Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 30, 2017 (SKNIS): One hundred and thirty Sanitation Workers in St. Kitts and Nevis were awarded at the 15th Annual Sanitation Workers Appreciation Day ceremony, which for the first time ever was hosted at Government House on Sunday, October 29, 2017.

Eleven workers, chosen by their supervisors, were given special awards for their hard work and dedication to their respective departments. These awardees were Sandra Philip, William Alcender and Bruce Noland of Environmental Health; Kwamie Vallet and Robinson Durand of the Nevis Solid Waste Management, and Lesroy Jeffers, Ray Francis, Jacki Belle, Austin Williams, Esmie Benjamin and Dasline Mitcham of the Parks and Beaches Unit.

Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis paid tribute to the important service that is carried out by these key workers. The value of such was evident in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017.

“In the early hours after the hurricanes, sanitation crews headed for the front lines to restore our communities, leaving their own homes and families in order to look out for the interests of others,” wrote Dr. Harris in the commemorative booklet for the appreciation ceremony.

The Honourable Prime Minister recalled his pleasure of working side by side with several of the workers to clean up areas of the Basseterre Bay Road and the Frigate Bay Strip and noted that sanitation workers “became some of the Heroes of the Hurricanes.”

Dr. Harris added: “That crystal is the traditional 15th anniversary gift is fitting, then, because this year – the 15th year of celebrating our Sanitation Workers in the Federation – it became crystal clear that employees of the Solid Waste Management Corporation, Public Works, and the Water Department, as well as other hurricane first responders such as those from Public and Environmental Health and Parks and Beaches are Our Nation’s Forgotten Heroes.”

Prime Minister Harris continued: “I therefore salute your dedicated work and yeoman’s service to our great country and encourage your continued commitment to performing your jobs, which the whole Nation relies on to enhance our quality of life, particularly so during our most difficult times.”

The Honourable Eugene Hamilton, Minister of Health et al., who is away on government business, also wrote his remarks in honour of the Sanitation Workers Appreciation Day. He expressed regret that he was not able to celebrate with the employees as customary, but shared that “my thoughts are with you today as you who serve in St. Kitts welcome your brothers and sisters from Nevis on this glorious day.”

Minister Hamilton said Government is working with the appropriate officials to ensure that employees are made pensionable, “so that upon retirement, you can better afford the services that are necessary for your everyday comfort.”

He urged the awardees to “continue to take ownership of the mission to enhance the health conditions in our nation.”

The Sanitation Workers Appreciation Day is an event that has been celebrated yearly since 2002 under the supervision of Pastor Lincoln Hazell of the Apostolic Faith Church who is a former Environmental Health Officer. This year’s theme was “Good Sanitation Saves and Extends Lives.”