It is with pleasure that I extend congratulations and best wishes to Hearts and Hands for Nevis, Inc. on the occasion of your Annual Luncheon, which coincides with your 18th anniversary.
Last year, it was my distinct honour to deliver the Keynote Address at your 17th Anniversary Annual Luncheon in New York. What a wonderful thing it was to spend time and share in that moment with all of you as we recognized the long-standing contributions and impact of your worthwhile organization, as well as the remarkable achievements of four of our sons and daughters in the persons of Dr. Everson Hull, Dr. Violet Jeffers, Sir Hugh Rawlins and Dr. Leslie Wade.
This year’s awardees are equally eminent and deserving of recognition.
Mr. Llewellyn “Sunshine” Caines, the manager and owner of the internationally acclaimed Sunshine’s Beach Bar and Grill, invented his “Killer Bee” rum punch in 1995 and since then has served a bevy of tourists and celebrities from all over the globe the best rum cocktail on the island of Nevis. Mr. Caines’ Sunshine’s Beach Bar & Grill started 22 years ago as a small catering service on Pinney’s Beach for the workers who were cleaning up the beachfront and conducting repairs to the Four Seasons Resort in the wake of Hurricane Luis in September 1995. His barbecue grills on the beach were soon joined by chairs and eventually by a multi-coloured wooden structure that is now world-famous as the most popular beach bar in Nevis.
Ms. Petula Skeete, the four-time Emmy Award-winning hairstylist who works for ABC News’ Good Morning America, last year launched the #beautyFULL You Women’s Conference series in her birthplace of Nevis. Ms. Skeete’s conference notably celebrates individuality and diversity in the beauty industry while encouraging self-acceptance and confidence in women’s daily lives. As if this were not laudable enough, Ms. Skeete’s #beautyFULL You Women’s Conference highlights the importance of early breast cancer detection and prevention. This is an extension of the inspiring work that she does in arranging for Caribbean women who have had mastectomies to be fitted with bras and prosthesis.
Dr. Janice Sutton, the Principal of the George Washington Carver High School for the Sciences in Queens, New York, is known as motivator extraordinaire and a strong advocate for science research. With an unbridled love for education and an unmitigated concern for the advancement of her students, Dr. Sutton encourages and inspires them to pursue their dreams and reach for the stars, irrespective of their socioeconomic background and challenges. Her nurturing tutelage provides a stepping stone for the alumni of the George Washington Carver High School for the Sciences, who, bolstered by her mentorship, go on to achieve significant success both in and out of academia, as well as in their personal lives.
Indeed, when our hearts and hands are engaged in meaningful service, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.
I recognize, commend and salute Hearts and Hands for Nevis, Inc. for its sustained efforts in creating more awareness – through its annual honours program – for the citizens and residents of our great Federation to understand how just one positive action built successively onto another over the course of a lifetime can help to build a country and influence the world.
When we put our hands to work, the fruits of our industry and determination feed not only ourselves but also our communities, and give succour to those who need support. This year’s awardees contribute to the development of the local tourism and entertainment industries, the international beauty and television industries, women’s self-esteem and empowerment, as well as the world’s pool of scientific researchers.
As we stand on the cusp of a new year, I wish you and your organization continued success in 2017 and beyond. May Hearts and Hands for Nevis, Inc. have many more annual luncheons and anniversaries like this one, where commitment and excellence are showcased and celebrated for the good of our country and humanity. God bless all of you!