St Kitts and Nevis: Spencer Brand, Member of Parliament for Nevis Constituency 1 and Public Works, Physical Planning, Posts and Water Services Ministry in the Cabinet of the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), extended his warm wishes on the 39th anniversary of Independence of the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis.
Minister Brand took social media and wrote a lenghty message for the public of his beloved country. He stated that We’re 39! Today, the 19th of September 2022, beloved St Kitts and Nevis celebrate the 39th Anniversary of the Political Independence from Great Britain. Coincidentally, it falls on the day that Queen Elizabeth II, an icon of duty and commitment to public service, is being laid to rest.
He furthermore stated:
In 1983 I was a mere 2nd form student at the Charlestown Secondary School, blissfully unaware of the future! I do recall that the celebration of our Independence seemed to bring much hope, excitement and expectation. The intervening 39 years from that happy day have brought many highs and lows. What is certain is that as we advance to 40, we need to measure our progress: critically assessing our maturity as a Nation, setting new goals and checking whether we need a mid-course correction.
We have seen our Nation develop an enviable Tourism Sector that wins accolades from prestigious magazines and tour operators around the world. We are the preferred vacation destination of the rich and famous as well as the regular traveller seeking only our pristine environment, our warm hospitality and our diverse cuisine. Some aspects of our infrastructure have seen significant improvement. We have seen great advancement in our human resource development, where our high school graduates attain acclaim in colleges and universities around the world. Our Nationals occupy leading positions in global corporations and international organizations, all based on the solid platform offered by our education system. Our Nationals have graced the world stage at the Olympics and International levels. We have made significant strides in our crime reduction initiatives, and our health care and agricultural sectors have evolved into modern and sophisticated systems that meet our needs far more efficiently than we did nearly forty years ago.
However, while both islands have seen their varied individual development and our people-to-people interaction has remained strong, our greatest deficiency has been a cordial and forthright relationship between the Government of Basseterre and the Government in Charlestown. While we have seen our two beautiful islands advance in many areas, we have also been through some very turbulent times, which have not only retarded our development but have also created deep fissures between our two communities.
At this, our 39th Anniversary of Independence gives us reason to pause, examine the political deficiencies in the relationship between St. Kitts and Nevis and reassess our commitment to our Independence Motto: “Country above Self”. As we approach the mature age of 40, we need to reflect on our profile and examine whether we have kept the pledge that is inherent in our National Anthem: Are we truly two islands but One “Nation bound together in a Common Destiny”?
On this 39th anniversary, we, the Nationals of St Kitts and Nevis, should make time for serious introspection. We as a people must truly examine our individual roles in nation-building. We must ask ourselves whether we are obstacles to our Nation’s development or whether we will become cornerstones for the next generation.
As teachers, administrators, lawyers, politicians, doctors, architects, engineers, nurses, calypsonians, bus drivers, farmers, scientists, tailors, seamstresses, restauranteurs, or even students, we must each make strenuous efforts to commit to a partnership between these two islands that forges an unbreakable bond of unity and prosperity born out of our respect, our deep and abiding familial ties and our love – a love that is as bottomless as the channel between our two islands.
In the words of the inimitable “Queeny G, “We’re in this together”! This anniversary coming on the heels of a politically turbulent year, demands our recommitment to the ideals set by our National Heroes. Like them, and like John F. Kennedy before them, we must ask not what our country can do for us but ask rather what we can do for our country.
The theme for this year’s anniversary calls on us to “Refocus, Re-create, Redesign: Independence 39”. These are incredibly aspirational words. Are we just going to talk the talk? Or are we, as a people serious about nation-building, going to walk the talk? We must do as we say! Let us be determined to heal the rifts, build new bridges and aim for win-win solutions in all our difficulties.
Our calypsonians, from Meeko to Socrates, from Bingi to Queeny G, from Astro to Big Lice, have repeatedly challenged us to see the Beauty in our Land, to be the Peace and Justice we want, to be strong in our love, and resolute in our commitment. Together, we can do this. Together, we can overcome ancient prejudices and forgive old hurts. Together, we can resolve to do better and to be better.
In my reflection on 39 years of political Independence, I know that we have achieved much; but I feel that we still have much more to accomplish. If we are to truly celebrate our Independence, we must, in fact, Refocus, Recreate and Redesign, starting with mutual respect and understanding and a commitment to the Independence ideals, starting with “Country above Self!”
Happy 39th Anniversary of Independence to my beloved St Kitts and Nevis, Congratulations to all Independence awardees for your contribution to nation-building, and may God, through his love and mercy, continue to Bless our Nation!