Sandy Point-born former U.S. Assistant Attorney General endorses Charles E. Mills Secondary School

Mrs. Sylvia Mills about to unveil the sign bearing the new name the Charles E. Mills Secondary School under the watchful eyes of St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas; Minister of Education Sen. the Hon. Nigel Carty; family members, Principal, Staff, students, and scores of Sandy Pointers and invited guests (photo by Erasmus Williams)

ST. KITTS, OCTOBER 18TH 2010 (CUOPM) – A Sandy Point-born former United States Assistant Attorney General and Defense Counsel, Dr. Bertram Charles says there is no real issue in the naming of the Charles E. Mills Secondary School in his hometown, 10 miles from the capital.

“Fellow Sandy Pointers, as we stand on the shoulders of our heroic ancestors, it is our bounden duty, obligation and responsibility to maintain and preserve the tradition of the excellent academic standard of Sandy Pointers and be engaged in the social, economical and commercial development of Sandy Point,” said Dr. Charles writing in the Federation’s leading newspapers this weekend.

Dr. Charles noted that in the twelve (12) years after political Independence, the former People’s Action Movement (PAM) Administration of Dr. Kennedy Simmonds “did not deem it fit and proper to name a Community Building, an Institution or anything in honour of a Sandy Pointer.”

“Simultaneously, the Sandy Point Boys’ Schooling Building devolved into a state of disrepair, neglect, abandonment, squattering, and it was eventually burned to the ground. All such actions are contrary to the teaching that I learned from the Elders,” wrote Dr. Charles. As a former Assistant Attorney General and Defense Counsel, I learned that one does not know all of the facts in rendering decisions. Growing up in Sandy Point, I also learned from the Elders that people who forget their past mistakes are doomed to repeat them.

Giving an historical view of education in Sandy Point and those who contributed to excellence, Dr. Charles wrote that from the outset, the Sandy Point Boys’ School originated at the Methodist Church building in Crab Hill and the Sandy Point Girls’ School at the St. Anne’s Anglican Church building in The Alley.

Dr. Charles said after the destruction of the Methodist Church building by the hurricane of 1928, the Boys’ School temporarily relocated to a building in Pump Bay then moved to its permanent home in The Alley. The School building comprised a two storey wooden structure on a plot of land that stretched from the main road to the sea.

The building consisted of the Lower Division (Standards Junior, 1and 2) situated on the first floor; the Middle Division (Standards 3 and 4) together with the Upper Division (Standards 5, 6 and 7) located on the second floor.

He added that the Sandy Point Boys’ School became the first public independent school that was not affiliated with a religious denomination in St. Kitts. The initial Head Teacher of the unprecedented institution was John E. Hanley, a Nevisian, whose name was synonymous with the Sandy Point Boys’ School.

According to Dr. Charles, during his tenure, Sandy Point then and now, won renown to be the intellectual fountain in St. Kitts.

“Under his tutelage, the Sandy Point Boys’ School produced the most Head Teachers in the education annals of St. Kitts and Nevis. Graduates of the Sandy Point Boys’ School excelled to the highest heights in both the private and public sectors of St. Kitts and Nevis and beyond,” said Dr. Charles, who was a candidate for the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party.

“When I was in standard two, John E. Hanley was transferred to Basseterre. He was followed by Head Teacher, Benjamin Nisbett of Nevis. In a short time, he also was reassigned to Basseterre. Charles E. Mills succeeded Benjamin Nisbett as Head Teacher of the Sandy Point Boys School, his alma mater as well as mine. In this connection, I earned two (2) Standard Vll Certificates during the time of his Head Teachership,” Dr. Charles continued.

He said Charles E. Mills was one of the previously mentioned Head Teachers and a follower of John E. Hanley.

“He renewed and continued his mentor’s philosophy of teaching: discipline, independence, industry, intellectualism and scholarship to the students of the Sandy Pont Boys’ School. He later served as the parliamentary representative for the people of Sandy Point, Newton Ground, St. Paul’s and Dieppe Bay,” said Dr. Charles a former St. Kitts and Nevis Ambassador.

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