Government hoping statues in place for National Heroes Day

Basseterre, St. Kitts – The government of St. Kitts and Nevis is hoping to have some of the statues of national heroes mounted at the new National Heroes Park in Conaree in time for the Heroes Day Celebration.

That is according to the permanent secretary in the prime minister’s office, Osbert Desuza, who indicated at a recent Independence Day Celebrations Committee press conference that construction on the park is well underway, but will not be completed before the end of the year.

“As it stands right now, we have practically completed the fencing that is constructed of concrete blocks and hard wood that was sourced in Guyana,” Desuza said. “I am advised that the hard wood is [so] hard that it will out live most of us.”

Desuza added that the monument bases at the park have been completed and they are in  the final stages of laying monument tiles on the bases. He explained that there are two bases, one on each side, and on each are an allowance for five statues.

“We figured that it is going to be a very long time before we get up to 10 national heroes, so there was no need to go with the original design and put [in] another monument base,” Desuza said. “However we did not place any concrete at the back because we want to make allowance for that in the future.”

The government official also gave an update on the statues of the national heroes set to be mounted in the park.

“In relation to the statues, we are well on the way with those,” he said. “One is being completed in Santo Domingo and three of them are being bronzed in Miami.”

He was also hopeful to have four of the five statues mounted by National Heroes Day on Sept. 16: “I am keeping my fingers crossed that we [we are] able to get at least four of the statues for the celebration.”

Explaining the concept of the statues, he said “The statues are life-sized of the national heroes. We were able to get relatives and [people] who knew them give us ideas to their approximate height and communicated that information to the sculptors. I should venture to say that the statues of Mr. Southwell and Mr. Bradshaw are being prepared by Andre Gonzalez, who did the statue in St. Pauls and the bust of Southwell at the industrial site.”

Desuza reminded the public that the park was a gift from the Republic of China (Taiwan), whose government donated $2 million for the construction. He said there is no intention of costs to go over because additional funds would come from government revenue.

Desuza said the park is 65 to 75 percent complete and is set to be completed by June 2018. “The only other thing that has to be done that is a major activity is the construction of the welcome centre…and that is the last thing we are going to focuse on. We also have to build an amphitheatre, but that will not be too expensive.”

The five national heroes of St. Kitts and Nevis are the Right Hon. Sir Kennedy A. Simmonds and the late Right Excellency Sir Robert L. Bradshaw, the Right Excellency, Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell, Sir Joseph N. France and Sir Simeon Daniel.