St. Kitts and Nevis pays tribute to national heroes

Governor General His Excellency Dr. Sir Cuthbert Sebastian lays wreath.

Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas lays wreath.

Chairman of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris lays wreath.

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, SEPTEMBER 16TH 2011 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis paused Friday to pay tribute to its First National Hero and Father of Independence – the Right Excellent Sir Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw.

September 16th each year is celebrated as National Heroes Day – the birthdate of Sir Robert Bradshaw. Coincidently it is also the birth date of the date Right Excellent Sir Joseph N. France. Bradshaw would have been 95 and France 104. The other National Hero is the Right Excellent Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell.

“We look back with grateful and humble hearts to say “Thank you” to these three men who saw much that was wrong, and fixed it. Who faced the mightiest of foes, but never wavered. And whose self-respect, tolerance, and compassion caused them to forever strive “for the good that they could do. We honour them today. Because of who and what they were, we now have the right to dream, to strive, to work and to be whom and what we wish to be. We thank them today,” said Prime Minister Douglas at a Guard of Honor and Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Robert L. Bradshaw Memorial Park, in St. Paul’s the birthplace of Bradshaw.

Dr. Douglas, a cousin of Bradshaw and born in St. Paul’s too , highlighted the struggles and noted that it is so easy to take for granted all that these great men, these visionaries, these giants, did.

“It is so easy for us to lose track – from the safety and stability of full citizenship, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, the comforts of full personhood, o forget and lose sight of exactly what these extraordinary men accomplished. But, take a journey back with me this morning, Imagine a time when almost every square inch of this beautiful fertile land, “from mountain to sea”, as they used to say, was owned by just 12 families,” Dr. Douglas told the audience which included the Governor General His Excellency Dr. Sir Cuthbert Sebastian, Deputy Governor General of Nevis, His Honour Mr. Eustace John and Mrs. John; Deputy Prime Minister the Hon. Sam Condor and Mrs. Condor, Cabinet Ministers, the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Hon. Curtis Martin; Resident Ambassadors; senior government officials and residents of St. Paul’s and other areas.

“Imagine a time when the children of this nation, from St. Pauls to Cayon……from Old Road to Molyneux……from Irish Town to New Town and all points in between], no matter how brilliant, no matter how hard-working, no matter how curious and intelligent, no matter their intellectual potential were literally relegated to being hewers of wood and drawers of water. Imagine.

Imagine a time, Assembled Dignitaries and Guests, when the vast majority of our people were so poor, in this land that produced such great wealth……wealth that these same people produced toiling in the cane-fields day after day…..that they literally could not afford a pair of shoes,” said Dr. Douglas.

He added: Imagine, indeed, Ladies and Gentlemen. Because this was the St. Kitts and Nevis in which Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw, Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell, and Joseph Nathaniel France among others lived and worked.

And this was the St. Kitts-Nevis that they set out, against great and seemingly overwhelming odds, to change.

We must imagine because it is only by imagining, and remembering, and it is only by re-living, in our minds, those difficult and dastardly times, that we can ever truly appreciate the courage, the bravery, and the dramatic ways in which the men we honor today changed St. Kitts and Nevis forever.”

Prime Minister Douglas continued: “It is only by forcing ourselves to look at the tremendous and treacherous mountain that they set out to climb, that we could ever hope to appreciate the full import of their having scaled – and stood tall – atop that forbidding and seemingly-unattainable summit. Most importantly, we travel back to a land called “Truth” today because failure to do so could result in the unpardonable sin of our forgetting exactly how we got to be where we are today – and exactly who put us there.”

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