BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, August 15, 2021 (MMS-SKN) — Prime Minister of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, on Sunday August 15 lauded the Republic of India which he said was a major world player across many spheres of socioeconomic engagement.
Prime Minister Harris who was the Chief Guest at Republic of India’s 75th Independence Day Celebrations and Flag Hoisting ceremony held at the St. Kitts International Academy (S.K.I.) at Morgan Heights in Canada Estate, St. Kitts, also hailed the contribution that has been made in the country and the wider Caribbean by nationals and residents of Indian descent.
At the ceremony which was chaired by Dr Pushparaj Shetty, the Prime Minister noted that the Indian Independence Day was a wonderful celebration of a people taking control of their own destiny. He said that in the last 75 years India has been independent, for the force it is now, the country has become a powerhouse.
He said that throughout his political life he would have been honoured to meet with many representatives of the Indian Government, through his involvement in Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings, the United Nation’s General Assembly, and meetings of Non-Aligned Movement.
“When you meet with the Indian leaders, you can understand very quickly why India has become the global leader it is today,” said Prime Minister Harris. “India stands as a major world player across many spheres of socioeconomic engagement. But today it is more than just about celebrating India’s independence, and all she has achieved in her relatively short life as an independent nation.”
Saying that Independence Day was also a chance to acknowledge the contribution made by the Indian community in the region, Prime Minister Harris noted that the community has had a long and proud history throughout the Caribbean, which can be traced back to over 150 years ago.
“Here in St. Kitts and Nevis you the members of the Indian community who have been a core part of our Federation since the 1860s,” noted the Honourable Prime Minister. “You are involved now in every facet of our community – and our nation of St. Kitts and Nevis is better, stronger, and richer for it.”
The relationship between the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Republic of India is a close one, the Prime Minister noted. He observed that the strength of the friendship was on full display during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic when, thanks to the generosity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India donated much needed vaccines to St. Kitts and Nevis in March 2021. It was the very first country ahead of many other nations.
“That donation made all the difference and it helped save many, many lives right here in the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis,” noted Dr Harris. “The vaccine donation helped us fight the worst of Covid-19 ravages and put us ahead of the game. Today, St. Kitts and Nevis has one of the largest vaccination rollout in the Caribbean region and in the Hemisphere. It is a contribution that we will always be grateful and we will never forget, that in our time of need, the Government and people of India came to our assistance.”
The Indian community is interwoven in the fabric of life of St. Kitts and Nevis, observed the Prime Minister. From the country’s food to its commerce, their integration as a culture is seamless he said, adding that they have much to be proud of in their Indian heritage, just as they have much to be proud of as citizens and residents of the beautiful Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. The Federation is better, so much better, because of their presence and their constructive contribution, he added.
“So today I want to say thank you for the role you play and for helping us to build a stronger and safer future right here in our twin island paradise,” said Prime Minister Harris in conclusion. “I wish you a joyous celebration and every happiness on this, your Independence Day. May God bless our Indian community, and may He continue to bless our beautiful Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.”
The Indian flag which was raised before the Prime Minister made his remarks, was hoisted by children of Indian descent living in St. Kitts and Nevis, after which they sang the Indian National Anthem, which was followed by the singing of the National Anthem of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Message from the non-resident Indian High Commissioner of the Republic of India to the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, who resides in Georgetown, Guyana, His Excellency Dr K.J. Srinivasa, was read by Dr Venkatesh Bheemaiah, Dean of Student Affairs, Windsor University School of Medicine.
“It gives me great pleasure to wish all Indians living in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis a very happy 75thIndependence Day,” said the High Commissioner. “India sees its Independence Day as a festival of freedom and democracy which has been made possible by generations of freedom fighters who made great sacrifices to free the nation from the tyranny of foreign rule.”
Apart from the donation of the made-in-India Covid-19 COVISHIELD vaccines, the His Excellency the High Commissioner said that India has donated emergency medicines worth US$100,000 and has authorised projects worth US$300,000 to upgrade health in this beautiful country.
“I take this opportunity to specially thank H.E. Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis and all our local friends who have made time to attend this simple flag raising ceremony. I miss being in St. Kitts and Nevis and I hope to join you all soon.”