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National honours for 13 stalwarts

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by Devonne Cornelius

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): St. Kitts and Nevis bestowed national honours on 13 persons for their contributions as nation builders.  

The community icons were recognized at the National Heroes’ Day parade and ceremony held at National Heroes Park on Thursday (Sep. 16). 

The National Honours Act inaugurated three merit-based awards, which includes the Medal of Honour, the Companion of the Star of Merit, and the Order of National Hero.

Receiving the Companion of the Star of Merit include Mr. Uhral S. Swanston for social and economic development on Nevis; Mr. Howard N. McEachrane for business and entrepreneurship; Mr. Ernest Charles A. Amory, M.B.E. for business entrepreneurship and philanthropy; Mr. Franklin R.O. Brand for business stewardship and community activist; Mr. Ralph L. Gumbs for business innovation and entrepreneurship; and Mrs. Lorna A. Calendar for education and journalism. 

The Medal of Honour went to Nurse Robilee G. Jean for service in the field of nursing; Nurse Anica Pitt-Hazel for service in the field of nursing; Nurse Elizabeth Collins-Woodley for service in the fields of nursing and community service; Mrs. Helena Stapleton for entrepreneurship in market vending; Ms. Icilma Springer for service in the field of education; Mrs. Palsy L. Wilkin for service in the field of education and Mrs. Ingrid Charles-Gumbs for education and community service. 

Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris while delivering the commemorative address used the opportunity to commend the awardees for their contribution towards the overall development of St. Kitts and Nevis and thanked all front-line workers in their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We commend all the hardworking men and women in law enforcement, and our medical professionals at our hospitals on St. Kitts and Nevis, all the health centers, and those in private practice. We commend our teachers and caregivers at our schools, and all our citizens and residents…”  

The ceremony commenced with a Guard on Parade followed by the arrival of Dr. the Right Excellent and Right Honourable Sir Kennedy Simmonds and Lady Simmonds; Prime Minister, Dr. Timothy Harris, and Governor-General, His Excellency, Sir S.W. Tapley Seaton. 

The inaugural National Heroes’ Day was held on September 16, 1998, and the first National Hero, the late Robert L. Bradshaw, was honoured.

St. Kitts and Nevis has bestowed the Order of the National Hero on four individuals: The Right Excellent Sir C. A. Paul Southwell and The Right Excellent Sir Joseph Nathaniel France in 2004; The Right Excellent Sir Dr. Simeon Daniel in 2013; and Dr the Right Honourable and The Right Excellent Sir Kennedy Simmonds in 2015.

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.

The ceremony commenced at 8 a.m. and was held under the theme “Adapt, Diversity, Recreate: Independence 38”. 

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