Basseterre, St. Kitts — Dorset Park in Central Basseterre sprung back to life Saturday evening August 30, as area Parliamentary Representative the Hon Marcella Liburd joined members of the surrounding communities to honour their own who would have contributed to the social development of the area.
The reopening of the renovated Dorset Park presented the communities of Soho, Dorset, Greenlands, Market Street, Shadwell Housing, Freeman Village, Wades Garden, College Street, Nevis Street and others communities the opportunity to meet and reminisce nostalgically of the good old days, and plan for the future.
The park was renovated under the Hon Marcella Liburd and the Ministry of Social and Community Development, and was jointly funded by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, and the Embassy of the Republic of China on Taiwan.
Honour was bestowed on Mrs Viola ‘Coolie’ Jeffers-Phillip for who two benches were dedicated to her, and on Mr James ‘Barman’ Hanley whose name now adorns the park’s business centre.
Others were Ms Selina ‘Sophie’ Caines for the naming of the stand in the basketball court in honour of her two sports-loving sons, Len and Lloyd who died tragically on the field but at different times, and the Moses Esdaille Kid’s zone.
Present at the colourful ceremony, which was chaired by Dr Garfield Alexander, were Minister of Sports, the Hon Glenn Phillip; Resident Ambassador of the Republic of China on Taiwan, His Excellency Miguel Tsao; and the St. Kitts and Nevis Ambassador to Japan and Korea, His Excellency Errol Maynard.
Others included the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Culture and Social and Community Development, Ms Sharon Rattan; Springtime Labour Candidates, Dr Vance Gilbert (No 7) and Dr Terrence Drew (No 8); and the President of the St. Kitts Amateur Basketball Association Mr Kenroy Romel Tobias.
“Barman is a community man,” observed Hon Liburd. “He has always been there, always interested in our young people through basketball and through learning and so the centre over there which in the future we hope to build on, we will name that the James ‘Barman’ Hanley Centre. He is richly deserving of that.”
Mr Hanley who gave the history of the park, observed that while basketball dominated he advised that other games used to be played. He also noted that other than small kids, there will be a small fee for use of the facilities at Dorset Park because they need to maintain it.
Of Mrs Viola ‘Coolie’ Jeffers-Phillip, the minister called her “the queen of tonight. Coolie as she is affectionately called, really owns the park. If you come here early morning Coolie in there gardening. If you come here midday in the sun, she raking. If you come back in the night, she is still raking. That is Coolie for you. She makes sure that this park is kept in good condition. She is supported by her children.”
Hon Liburd sent out notice to President of the St. Kitts Amateur Basketball Association Mr Kenroy Romel Tobias, that Dorset Park which is the home of four basketball team, Quakers, Hitters, Ghaut Bucks and Legends, will shortly host Premier Division games, because the intention is to upgrade it further by installing fibre glass back boards and a digital clock.
“We are doing this, and I hope Romel is listening, so that we can bring premier division basketball to Dorset Park,” said Minister Liburd. “Romel, listen carefully, you know that we have all our gates up, so there is no problem people can pay to come in here to look at the games. We also have new toilet facilities behind there as part of the renovation and so you have access to toilet facilities, we want just to make sure that they are properly maintained.”
Thanking the Embassy of the Republic of China on Taiwan and its Ambassador His Excellency Miguel Tsao, for helping with the equipment that is at the Kids’ Zone, she said that it would help with the development of the nation’s children.
“This is a community thing and so I am very happy to see the old and the new merging tonight here,” said Hon Liburd. “From this community I want this to continue down the road. This is community togetherness and this is what we really want to rekindle community spirit so we can continue to be our brothers’ keepers.
“It is also a focus on our children for our children development, not in terms of the equipment for playing but also in terms of the James ‘Barman’ Hanley Centre over there which will be used for after school classes for the learning of our children.”