BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — Area Parliamentary Representative for St. Christopher One (East Basseterre) Ian ‘Patches’ Liburd has demonstrated the love he has for his constituents by making his birthday party their party.
While Liburd’s actual birthday was on Jan. 24, he held a post-birthday block party for his constituents on Jan. 26 outside his constituency office in New Town where a section of Stainforth Street was closed to accommodate the hundreds who turned up for the party that started at 4:00 p.m. and continued well after midnight.
“The Constituency means a lot to me,” said Liburd, who is also the Minister of Public Infrastructure, Posts, Urban Development, and Transport in the Team Unity Administration. Food and drinks were aplenty and there was entertainment for all ages. Children had a tarpaulin to keep them entertained; older folks played dominos and music was provided by a DJ.
“We are having the party this evening and it is another way of giving back,” said the Liburd. “My birthday – my celebration is their celebration. As a Constituency Executive, we engaged in a discussion and I thought I did not want it to be in any hotel. I wanted to come back right to the people at the grassroots so that everybody comes from all walks of life.”
They came from all walks of life including from outside the constituency, as gracing the occasion included Cabinet colleagues the Eugene Hamilton (Area Parliamentary Representative for St. Christopher Eight), and the Lindsay Grant (Area Parliamentary Representative for St. Christopher Four).
Others who came to celebrate with him were Ambassador Jonel Powell (Team Unity’s Caretaker for St. Christopher Two – Central Basseterre), Hugh Heyliger (former Area Parliamentary Representative for St. Christopher Five and former minister of Government), and His Excellency Tom Lee, Resident Ambassador of the Republic of China on Taiwan.
“I want to give back and have a celebration with the people on this my particular day,” said the birthday ‘Boy.’ “It is always gratifying to come amongst the people to give back to the people, and see people happy and that is what I want for my constituency and by extension my country. So, everything I do, I have the people foremost in my mind.”
According to the first term parliamentarian, he had the people of the constituency at heart even before he was elected to parliament as he had vowed to give half of his salary to the people of East Basseterre. This has happened, as he gives half of his salary back to the people of the constituency and says he is able to achieve it because he lives a humble life within his means all the time.
He noted that during his campaign, he went through some areas that he had never been in over 20 years and said it was a shock to him. One person’s plight that moved him was Norman James (who recently died and was to be buried on Monday Jan. 28), whose home did not have water and electricity because he was living on an age pension of $250 per month. On being elected, Liburd ensured James got water in his house, and electricity was reconnected.
“It is a constituency in which I was born, in which I was raised and a constituency in which I still live,” explained Liburd. ‘I do not take for granted I am the first elected representative who was born in the area. I do not say that in a boastful manner, but it is just as a statement of fact.”