Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 16, 2019 (SKNIS): The annual ceremony in celebration of National Heroes Day, which pays tribute to five individuals who have made astounding contributions to the twin-island federation, was held on Monday, September 16, at the National Heroes Park.
The ceremony commenced with a Guard on Parade followed by the arrival of Dr. the Rt. Excellent and Rt. Honourable Dr. Sir Kennedy Simmonds and Lady Simmonds; Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, and Governor General, His Excellency, Sir S.W. Tapley Seaton. This was followed by a Royal Salute, compliments to His Excellency.
In his commemorative address, the prime minister stated “… it is fitting that on National Heroes Day our citizens and residents commemorate those who have left a lasting impression on our homeland of St Kitts and Nevis. All five (5) national heroes were part of the independence struggle and had a role in fashioning its final outcome. We solemnly and respectfully remember our National Heroes.”
Prime Minister Harris noted that the National Heroes Day holiday, “is intrinsically linked to the National Honours Act, which established a trio of merit-based awards: The Medal of Honour, the Star of Merit, and the Order of the National Hero.”
He added that the Right Excellent Sir Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw was posthumously made the first member of the newly created order, and the annual day of remembrance was initiated for his birthday.
“Since that first celebration, St. Kitts and Nevis has bestowed the Order of the National Hero on four other individuals: The Right Excellent Sir C. A. Paul Southwell and The Right Excellent Sir Joseph Nathaniel France in 2004; The Right Excellent Sir Simeon Daniel in 2013; and Dr the Right Honourable and The Right Excellent Sir Kennedy Simmonds in 2015,” said the prime minister.
He added that much has been said and written about all of the national heroes, and the Exhibition Centre at the park provides information about each of the heroes.
The Right Excellent Sir Kennedy Simmonds is the first Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis and is the only living person to have received the honour of a national hero, said the prime minister. “Perhaps it is Team Unity’s fresh start to a virtuous way of doing things that we honoured Sir Kennedy while he is alive and well,” he said.
“All our heroes displayed immense dedication and service to our country. Their passion and work on behalf of our people serve as the benchmark for all who seek office in St Kitts and Nevis and light the way to delivering freedom, justice and welfare to the wonderful people of our islands,” said Prime Minister Harris.
The prime minister’s address was followed by wreath laying by His Excellency the Governor General, the Honourable Prime Minister and family members of the late national heroes.
A salute and presentation were given to the Living National Hero, Dr. the Rt. Excellent and Rt. Honourable Dr. Sir Kennedy Simmonds.
The departure of the high-ranking officials was met with a roaring round of applause from the audience in support of the present and past leaders of the nation.