Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 27, 2019 (SKNIS): In an effort to aid in the beautification process, 400 plants were recently handed over to 33 registered community groups that are participating in the 2019 National Best Village Competition, which has provided an opportunity for communities to come together to enhance their surroundings while creating a deeper appreciation for the environment.

Since the commencement of the competition, starter tool kits and 140 plants were presented to the participating groups by private sector companies, the Department of Agriculture, and the Ministry of Tourism.

According to a press release from the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, “Approximately 400 plants were propagated through partnerships with the St. Kitts Eco-Park and the Department of Agriculture. The additional plants will help the participating groups to beautify the chosen green spaces within their various communities, in preparation for the second round of judging for the competition which will be held on Wednesday 2nd October, 2019.

Speaking at the handing over ceremony, which took place on September 25, at the St. Kitts Eco Park, Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Lindsay Grant, stated that he is pleased that the best village competition was reintroduced as it is not only a heart-warming and welcomed idea, but has brought much excitement to St. Kitts.

The minister said that there has been a notable change in communities across the island.

“When you drive through the villages these days, and I drive from Sandy Point to Basseterre, you see the beautification of St. Kitts, which we have not seen in many years,” he said. “We see the excitement and the competitive spirit of the various groups because they would like to win, but I must say all of you are winners. Not only all of you are winners, but I think St. Kitts is a winner for the work you have put in.”

He added that the competition is meant to build awareness within community groups while stimulating the community cohesion and integration.

Minister Grant gave words of encouragement to the individuals spearheading their community groups.

“For those of you who are supervising the work also I want to say kudos to you. I want to say that we can’t just have it for the best village competition, we need to continue the drive of cleanliness throughout St. Kitts because it does well for our community,” he said.

The minister stated that their efforts have transcended beyond the best village competition.

“If you look at Basseterre now, it looks much cleaner than it was before and that is because you have now given the impetus to make Basseterre much cleaner than it was before.

He asked his staff who are leading the competition to continue its hard work. He said that their efforts should continue to keep St. Kitts clean beyond the competition.

Thirty-three communities have registered to participate in the 2019 National Best Village Competition.

Judged categories include Best Clean and Green Area, Best Home Garden and Best Kept Neighbourhood.

Other categories, which will be Ministerial Awards, are Best Village Grandparent and Best Sustainability Programme.

The winner of the competition will be announced in November.