Basseterre, St. Kitts (CUOPM) — Another opportunity for St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas to express thanks as the curtain came down on two weeks of activities to mark his 25 years as a member of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly.
Expressing appreciation to all those responsible for his parliamentary service, first on the opposition benches for six years and the last nineteen as prime minister, the medical doctor turned politician, first thanked the organisers of the 25th anniversary dinner at Carambola Restaurant.
“We have had two weeks of celebration as we not only had the week of activities for constituency #6, but this was nicely tied with the 25th anniversary celebrations of my being elected to parliament. And I want to thank Dr. Hermia Morton-Anthony and of course the Constituency Branch Executive and the other members of the team for putting on this event tonight and making sure that Labour, its family and others, are able to celebrate and remember these things,” said Prime Minister Douglas to the nearly 1,000 patrons which included Governor General His Excellency Sir Edmund Lawrence and Lady Lawrence; former Governor General Dr. Sir Cuthbert Sebastian; Deputy Prime Minister the Hon. Dr. Earl Asim Martin and other members of the Cabinet; Speaker of the National Assembly, the Hon. Curtis Martin; Representatives of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps; Executive Members of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party and the St. Kitts-Nevis Trades and Labour Union; Parliamentarians from Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica, family members, local and foreign businessmen, close friends, well wishers and supporters.
“We could not really have been enjoying tonight’s events without our guests and so I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart and maybe I have 10 hearts, but I want to thank you all quite extensively for you being here. It’s because really, over the years I believe that I have served the interests of people when sometimes we ask people to come forward and show support, that they do come and I want to say how pleased I am tonight to see all of you who have responded to the requests of the committee and came forward for us to enjoy tonight’s event,” he said.
He used the opportunity to emphasise that for the last 25 years, six in opposition and nearly nineteen in government.
“I learnt a lot in opposition. I learnt how to serve and how to serve well and that is why in the next nineteen years in government, we have been able to perfect it. We can continue to serve. There is no reason why we should not continue to serve the interests of the people of this country,” Dr. Douglas said.
“We are grateful that you have given us this opportunity and grateful that you have given me the opportunity to lead as your main servant over the last 25 years. For that I want to thank the people of constituency #6 because we have come a very long way and there is much further that we have to go and so you must continue on the path of progress, on the path of service, serving the interests of your great party and serving the interests of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis,” Prime Minister Douglas said.
“For six years we were in opposition, I was a medical doctor and I want to thank Eslyn Swanston for being there with me and who still continues to be with me now in government. I want to thank those who were there, my very first patients who believed that maybe I could do something better and began to give me the opportunity to bring them back to good health and then eventually gave me the opportunity to bring good health to our country. I want to thank each and every one who played his part and then I recall people like Marcus Natta, Fidel O’Flaherty, those giants who have departed this life very early, but who laid the foundation on which we have built and that is why we must never forget where we have come from,” said the St. Kitts and Nevis leader, the longest serving Prime Minister in the OECS, CARICOM and the Commonwealth.
Paying tribute to the business community who very early allowed him the opportunity to sit with them, Prime Minister Douglas recalled the assistance of the late Mr. William Kelsick, “who as a relatively young boy in politics, gave me the opportunity to sit with him and allowed me to feel what the Private sector feels, allowed me to understand that there has to be a partnership between business, the private sector and the public sector.”
“It is because of those early years of understanding what it means to run a country where none should be left behind, but all should be encouraged to work in partnership for the building of our great country,” said Dr. Douglas.
He thanked all the local and foreign investors for the assistance in the development of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“We welcome all. Those who we call our investors, those who have helped to develop our country, those who have come and who live with us, who have placed their money to generate employment opportunities for our people so that we can say today that when there is a world beset by a continuing economic and financial crisis, St. Kitts and Nevis could say, we at least are moving forward out of that situation,” said the Prime Minister.
He said the partnership with all stakeholders has led to a decrease in the national debt, an increase in Foreign Direct Investment, employment generation and the leading exporter of manufactured goods in the OECS to the United States.
“It is because of that partnership why we have been able to achieve what we celebrate today but there is much further for us to go,” said the Prime Minister who expressed confidence that there are more opportunities for continued economic, social and political development with his governing St. Kitts-Nevis at the helm.
“I say to you, do not give up on the Labour Party, because we are not yet finished. I believe we are just about starting with the new era as we move this great country of ours upward and forward,” said Prime Minister Douglas as he continued to express his thanks.
“I want to thank those who helped me through the nineteen years of government. I salute Cerulean Maynard-Pemberton who was there with me. She was my first personal assistant and who moved from that position to today, leading the Citizenship by Investment Unit which generates the income that is so necessary to move our great country forward,” said Dr. Douglas, who also singled out the establishment.
“I could not have done it without my cabinet colleagues. The Cabinet of the past, though there may be hostility, they did serve. I want to thank as well the public servants, those who have stood with me in the various ministries that I have had the opportunity to lead. My permanent secretaries of the past and present and those in Finance and have served with me,” said Prime Minister Douglas.