St. Kitts – Nevis’ PM Douglas
Photo By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
September 21 2012 (CUOPM)
St. Kitts and Nevis‘ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas says it is fitting that the multi-million dollar E. St. John Payne Annex looks toward Church Street – and a house of worship.
Delivering remarks at the opening of the new Social Security building on Tuesday, Prime Minister Douglas told scores on invited guests from Nevis and St. Kitts that it was particularly fitting that the extension of the Robert L. Bradshaw Social Security Building looks out on Church Street as well ““ the seat of Government, and the site of the Federation’s largest house of worship.
“It is fitting because this extension that we officially name in honour of Esmond St. John Payne today, will forever be visible to elected officials as we head to our offices each day, and will, throughout the ages, serve as a reminder of the extent to which those who fought for Social Security understood that the most essential ““ and the most sacred – duty of Government is to uplift and enhance the lives of the governed,” said Dr. Douglas.
He noted even as Government workers and ordinary civilians move back and forth, attending to matters governmental and/or private, the E. St. John Payne Annex ” will stand as a clear symbol of the security and the dignity that our founding fathers brought into their and all our lives.”
Prime Minister Douglas said the introduction of the National Provident Fund in June 1968 and Social Security in 1978 by the Labour Party Administration “was first and foremost, and in the most dramatic of terms – about conscience.”
“As the good works of the Social Security Board have expanded, so has the space you have occupied,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
Dr. Douglas noted that his Administration which has devoted the past two decades of its life to Government and as someone who understands the importance of competent, responsible Government to the smooth and just functioning of any society, “I must say that one of the moments at which a Government most powerfully clarifies the values and the ethos on which it is built, is that moment when it decides to clear any administrative hurdle, overcome any political resistance, and meet all legislative requirements, to establish a social security system for the people it is supposed to represent.”
He recalled the great discomfort that existed in St. Kitts and Nevis before the Administration of the Right Excellent Sir Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw established the Social Security Scheme for the everlasting benefit of all.
“Kittitian and Nevisian men and women retiring after a lifetime of work ““ with zero government-ensured financial protections in place ““ was the order of the day. They could be seen in their fifties, sixties, and seventies, day after day, outside the banks and business places right here in Basseterre, and Charlestown as well, utterly degraded as they meekly begged for something, anything from those walking by,” said Dr. Douglas, adding:
“This is the tableau that the introduction of Social Security forever changed, and for years now, the Robert L. Bradshaw Social Security Building has looked out on one of the busiest thoroughfares in our country. This is most fitting because it was on behalf of all of us, now upright and busily bustling by the building that bears his name, that Mr. Bradshaw’s Cabinet fought to establish Social Security in the first place.”