Address by Min. Sam T. Condor on 24th Anniversary as a Parliamentarian

FIRSTLY: Today, 21st March 2013, is the twenty-fourth anniversary of my election to political office, and I believe that it is fitting that I should acknowledge this significant milestone. In doing so, I must give thanks to him who alone, is able to keep us from stumbling; and to whom all Praise and Glory is due; The Lord God Almighty! I wish also to publicly thank the many individuals who have afforded me this opportunity for service at the highest level to my people and country. I give thanks also, to all those who have faithfully continued to bolster me over nearly a quarter century.

SECONDLY:  I am duty-bound to address you in relation to the distressing and lamentable crisis situation in which our cherished country finds itself, as a consequence of flawed management and reproachable leadership.  This situation has been insidiously foisted upon us, and we must now courageously face it, and we must find bold remedy.

AND THIRDLY:  As a result of the aforementioned crisis, I, as a constitutionally elected Representative of the people, who on several occasions took a sacred oath of office before you, crave your understanding at this juncture.

After exercising great tolerance, after agonizing deliberation; and after broad consultation and fervent prayers, I find that in the interest of my country, it is necessary to consider political and constitutional alternatives in redressing our National crisis; and in forging a path of peace and prosperity for our benefit today and for our future generations. 


 It was on the 21st March 1989, that I was elected the Parliamentary Representative for Constituency #3 – Basseterre West, after Comrade Joseph Nathaniel France (now the late Sir Joseph Nathaniel France) had retired from active politics and endorsed me as his replacement candidate.

Comrade France, a humble and committed servant of the people, was, at the time of his retirement, the longest serving parliamentarian in the English-speaking Caribbean and in the British Commonwealth.  I felt honoured to have been overwhelmingly endorsed by the constituents, to fill this position. Undoubtedly, my Labour Party credentials, my commitment to the philosophy and values of the Party, and my preparation for the responsibility and for the journey I was about to undertake, would have been taken into consideration. 

Again, my thanks to all who have afforded me the honor and privilege of travelling this path of public service, under the banner of the Labour Party and to all who have sustained me on my journey.  To you, I today renew my covenant; and take this opportunity to clearly and unequivocally state, that despite any other voice to the contrary, my Labour Party credentials, my commitment to the philosophy and values of AUTHENTIC LABOUR, my determination to honour the vision and the ideals of those who have sacrificed their all for this cause, has never wavered.

Of this there must be no doubt. This allegiance to the Labour Party will accompany me to my grave. 


 It may be convenient and expedient for some to trivialize, or to attempt to ignore the current crisis situation, in which our Country finds itself. This is a luxury we simply cannot afford.  The unvarnished truth is, that we are being taken through perilous and uncharted waters.  The “Ship of State” has lost its rudder, and the captain has misplaced his compass. … St. Kitts and Nevis is in crisis!

A sequence of events has brought us to a stage where our economic, political and social affairs are in danger of instability, due largely to a stubborn unwillingness by the country’s leader to accede to wise counsel; and an unruly and disrespectful attitude in asserting his pre-eminence. I mention the following as examples of the above:-

 

Ø Our national debt has been allowed to spiral out of control, despite repeated attempts by international financial authorities, and competent individuals, inclusive of cabinet colleagues, to forewarn and guide our country’s leadership. 

 

Ø The lands for which our forebears struggled in order to be used for our benefit and to be bequeathed to future generations, have been scandalously pawned off in an ill- considered arrangement ,to offset this debt.  This, of course, has far-reaching implications for the future of this country, as it amounts to disenfranchisement.

 

 

Ø In fact, in order to ensure that the opinions of senior elected representatives could not constrain him, the country’s leader sought to increase the number of non-elected parliamentarians who he believes would do his bidding in such matters.

 

Ø The disrespect accorded Ministerial colleagues and others who do not share his views or methods is well known

 

As a consequence of these and many other serious actions and dispositions, there has been a fracturing of the relationship between the Prime Minister and his most senior Ministers, with untoward outcomes.  As a further consequence, there has been a pervasive disquiet in St, Kitts and Nevis, as from day to day, we all hope for some decisive change, so that this crisis too might pass …..without catastrophe.

