Permanent Representative of St. Kitts and Nevis to the United Nations His Excellency Sam T. Condor, shared with nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis in celebration of the life and times of the Federation’s First National Hero and First Premier, The Right Excellent Sir Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw.
On Sunday May 22, 2016, tributes to the national icon took center stage during the centennial anniversary service held in Sir Robert’s honor at the Church of the Holy Nativity in the Bronx, New York.
The Celebration Service of the Centennial Anniversary of the birth of the Right Excellent Sir Robert Llewelyn Bradshaw was an evening of poetry, songs, and special tributes, lauded as an appropriate commemoration to the national hero.
Ambassador Condor shared a moving and fitting tribute to Sir Robert, speaking in part to the selflessness, bravery and positive influence Bradshaw’s early introduction had on the Ambassador’s life. Condor stated, “My own reflections lead me to my first personal encounter with Mr. Bradshaw… when as a 16 year old, I officially joined the youth arm of the St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party.… I can still remember that feeling of awe in surrender to this towering, commanding, imposing stature of the man.”
Condor explained that his life was certainly transformed because of the vision of Sir Bradshaw, who was renowned on the national, regional and international level. “I got to know Premier Bradshaw more intimately as I served as Chairman of the Bradshaw Committee Youth Centre; built from his own personal resources…. This promoted community and country development.” Condor stated.
The Ambassador charged all in attendance to embrace Sir Robert’s legacy. “His great legacy must live on,” said Condor. “His great spiritual qualities, his noble dream of human fraternity, his tangible efforts to secure political and social liberty and justice must be emulated,” Condor declared.
In closing, the Ambassador encouraged nationals to re-commit to work hard to guarantee that the Diaspora becomes the critical cornerstone of assistance that it needs to be, as we set about to revive and strengthen the future of our people, our nation.” (The full text of Ambassador Condor’s speech can be found below).
The Very Reverend P. Allister Rawlins officiated the service and Reverend Canon Isaiah Phillip delivered a stirring message on Sir Robert’s life and work. Other special guests who took part in the centennial celebration of Sir Robert included author of the Federation’s national anthem, Mr. Kenrick Georges and Mr. St. Clair Chiverton, who shared a riveting tribute about Sir Robert.
Other contributions included a poem written by Everton E. Mack and presented by Ms. Yvonne Taylor, a solo, by Ms. Norma Francis-Dolphin and the Vote of Thanks, by Mr. Brant Douglas. Mrs. Yvette Swanston, Judge Selwyn Walters, and Mrs. Gretna Lewis read the evening’s scripture and lessons respectively. Dr. Elizabeth Lawrence provided soulful musical accompaniment on the organ.
The organizers of the event treated guests to a delightful spread which included beverages and a variety of dainties. Nationals joined in fellowship with one another in the Church’s banquet hall for hours following the official service of commemoration in honor of The Right Excellent Sir Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw, the nation’s first national hero.
His Excellency Ambassador Sam T. Condor
The 100th Anniversary Service
In Commemoration of
The Right Excellence Sir Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw
Bronx, New York
Sunday 22nd May, 2016
Please allow me at the very outset to proffer words of thanks and appreciation to Reverend-Allister Rawlins and the entire Church Family, here at the Church of Holy Nativity, for agreeing to accommodate us all here today, in this Service of Commemoration. We celebrate today, the 100th Anniversary of the birth of The Right Excellence, Sir Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw; the 1st National Hero of the Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis; a Nationalist, and a Leader of Regional and International stature.
I am here today, profoundly honoured and humbled, to join all gathered in this House of the Lord, in this act of Thanksgiving for and celebration of a life lived in reverent obedience and praise to his God, the Lord God Almighty; a life lived in declaration and fierce struggle for dignity and justice for a people oppressed.
And yes, often the Comrade Leader made public supplications for strength and courage for the maintenance of this struggle, to the Mighty Fortress— the God of Battles— Our God!
Our help in ages past—– Our Hope for years to come—
Our shelter from the stormy blast—
Be Thou our Guard, while struggles last
And our eternal home
(And regularly, the comrades joined in – singing songs of re-enforcement and encouragement)
Rouse then, soldiers—- rally round the banner
Ready, steady, pass the word along
Christ is captain of the mighty throng
Yes indeed—- it is good always, to give God thanks and Praise!
Today, we thank GOD for Papa Bradshaw; and for all those stalwarts of yester-year, whose tremendous selfless contributions, are today manifested in who we are as a people, and in the gains we have made as a Nation.
We thank the Almighty for His guidance, undergirding, protection and provision over all these years.
It is certainly most pleasing and encouraging to see the support for this momentous event, and I trust that this would be a supremely memorable occasion for us all.
Thank you all so much for accepting the invitation from the St. Peters Alumni, to be here.
It is for me, a signal honour and privilege to have been asked to participate in this service to pay tribute to our National stalwart and icon, who unquestionably has made an outstanding contribution to his native land.
I speak of and I hail today, our mentor, our teacher, our Papa, The Right Excellence, Sir Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw; 1st National Hero; Father of our Nation.
I tell of a man whose life was one of vision; passionate-caring, commitment and sacrifice, for his country and country- men.
It is my firm belief that we, if not all,—- most of us, have a keen sense and knowledge of the vision, dreams, aspirations and achievements of this Founding Father, Papa Bradshaw.
He was one of those “ordinary” men of humble beginnings, who achieved extraordinary things in his struggle against the planter—class, for the advancement of our peoples and countries. (The Region benefited from those struggles as well).
Indeed, it was in collaboration with like-minded colleagues, that our Servant-Leader’s stance, his engrossed involvement in the everyday life of our people; his enduring love for the land of his birth and his appreciation and understanding of the people’s birth–right, that led him, in devoutness and accepted duty to God, to champion the cause of the down-trodden, oppressed and marginalized.
