St. Kitts – Nevis Pays Homage To National Heroes

Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell

Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
September 17, 2012 (CUOPM)

National Hero, former Premier and Father of Independence, the Right Excellent Sir Robert L. Bradshaw, from his days as a “union leader, to the moment of his death, his battles to secure equal rights and equal justice for us all were fully joined by his steadfast partners and allies, the Rt. Excellent Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell and the Right Excellent Sir Joseph Nathaniel France, National Heroes who, too, believed fully and unreservedly in our cause. Time has proven them right, for we are proof of their wisdom. We honor them, and we thank them. And, in our hearts, and throughout our land, they live.”

So said St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas during remarks Monday at a Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Robert L. Bradshaw Memorial Park in St. Paul’s ““ birthplace of Bradshaw.

“We are told that to live in the hearts of those who love us is to never die, and our presence here this morning attests to the power of that truth,” said Prime Minister Douglas to the large gathering of Governor General His Excellency Dr. Sir Cuthbert Sebastian; Cabinet Ministers, Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps, government officials and a wide cross section of the federation including residents of St. Paul’s.

“The Right Honorable Sir Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw, our First National Hero and the man we honor here today, can be seen no more. His voice is now as still as night. And the days when he walked among us, long gone. Yet, what he believed in, what he worked for, and what he accomplished, live on,” said Dr. Douglas, who added that Bradshaw’s clarity of vision and the strength of his will crafted stepping stones that move us forward, even today.

“And he constructed springboards that still speed our way.  A great writer once said “Some see things as they are, and ask why…others dream of things that never were, and ask why not”

The latter aptly captures the spirit and soul of Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw ““ son of St. Paul’s, leader of our people, student of the world ““ who, as a young man with neither social status nor political station, looked around these islands, saw much that was wrong and, undaunted by the power of Empire, set out to change them,” said the St. Kitts and Nevis leader.

He noted that this year’s Independence Anniversary theme, “˜Cherishing Children, Strengthening Families,’ speaks directly to the “motivational ethos of the man in whose honor this park was established, because he was born in a time and place in which the ability of the many meant nothing where all that counted was the privileged few.”

“He was born in an age when poor education, poor health care, poor housing, and poor employment prospects told children and families from St. Paul’s in St. Kitts, to Rawlins in Nevis, that they were the exact opposite of what society cherished and exactly whom no-one wished to make strong.

And so he set out to redesign – and forever rearrange – the socio-economic architecture of these islands to ensure that, at last, the children of the many would be cherished, and all families would have a chance to be strong,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who earlier took the General Salute and Inspected an Honour Guard drawn up by members of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force and the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force.

The Prime Minister said this year’s anniversary theme reflects his Government’s continuation of the work begun by Mr. Bradshaw and his partners who, through sweeping measures, ensured that the potential of the young would, at last, be realized, and destitution no longer the lot of families, when old.

“Our forebears put in place the structures for the functioning of a stable and just society and, indeed, we have built on these structures. We now owe it to them, as indeed we owe it to ourselves, to uphold the moral and attitudinal values needed to ensure that it remains so.  For this is the only way for any nation to truly cherish and strengthen their families and their young,” said Dr. Douglas.

He added: “At the dawn of Bradshaw’s strivings, the youngest of the young were cared for by various women while their parents worked in the cane-fields.  Today, with our people undertaking wide and varied forms of work, new members of society provide safe, authorized child-care, as a supplement to the Government-run centers that now abound.  Special thanks are therefore due to all who care for the very young while their parents work, because safe and caring environments at the dawn of life has such a dramatic impact on who and what children become.  And thanks are due, as well, because a parent’s ability to concentrate on work-related responsibilities is so dramatically enhanced when that parent knows that their child is being properly cared for, and is safe.”

Prime Minister Douglas said Robert Bradshaw did not live in a world of abstractions.

“Instead, he worked to make us braver and stronger as we built a world that many said could not be.  He believed that a child from the humblest of homes, properly cherished and guided, and given the right opportunities, would fly high and fly free.  And he knew that our families, endowed with universal rights and entitled now to justice, could resist and change the cruel grip of history,” he said.

Wreaths were laid by the Governor General, the Prime Minister, the Commander of the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force, the Commissioner of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force, the Ambassadors of Venezuela, Brazil, Cuba, the Republic of China (Taiwan); the St. Kitts-Nevis Trades and Labour Union, the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party and Mr. Rustum Southwell and a relative of the Bradshaw family.

Students from the St. Paul’s Primary School presented the wreaths to the officials.

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