After heading the Nevis Civil Service for the first four years post-Independence (1983-1987), the Hon. Parry, was first elected on an NRP ticket to the lawmaking body on December 14, 1987, and served as Minister of Tourism, Agriculture and Labour from 1987 to 1992 under Nevis’ first Premier the late Dr. Simeon Daniel. It was under his watch that Nevis saw the construction and opening of the island’s flagship hotel, and first 5-Star hotel in the Caribbean – the 196-room Four Seasons Resort – which quickly became the envy of the entire Caribbean.
Parry, a staunch Anglican, will celebrate his 25th anniversary with fellow Cabinet members, family, well-wishers and constituents at the St. Thomas’ Anglican Church on Sunday (December 16th) from 8am.
In an interview Friday morning with the Nevis Department of Information, Premier Parry said he is proud of his many years of service to the people of Nevis, particularly St. Thomas’ parish, which has been supportive of him, and his Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) for many years.
Premier Parry indicated that over the years he has experienced many challenges, personal and career-wise, but a number of close friends and well-wishers have encouraged and supported him, enabling him to keep his head up, and continue his good work on behalf of his beloved people.
In commemoration of his 25 years in Parliament, Premier Parry visited the homes of 25 elderly supporters from St. Thomas’ parish and gave them each a gift basket on Friday evening.
When co-founder, long-standing leader and first Premier, the late Dr. Simeon Daniel (1983-1992) retired from politics after the NRP lost at the polls in June 1992, Parry was unanimously elected as leader of the Nevis Reformation Party. Parry led the NRP for the next 14 years in Opposition, displaying tenacity, graciousness, patriotism and calm in difficult times.
Premier Parry took the reigns of government in July 2006, inheriting an island with very little private sector growth, poor roads, a limited water supply and a demoralized civil service. By October 2008, the island witnessed the closure of the Four Seasons Resort after it was hit by Hurricane Omar, and shortly thereafter Nevis suffered a “double whammy”, and was buffeted by the worst global recession since the Great Depression of the late 1920’s early 1930’s.
The closure of the Four Seasons lasted for over 2 years (791 days), and the world’s economy is even now just emerging from the deep recession.
The 64-year old University of the West Indies (UWI) trained economist, however, kept a steady hand on the wheel, and kept Nevis afloat during the most difficult financial challenges that the island has experienced in its history, while at the same orchestrating unprecedented growth in the economy.
In the first five years, Premier Parry’s government delivered the first wind farm (Wind Watt at Maddens) in the OECS, over a million gallons of potable water daily, new and refurbished roads in all parishes, the re-opening of Four Seasons Resort, and a boom in private sector growth from both local and overseas investors, including Brown Hill Communications, Tamarind Cove and Hamilton Condominiums.
His achievements in people empowerment have been stellar, with his NRP-led administration building over 300 homes occupied by families headed for the most parts by women, supported over 200 young Nevisians in getting a tertiary education, and reshaping the society in the image of local people with the renaming of landmarks in honour of such outstanding Nevisians as Elquemedo T. Willett, Cicely Grell-Hull, Dora Stevens, Uhral Swanson and Franklyn Browne, among others.
When asked what has been his motivation over the years , the Hon. Joseph Parry said ,”People first and foremost, as I believe helping people, empowering people and working to make the country of your birth a better place is the greatest motivation.”
It is such motivation which has led many Nevisians at home and in the Diaspora to proclaim proudly, that “NRP, and Parry is best for Nevis.”