NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (November 29, 2019) -- The following are remarks delivered by Hon. Eric Evelyn, Minister of Social Development and Culture, and Area Representative for the St. George’s Parish during the official opening and naming ceremony for of a multi-purpose facility at Market Shop in Gingerland on November 28, 2019.
This is a very proud and historic moment for the people of Gingerland and the people of Nevis. As the area representative for St. George Gingerland in the Nevis Island Assembly and the Minister of Culture in the Nevis Island Administration, I am delighted, honoured and privileged to stand here this afternoon as we are about to officially open this facility that will be here for the benefit of all Nevisians and residents.
The Nevis Island Administration is on a mission to enhance the communities across the island and to inject life into some that may have gone dormant for one reason or another. The community in Gingerland is no exception, hence the considerable investment that has been made here at this first-class multi-purpose facility.
I want to salute the Hon. Vance Amory, the current Federal Representative for St. George under whose watch this facility was conceptualized. His vision was to have a facility of this nature prior to leaving the Nevis Island Administration, and I was indeed delighted to continue where he left off.
The revitalization of this area commenced with Hon. Amory with the Hanley’s Road project and the Hardtimes Playing Field. I was happy to take the baton and ran with it. I want to assure the good people of Gingerland that I am not done yet, as I will endeavour with the assistance of the cabinet to revitalize the Public Market to restore the Market Shop area as a place of commercial activity.
We now have our spanking brand-new facility here. We already have the supermarket. I understand that a gas is coming. We also have our recently resurfaced hard courts to our left and so this area in central Gingerland is on the rise.
Mr Amory thanks again for passing the baton to me, and let me make it pellucid, I accepted this baton with humility but I am running for the people of Gingerland and the people of Nevis. Let me make it even more pellucid that with this baton, those who are way behind me that’s exactly where you will stay, and I am not even looking back to see where you are.
I want to take this opportunity to register my sincerest gratitude to all who have been a part of this journey to today’s grand celebration. To the contractors and service providers, you have done an outstanding job, and you worked overtime to deliver the facility on time for the hosting of Gingerama 2019.
All of you did an amazing job but kindly permit me to single out Mr. Elmos Grant who took this project like it was his own house. He took over the project at a very crucial stage and at every step of the way when I got nervous he kept assuring me that we will be ready on time.
Projects of this nature require serious, level-headed, prudent, forward-thinking, committed and highly motivated individuals to manage them. I found all these qualities and more in our very own ‘Gingerlander’ Mr Antonio Abonaty Liburd. When the project was starting, one day while we were here on site I jokingly said to Abo, ‘You are the project manager’.
Since then, Abo took on the mantle, and it was strictly forward movements from them. Abo put his heart, soul, and all he had into this project. Abo treated this project like it was his wife. Abo is neither a contractor nor engineer but I don’t think that I could have had a better project manager.
Abo, job exceptionally well done. Hats off to you! I want to personally thank you for your absolute dedication to the project. The Ministry of Culture and by extension the Nevis Island Administration is highly appreciative of your invaluable service.
We are truly delighted that this evening we not only open this facility but we will also be naming it. This has been one of the hallmarks of the Nevis Island Administration, as we seek to recognize Nevisians who have made a sterling contribution to the development of the island. I am indeed grateful to the Cabinet for your nod of approval in this initiative.
This facility would be named in honour of an outstanding son of Gingerland, the late David Freeman who has etched his name in the annals of Nevisian history and culture because of the significant contribution he made in shaping the cultural landscape locally in Gingerland, nationally throughout the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, and regionally and internationally at CARIFESTA and Caribana festivals.
In discussion with the project manager and members of the Gingerama Committee, we decided that we wanted to think outside of the box in naming the facility. We did not want to use terms like cultural village, cultural centre or festival village. Bearing in mind that this facility is a multi-purpose one that will be utilized for various activities including school and religious functions, and bearing in mind that the ambience of this facility will attract the interest of persons from all parts of Nevis to host their activities, and bearing in mind that this facility will in many cases showcase the extraordinary talent of ‘Gingerlanders’ as well as Nevisians and residents on a whole, and bearing in mind that this facility will be used for the furtherance and development of our culture, and bearing in mind that we expect only excellence to emanate from here, we have decided that the name of this spanking brand-new first-class facility will be the David Freeman Centre of Excellence.
I want to admonish the persons of St. George Gingerland and all who will utilize this facility to kindly, please take care of it. It is a venture that has cost you the tax payers quite a bit and therefore it is incumbent on you take care of it.
I want to pause and remind us all that whatever belongs to Gingerland, belongs to all of Nevis. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the David Freeman Centre of Excellence.
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