August 02, 2007
For Immediate Public Release
Premier of Nevis the Hon. Joseph Parry said of the grief borne by Nevis from the MV Christina Disaster 37 years ago, he said the sad event which had the single greatest impact on the maritime history of St. Kitts and Nevis, also brought many new beginnings for the people of Nevis.
He made the comment during a memorial service to observe the 37th anniversary of the MV Christina Disaster in which 233 persons, mostly Nevisians, lost their lives on a voyage from Basseterre en route to Charlestown. Ninety passengers survived the ill fated trip.
“We have a lot to thank God for even in the face of that disaster we were able to pick ourselves up and move forward”¦It seems to me that that [disaster] also gave us an opportunity to have a new beginning because many of those persons who went abroad were able to send money back to build homes, they were able to send money back to help our children go to school and now we have another chance.
“We have our own government, we have our economy and we are in a position to develop ourselves. I do believe that even though I say it myself, we have done exceedingly well over the past 37 years and there is a lot we can point to as having achieved as Nevisians. So at that time [even if] it felt like the end of the world, you had a new beginning in culture, a new beginning – a struggle for government which we have, a new beginning in looking after ourselves and we have done a great job of it,” he said.The Premier noted that Nevisians had benefited from that period and were 37 years after positioned to value their achievements. He urged them however, to band themselves as one people for the continued development of Nevis.
“I want that message to sink home with us that we have to develop ourselves. We have to develop our families we have to develop our friends we have to develop even our enemies because we have to develop our whole communities. I say let us embrace each other as we remember those who we have lost and move forward in the development of Nevis,” he said.
Meantime, Father Ernest Flemming noted that the memorial service fell during the Culturama Festival, a festive time in Nevis and the disaster occurred on Emancipation Day, which was considered to be a day of celebration.
He said life was not only about fun and fÃªting but also about sadness and mourning therefore mankind should live soberly and in all ways acknowledge God.
“We commend the mercifully departed to a merciful God and join in thanksgiving for the survivors and whatever benefits that resulted from the disaster. We pray for all who still mourn and we urge everyone to live truly secure lives that are built on our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ,’ he said.
During the Service, a national moment of silence was observed after the names of the 233 persons who had perished in the disaster were read out by surviving relatives. Wreaths were also laid while and the MV Sea Hustler and the MV Caribe Queen engaged in a sail past in memory of the disaster.
The opening prayer was delivered by reverend Cecele Browne, a survivor Mr Franklyn Brown read the scripture. The sermon was done by Pastor Theophilus Kelly the closing prayer was delivered by Pastor Emerald Hanley.