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That goal came into sharp focus on Thursday July 1, when a family in Stone Castle, Tabernacle Village, received keys to a two-bedroomed house valued at more than $100,000 thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Government, the Ministry of Social Development, and local NGOs.
“We have been able to do this because we want to govern with compassion in our heart,” said Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, at the ceremony where he later presented the house keys to Ms Carleen Richardson. “We want to govern understanding that the poor is with us, and that we have a duty to enhance and empower them and to take them from one level to a higher level of organisation and operation.”
The ceremony, which was low key as a result of the prevailing Covid-19 protocols in place, was chaired by Community Development Officer, Mr Chadi Garnette. Beneficiaries of the fully-furnished house were Ms Carleen Richardson, her 12-year old son Master Hezekiel Richardson, and her mother Ms Marilyn ‘Miss Jimmy’ Richardson. Blessing the ceremony and the house was Pastor George Ward of Tabernacle of Praise Church.
“I feel very blessed, as a Parliamentary Representative, to have been part of this journey from the problem identification to now the completion, and I want to say thank God for having me to be a servant at this particular time where I can render strong support to those who are well in need,” said Dr Harris.
Deputy Director, Department of Community and Social Development, Mrs Mary Ann Wigley, outlined how they identified the needs of the family which was living in a single roomed galvanised house that had no indoor facilities. She explained how Prime Minister Harris gave the okay for something to be done to help the family.
Both Ms Carleen Richardson and her mother were relocated to the Saddlers Home for the Elderly where they lived until Wednesday June 30, while her son was taken in by Ms Monica ‘Auntie Ca’ McCall of Mansion Village. A contractor, Mr Densley Thomas of Phillips Village, was commissioned to build the new house.
In conclusion, the Honourable Prime Minister told the small gathering, which included Officer in charge of Tabernacle Police Station, Sergeant Simeon Liburd: “May this day symbolise that the future is bright for all people that no matter what station you are, no matter where you start, the start is not so important as how elegantly and nicely you will finish, and I am sure the message of today will not be lost on Miss Jimmy’s grandson.”
Continued Dr Harris: “He (Hezekiel) would have seen how the authority moved to help his family. That compassion will reside always in his heart, and he will feel a sense of obligation always, to empower people, to help people to succeed.”
When the family’s need was first identified, Senator the Hon Wendy Phipps was the Minister of Social Development. Speaking at the function she expressed the sentiments of the Team Unity Government that it is living out the motto and objectives it would have made to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis in terms of improving their standard and quality of life.
Said the Hon Phipps, who is now the Minister of International Trade, Industry, Commerce, Consumer Affairs and Labour: “There is no example more apt to describe that commitment than what we are here to witness today as simple as it is.”
A local NGO, Mickey’s Hope, through its President Mr Mickey Weintraub who was present at the ceremony, assisted the family by providing most of the household items, an act that impressed Prime Minister Harris who said: “He (Mr Weintraub) has not lost the appetite, the compassion for doing good, and we thank you very much for being one of our very good outstanding residents and citizens here in St. Kitts and Nevis.”
Ms Carleen Richardson thanked Prime Minister Harris, the Ministry of Social Development and all her benefactors, while her son Hezekiel gave a moving response.
“I would like to thank God for making this day possible,” said the young Hezekiel. “I would like to thank Auntie Ca and her family because she did not have to take me but she took the time to take me and treat me as her child.”
He continued: “I want to thank the people who have helped me even when I was in Tabernacle, my friends. Even though I used to get bullied, I used to be encouraged by people so one day I will bring my family to a better place and we will get better because the conditions we used to live in and the Lord and the Prime Minister have provided a light at the end of the tunnel for us, me and my family.”