By Mell P | on September 15, 2022
(Caribnews) It was 39 years ago that approximately 36,000 nationals of St. Kitts-Nevis seized the moment to break away from the constitutional and colonial chains that had linked them to England for centuries. It was on September 19th, 1983 that St. Kitts-Nevis, a country of 101 square miles, became the smallest independent nation in the Western hemisphere, and when the British flag was lowered for the last time, there might have been a few nods of regret, but the people of St. Kitts-Nevis were set to chart their own course and to break the bond that tied them to London for more than 200 years.
Clearly the move by St. Kitts- Nevis to sovereignty was a bold step that required determination and grit in the face of widespread skepticism in the capital of large countries. Basically many analysts and government officials were convinced that sovereignty for such a small nation wasn’t sustainable, but how wrong has St. Kitts-Nevis proved them.
Time has shown a record of success for this small country, this mini State, as they sometimes refer to St. Kitts-Nevis. In a sense, St. Kitts- Nevis has demonstrated that large doesn’t always matter; in its 39 years of sovereignty, it has upgraded the people’s standard of living to one of the highest in the region, it has an inevitable track record of human development and a lifespan of more than 70 years, a universal health care system which guarantees people access to care regardless of their ability to pay, and a comparably low infant mortality rate.
It has made strides in so many areas, but none of this suggests that the development has been easy or free of obstacles. Like many of its Caribbean neighbors St. Kitts has fought against a lot of the issues of crime and gun violence, and of course the impact of COVID on its own development. St. Kitts relies heavily on tourism, and so COVID has impacted its own development in this period, and like many of its neighbors, trying to find a solution to recover from COVID, to deal with crime and violence and to remain on the path of good governance. Yes, St. Kitts has its problem fueled by the rise in crime, poverty, and those issues that impact the Caribbean\and of course the economic woes, but the country has still maintained its course, and in its most recent election which was peaceful, there was a change in government with a commitment to continue a strong democratic process and a hearty economic development program.
The Independence theme created by the government for this year is – Refocus, Recreate, Redesign, Independence 39. It is an indication of the government’s plans and determination to keep this small, but very important country Focusing on its development, focusing on its people, making its contribution in the wider region and in many instances, the wider world. It’s voice has been heard at the UN on several issues and coming together with other members of CARICOM, It certainly carries weight in that hall.
The country has much to celebrate and much to look forward to – a people of determination, s people of strong will and hard work will continue to play a role in the development of the region. So we commend the people and the government of St. Kitts-Nevis; we extend congratulations to them on their achievements and on their plans to achieve even more.