA

PHIPPS, CONRAD

BARZEY, MAVIS

HOBSON, MARILYN MYRNA

PONTEEN, JAMES

BELLE, AUSTIN

HOLLAND, EMILY

POWELL, GEORGE

BELLE, FRANKLYN

IRVINE, JAMES

POWELL, MARION

BERTIE, SHERWIN

JAMES, ESTHER

POWELL, MIRIAM

BLOYCE, ADOLPHUS

JAMES, VERNON

POWELL, SHERYL

 

JEFFERS, CLIFFORD

POWELL, YVETTE

BROWNE, HAROLD

JEFFERS, DWIGHT

PRENTICE, EVANSTON

BROWNE, MONROE

JEFFERS, MAURINA

PRINCE, ANTHONY

BROWNE, MURIEL

JEFFERS, RALPH

REID, AUSTIN

BROWNE, OLGA

JEFFERS, ROSALIE AGATHA

RICHARDS, ASSINETTE

BROWNE, ROBERT

JOHNSON, CLOTHILDA

RICHARDSON, YVONNE

BUDGEON, GWENDOLYN

JOHNSON, MICHAEL

RITCHENS, JOSEPH

BUSSUE, LILIAN

JONES, EDITH

ROUSE, LEROY

BUSSUE, WELSEEN

JONES, EMILY

SADDLER, VERNARINE

BYRON, MILLICENT

JONES, IRIS

SCARBOROUGH, ALICIA

CABLE, ALLAN

JONES, OLGA

SCARBOROUGH, DUANE

CARR, ORILDA

JONES, ORETHA

SCARBOROUGH, INEZ

CHAPMAN, SHARON

JONES, VIDA

SMITH, EDWARD

CHARLES, CLEMENTINA

JOSEPH, CARMEN

SMITHEN, CALVIN

CLARKE, ANITA

JOSEPH, LOUISA

SMITHEN, CHRISTINA

CLARKE, BRENDA

JOSEPH, SHEILA

SMITHEN, IVAN

CLARKE, EUPHINA

JOSEPH,VENNETTA

SPRINGETTE, KEITH

CLARKE, LESLIE

JOSEPH, VERNON

STANLEY, VIVIAN

CLARKE, SARAH

KELLY, AVRIL (CYNTHIA)

STAPLETON, YVONNE

CLAXTON, DAHLIA

KELLY, EUGENE

SUTTON, STANLEY

CLAXTON, JAMES

LANNS, VERNA

SWANSTON, DARYL

CLAXTON, VERNON

LAWRENCE, DAWNE

SWANSTON, DAVID

COMEAU, SISTER AMELIA

LE BLANC, SISTER MARIE

SWANSTON, HANSCHELL

CONDELLE, ANTHONY

LEWIS, CALVIN

SWANSTON, THEODOSIA

CONDELLE, CHRISTINA

LIBURD, BERYL

SWEENEY, SAMUEL

CONDELLE, IRENE

LIBURD, CASTRO

THOMPSON, MARILYN

CORNELIUS, LORETTA

LIBURD, EDRIC PAUL

TROSS, ALSTON

DANIEL, LEONTINE

LIBURD, ELVIRA

TROSS, MARILYN

DAVID, CARL

LIBURD, EMERSON

TROTMAN, ALTON

DAVID, CHRISTINA

LIBURD, EVELYN P.

TROTMAN, IRIS

DAVID, JOSEPH

LIBURD, IRIS

TROTMAN, IRVINE

DAVID, LEON

LIBURD, JAMES

TYSON, DAVE

DAVID, MAVIS

LIBURD, KIRSTEN OLIVER

TYSON, KIRSTEN

DAVID, VERNA

LIBURD, LILLIAN

TYSON, THEODOSIA

DAVIS, LANYEL

LIBURD, LOUISA

WADE, YVETTE

DINEEN, SISTER PATRICIA

LIBURD, MARIANNE

WALLACE, CANDY

DORE, CLARISTINE

LIBURD, MARION

WALLACE, LORNA

DORE, JESSICA

LIBURD, MILDRED

WALTERS, JUDITH

DORE, MYRA

LIBURD, THOMAS

WALTERS, VIRGINIA

DUPORTE, AMELIA

LIBURD, SAMUEL

WALWYN, WENTWORTH 
(PARKS)

DUPORTE, WENDELL

MARSON, EVA

WATTLEY, VIOLET

ELLIOTT, JAMES

MARTINEAU, MAUDE LUCILLA

WATTS, VELCINE

ELLIOTT, KENNEDY

MARTINEAU, SHERYL

WEBBE, ADINA

ESDILLE, ALBERTHA

MASTERS, LEROY

WEEKES, AVONELL

ESDILLE, FLORENCE

MAYNARD, CHARLES

WEEKES, BENJAMIN

FARREL, ZENNETH

MAYNARD, SADIE

WEEKES, ELROY

FERGUSON, ALBERTINE

Mc QUILKIN, LINDA

WEEKES, LOUISA

FERGUSON, EMILE

MICHAEL, IDETHA

 

FRANCIS, KLUIVERTH H.

MILLS, HENNETTA

WEEKES, MARION

FRANK, MOSES

MILLS, MAUDE

WEEKES, NICHOLAS

FREEMAN, AUGUSTA

MILLS,VIVIAN

WEEKES, RITA

FREEMAN, TAMAR

MORRIS, URSULA

WHEELER, AMELIA

FRENCH, DANIEL

MORTON, CALVIN

WILLIAMS, GEORGE
(JINKS)

FORBES, CLARENT

MORTON, CALRICE

WILLIAMS, KIRTLY

FORBES, EMILY

MORTON, INEZ

WILLIAMS, VERNON

GLASFORD, JAMES

MORTON, IRMA

 

GRIFFIN, LORRAINE

MORTON, ORVILLE

 

GUMBS, MELVINA

MORTON, PEARL

 

HALLIDAY, LILLIAN

MORTON, ROSE

 

HANLEY, BERTRAM

NATTA, ANNIE

 

HANLEY, CONRAD

NISBETT, GOVAN

 

(List compliments of Mr. Livingston Huggins)


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