Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 30, 2019 (SKNIS): Local artists from St. Kitts and Nevis have raised $14, 000 Canadian dollars to assist mental health awareness in the country. For this year’s 36th anniversary of Independence, the High Commission and Consulate of St. Kitts and Nevis organized and hosted an art exhibition in Toronto, Canada from September 27-28 titled “St. Kitts and Nevis: Through Their Eyes”, which featured local artists Vaughn Anslyn, Rosey Cameron Smith, Pierre Liburd, Dennis Richards, Deborah Tyrell plus Caribelle Batik.
St. Kitts and Nevis’ High Commissioner to Canada, H.E. Sherry Tross, presented the cheque to Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris on December 30, 2019, in his office in the presence of Minister of Health, Hon. Eugene Hamilton and Minister of State with responsibility for Health, Hon. Senator Wendy Phipps. Minister of Tourism et al, Hon. Lindsay Grant and Attorney General, Hon. Senator Vincent Byron were also present.
“People were very much invested in being able to support something concrete at home, an issue that is important, a topic that they are invested in, an issue that affects everybody, whether it’s them personally, a friend, or somebody that they know,” said High Commissioner Tross. “How do we begin removing the stigma and making people more aware of mental health and getting to the point where people are ready and willing to seek support when they need it without having to worry that they’ll be stigmatized.”
In recognizing the artists, Commissioner Tross noted that “These talented artists from St. Kitts and Nevis wowed the Toronto and Ottawa communities with their artwork and generated heightened appreciation for the Federation’s art and culture. By contributing a portion of the proceeds of art sales to this worthy cause, they also impressed with their commitment to social responsibility and their willingness to support mental health and wellness in our community.”
In showing her gratitude on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Minister Phipps said that the donation will be used for what it was intended for.
“We are very grateful that the response to the exhibition and fund-raising effort was as strong and robust as it was and also for the ability to receive some of the products of that towards our national mental health programming, so the funds will be used and greatly appreciated,” Mr. Phipps said.
Likewise, Minister Hamilton expressed his gratitude to the High Commission and Consulate in Ottawa.
“Over the past four years, we have engaged our communities abroad, individuals like you, to assist the ministries in some of the work that we want to do to deliver services to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis,” he said.
Prime Minister Harris commended High Commissioner Tross for the work that she is doing in Canada in advancing the talents of locals abroad “to expose some of our best artists to the international community.”
He said that “under our watch (Team-Unity Government) we introduced the Mental [Health] Day Treatment Facility in Limekiln, bearing in mind the pressures that many families were being put under in terms of being able to take care in a consistent and loving way for those members of their families who suffered from mental challenges.”