Following the Independence of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis in 1983, a group of St. Kitts and Nevis nationals in the Washington, DC metropolitan area (DC/MD/VA) got together and started the first nationals association. It was founded in the spring of 1984 with a core membership of 12 nationals and the officers were Dr. Franklyn Musgrave, President, Clifford Thomas, Vice President (deceased), Uriel DaSilva, Treasurer, and Shirley Tyson, Secretary. The St. Kitts and Nevis Nationals Association (SKNNA) was successful in bringing the nationals of the Metropolitan Washington DC area together and instrumental in creating a database of professionals that lived throughout North America. The list was ultimately shared with the then newly established Embassy of St. Kitts and Nevis in Washington, DC.
The Association made its first monetary contribution to the St. Kitts Children’s Home, which was then under the leadership of Mr. Morris Elwoods, for the Home’s Christmas dinner. The SKNNA continued to function and promote its objectives of bridging the gap between nationals at home and abroad in various areas, such as celebrating the Anniversary of Independence each year and assisting students attending universities. One of the association’s major highlights included hosting the Federation’s 10th Anniversary of Independence, which took place at the Hall of the Americas at the Organization of American States (OAS), Washington, DC. The event attracted over 250 nationals who traveled from St. Kitts and Nevis, the United States and Canada. Other important tasks undertaken by the Association included providing relief to the Federation, through a massive collaborative effort of various businesses, private donors and fundraising events, following the devastation from Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
The SKNNA continued to progress with changes in leadership over the years – in 1986 Sheila Barker-Nettle (deceased) assumed presidency then in 2006 Deborah Liburd led the Association and continued to adopt and foster the goals and objectives outlined by the founding members. Due to various challenges, the Association became dormant and in the spring of 2012 it was revived. Many nationals in the area displayed a heightened interest in revitalizing the St. Kitts and Nevis Nationals Association. The Embassy’s new Ambassador, Jacinth Henry-Martin, communicated to nationals her diaspora outreach goals and conveyed enthusiastic encouragement for the formation of an Association in the Metropolitan Washington DC area. With this impetus, and assistance of the Embassy of St. Kitts and Nevis, an Interim Steering Committee was formed on March 2, 2012. The members of the Steering Committee were Alice Tyson, Valda Morris, Shermelle Mulraine, Lesline Matthew, Debbie Liburd, Joseph Bass, Vincent Liburd, Vincent Hodge, Peter Huggins, Rico Clarke, Loughton Sargeant, Neville Mitcham, and officers of the Embassy of St. Kitts and Nevis, Kemoy Liburd-Chow, Verlyn Maynard and Verona Greene.
By April 28, 2012 the Interim Steering Committee was planning its first meet and greet at a Pre-Launching of the Association which was held on June 16, 2012 at the home of Vincent and Debbie Liburd. The meeting was deemed a success and from that gathering the association was formally recharged as the St. Kitts and Nevis Nationals Association of Washington, DC (SKNNA-DC) and the following Executive Officers were elected, namely President: Valda Morris-Slack; 1st Vice President: Vincent Hodge; 2nd Vice President: Joseph Bass; Secretary: Alice Tyson; Treasurer: Shermelle Mulraine; Assistant/Secretary and Treasurer: Yvette DeFrietas; IT/Media: Anthony Slack; PRO: Jason Inanga; Assistant IT/Media: George Woods; and Assistant PRO: Peter Huggins.
The SKNNA-DC team immediately began to work and volunteered with the Embassy of St. Kitts and Nevis during its participation in the Annual Passport DC: Around the World Embassy Tour on May 5, 2012. Members interacted with visitors as they explored the history and culture of St. Kitts of Nevis through exhibits, food and music.
The first official meeting of the SKNNA-DC convened on July 7, 2012 at the OECS Building in Washington, DC with a remarkable attendance of nationals, which provided a forum for a rich exchange of ideas and plans for the Association’s future. SKNNA-DCs first event was a Family Fun Day held on August 17, 2012 at Bon Air Park, Arlington Virginia, followed by a Christmas Social on December 8, 2012 at the home of Loughton and Marge Sargeant. Both events attracted over 100 nationals and are now being slated as annual SKNNA-DC events.
Today, the SKNNA-DC members have already implemented projects and continue to work on several other programs as part of its goals and objectives to meaningfully give back to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.