St. Kitts – Nevis PM – Denzil Douglas
Photo By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
September 20, 2011 (CUOPM)
A call for the people of St. Kitts and Nevis to be ever mindful of the importance of self-respect, tolerance and compassion to protect the overall interests of the twin-island Federation.
Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas in his official address to mark the 28th Anniversary of political independence urged nationals as they enter the 29th year “to find a way of injecting the concept of tolerance into the thinking of those for whom rage is, unfailingly, the first response.”
“And may we be inspired and motivated to embrace, and put into action, the compassion that was so ably demonstrated by all those who came before,” said Prime Minister Douglas in his national broadcast.
Dr. Douglas in calling on nationals to defend the right to vote secured by National Heroes, Their Right Excellencies Sir Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw, Sir C. A. Paul Southwell and Sir Joseph N. France.
“We see countries being torn asunder because their people have spent their entire lives without ever once having had a chance to vote. And so they now risk their lives – in their hunger for the rights that National Heroes Bradshaw, Southwell, and France so valiantly secured for us all, so very long ago. And like you, I see neighbourhoods, drenched in blood because fathers, and brothers, and cousins were long ago hauled off by governments and locked away, out of the reach of spouses, out of the reach of friends, out of reach of their children, simply for having one political view or another and for daring to express them. We are, indeed blessed, blessed we are to live in a country where, in the words of our national anthem, our people do, indeed, “˜stand free’,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
“I long for an end to the death and destruction. And this makes me give thanks, in the privacy of my own heart, that we are able to live in “a country where peace abounds”. Like you, I understand the value of living in a land in which, despite our political differences, despite our religious distinctions, despite whatever superficial details may distinguish us one from another, we have, and have long had, what the people in many countries are literally ““ and tragically – dying to achieve,” Dr. Douglas told the Nation.
He referred to the trauma and tumult taking place in other countries, pointing out that some nations are being shaken to the core by rage over political prisoners, denial of rights, and the absence of the vote, others are being brought to their knees by trade imbalances, fiscal shortfalls, massive debt, unmanageable deficits, unemployment and socio-economic desperation.
“Yet here, through the grace of God, we stand on these two islands. Not impervious to the tumult in the world, but nonetheless forging ahead. Striving to provide ““ and indeed providing – social, economic, and political opportunities for the people of this land. In the midst of the dire conditions beyond our shores, we can and must rejoice today that through planning and hard work, St. Kitts and Nevis has stayed afloat. It is a positive reflection on us all that this tiny nation that we call home has stayed the course,” said Prime Minister Douglas as he commended “each and every one of the 50,000 Kittitians and Nevisians living at home, and the thousands living abroad who have helped to make our tiny nation the brave, competent, praise-worthy one that it is, in the sea of the six thousand million persons, struggling and striving, all around us.”
Speaking of the battle of the negative influences that nations face in steadily shaping the minds, the attitudes, and the values of their nations, Prime Minister Douglas noted that these influences affect not just children, but people of all ages to varying degrees, as they steadily change and adjust their perceptions of what is right and what is wrong, what is normal and what is not, what is acceptable and unacceptable and what is indeed, good.
“Key to any victory in this mammoth battle will be our self-respect. Because it is only those nations and peoples who respect themselves who can ever hope to discern what is acceptable and what is not”¦”¦what is tonic and what is toxic”¦…what is friend and what is foe. And so, today, tomorrow, and beyond, we must make the effort to see patriotism not merely in terms of buntin, our anthem, and our flag, although they are all important and precious symbols of our nationhood. We must, most importantly, assert our patriotism via a renewed emphasis on self-respect”¦”¦”¦in all that we do: In our offices. In our schools. In our homes. In the way we worship. In the way we mourn,” said Dr. Douglas.
He said the rights and privileges enjoyed today did not come by the wave of a hand.
“Our forefathers struggled. And suffered. They were shot down in the foothills of Mount Liamuiga, and at Buckley’s as they endured great hardship to win for themselves ““ and for us ““ many of the rights that are ours today. In light of this, then, though we have all slipped, and though we have all erred, let us, nonetheless, valiantly strive, in all we do and say, to prove ourselves worthy of their sacrifice,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who declared that the true wealth of a nation, in the final analysis, is found in its people.
“I know that the wealth of our nation most certainly resides in our people. For it is in a nation’s people that one finds the impulse to plan ““ or not plan. The willingness to strive ““ or not strive. The propensity for conflict or the instinct for peace. It is a matter of record that the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, as a result of their own character and vision, have established and maintained a vibrant, respected democracy,” said Dr. Douglas.
He said tolerance at the level of the adults is not enough and there has been extraordinary levels of performance by the youth from academics to athletics and beyond.
“Tolerance must now be taught, now be imparted, now be instilled amongst and between very different groups of young people, however ““ as is now being done in our schools. Because it is, in fact, a most extreme form of intolerance that is at the root of the violence that has been of such concern to us all. And as we move beyond today, however, each with our own responsibilities based on the lives that we lead and the work that we do, let us remain aware of, and sensitive to, one of the special sparks that make us truly human ““ the spark of compassion,” said Prime Minister Douglas.