The word ‘crisis’, when written in Chinese, is composed of two characteristics, one representing danger and the other representing opportunity. From my vantage point, in correcting this crisis, our Nation has an opportunity to consider the many vicissitudes and anomalies that have brought us to this point. And in the spirit of true democracy, an opportunity is being presented to raise the bar of expectation to a standard of which we could all be proud.

Our country is at a significant crossroad, requiring fresh thinking.  In such a circumstance we are now faced with the option of bold and well- reasoned approaches.  Our current leadership has failed us and the occasion demands that we collaboratively and cooperatively, truly place “Country Above Self”, charting a new course with a different management style, a style which captures the concerns opinions and heartfelt convictions of colleagues with whom the leader must serve.  .      

In addressing the third matter, permit me to remind you of the oath of office to which I referred above.  I would have recited the following words:

“I, Sam Terrence Condor do swear that I will honor, uphold and preserve the Constitution of St. Christopher and Nevis and the law, that I will conscientiously, impartially and to the best of my ability discharge my duties as Minister and do right to all manner of people without fear, favor, affection or ill-will” So help me God!

Even if I were prepared to disregarding, at this time, the well known factthat I and other Ministerial colleagues were systematically denied opportunity to “conscientiously, impartially and to the best of our ability discharge our duties”, I cannot in all conscience overlook the fact that I swore to “honor, uphold and preserve the Constitution of St. Kitts and Nevis”.  Ours may not be a perfect constitution, but it is the supreme legal instrument by which we must be guided.  It was never intended that it would be used for convenience of nefarious ploys, or to be selectively cited. We know that the devil himself could cite scriptures for his purposes.

Our Constitution speaks in its preamble to an expectation that we , the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, “……. are committed to achieve our national objectives with unity of purpose”.

 If we are not interested in so doing, if we prefer to perpetuate insular bickering rather than the promotion of a more wholesome union, then we could spare our future generations the pain and agony, the danger in the crisis, and do the painful, by immediately going our separate ways.  Or, we can seek the path of the opportunity in the crisis; and seriously begin the process of promoting a more wholesome union.

Our current crisis therefore provides:

·       An opportunity for healing of the nation

·       opportunity to strengthen our democratic institutions

·       opportunity to pass legislation which obviates impunity, and enshrines accountability

·       opportunity to foster a new culture of respect for one another and to diminish the hostilities which so generously abound among us

There are of course those who will always twist truth;– blame others for their failings and perpetrate vicious, personal attacks on those who oppose their methods.  They will spread dastardly lies and malicious stories and will continue to be derisive and divisive even to the extent of turning family against family.  Our country is ailing and failing and such base distractions will do nothing to heal or help our situation. 

I entreat you not to be a part of that.  Instead I invite you, particularly our youth, to consider the kind of country you wish to inherit for yourselves and your children.   

Our country deserves better,

On behalf of the many whom I have been privileged to represent and all whose endorsement, support and prayers have sustained me; and in deference to the sacred oath which I have several times taken:  “…to do right to all manner of people without fear, favor, affection or ill-will”. I will once again present myself as the candidate in Constituency #3.

I cannot however in good conscience, in fear of my God, in fairness to the vast majority of our citizens, in keeping with my own ideals and philosophy; and in the traditions of true Labour, do so under the present Labour Party Leadership. That notwithstanding, I reiterate that I am devoutly Labour and the principles and values I espouse shall continue to be authentically Labour.

My fellow citizens and residents, today history is being made and we are the craftsmen and craftswomen of this history. The final product will be our own creation. How we craft this history, will also define the measure of the men and women that we are.  If we do nothing, we would have failed ourselves and our progeny. If we allow the dysfunction, the recklessness and the deception to continue, then future generations and history will not absolve us.

May God bless and guide us all.

May God bless our proud Nation-St. Kitts and Nevis 

And may God grant us the wisdom to honor TRUTH and the courage to save ourselves.

 

 

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