This Honourable Patriot, Comrade Bradshaw’s quest, always, had been to restore the rights and privileges due to the natives in the land of their birth. In fact, one might say that he wanted, in the simplest and most visceral terms, a more generous and equitable arrangement for our people– living in deplorable- health, working and living conditions.
To many, the life of this brave warrior, became a sort of manifesto for Social- Justice and Democracy.
As a result of this struggle, we, as a people, gained Adult Suffrage (the right to vote); we gained proper Health-Care, Housing and Education; and critically, we gained Ownership of our Lands, with all of the benefits to be derived there-from. And indeed we achieved so much more. .
This is why, we have gathered here today; to testify to the virtues of this dedicated, loyal and trust-worthy son of the soil.
We have come today to offer thanks and praise to God for his life, well lived, in sacrifice, for the good of all. We give thanks for his positive impact on the growth and prosperity of our people and our nation.
I am sure that many of us here have testimonies relative to the critical importance of these gains to our personal lives; and to the survival and progress of our nation as a whole.
My own reflections lead me to my first personal encounter with “Mr. Bradshaw” as he was then known, in 1966, some fifty years ago, when as a 16 year old, I officially joined the youth- arm of the St. Kitts/Nevis Labour Party. Of course, as a news-paper-boy, I had observed his comings and goings in Masses House and on the streets of Central Basseterre, but never had a face to face, prior to that day. I can still remember that feeling of awe in surrender to this towering, commanding/ imposing stature of the man.
My life had been re-directed! One year later, in 1967, I joined the St. Kitts /Nevis Civil Service, at the Government Printery, where I interfaced with him regularly. I left on Study Leave in 1978, to pursue a two-year Diploma Course in Development Studies, at Ruskin College, Oxford, England, with much encouragement from our country’s Leader.
In fact, it was during that eleven year period, when our First National Hero served as our First Premier, that I began to truly understand the measure of the man called “Bradshaw.
No surprise therefore, that in partial fulfillment of my Diploma Course in Development Studies, my thesis was entitled – “The Political, Social and Economic Implication of the Land Acquisition Act, 1975 in St. Kitts /Nevis.”
For, the Land Acquisition, was arguably one of Bradshaw’s most significant and fundamental contributions to the development of St. Kitts /Nevis.
I got to know Premier Bradshaw more intimately, as I served as Chairman of the *Bradshaw Committee Youth Centre; built from his personal resources. This Centre was established to facilitate the advancement of academic and intellectual development of young people. This promoted community and country development.
And so it was that during Bradshaw’s Premiership, young people were identified and given opportunities to contribute and participate in National Development……… For example, as a young man, I was appointed to the St. Kitts/Nevis Tourist Board, with Sir Lee L. Moore as Chairman and former Permanent Secretary Mrs. Hillary Wattley, who served as Secretary. Other members included Mr. Fred Lam, Mr. Kishu Chanderamarni and Mr. Collin Pereira. This was during the time that Sir C.A.P. Southwell served as Minister of Tourism.
I have shared this information as testimony to Premier Bradshaw’s hands-on involvement in the molding of young leaders, to take on the task of Nation Building. I have no doubt that, that early introduction at that level of National Service, did impact me in such a way, as to influence my decision later, for service at the National level.
Undoubtedly, in his era, Sir Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw did make a sterling, and lasting contribution to the economic and socio-political transformation, growth and development of our National Landscape; for which, we are eternally indebted.
He lived his life demonstrating his biblical belief….. “In as much as you do unto the least of these my brethren, you do it also to me.”
During the last hours of his life, when a comrade enquired as to how he was doing, his quiet response came — “I am giving back the life I owe”. Again, re-affirming his great faith, love and belief in his creator, the Lord God Almighty. There were those present who sang quietly:-
O love, that wilt not let me go
I rest my weary soul in Thee
I give Thee back the life I owe
That in Thine ocean depths…. its flow
May richer fuller be.
Today, we would all agree that this great legacy must live on. His great spiritual qualities, his noble dream of human fraternity, his tangible efforts to secure political and social liberty and justice must be emulated.
We all acknowledge that through the tangible support of our nationals at home and abroad, we have been able to experience significant progress over the years. I say to you here today, that we must do all in our power to hold on to the gains we have made; that we must aspire to strive with increased determination, to achieve, to add to his goals/ our goals of co-operation, mutual trust; and the respect for which he fought.
As we are afforded this opportunity to participate in Worship in this House of the Lord, please allow me to affirm deepest appreciation for your support.
So many of you have contributed/invested in various forms toward the overall growth and development of our Blessed Nation. As a people, we are eternally grateful.
I must however reinforce what I have said to you in the past; that is, that we all need to make, or re-affirm a personal commitment to be more involved in our Nation’s development; that we re-commit to “work to guarantee that the Diaspora becomes the critical cornerstone of assistance that it needs to be, as we set about to revive and strengthen the future of our of people, our Nation.”
We must now find ways to impart hope and vigour to their Spirits; be re-assured as in the words of the Apostle Paul …….. “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed, but not in despair. … 2 Corinthians:-8-9
I stand ready, eager, to assist in whatever way that I can.
In closing, I again extend congratulations and much appreciation to the organizers of this Service, and the many other events planned in commemoration of this the 100th Anniversary of the birth of our 1st National Hero, Father of our Nation, The Right Excellence Sir Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw.
May the flights of Angels that took him to his rest, continually watch over him in peace; and may they imbue in us a spirit of everlasting gratitude; and the determination to build on his legacy.
God bless you all……. God bless our native land.