Life-size photo of National Hero the Rt. Excellent Sir C. A. Paul Southwell mounted at Royal St. Kitts Golf Club

Mounted photo of National Hero, the Right Excellent Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell at the Frigate Bay Golf Club.

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, DECEMBER 12TH 2012 (CUOPM) – Another fitting tribute to the Right Excellent Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell, the architect of tourism and golfing in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.

A life-sized photograph of the late National Hero was unveiled in his memory on Tuesday night and mounted at the entrance of the Royal St. Kitts Club at Frigate Bay.

In delivering welcoming remarks at the unveiling ceremony, Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Sen. the Hon. Richard “Ricky” Skerritt, said the event is to remember the life and works of the Right Excellent, Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell, Chief Minister, Premier and National hero, “to show our respect for his enormous vision and pioneering role in the development of the 40 year old Frigate Bay Development Corporation, and the 36 year old Royal St. Kitts Golf Course and Golf Club.”

He stated: “Born in Dominica on 18th July 1913, Paul (as he was affectionately known) was to become Premier of St. Kitts and Nevis in 1978.

In so doing he had followed the route of most West Indian politicians of that period. After being employed in the sugar industry in 1944, he was recruited into the Labour movement and for the next ten years he was an organiser for the St. Kitts-Nevis Trades and Labour Union, becoming Vice-President in 1947. Paul was first elected to the legislature in 1952 and then elected to the Executive Council in 1955.

Minister of Tourism and International Trade Sen. the Hon. Richard Skerritt flanked by photos of National hero Sir Caleb and Lady Gladys Southwell.

With the introduction of the Ministerial system of Government, he became the first Minister of Communications and Works and was later appointed Chief Minister in 1960. Paul held the post of Chief Minister until 1966 when Robert Bradshaw returned to the head his government a couple of years after his return from regional service with the Federal Government based in Trinidad. Paul then served as Deputy Premier to Mr. Bradshaw following the achievement of Associated Status in 1967, and was always a loyal deputy with the proven ability to lead effectively in his own right.

It was during Paul’s leadership as Chief Minister in 1964, that his Government acquired the lands of Frigate Bay from the Wigley family.

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas (right) and Mr. Rustum Southwell.

My research has revealed that Paul Southwell had actually set out to acquire the full Wigley estate, which included Friars Bay, but that Captain Jack Wigley had begged him not to take Friar’s Bay and instead struck a deal with him, after many months of negotiations, which included offering the Government a significantly reduced price of $519,000 for the 850 acres Frigate Bay portion of the estate. In return the Government allowed Wigley to keep Friars Bay with a promise from him that he would develop those lands himself.

At that time of the acquisition, Frigate Bay was a privately owned estate which was, by and large, unproductive commercially and without any physical infrastructure. The southern salt pond was used for small-scale salt production, the fields and hillsides for livestock grazing by a few squatters, and the Caribbean beach was used for local recreation on a private permit basis only. Those persons who made the necessary access arrangements, and could afford to pay the toll, were allowed to enter the main gate of the estate that was located in the vicinity of what is now known as the ‘Sugars Complex.’ Paul Southwell knew that whatever became of his big-thinking economic development plans for the future development of Frigate Bay, at the very least, he would have created much needed public access to the best reachable beach at the time, South Frigate Bay.

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas (left) and Ms. Lorenza Southwell.

The nature of our political culture meant that leading up to and during the general election of 1970 Bradshaw and Southwell found themselves on the receiving end of numerous vicious attacks from the political opposition with regards to the Frigate Bay lands acquisition. They were accused of “….being corrupt and wasting Government money” and of “….being communists for taking away private land.” The Government’s stated vision for the futuristic and integrated tourism development of the area was ridiculed as “….a pie in the sky project” and “… election gimmick.”

After their party’s resounding re-election in 1970, and following the preparation of a master plan for the development of the Frigate Bay lands in 1971, the Government of Bradshaw and Southwell established the Frigate Bay Development Corporation by an act of the National Legislature in 1972; setting it up as a statutory corporate body, solely owned by the Government. The previously acquired Frigate Bay estate lands were vested by that legislation into the ownership and care of the Frigate Bay Development Corporation (quote)”….for the purpose of undertaking and encouraging the development of Frigate Bay” (unquote).

In the original Frigate Bay Development Plan, the land was categorized and allocated for five different types of use, based on site capability analysis and other factors.

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas, Minister of Tourism, Sen. the Hon. Richard Skerritt; Minister of Health, Hon. Marcella Liburd; Pastor Cyprian Williams (left to right front row) and right second row is Parliamentary Representative and Minister of Utilities, the Hon. Dr. Earl Asim Martin.
(left to right) – Lorenza Southwell; Gracie Southwell, wife of Rustum Southwell; Clytie Southwell and Vesta Southwell. (Photos by Erasmus Williams)
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