NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (September 20, 2018) — The following is an address delivered by Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis, at the 35th Anniversary of Independence Ceremonial Parade and Awards Ceremony at the Elquemedo T. Willett Park on Wednesday, September 09, 2018.
My fellow citizens and residents,
Today is truly a day that the Lord hath made. Let us together rejoice and be glad in it.
My heart is full today as I stand here to make brief remarks on the occasion of our 35th Anniversary of Independence, in the presence of our beloved Deputy Governor General Her Honour Mrs Hyleta Liburd and Mr Liburd, our resident Judge and the various dignitaries, armed and uniformed bodies, school children, citizens and residents of this beautiful island of Nevis.
My heart is full because I have seen our past as a nation and I have a vision of our future. I have seen the challenges and the path we have travelled. I have experienced the joys of our triumphs and suffered the agony of our defeats.
This island of Nevis, as a constituent element of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, holds considerable promise. Those who are here and those who are watching and listening, each has within you the power to be an agent for positive change in our island and in our country.
I say to you today that these three decades and five years must be our catalyst to work harder, work smarter, work more closely together to achieve the greatness of our promise.
We must be more patriotic and love our country more. By this I do not mean simply waving the flag or wearing national colours or singing our anthem, important as these symbols might be.
No! Our patriotism must mean far more. It must mean loving our country every day not just on Independence Day. Patriots do not litter. Patriots do not rob and steal. Patriots do not kill or seek to do harm to their fellow man. Patriots do not seek to destroy but rather seek to build up. Patriots give an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. Patriots support their children and their families. Patriots celebrate the achievements of each other and encourage each other to be the best that he or she can be. Patriots ensure that their communities are safe. Patriots protect the image and good name of their country.
I have come to understand that there is great power in our words. I have come to know that those of us entrusted to lead must demonstrate true leadership. True leadership is that leadership that not only trumpets itself in good times but also stands up and be counted in times of adversity.
We who are entrusted to help shape the next 35 years must insist that our countrymen do the right thing. We must insist that our people take personal responsibility and understand that their choices in life have consequences. We must share each other’s pain and celebrate each other’s glory. We must strive each and every day to achieve the oneness of purpose that is the only effective engine to drive our island and our nation forward. We must be fearless in standing for what is right even when inconvenient to do so.
This Nevis and this Nation of St. Kitts and Nevis that we love, has risen meteorically over the past 35 years. I however, say to you today that you have not seen anything yet. The promise of this island and this Nation is the peace progress and prosperity that so many have talked about but is yet to be fully realized.
And so today, I call on each and every boy and girl. I call on each and every man and woman. I call on every citizen and every resident. I issue a clarion call to duty in service of your island and your country. Let us today pledge each to another that we will work hand in hand, Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) and Nevis Reformation Party (NRP), St. Kitts Nevis Labour Party (Labour), People’s Action Movement (PAM) and People’s Labour Party (PLP), Jews and Gentiles, haves and have-nots to achieve One Nevis and One Federation. Let us today pledge to put aside petty differences and join hands and hearts together for the advancement of our beloved island and Nation.
My simple message then is one of hope which realizes the promise of our island and our Nation. Hope that we can work together. Hope that we can achieve together. Hope that our next 35 years will be far greater than our last 35 years. In this hope, let us cling to Jehovah God. Let us rely on Him rather than our own understanding. Let us together humble ourselves and seek His grace and His mercy that endureth forever.
It was the ancient Prophet Jeremiah who reminds us at Jeremiah 29 and verse 11:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
My brothers and sisters, let us on this our Independence Day remember this promise that God himself made to his children. A promise of hope, a promise of prosperity, a promise of a brighter future.
I wish you a Happy Independence and God’s richest blessings.