BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, March 23, 2018 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Close to five hundred individuals from the Hispanic community residing in various communities throughout St. Kitts were in attendance at a public forum hosted by the Team Unity-led Government on Thursday, March 21, at the Newtown Community Centre in East Basseterre.
Persons of all walks of life – the elderly, youth, sportsmen and women – packed the halls of the Newtown Community Centre to meet and greet Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris and his team, and to share their concerns and outline how they can further participate in the development and progressive agenda of the Federation.
Prime Minister Harris was supported at Thursday’s meeting by his Cabinet colleagues including Deputy Prime Minister, the Honourable Shawn Richards; Parliamentary Representative for Constituency One, the Honourable Ian Patches Liburd; Minister of Human Settlement, Agriculture et al., the Honourable Eugene Hamilton; Attorney General, the Honourable Vincent Byron, and Minister of State within the Ministry of Health et al., the Honourable Wendy Phipps.
Also present were Senator, the Honourable Akilah Byron-Nisbett; Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr. Andrew Skerritt and Ambassador Jonel Powell.
Leaders of the Latin Community, including Heriberto Torres, Gilberto Pie and Alexander Mitrell, flanked Prime Minister Harris at the head table.
The honourable prime minister, who was there at the invitation of the Latin Community, presented his entire opening remarks in Spanish connecting his listening audience. This gesture was noticeably welcomed by those in attendance, who showed their appreciation with a resounding round of applause.
In his presentation, Prime Minister Harris said it is because of the special relationship shared between St. Kitts and Nevis and Hispanic countries, particularly the Dominican Republic, why public forums such as that which was held on Thursday evening are important. According to the prime minister, this special relationship dates back to the days of the sugar industry.
Dr. Harris said, “We are happy on this occasion to welcome you to our country, remembering with fondness and gratitude that one time long ago our people too visited your country for improved opportunities. We are happy now to be able to reciprocate and we want you to feel welcomed and safe in our country.”
Many of those in attendance seized the opportunity to air their views and concerns directly to the prime minister and his Cabinet colleagues. Some of these issues include housing, social safety nets, citizenship, residency, social security, discrimination and employment.
The Dominican Sports and Cultural Club of St. Kitts and Nevis presented the Minister of Sports and Culture, Deputy Prime Minister Shawn Richards, and Prime Minister Harris with a plaque each of appreciation for their support to the Dominican Community.