Prime Minister Harris: National Volunteer Day is all about nation building

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BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, February 18, 2018 (PLP PR Media Inc.) — Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris has said that the inaugural National Volunteer Day observed on Saturday February 17 was a huge success, and that it will become one of the most expected and the most anticipated days by all the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.


Calling it a unique day that was inaugurated by the Team Unity Government, Dr Harris said that its success was important “because we want to emphasise nation building. How patriotism can contribute, how solidarity helps in nation building, how responsible action helps in nation building, and how civic pride is critical to nation building.”


The Prime Minister added: “If we could find every day one Good Samaritan to add to the pool of persons who have been committed to do good, then our Federation will be better for real. And so this National Volunteer Day will perhaps become one of the most expected and the most anticipated days, by all the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.”


Dr Harris made the remarks at Government House in Basseterre on Saturday February 17 where he, along with members of his Cabinet and members of the Volunteer Corps, volunteered in making Governor General’s luncheon for the senior citizen a success by serving the invitees who had turned out in their numbers.


“We want to say special thank you to the Governor General His Excellency Sir Tapley Seaton for making these historic grounds available,” said Dr Harris. “Several of the elderly who are here would recall there was a time in history when these grounds were deemed exclusive to just some people. They have now this opportunity for some of them for the first time to enter these grounds which now belong to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.”


The Prime Minister noted: “The Governor General has been doing a good job in popularising Government House and its environs and so I commend him for that effort.”


With Prime Minister Harris, as her served the food, were the Deputy Prime Minister the Hon Shawn Richards, Ministers the Hon Eugene Hamilton and the Hon Wendy Phipps, and the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Senator the Hon Akilah Byron-Nisbett.


Dr Harris, who had come to the Government House after participating in a number of activities to mark the National Volunteer Day in his constituency, expressed delight at seeing so many people who had turned out for the Governor General’s luncheon.


“We see a large cross section of persons of all colour, races, and creed coming out today and making merry showing solidarity,” noted Dr Harris. “I really want to say thank you because without that attendance this would not have been a positive event, and so again, thanks, many thanks to the people who have put so much effort in it.”


He affirmed that the first National Volunteer Day had been an outstanding success, judging from the level of volunteerism that was displayed and stated: “We know that we are on the right path, and the fact that people felt moved on the official invitation, to do something special today – that has warmed my heart.”


There was good evidence of the volunteerism at work, reported the Prime Minister, who added that it will only get stronger and more meaningful as the country observes the event from year to year. He gave the example of young people who had come together in Mansion Village to paint a house of one Melvin Dolphin, in which he also took part.


Prime Minister Harris also thanked the team of persons from the Parks and Beaches Department that had given up their Saturday to ensure that the school grounds at Estridge Primary School were ready to accommodate their sports day.


When he arrived at the Government House he saw the volunteerism spirit highly at work as he joined his Cabinet colleagues and members of the Volunteer Corps who were busy serving food. Dr Harris, like the other volunteers, was adorned in an apron that was passed on to him and he started serving the seniors.


On being served by Prime Minister Harris who stood side by side with Minister Eugene Hamilton, one senior citizen said to this media: “Thank God, St. Kitts has changed.” She did not elaborate but the joy and pride exuding from her facial features said it all.


Ms Myrtilla Williams, the National Secretary of the Peoples Labour Party (PLP) who was behind the idea of hosting the luncheon was also commended by Dr Harris, who is the National Political Leader of the party. He noted: “She was accompanied in the leadership of this event by Mr Wallis Wilkin, Mrs Anne Wigley from the Social Development Unit, and scores of other persons came together.”


Prime Minister Harris thanked those of the private sector who made donations for the event to be an outstanding success and to be implemented at minimum cost to the Treasury. He also thanked the folklore groups, Jingle Bells String Band and the Huggins Masquerades, who did excellent renditions that helped the elder folks to reminisce about some of their happier times in their lives. He added: “Hopefully that happiness will remain with them not just today but throughout their lives.”


WINN FM came in for praise from the Prime Minister for its call in programme ‘Inside the News’ which allowed a number of persons, he included, to share their perspectives.


In his conclusion, Prime Minister Harris said: “We are an inclusive society and by focusing today on volunteerism we are saying to people: Each of us, once we are alive, we can make a contribution to the happiness, the comfort of others and by so doing, make our St. Kitts and Nevis beautiful, not only in terms of the physical surroundings, the azure seas, the green sceneries, mountain-scape and seascape but because of the beautiful feelings that emanate in each and every resident here.”     


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