BASSETERRE, St Kitts (SKNIS) -- The Federation of St Kitts and Nevis marked its 29th anniversary of independence on Wednesday with a traditional ceremonial parade at the Warner Park Cricket Stadium in Basseterre – the twin island nation’s capital.
Platoons from the St Kitts-Nevis Defence Force, Coast Guard Unit, Royal St Christopher and Nevis Police Force, St Kitts and Nevis Fire and Rescue Service, and St Kitts-Nevis Cadet Corps were joined on parade by units from Port Authority Security, Girls Guide, Boys Brigade, Pathfinders, the Shadwell Overcomers and a contingent from the visiting Royal Navy Fleet Auxiliary Ship Argus.
Governor General Sir Cuthbert Sebastian received the royal salute and official march past in slow and quick time as the St Kitts and Nevis Defence Force Band played renditions of popular military tunes.
Present were members of the Cabinet headed by its chairman, Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas, members of the National Assembly and representatives from the locally-based diplomatic community including Taiwan, Venezuela and Cuba. Visiting dignitaries from Grenada, Saba, the United States, United Kingdom, Finland, Russia, South Korea, France, Canada, South Africa, European Union and Mexico along with a large cross section of the population attended the ceremony and were appreciative of the display, which was described as “sharp and splendid.”
After the ceremony the troops marched to Camp Springfield for the traditional toast, which was made by the Governor General.
Douglas led three cheers for the nation. He thanked the many allied states of St Kitts and Nevis, noting that the Federation values their contributions. The prime minister also congratulated the troops on parade.
The prime minister referred to the theme for this year’s independence celebrations – Cherishing Children, Strengthening Families -- and stated that it was important to honour children as they are the future leaders of the Federation.
Douglas expressed appreciation to the members of the security forces as well as their leaders, Commissioner of Police Celvin Walwyn and Lt Colonel Patrick Wallace, noting that the unprecedented interagency collaboration has been successful in reducing the impact of antisocial elements.
While looking forward to the 30th anniversary celebrations in 2013, Douglas said, “Today I want us to dream, dream big things because together we can achieve big things.”