Students Peter Douglas, Javoni Isaac, Shameika Prentice and Jemari Trotman are pictured in an undated photo taken at the RLB International Airport. (Facebook page of the Association of St. Kitts-Nevis Nationals in Taiwan)
Students Peter Douglas, Javoni Isaac, Shameika Prentice and Jemari Trotman are pictured in an undated photo taken at the RLB International Airport. (Facebook page of the Association of St. Kitts-Nevis Nationals in Taiwan)

Parents of St. Kitts students in Taiwan thank caring government

By Valencia Grant, Press Secretary to the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – The parents of all 60 students from St. Kitts and Nevis living in the Republic of China (Taiwan) are relieved to find out the students are safe and well.

André Freeman, 23, of Saddlers Village, St. Kitts, is one of 10 Kittitian and Nevisian students living in Hualien, the area most affected by Tuesday’s 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck Taiwan. He is pursuing university studies in computer and information systems.

This afternoon, André’s father Urban Freeman said from St. Kitts “when I saw the news and the [tilting] buildings…I didn’t want my wife to get too alarmed about it, so I didn’t say much to her about it. But I sent a message to my son and he sent back a message saying he was OK…so today I am relaxed. I am here comfortable.

“I looked at the news and I was saying, ‘this looks serious, people are missing, I need to send a message to hear what André is saying for himself.’ Up to this morning, messages have been coming back via WhatsApp to say that he is OK.”

Freeman conveyed his appreciation to the St. Kitts-Nevis government, which he feels is demonstrating a high level of caring in the aftermath of the earthquake. “It’s nice to hear that the government of St. Kitts and Nevis is concerned about the well-being of the students and wants to express its feelings to the parents to make sure that the parents are comfortable because we are stakeholders with our children out there. It’s kind of hard being away from home over this long distance and not having your family this close to you. So you calling me to express the sentiments on behalf of the government –  I think that’s a very good gesture there, and also you should express it to them [the students] over there – all of them – so that they know we always care and we are here praying for them.”

Doris Prentice-Sutton of Basseterre was also comforted to hear from her daughter in Taiwan, who is studying toward a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering, after having earned an associates’ degree in architecture and design. Shameika Prentice, 25, who left home in 2015 to study in Taiwan, has a busy schedule as vice president of the Association of St. Kitts-Nevis Nationals in Taiwan, but always makes time to connect with her family.

“I spoke with her this morning,” Shameika’s mom said this afternoon. “I speak with her every day.” When told that she should rest assured because Shameika is in very good hands, her mom said with a relieved laugh, “Yes, the Ambassador [Her Excellency Jasmine Huggins, St. Kitts and Nevis’ Resident Ambassador to Taiwan] is very involved.”