BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, July 27, 2023 (MMS-SKN) — Old Road was late Wednesday afternoon, July 26, the venue of the Department of Creative Economy’s second community outreach programme, dubbed ‘We Village Dat’, which is aimed at honouring local heroes who would have made invaluable contributions towards the development of their community.
At a colourful ceremony held on the lawns of Green Tree in Old Road, which was led by Federal Minister of Sports, and The Creative Economy, who is also the Area Parliamentary Representative, the Hon Samal Duggins, three members of the community were honoured for their contribution to the Old Road Community over the years.
Awardees were Mr Royston ‘Mr World’ Wigley, lead vocalist of the Small Axe Band, for Culture (Music); decorated national and international professional footballer, Mr Gerard Williams for Sports (Football); and posthumously to Mrs Cynthia Eugenis Watson for Business Entrepreneurship.
Also recognised and honoured, were two ‘Bright Stars in the West’ for their contribution to the advancement of the Creative Arts in the Old Road Community, Miss Doniqua Gilbert, and Master Ezekiel Parry, both who were described by Minister Duggins and being some of the most promising young creatives. The two young awardees, who are students of the Tyrell Williams Primary School, will be joining Grade Five when the new school year opens.
Hon Samal Duggins, who is also the Federal Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources, Cooperatives, Small Business, and Entrepreneurship, told the gathering that Old Road holds as special place not only in the history of the Federation, but also in the hemisphere as it was the first place settlers landed on their way to create the New World, where they were greeted by the Caribs.
“Beyond history, there is a very welcoming energy because of all the places around the country, as ships sailed from the east to the west, could have landed to settle,” observed Hon Duggins. “There is much more to see than what is visible here, and so too are the people, a special group of people, and as you see them traverse and go about their day there is much more to the people than what meets the eye.”
Of the awardees, the Honourable Minister noted that Mr Royston ‘Mr World’ Wigley, who was awarded for Culture (Music), was engaged elsewhere and could not be present to pick up the award, and cheque. They were collected by Mr Lerone McIntosh.
“We all know the impact Small Axe Band has had over the last nearly four decades,” said Hon Duggins. “Small Axe Band is indeed a leading institution when you talk about culture, creativity, and entertainment. The Small Axe Band is the essence of the community.”
The second honouree, Mr Gerard Williams for Sports (Football), according to Minister Duggins, left this country at about 17/18 years old and has been playing semi to professional football up until now, and has dedicated his life to sports. He added: “Gerard this year was part of the team that took St. Kitts and Nevis to the CONCACAF Gold Cup for the first time ever this year. He is a global icon and superstar – Gerard Williams, proud product of the Old Road Community.”
Mr Gerard Williams plays for Tiddim Road Athletic Union (TRAU) Football Club, an Indian professional multi-sports club known for its association football team. Based in Imphal, Manipur, India, the club competes in I-League, the second tier of Indian football league system. TRAU FC, which is nicknamed ‘Red Pythons’, was founded in 1954.
“From then till now, small shops would have been driving forces in this community, and as such we have to acknowledge one of the gatekeepers, someone who has been a stalwart, although no longer with us,” said the Minister of Mrs Cynthia Eugenis Watson, who was awarded for Business Entrepreneurship. “I think that it is important that we still acknowledge her. She played her role, and she played it well. Unfortunately she is not here to receive her flowers, but we have to collect for her, a granddaughter in the name of Ms Rashida Watson.”
The ceremony was chaired by Principal of the Verchilds High School, Mr Meguel Thomas, while prominent Old Road farmer, Ras Melvin Agard, gave a historical overview of the Old Road Community, while profiles of the awardees were read by Mr Kalden Warner.
A heart-warming drumology session was provided by Drumming Specialist Mr Royd Phipps, of the Department of Creative Economy, who was accompanied by Mr Kenni Martin, as Dance Specialist in the same Department, Ms Marcia Jeffers, elegantly danced away and in the process also blessed the grounds by sprinkling water on the parched grass.
Present included Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports, and Creative Economy, Ms Valencia Syder, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Small Business, and Entrepreneurship, Ms Delrine Taylor, Director of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Secretariat within the Creative Economy, Mr Pierre Liburd, and Assistant Secretary Mrs Kesha Isaac-Adams.
“Our three awardees will be a part of a greater project, where we will convert this area into a community park with benches that bear their image and a short profile of the contribution of each of the three,” announced Hon Duggins. “So Green Tree will become a community park for all to enjoy, relax, and be entertained, inclusive of a children’s play area, so that our children could have a place to come and enjoy and play as well.”
In conclusion the Honourable Minister said: “As your Minister of Sports, The Creative Economy, Agriculture, Fisheries, Cooperatives, Small Businesses, and Entrepreneurship, and your Parliamentary Representative, rest assured that I will do anything in my power, and within my control, to make sure that St. Kitts and Nevis shines as a beacon and the best sustainable island state globally, and Old Road and the rest of Constituency Number Four more specifically sees the best things it has ever had, and hopefully take it to a stage that we all could be proud of. Thank you.”