Presented By PP Cameron Wilkinson
Basseterre, St Kitts (10 August 2013):
One of the Past Presidents of the Rotary Club of Liamuiga (RCL), Dr. Cameron Wilkinson, presented a brief overview of the history of the RCL at the Club’s recent 2013 Installation & 10th Anniversary Awards Banquet held at Nirvana Restaurant (old Fairview Inn) which is presented below.
If I am to be brutally honest the genesis of our Club began with a seed sown in the midst of turmoil.
The late Past District Governor (PDG) Fred Lam decided to start a new Rotary Club after a falling out with his old club, the Rotary Club of St. Kitts. When he came up with the idea there were many who were against it. Some thought that the population of St. Kitts was too small to support two (2) clubs. Many other reasons were also given why he should not proceed.
If we examine, however, the Theory of Consequentialism, which is based on two main principles
1. Whether an act is right or wrong depends only on the results of that act
2. The more good consequences an act produces, the better or more right that act is
we will then all agree that the success of the Rotary Club of Liamuiga is testament to the fact that the act by PDG Fred was a great one.
The RCL was started on 10 February 2003 and it received its formal Rotary Charter in September of that year. Most, if not all, of our meetings leading up to the launch of our Club were held in this very building, the old Fairview Inn. I remember clearly the long discussions and planning we had prior to the launch. I can still hear Past Presidents Laverne and Paulette having fierce debates with PDG Fred who was no easy push over.
We must remember that Rotary started in 1905 and women were not allowed to be members until 1989. PDG Fred, having been a Rotarian for about forty (40) years, had never experienced such challenge before and was probably beginning to rethink his decision to launch the Club.
The strength of our Club lies however in the large proportion of female members and it makes me wonder how Rotary ever existed without them. It came as no surprise therefore that the person chosen to lead this new Club was a woman. The history therefore shows that our first President was Paulette Warner, who later went on to serve as the first female Assistant District Governor for St. Kitts & Nevis. She could not be with us tonight as she is overseas.
We have had eight (8) other Past Presidents. I (Cameron Wilkinson) served as the second President (2005-2006) followed by Clive Bacchus, Nesta Seaton-Clarke, Christopher English, Laverne Caines, Eustace Warner, R A Peter Jenkins, and Lester Hanley.
Over the ten (10) years of our Club’s existence we have made significant impact on various aspects of the political, social and economic landscape of our twin island Federation as well as internationally. This has been done through our many successful service projects including our Heroes Day Luncheon for the Elderly, Annual Spelling Bee and Talent Search Competitions, support for worldwide polio eradication and one hundred (100) percent participation in the Rotary Foundation Annual Programs, just to name a few. The President’s report gave a clear view of the many successful programmes that our Club has been involved in. Many of them started ten (10) years ago and are being improved upon and new ones are being added annually.
When it was decided to make our Club a breakfast club, it was hailed as a great idea by all at the discussion table. It was agreed that this would give Rotarians the opportunity to attend an early meeting at the start of the day without interrupting their busy schedules.
Many would not know that we first met on Tuesday mornings and this was changed by Past President Paulette to Wednesday mornings to accommodate one man – me – as it conflicted with my operating schedule. I feel very special. We first held our meetings at the Frigate Bay Resort. Then we later moved to the Sugar Bay Club, then the Marriott Resort. We are now at the Royal St. Kitts Golf Club and hopefully we will be there for a while.
Over the years members have come and gone. We have lost four (4) members as a result of death – PDG Fred Lam, Rotarian Irene Hanley, Rotarian Gus Williams and Rotarian Roy Roper. I know they are looking down and wishing us well.
We have, however, over the years managed to maintain a core group of hard working Rotarians, including a large percentage of our Charter Members. We have also been able to attract an increasing number of younger members and still have a large percentage of female members who, I maintain, are the secret to our success.
We are indeed doing a great job. I am proud to be called a member of the Rotary Club of Liamuiga and I am certain every other member is.
The leadership baton has been successfully passed from one Incoming President to the other over the last ten (10) years and I have no doubt that President Val (Incoming President for 2013/14, Valentine Hodge) who has just received the baton will do well.
Michael Crichton said, and I quote, “If you do not know your history, then you do not know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it’s a part of a tree“, end of quote.
Ladies and gentlemen, fellow Rotarians, a brief history of the Rotary Club of Liamuiga.
Dr. Cameron Wilkinson is a Past President of the RCL and a Director for the 2013/14 Rotary Year.