Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 15, 2019 (SKNIS): Monday, July 15 was a historic day in downtown Basseterre as hundreds of citizens and residents turned out in their numbers to witness the visit of the President of the Republic of China (Taiwan), Her Excellency (H.E.) Dr. Tsai Ing-wen, to the Berkeley Memorial (The Circus) as part of her official State Visit to St. Kitts and Nevis.
President Dr. Tsai Ing-wen is on a 12-day Caribbean tour of Haiti, St. Christopher and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and St. Lucia from July 11-22 to demonstrate the importance Taiwan places on its Caribbean allies and continues to strengthen its friendly ties with them.
President Tsai was accompanied by Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris and other government officials.
In February of 2019, the Berkeley Memorial Clock, as well as colourful masquerade dancers lit up the Taipei City sky at this year’s 2019 Taipei Lantern Festival. An iconic landmark in Saint Christopher and Nevis, the four sided clock with a functioning fountain was a historical backdrop for photo opportunity for tourists, and an area for citizens in the Federation to congregate to talk about the news of the day.
The Berkeley Memorial was erected in 1883 and was for a long time the only public memorial commemorating an individual in St. Kitts. It was dedicated to the memory of Thomas Hardtman Berkeley, a former president of the General Legislative Council and owner of the estates called Fountain, Greenland, Greenhill, Ottley’s, Shadwell and Stone Fort. Because of its location in the center of the capital, the Berkeley Memorial Clock and its surrounds become a hub of activity as many cultural performances, such as the masquerade dance occur around its base, particularly during special occasions such as Carnival.
The structure, which contains a clock and drinking fountain, was designed and produced by George Smith and Co of Glasgow, Scotland. Two other similar structures were produced by the foundry but only the one in St. Kitts survives. The four clock faces are said to be a replica of Big Ben in London.
On the morning of July 15, H.E. Dr. Tsai Ing-wen also visited the Brimstone Hill National Park Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in St. Kitts. She learned about the history of the Fortress, the restoration work that has been undertaken there, and attend a showcase of local culture, dance and music. In 2018, Brimstone Hill Fortress was featured at the Lantern Festival in Taiwan.