BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS (CUOPM) – The Federation’s National Heroes not only cared about the physical well-being and material needs of the people they served, they also cared about their mental advancement and spiritual upliftment as well.
“They cared about the development of our humanity. And this was evident in the rapid advancement in educational opportunities that they made possible, and it was made evident by the central role of their religious faith in their every striving and their every struggle,” said St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas.
In keeping with the theme of this year’s 27th Anniversary of Independence Celebrations, “Strengthening Families for Positive Nation Building,” Prime Minister Douglas said it is in keeping with the thrust and spirit of the lives of the National Heroes being honored.
“How in keeping, indeed, because what is family, after all, but a close-knit, mutually-respectful, mutually-supportive grouping of persons, united by love, united by concern, and all dedicated toward the common good? We all know that the official or technical definition of “family” requires a blood connection as well, and that is, indeed, the definition that we embrace throughout this nation. Our spirits, however, are also large enough, and expansive enough, to allow our minds to understand the spirit of “family” that unites and sustains all positive, constructive, mutually-supportive human groupings striving for the common good. And in this sense, it is clear that for Messrs. Bradshaw, Southwell, and France, the concept of “family” did not stop merely with those who were connected to them by blood,” said Prime Minister Douglas at the Guard of Honour and Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Robert L. Bradshaw Memorial Park on National Heroes Day.
Dr. Douglas said that it is clear that the late National Heroes “cared deeply not only for those who were their sisters, brothers, parents, and cousins, but for all who worked the fields; brought the fishing boats to shore; stocked the shelves in our islands’ stores; for all those who, spread across our islands, knew the highlands and lowlands of Liamuiga and Oualie and dreamed of a better day.”
“And theirs is the example that we, today, must follow – in its totality. May we, in keeping with their example, then, seek out and seize every opportunity for learning. And may we, in keeping with their example, be ever mindful of the importance of faith, humility, and gratitude to a merciful God in all that we do and say,” said the St. Kitts and Nevis Leader.
Prime Minister Douglas noted that it is also known throughout the world, however, that the most powerful teachings come not from words, but from example.
“And so, as we reflect on the challenge implicit in this year’s Independence theme, “Strengthening Families for Positive Nation Building,” let us reflect on the dignity, the self-respect, the decorum with which Messrs Bradshaw, Southwell, and France carried themselves. Let us remember the psychological impact – on everyone – of the way they lived their lives. And let us understand that that is the standard that we, without exception, as we continue building this nation, are obliged to meet.
We, each and every one of us, must meet and maintain these standards because everyone around us, young and old, rich and poor, is observing us…….they are listening to us…….and we are helping to shape the feel and texture of our nation. We do not have to be in positions of great economic or political power to contribute to positive nation building. If each of us committed, in our own personal lives, to see this year’s theme “Strengthening Families for Positive Nation Building” not simply as a few words uttered at Independence, but as a new pledge, a commitment to which we will hold fast for the rest of our lives, then through a nation-wide emphasis on courtesy; on behavior that is respectable and respectful; on concern and sacrifice for our elders, and concern and sacrifice for our young; we will build stronger families. And the result will be positive nation building,” said Prime Minister Douglas to scores of officials and nationals attending the ceremony.
He said the Right Excellent Sir Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw, the Right Excellent Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell and the Right Excellent Sir Joseph N. France were sterling examples who dedicated their lives to showing the way.
“Let us study their stories. Let us remind each other of all that these great men did for us. And let us, in the process, prove ourselves worthy of all that they did on our behalf. Most of all, at the level of the home and the level of the community, let us, like the national heroes we honor today, build stronger families for positive nation building,” said Prime Minister Douglas prior to the laying of the wreaths.
Photo # 1 – The Moument to First National Hero and Father of Independence The Right Excellent Sir Robert L. Bradshaw at the Robert L. Bradshaw Memorial Park, St. Paul’s, St. Kitts.
Photo # 2 – Chairman of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, Senior Minister and Minsiter of Agriculture, International Trade, Industry and Commerce, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris about to lay a wreath at the monument of First National Hero and Father of Independence, the Right Excellent Sir Robert L. Bradshaw .
Photo # 3 – Mr. Daniel Dickenson, cousin of First National Hero and Father of Independence, Sir Robert L. Bradshaw accepts a wreath from a student of the St. Paul’s Primary School.
Photos by Erasmus Williams