Opening Remarks by Prime Minister, Dr the Hon Timothy Harris on Leadership Matters on March 29, 2022 Delivered by Hon. Akilah Byron-Nisbett

The content originally appeared on: ZIZ Broadcasting Corporation

My fellow citizens and residents, we are in that very special season of Lent.  The Season of Lent is about returning to the Lord, asking for forgiveness, and repenting of our sinful ways. It is a 40-day journey of prayer, fasting, and alms-giving.  It is important that as a nation under God we recognize that we have days of prayer and fasting for the specific needs of our nation as we have done on occasions in the past.  We must also remember to give thanks to God consistently. I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to join with citizens and residents across the country to give thanks and praise to our Heavenly Father. 

Our focus tonight on Leadership Matters is St Kitts and Nevis as a Nation under God. God is Love and God is Supreme. 

The Supreme Law of the Land – The Constitution of St Kitts and Nevis, declares that our nation “is established on the belief in Almighty God.  This is indeed a powerful declaration.

In St Kitts and Nevis, we acknowledge that God is our Creator and we are his creatures. We were created to love God, to serve God, and to be happy with Him in eternal life. In other words, there can be no existence without God. “It is He that hath made us and not we ourselves” (Precious words are taken from Psalms 100 verse 3. In fact, it gives me great comfort to acknowledge the words of the Psalmist in that verse: “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.”

God is the provider and all that we have come from HIM so the attitude of all of us citizens and residents must be one of thanksgiving. It means that God is Savior/Liberator and He frees us from anything that will entangle us or enslave us from doing His will. We must all acknowledge Him and all that He does in our lives.

In a democratic society, the legitimacy of the state and its laws derives from the initial consent of those governed.   It is the social contract where citizens consent to be governed, and on the other hand, the government will ensure that there is the protection of their fundamental rights and freedoms and attendance to the common good or public good.

Leaders, therefore, are to exercise their power in a just manner to attend to the fundamental needs of citizens. For this reason, the scriptures are replete with guidance for leaders as well as reasons why prayers should be consistently offered up for leaders. In 1 Timothy 2:1-2a, the Apostle Paul says, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority.

Religion plays an important role as a social institution that teaches members of society what is morally right or morally wrong.  It engenders social cohesion and community life. Values and virtues are taught in churches and schools and persons are expected to follow a moral code of conduct based on teachings such as the Ten Commandments, from which many laws of our nation are founded.

The teachings of religion help to form good citizens – citizens who are law-abiding and who contribute positively to society. Our religious teaching helps to equip us with valuable characteristics such as kindness, compassion, a good sense of justice, fairness, and honesty.  These teachings motivate us to care for the poor and vulnerable (the sick, the downtrodden, the marginalized).

This Lenten season has been a most reflective time. Clearly, it is a time of global uncertainty, war, and challenges and the world is looking for answers. Thankfully for us as a Nation under God, our people know that God is real and is our trusted and sure anchor in the midst of the storms of life. 

In St Kitts and Nevis, we have a strong tradition of partnership between the Church and State. Almost every public event features an invocation and prayers of intercession are habitual. We place value on religious practices – baptism communion, fasting, and praying.  Religious freedom is evidenced by the continuing rise in the number of churches and our freedom to worship and praise without interference. 

As Leader of this beautiful country, I have come to count more on my God and the helpful intercessions of others to overcome the many challenges I have had to confront at personal and professional levels. To God I give thanks. I often acknowledge the goodness of God, his faithfulness, and mercy.  I ask for his continued protection, provision, and preservation of our federation.

I am delighted tonight to have four members of the religious community on the panel tonight. I welcome each of you – Pastor Lincoln Connor of the Antioch Baptist Church; Reverend Mark Christmas, Superintendent of the Methodist Church, and Prophetess Dr. Debbie Isaac, Rivers of Living Waters Christian Center.   Thanks for your prayers for me as an individual and in my capacity as Prime Minister, I ask for your continued intercession on behalf of our great country. 

May God in his mercy continue to help our Federation.  Thank you for joining the discussions tonight; we look forward to hearing from you.