On Sir Kennedy’s 82nd birthday, PM thanks him for pioneering impact on country

By Valencia Grant, press secretary to the prime minister of St. Kitts and Nevis

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – The Right Excellent and the Right Honourable Sir Dr. Kennedy Simmonds, St. Kitts and Nevis’ first prime minister and only living National Hero, celebrates his 82nd birthday today, Thursday, April 12.

Today, Prime Minister the Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris, who is leading a delegation on a Citizenship by Investment Promotion Tour in Hong Kong, congratulated Sir Kennedy on his birthday.

“Today, as I carry the baton that you adeptly held during your tenure as our nation’s first prime minister, I reflect on how magnificently you served the people of this country by tapping into our talents, creativity and strengths to bring out the very best in our society,” Harris said. “ Whether in tourism, education or housing – whatever the sector – your pioneering impact and influence will be imprinted forever on each new chapter in the story of this great land.

“Your tremendous ingenuity and vision served as a critical fulcrum in ensuring our nation’s transition to independence and modernity, and your steady, supportive leadership fueled great innovation and imagination, resulting, for instance, in the creation of the world’s first Citizenship by Investment Programme, which 34 years later remains the platinum brand.

“Our proud nation thanks God that the gift of longevity has enabled you to appreciate the fruits of your hard work, and we proudly share in the celebrations with you and your family.”

Two years ago, on his 80th birthday, Sir Kennedy received a congratulatory visit at his home from Prime Minister Harris, Cabinet Secretary Josephine Huggins and the Hon. Sen. Wendy Phipps, who extended birthday greetings on behalf of the government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Kennedy Alphonse Simmonds was born in Basseterre April 12, 1936 to Bronte Clarke and Arthur Simmonds. In 1945, he attained a scholarship to the St. Kitts-Nevis Grammar School based on his outstanding performance in the primary school entrance exam. Simmonds would go on to become a medical graduate of the University of the West Indies in 1962, then a founding member of the People’s Action Movement (PAM) party in 1965, president of PAM in 1976, premier of the country in 1980, and the first prime minister of St. Kitts and Nevis between 1983 and 1995.

In 2004, Her Majesty the Queen appointed the former prime minister as a Knight Commander in the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George.

The Order of National Hero – the nation’s highest award – was bestowed on Sir Kennedy in September 2015, and His Excellency the Governor-General Sir S.W. Tapley Seaton GCMG, CVO, QC, JP formally conferred the title on him at a special Investiture Ceremony at Government House June 28.