A group of Grade Five students from the Dr William Connor Primary School in West Basseterre on April 9 visited sister-island Nevis on an educational tour that was sponsored by businessman and former Government Minister, Mr Richard Caines.
School Principal Mrs Jean Boddie expressed how grateful she was that Mr Caines had adopted the Grade Five class. She noted that the trip to Nevis which he had promised in December last year was one of the ways of helping the children to learn through exploration adding that it assisted them get a holistic approach of education and learning.
The trip started at the ultra-modern Basseterre Ferry Terminal from where they boarded the MV Carib Surf to Nevis, under the direction of Mr Caines and Mrs Boddie. Teachers present were Mr Benjamin Thomas, Mr Kevington Pemberton, Ms Ghislaine David, Ms Aleica Nembhard, and Ms Junienna Serrant. Two parents, Mrs Gene Wallace-Primus and Mrs Mulunesh Collins accompanied the students on the all exciting trip to Nevis.
Also on the trip was cultural icon, Mr Winston Zack Nisbett, who incidentally is the person who brought the Grade Five class and Caines together. The students had last year gone to his Cultural Museum in Buckley’s Estate to learn more about the history of the country and he invited Mr Caines to talk to them, and they asked him many questions.
So impressed by the students, Mr Caines adopted the class and he celebrated his last year’s birthday on October 4 at their school. He later treated them at his Greenlands home to an early Christmas luncheon that was attended by Governor General Sir Tapley Seaton, Prime Minister Timothy Harris, and the First Prime Minister and only Living National Hero Kennedy Simmonds. It was here that he told the students that if they did well in school, he would take them to visit his house in Nevis.
This was fulfilled on Tuesday April 9, and on arrival at the Charlestown pier, they boarded two school buses for the island tour which was due to end at Mr Caines’ home in Paradise Estate. The first stop was at the Bath Stream where the majority of them dipped their feet in the hot water which is famed for its curative properties. Mr Nisbett showed them the historic Bath House Hotel built in 1778, which was the first resort hotel in the Caribbean.
The students then travelled on to Long Point Port, and on their way out they went through the Cherry Garden Housing Project, and on to Montpelier Plantation Inn where some inquisitive students asked if that was Mr Caines’ house, and others started asked, “where is the swimming pool?” Mr Caines informed them that his house was further ahead.
The trip then took them through Gingerland from where on observant student said that she could see the island of Montserrat. The tour took them into New River and Coconut Walk Estates where renovation work is being done on historical sites and buildings. Back on the Island Main Road they stopped at the St. James Drag Raceway although they did not enter.
At Eden Brown a number of students asked, “Are we near Mr Caines’ house?” The trained teachers immediately knew that the children wanted to have a bathroom break, and this was done at the Butler’s Health Centre. On resumption of the journey, Mr Caines told them to expect to see two important landmarks, the Wind Farm and the Vance Amory International Airport. As they passed the Wind Farm, teacher Mr Kevington Pemberton informed them that windmills produce renewable energy production which they learn about in school.
As they passed the airport a student pointed out into the sea and said, “that is Bobby Island.” When they looked over, another asked “what is that other island over there?” He was informed that was the Southeast Peninsula of St. Kitts. At Oualie, where Teacher Pemberton advised them it was the Amerindian name for Nevis, Mr Caines showed them the new water taxi pier that is nearing completion. They later stopped at the Sea Bridge ferry terminal.
Before swinging into Paradise Estate, Mr Caines pointed out to them the historic Nelson Springs, and when they finally got to his house he said to them, “welcome home.” The main attraction was the swimming pool where they quickly changed and jumped into the water, with teacher Mr Benjamin Thomas in tow to ensure that they were all safe.
Lunch was slightly delayed as they were not keen to come out of the pool. After a sumptuous lunch and a vote of thanks by Teacher Ms Aleica Nembhard, they boarded the two buses that took them back to the Charlestown pier where they took the 5:00 p.m. Carib Surf ferry back to St. Kitts.
“I hope that you would see today as a promise made and a promise kept,” Mr Caines told the students immediately after their lunch. “I will want to say today was a special day for me because we have a bond of friendship and I hope that it will continue. It was a wonderful day and I hope you would have been inspired.