At his Wednesday 13th April, 2011, press conference, Dr. Douglas referred to Astaphan’s planned march – which took place on 15th April, 2011 – as “part of a pattern, a
continuing pattern of destabilization.”
And in an exclusive interview with MiyVue.com, Astaphan expressed that Dr. Douglas’ allegations against him are “totally unfounded”.
“Dr. Douglas’ accusation that I want to distabilise the country is totally unfounded, totally unfounded. That’s that last thing I would want to do. That’s the last thing anybody would want to do, indeed I would have hoped that that’s the last thing he would have wanted to do.
“Unfortunately, it is by his doing, as the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister, it is as a result of his doing that we have all of this fiscal challenge that we have to face and all of these other things that we have to face.”
Astaphan said while he does not lay complete blame for the country’s current state at Douglas’ feet, as the leader of the Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis, he must take some of the responsibility. The former Parliamentary Representative for St. Christopher No. 2 accused the Prime Minister of engaging in scapegoatism.
“Somebody asked me if I felt that he and he alone was to blame for all of these things that have happened to the country, of course not. But he is the leader of the country, he has said he is 10-man-in-one, he has led the Cabinet and the Government and the Labour Party pretty much like a one-man-show and now he can’t have all of those cakes and not be made to eat them. He must take responsibility. The fact of the matter is, he cannot continue blaming the global fiscal situation because as recently as December 2009 – which is just one month before the last general elections – he said that the global crisis, we had avoided the brunt of it and he said everything was ok. Then right after the election, he started to introduce taxes and threaten taxes and that sort of thing.
“Don’t fool yourself, a lot of the social difficulties that you see in a community are often a reflection of the economic problems that people face. So I think…he is looking to scapegoat people about destabilising…that is utter nonsense…”
Astaphan, founder of the Operation Rescue movement, suggested to this publication that PM Douglas “was saying everything was ok, everything was not at all ok, everything was not at all stable. And so with all of these people sent home, all of these downsizing situations, the closure of businesses, the unemployment rise, the cost of living, the VAT, the housing and social services levy, this incredible increase in electricity which is killing everybody…All of these things happened under his watch. If he was the Chief Financial Officer for a company and the company experienced these difficulties, he would have been fired long ago.”