Significant foreign direct investment is expected to boost the economy of the smallest sovereign state in the Americas and soften the impact of global fiscal challenges, says St. Kitts & Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas who was in the city recently to celebrate his country’s 30th independence anniversary with nationals in the Greater Toronto Area.
Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine has committed to spending a minimum US$25-million over the next five years on expansion projects; $78-million has been invested in the Golden Rock Commercial Park near the Robert Bradshaw International Airport; a 40-unit condominium and hotel property is being constructed at the $90-million Pelican Bay Resort; ground-breaking took place last June at the Park Hyatt at Banana Bay and work has started on the $180-million Koi Resort & Residences.
“When I mention all of these projects, it’s very important that you focus not merely on the names of the projects but also what they mean in terms of short and long term jobs for construction workers, trucking services and product suppliers,” Douglas said in the keynote address at the St. Kitts & Nevis Association of Toronto’s (SKNAT) independence event.
“St. Kitts & Nevis has attracted the highest rate in direct foreign investment in the entire Eastern Caribbean area and all of this has direct and positive implications for us as a progressive and proud people. There is no substitute whatsoever for discipline, vision, focused determination and competence.”
The St. Kitts & Nevis Cultural Associations of Montreal and British Columbia, the Nevcan Cultural Association of Toronto and the St. Kitts & Nevis Circle of Care (SKNCC) collaborated with the SKNAT to host the celebration.
The longest serving St. Kitts & Nevis Prime Minister and head of government in the Americas, Douglas singled out the SKNCC for special praise.
“You are to be congratulated for your interest in particular and enthusiasm, imagination and effectiveness that you have repeatedly demonstrated to our country,” said Douglas who has been Prime Minister since 1995. “Whether the issue at hand is medical supplies or health care training, whether there is a natural disaster that requires mobilization or there is some event that requires a show of patriotism, you and other organizations have always been there.”
Douglas is St. Kitts & Nevis’ fifth PM following Robert Bradshaw who led the islands to independence, Dominican-born Paul Southwell, Sir Lee Moore and Sir Kennedy Simmons.
Southwell’s son, Rustum, attended the event. A student teacher in St. Kitts, he aborted medical studies after a year at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill campus in Barbados and migrated to Halifax in 1972.
Kittitian and Nevisian nationals were honoured at the event for excellence in various spheres. They included Dr. Winston Isaac who came to Canada in 1968.
“My intention was to study here and then return after about five years,” said the Health Services Award recipient. “That did not happen and I am still in this country.”
The holder of undergraduate degrees in science, psychology and business administration and two degrees in adult education and health administration & policy at the Master’s level, Isaac is an associate professor in the School of Health Services Management at Ryerson University. He recently completed the maximum 10-year term as the school’s director.
Six years ago, Isaac co-founded The Walnut Foundation, a men’s health interest and support group.
“When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer 10 years ago, I had treatment and one of the things that went through my mind during that period was that I didn’t know enough about the disease even though I have a health care background,” said Isaac who is on the Central West Local Health Integration Network board of directors. “After asking myself how men in the community without a health care background cope with this condition, I said I needed to do something to educate them.”
The Walnut Foundation held a men’s conference recently at Ryerson.
Knowledge Bookstore founder and co-owner Sean Liburd was presented with the Cultural Awareness Award while Theodore Watts was the recipient of the Entertainment & Community Service Award.
Sean Liburd Jr. was recognized with the Entrepreneurship Award and Asquith Williams, who has a biochemistry degree from the University of Western Ontario and is the vice-president and general manager of Charlotte Products Ltd. which manufactures a wide range of cleaning chemical products, was honoured with the Humanitarian Service Award.