The Making of a National Hero
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This book chronicles Sir Kennedy's humble upbringing in Basseterre's Rosemary Lane. At the age of nine, Sir Kennedy entered the St. Kitts-Nevis Grammar School on an entrance scholarship as one of the youngest-ever pupils. Although he never kept a diary, Dr. Simmonds uses his powerful memory for meticulous detail to walk his reader through university and medical school, and on to his early career as an anesthesiologist. His historic foray into Caribbean politics is a must-read documentary of how this twin-island state (which was once tripartite) was guided out of colonialism without further fragmentation.
Sir Kennedy's is a life well-lived. He loved the arts, literature, music, and theatre, often playing the lead in dramatic productions. He was a leader in school and in the Methodist Church Sunday School. His love of cricket, soccer, American football, baseball, tennis and basketball is passionate and pervasive, and his words ring with the enjoyment he takes in these activities.
His disciplined no-nonsense approach to duty belies his easygoing "one of the boys" style in his leisure time, which is colorfully reflected in this volume. His love for family, camaraderie, a ready laugh, his genuineness as a friend and his modest appreciation for the finer things in life, are the things one remembers most clearly about Sir Kennedy. Nothing went to his head and he was never susceptible to greed or envy.
Sir Kennedy talked about publishing his more important speeches, but that idea morphed into this conversational recollection of his great life, transcribed while he is yet vibrant, at peace with himself, and able to enjoy the accolades he so richly deserves.
Dr. the Right Excellent Sir Kennedy Alphonse Simmonds belongs in the pantheon of National Heroes of St. Kitts and Nevis. He played a vital role in one of the most tumultuous periods in the history of the modern Caribbean, showing poise, grace and dogged determination.
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WHEN is an autobiography more than an autobiography?
· When it describes the social history of a country that enables one of humble beginnings to rise to become a prime minister and national hero
· When it chronicles the political history of a nation as it evolves from colony to statehood to independence
· When it records the role education plays in transforming a person’s economic status and a country’s progressive development
· When it provides the realization to the youth of a nation that no matter how humble their beginnings, their dreams can be fulfilled with ‘hard work and dedication’.
· When it is chock full of life’s lessons
For all the above reasons, Sir Kennedy’s autobiography “The Making of a National Hero” is a priceless gift to the nation and we must sincerely thank him for it.
But this is not the only gift from Sir Kennedy for which we must extend heartfelt appreciation. As day by day we watch the thousands of tourists meander through Port Zante and the huge tourist liners docked at the deep water harbour, we must remember that all of this became possible because of the visionary thoughts of one man. He was not afraid to think big; to reclaim 25 acres of land from the sea to create a deep water harbour in Basseterre, which now plays host to the largest cruise liners in the world. The naysayers were many but this did not deter Sir Kennedy’s focus. How he overcame the many obstacles are all recorded for posterity in this book.
In this book we can trace the beginnings of the many important developments that caused our country to thrive, like the building of the Peninsular Road, the Abolition of income tax, the School Feeding Programme, the S.E.L.F programme, the Association with ROC(Taiwan) and the Citizen by Investment Programme.
We are given a close-up experience of extremely significant events like the Christena Disaster, Grenada and the Maurice Bishop debacle, Preparing for Independence and the Purchase of the Sugar Lands, to name a few.
But the book is not just a document of the political life of St. Kitts and Nevis. It encompasses Sir Kennedy’s entire life; hence the narration is littered with personal and often humorous anecdotes of his life as a student in Boys’ School; at the Grammar School; at the University of the West Indies and his career as a medical doctor.
In addition to all that, Sir Kennedy is careful to point out the lessons he learnt from his life’s experiences and he also tells of the philosophy of putting people first, which has become the backbone of the PAM Party and Team Unity.
Finally, it is clear to see from his recounts that he cared deeply for the youth and sought to provide opportunities for them to thrive – Kim Collins is again a good example of how his theories proved right.
It is difficult to imagine that any national who loves his/her country would not want to possess and read a copy of this book. It is so enlightening!
“The Making of a National Hero” is yet another remarkable gift that Sir Kennedy has bestowed on this federation and it will become an invaluable part of his legacy.