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The Making of a National Hero

Dr. the Right Excellent Sir Kennedy Alphonse Simmonds, the only living National Hero of St. Kitts and Nevis, was the first Prime Minister of this great country. He contested nine general elections—1966, 1971, 1975, 1980, 1984, 1989, 1993, 1995 and 2000—the most in our history since adult suffrage in 1952.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 anaesthesiologist. 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 colourfully 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.