BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, SEPTEMBER 19TH, 2016 (PRESS SEC) – Early this morning, citizens, residents and visitors to St. Kitts and Nevis heard Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris reference painful aspects of this nation’s past to make a case for why every Kittitian and Nevisian needs to be proud and passionate about our great country.

“Our land has seen struggles, hardships and battles for power going over many centuries.  Colonial powers fought for this land because it was a prized jewel.  As free men and women of St. Kitts and Nevis, this is a country bequeathed to us by our forefathers and we must make it our place of choice – our prized jewel,” Prime Minister Harris said during his Independence Day Message.

Huge Crowd of Hundreds in Various Colours and Designs of the National Flag at the Independence 33 Ceremonial Parade

Huge Crowd of Hundreds in Various Colours and Designs of the National Flag at the Independence 33 Ceremonial Parade

The Prime Minister added: “As an independent nation, we have done reasonably well over the last 33 years of our independence journey.  Our economy today is stable.  We are among the best performing economies in Latin America and the Caribbean.  Our fiscal house is in a very good shape – better than most.  While others suffer from negligible economic growth rates, ours is projected to be above average for the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), the borrowing member states of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).”

Dr. Harris then made this stirring appeal: “Our young people can play such an important role.  I call upon you to not insult the pain, the daily torment and abject misery of our enslaved forefathers by using the freedom they never had, to make the wrong choices.  Can you not hear the screams of pain echoing across the winds?”

Minutes after the national broadcast of the Prime Minister’s speech, screams of exuberance could be heard – and heartening displays of patriotism and solidarity seen – as the Independence Ceremonial Parade got underway around 8:00am on the grounds of the Warner Park Cricket Stadium.

The impressively large crowd was made up of children, young adults, as well as the middle-aged and elderly from all across the Federation – and the world actually.

As diverse as we all were, there was one common chord that unified everyone – love and goodwill for St. Kitts and Nevis.  So as the sun sets on this 33rd Independence Anniversary, let us hold in our hearts and pledge to live in our lives what the Honourable Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis eloquently said today.

We should craft the future like an artist who has a vision in his mind of what he wants to create.  Artists will add colour, shape, form; in the same way, this is how you should build your character, define your future, and consequently shape the future and legacy of this nation,” Prime Minister Harris said in his message.

Moreover, as the day winds to an end, let us pray for the continued success of our nation and its people [approximately 65% are 35 years old or younger], and thank God for all that we have.

As Prime Minister Harris reiterated in his Independence Day Message, “Our young people are excelling.  They are surpassing traditional best standards in their performances at secondary school and at sixth form.  We hail the new high set by Rol-J Williams with his 17 CXC passes with distinction.  More of our people are pursuing tertiary-level education in the Caribbean, the Americas, Asia, the Pacific and elsewhere in the world.  Given the critical role that tertiary-level education can play in the development of a country, we are happy to witness such expansion in the number of participants at this level of education and training.  Our aim is to ensure that by 2030 every family household will boast a graduate.  Our sporting heroes are making us proud at the Olympics.  We are especially proud of the performance of our Special Olympians in recent competitions and other Olympians that keep the flag of one of the smallest countries in the world flying high.  We commend our footballers on their recent standing in FIFA.  They are number two in the Caribbean and 77 worldwide.  I am advised this is their best-ever ranking.  There is much for which we have to give God thanks.”

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