Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris and newly elected member of parliament for constituency #1, the Honourable Ian ‘Patches’ Liburd, turned out on Sunday (March 01) to celebrate the Dominican Republic’s 173rd independence, with members of the Spanish community in St. Kitts and Nevis.
To commemorate the occasion, the community played a spirited baseball tournament at the Newtown Playing Field between teams from St. Kitts and Nevis.
Denny Dasent, Captain of the St. Kitts team said that the Spanish community is interested in having more locals involved in their social events.
“It’s important to us to have the Spanish community together and to see if we could get some locals to be participating with us because there are events that locals can be involved in and we would like to introduce baseball to the island,” said Dasent.
Minister Liburd said that plans are in place to foster an even greater sense of inclusion for members of the Hispanic community in the federation.
“The Spanish community is a very integral part of East Basseterre and we are working to integrate them into the community as our brothers and sisters,” Minister Liburd said. And what better way to do it than through sports? And we have other activities planned to ensure that they are not discriminated against.”
The minister also noted that the Spanish community is an important contributor to our total development and should get more appropriate housing allocations as well as equal access to quality, affordable healthcare.
Prime Minister Harris echoed the sentiments, adding that his government is committed to embracing them as part of the local community in respect of their valued contribution to society and the federation’s long-standing history with the country.
“Well, the residents from the Dominican Republic have long been part of our community,” Dr. Harris stated. “We’re delighted to have them. In some respects, it’s the reverse of the migration of ancient times when many of our fore-parents visited the Dominican Republic in search of jobs and better opportunities. Perhaps in some respect it is to our good fortune that we are in a position to provide a place for comfort; a place for them to work and grow and develop and we welcome them to St. Kitts and Nevis.”
“They have special significance as well because they are making a positive contribution in the retail sector and other areas of the socio-economic life in St. Kitts and Nevis. We are for an integrated community and I am therefore pleased as Prime Minister and leader of the country to come and let them know that their needs, their concerns, their aspirations are all being looked after by this government of national unity,” he concluded.
Minister Liburd threw out the first ball to start the tournament and participated in the prize giving ceremony at the end.