Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 31, 2020 (SKNIS):
In an address to the Nevis Island Assembly on July 31, 2020, in observance of the 50th
Anniversary of the MV Christena Disaster (1st August, 1970) Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, said that the disaster served to ignite strength and resilience, togetherness and shared responsibility necessary for the nation to forge and build an independent St. Kitts and Nevis.
“Unfathomable then, and maybe even incomprehensible now is the purpose of such tragedy,” he said. “There are those of us who may say even now that there is no purpose in such colossal loss of life and deep human suffering. But we are mindful that we believe in an Omnipotent God and an existence where nothing happens but by His Will. And if it is His Will, then there must be purpose.”
Prime Minister Harris said that “we may never understand the why of this tragedy on this side of eternity, but we know that we can cling to the knowledge that God does not willing grieve or afflict us.”
The prime minister encouraged the belief that God’s purpose of the disaster “was to ignite in us that strength and resilience, togetherness and shared responsibility, necessary for us to forge and build an independent St. Kitts and Nevis.” He also encouraged people to adopt this belief during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“Even today, in the face of this COVID-19 global pandemic threatening our economic gains and social norms, we must rely even more on that strength, resilience and shared responsibility exhibited and embedded in us a half century ago, when Christena slipped below the waves of the Narrows,” he said.
Prime Minister Harris said that persons should therefore no longer refer to those who perished or suffered the ordeal as victims, but as heroes, “heroes whose sacrifice forged in us those characteristics that have ensured our continued success as a people and a Nation,” he said. “As we enjoy unprecedented cooperation between the islands, no longer is it sufficient to remember them. We must honour them.”