Governor General – Dr. Sir Cuthbert Sebastian (r)
Photo By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
September 15, 2009 (CUOPM)
St. Kitts and Nevis will know in a few hours the persons who will receive 2009 National Awards to mark the 26th Anniversary of political independence.
Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas has forwarded to His Excellency the Governor General, Dr. Sir Cuthbert Sebastian, the names of the individuals recommended by the National Awards Committee, chaired by Mrs. Dulcie Richardson.
The Governor General’s Office is expected to officially announce the recipients of National Awards to coincide with National Heroes Day, Wednesday 16th September, a public holiday.
Several nationals will be honoured for their contribution to the development of St. Kitts and Nevis.
National Heroes Day was first commemorated in 1998, with the St. Kitts and Nevis Federal Parliament passing the National Honours Act, setting every September 16th the birthdate of First National Hero and Father of Independence, the Right Excellent Sir Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw, Knight Commander of the Order of National Hero, a public holiday. September 16th is also the birthdate of the Right Excellent Sir Joseph N. France, another National Hero.
The Act established three classes of award: The Order of National Hero, the Star of Merit and the Medal of Honour and a National Hero’s Day.
The inaugural National Hero’s Day, on 16th September 1998 saw the National Hero status bestowed posthumously on Sir Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw and the renaming of the Golden Rock Airport, the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport.
In 2004, two other persons, First Chief Minister, Deputy Premier and Premier, the late Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell and trade union stalwart and former Minister of Government, Sir Joseph N. France were elevated to the status on national hero.
The Order of the National Hero bestows the title – Knight Commander of the Order of National Hero on recipients.
Although not an honour under the National Heroes Act, Her Majesty the Queen accepted the recommendation of Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas on September 16th 2004 and bestowed the Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George on the First Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Right Hon. Dr. Sir Kennedy Alphonse Simmonds.
A Standing National Awards Committee has been established under the Act. The committee is composed of members of the Public Service Commission, Trades Unions, Chamber of Commerce, the public, church and women organisations and the National Youth Council.
Members of the public submit nominations to the Committee, which forwards them to the Prime Minister.