NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (September 20, 2019) – The following is an address delivered by Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis, at the Independence Day Ceremonial Parade and Awards Ceremony at the Elquemedo. T. Willett Park to mark the 36th Anniversary on Independence on September 19, 2019.
Today, September 19th 2019, marks 36 years of our nation’s Independence. Thirty-six years ago we courageously and collectively embarked on a journey determined to chart our destiny. We were confident that we possessed the necessary acumen, vision and determination to advance the individual and collective wellbeing of our people.
We were under no illusion that Independence was a single event but it was a process which allowed us to transform and build our nation. We realised that it was not the end but the beginning of a journey – a journey fraught with failures and successes, challenges and triumphs.
Today, as we celebrate our hard-earned and hard-fought Independence, let us reflect on our journey as a nation. Let us protect and preserve all of our national attributes. Let us commit ourselves to constructing a society based on a common purpose and shared vision that transcends all of our differences or divisions. Let us rededicate ourselves to bequeath to our children a Federation which is a place of choice to live, work, raise our families and to exist happily.
On this our day of our nationhood, I urge all of our people, whether you are a farmer or brick layer, a teacher or hotel worker, doctor or lawyer, to autograph you work with pride and excellence. Continue to promote values of mutual respect, empathy, self-discipline and love – love for God, love for country, love for others and love for yourselves.
Standing here this morning, I am heartened by the support and cooperation of all of our dedicated people who have toiled tirelessly over the decades in ensuring that our nation remains a cherished land we are proud to call home. I am especially thankful for those among us who, despite their personal challenges, continue to contribute immensely to our national development and have become a beacon of hope for others.
On this our Independence Day, we have much to be thankful for:
- we have had remarkable achievements in our education system
- our human and infrastructural development are second to none
- our achievements in sports and culture have been phenomenal
- our economic progress has caused us to be the envy among our regional neighbours, and
- as a small island state we are known for our respect for the rule of law, and we have a vibrant democracy and an inclusive society where no one is left behind.
However, our independence must never be squandered or be taken for granted. We must continue to increase the opportunity to create a future in which every man, woman and child enjoys a better quality of life. We must, as a people, recommit ourselves to the ideals of our country’s Motto: “Country above Self.” As one people, with one hope and one destiny, we must renew our pledge to foster unity and solidarity in the service of our country.
At this special time in our nation’s life, I appeal to all who are in the towns and villages, on our farms and in our churches, in our schools, those working on our roads, our health care workers, our businessmen and women, our security forces, all who call St. Kitts and Nevis their home, to let us be inspired by the achievements and legacy of our national heroes. Let their examples be a beacon of light and hope for all of us. Let us value the greatness of our prospering, free nation.
May we carry high the flames of greatness in our hearts, and may we always see the reflection of dignity, courage and love on our faces. May we continue to rise above our differences and let national unity prevail. These are the ideals of our independent country. These are the hallmarks of our beloved St. Kitts and Nevis.
I wish all, at home and abroad, a Happy Independence, and may God continue to protect and bless our great nation.