Basseterre, St. Kitts – The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis paid tribute to eight distinguished individuals for their crucial role in fostering the nation’s identity and pride. This significant event, held on Tuesday, December 19, 2023, at Bladen’s Commercial Development, not only commemorated a key chapter in the nation’s history but also specifically celebrated the invaluable contributions made towards its independence.
In recognition of their selfless and defining efforts for St. Kitts and Nevis post-independence, these individuals were honoured with a meaningful token of appreciation. They were each presented with parcels of land, symbolizing the deep gratitude of the nation for their exceptional contributions.
The esteemed recipients include Kaya Archibald, recognized as the First Independence Baby; Kenrick Georges (posthumously), revered for composing the National Anthem; Edrice Lewis-Viechweg, designer of the National Flag; Jacqueline Ryan, the culinary genius behind the national dish; and the creative group consisting of Dr. Joylette Woodley-Fassale, Vaughan Joseph Woodley, Grace Woodley, and Dwayne Weekes, who collectively crafted the national wear.
Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew, expressed his deep gratitude to the contributors.
“These are people, who in some way would have given credence and would have brought significance to what we are seeking to do. I want to say to you that we do appreciate sincerely, what you have contributed. You have contributed the things that identify us as a nation; so it means, therefore, without you, how could we identify ourselves?” Prime Minister Drew asked. “Your contribution is well received. We should thank our people, but we should also thank them in tangible ways, something they can point to that reflects the grateful heart of a grateful nation.”
Prime Minister Drew further emphasized the country’s journey.
“In establishing our independent nation about 40 years ago, there were a number of significant things that had to be put in place. And, of course, our citizens stepped up to the plate from that time to now to ensure that St. Kitts and Nevis would establish itself as a bonafidé nation here in the Caribbean, and would be expected at the level of the United Nations and indeed around the world.”
The Honourable Dr. Joyelle Clarke, Minister of Sustainable Development, said that the land distribution by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis is a symbolic gesture acknowledging the significant contributions of key individuals over the past 40 years. She said that this act of gifting land represents the government’s appreciation and is extended as a meaningful token to the recipients and their future generations.
This prestigious event was a collaborative effort, meticulously organized by the Ministry of Sustainable Development, and was attended by Members of Cabinet, senior government officials and specially invited guests. It served as a testament to the enduring spirit and dedication of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis in building a nation that stands proud and strong on the global stage.