(SKNIS): The Government of the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan has once again demonstrated its strong commitment to the long-standing partnership with the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis with the handing over of two cheques: one to the tune of EC$ 2 million for the construction of the National Heroes Park that was heralded by Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris several months ago, and the other, in the vicinity of EC $50,000, for renovation work in the micro-communities of Mansion’s and Tabernacle Villages.

At a brief handing over ceremony in the Cabinet Room at Government Headquarters today, Ambassador of the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan, His Excellency George Gow Wei Chiou, said that it was an honour to cooperate with the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis in providing financial support to the Ministry of Finance for the construction of the new National Heroes Park and other community projects in the Federation.

“As we all know, a national heroes park is a very important new project for the Team Unity Government,” said Ambassador Chiou, while highlighting that the park will have multiple purposes, including touristic and historical attraction, and educational and recreational functions. The park, he said, will serve to build historical linkages between the heroes/heroines and the younger generations by teaching them about the history of the national heroes and their contribution to nation building.

Mr. Calvin Edwards, Deputy Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, who was one of the signatories to receiving the funds at the ceremony, underscored the strong bilateral relationship between the two countries.

“It is truly a pleasure to receive this cheque this morning because it shows a continued support of the Government of the Republic of China on Taiwan in the community development efforts of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis. We have enjoyed a long partnership that has extended over 32 years and it has grown stronger and stronger,” Mr. Edwards said.

Mr. Edwards also underscored the significance of building a national heroes park.

“The National Heroes Park is a very important initiative of the Government in that it seeks to highlight the contributions of the national heroes that have basically built the foundation of the Federation and it is important that we as a nation recognize where we have come from so that generations to come will understand the persons who have made very valuable contributions in the development of the Federation,” he said.

Mr. Calvin Pemberton, Chairman of the Development and Planning Board and Member of the National Heroes Park Committee, said that “The National Heroes Park is an endeavour that would memorialize our heroes based on the idea of one that would represent our heritage, our culture, educational feats and the history of the development of this beautiful country.”
Mr. Pemberton said that the idea of the park is centered on sustainable development and one that is “intended to present some grandeur.” He spoke about the infrastructure of the park with some of the features being a grand entrance with entry booths, walking and recreating areas, various memorial sites for the respective national heroes, seating areas, an interpretation center, a parade square to facilitate honour guards, restroom facilities, well-manicured lawns and adequate lighting. All of this, he said, will be located on 4-6 acres of land that is under consideration.

Speaking at the ceremony, Prime Minister Harris said that he was delighted about the building of the park.

“I am delighted that this major project, this added piece in our philosophy, in which the country should develop—acknowledging greatness wherever that greatness has come from and acknowledging persons across all spheres of socio-economic life, who have contributed. I am happy that we are able now to have the wherewithal to implement this and to make all the citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis proud,” said Dr. Harris.

He further added: “We will start this project immediately, so that come September hopefully we will be able to showcase in a more visible way progress in relation to the first National Heroes Park in St. Kitts and Nevis. We do this in tribute to all those who have been so awarded and their families for allowing them the opportunity to make the contributions, and usually in this process families make tremendous sacrifice to allow the leaders to emerge and to do great service on behalf of the country.”

Prime Minister Harris praised his young Government for the initiative.

“Our decision as a young Government to create a home for all those who gave wonderfully and made a splendid contribution to the development of the country is today being realized in part through the generous contribution of the Government of the ROC (Taiwan)…it’s a project in which we intend to create a home for all national heroes, and of course, this would have the advantage of finding each and every one at a single location,” he said. “We pay homage and tribute to each one and recognize that each one in his or her own way, in his or her own time, facilitated the forward movement of the country.”

It was only on Tuesday of this week (June 21) that His Excellency the Governor-General Sir S.W. Tapley Seaton conferred the Independence 2015 Awards on seven (7) awardees at Government House in an investiture ceremony. The awardees were honoured for their contributions to national development in several areas including Education, Public Service, Politics, Entrepreneurship, Nursing, Sports and Community Development, and Law.

“Today, we focus again on national building and this is significant and this is actually the burden we face as leaders in a small, vulnerable, developing country, said Prime Minister Harris.

“How do you address this burden of development? What are the imperatives for development that really empowers people and make one generation better in all things important, than the generation before?,” he asked.

Cabinet Secretary, Mrs. Josephine Huggins and Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister and Chairman of the National Heroes Park Committee, Mr. Osbert DeSuza attended the ceremony. Mr. DeSuza and Prime Minister Harris also signed for receipt of the funds.