Rodney Elliott of Cane Garden, Nevis, with her patriotic flags.

CHARLESTOWN, Nevis — Rodney Elliott of Cane Garden is not afraid to show her patriotism, over the years she has become a fixture at the Independence Day parade in Nevis with eye-popping versions of the national flag-inspired outfits, and this year not even the COVID-19 pandemic can dampen her spirit.

Rodney Elliott of Cane Garden, Nevis, shows off one of her favourite outfits.

The owner of a restaurant at Stoney Grove called Rodney’s Cuisine, says her love for country transcends there as well. This year in the absence of the parade on September 19, she has decided to showcase some of her clothing worn over the years. She said she was doing so for her love of country and the joy independence brings to her.

“I’m a very patriotic person and I believe in myself and my country… I look for every aspect of anything that comes in,” said Ms. Elliott. “Some of my dishes are from the flag. Everything I use [involves] the flag…[Independence time] reminds me of slavery. It reminds me of our culture. It reminds me of our heritage. It reminds me of so many things, and it gives me a good feeling this time of year.

“It’s like a proud moment for me. I just love it! Yes, I just love independence, so I go out of the way to just do my decorations, everything. If you look at my car, it’s the same. If you go into my house, it’s the same. I even have a bedspread made from it!” she said.

Rodney Elliott’s car with flags St. Kitts and Nevis stickers.

Ms. Elliott said she cherishes anything which denotes the flag of St. Kitts and Nevis and goes out of her way to collect any memorabilia relating to her homeland’s independence.

Responding to the question of what the country’s independence means to her, she said it is pregnant with meaning for her, and it has become part of her being.

“For me, my meaning, my little knowledge I have, because we are free,” said Ms. Elliott. “Independence for me is freeness, free from everything, mental slavery, everything you think about that’s how I feel about it. I feel independent. That’s why I tell you when this time of year comes it’s one good feeling for me…

“It’s like all year round to me. It’s like a part of me independence has been, and I am glad that I am still alive and to enjoy it but then when you look at it, the independence with St. Kitts and Nevis, I can feel the warmth and the togetherness within us, and I cherish it. I don’t know why but it’s just embedded in me,” she said.

Independence is so rooted in Elliott’s everyday life, that she has painted her restaurant using 14 years in the colours of the national flag — red, yellow, black, white, and green. Every year she also prepares the national dish, comprised of stewed salt fish, coconut dumplings, seasoned breadfruit and spicy plantain; and other cultural dishes including conkie, cassava bread, mackerel, salt fish, and local drinks for her patrons.

She used the opportunity to wish everyone in St. Kitts and Nevis a Happy Independence Day!

Inside Rodney’s Cuisine in Stoney Grove reflects the colours of the flag of St. Kitts and Nevis.