The first such meeting was held last night in Lodge Village.
Lodge is an area from which 103 acres of land have been cut out for Government’s land-for-debt swap with the National Bank.
It’s also the area represented in Parliament by Dr. Timothy Harris.
The Prime Minister is a bad man.
Why do I say so?
Because, apart from having stated publicly that ‘he bad since he born’, he’s holding these town hall meetings well after the Government’s debt had, over the last 15 years, mushroomed to $3 billion, and specifically after its debt to the National Bank had approached the billion dollar mark.
He is holding town hall meetings after having run up that massive debt to the Bank, and after the Bank had taken security on about 4,700 acres of sugar lands (see the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Report on St. Kitts & Nevis for 2007, at page 7).
And he is holding town hall meetings after the Government had become unable to pay its debt, had been forced into a debt restructuring arrangement (a ‘haircut’) with its creditors, as well as a Standby Arrangement with the IMF, and also an agreement that sugar lands held under mortgage by the Bank would be sold in order to pay down the Government’s debt to the Bank.
While all of that was unfolding, and I’m talking about 12 years, other than the Cabinet’s annual Face-to-Face meetings, no town hall meetings.
But now he wants to have them, and only to explain to people what he has done, because the horse has apparently already bolted.
He is more interested in talking to the people and talking at the people than talking with the people.
He is a bad man.
And to add insult to injury, Dr. Harris, like other Parliamentarians, had found out exactly which lands would be first put into the land-for-debt swap deal only on the day, a few weeks ago, when the Bill was being introduced to the Parliament.
Dr. Harris’ hurt and outrage in the Parliament Chamber that day as he stood to speak were palpable and heartfelt.
Denzil Douglas is a real bad man.
Now it’s no secret that much daylight exists between the two men, and the Bad Man would love nothing more than to replace Dr. Harris on the ticket for the next election.
So he decided that the first town hall meeting would be held in Dr. Harris’ Constituency, right where the 103 acres are located, in an effort: to show the people of the area who is boss while trying also to palliate them by giving them yet another ‘Dougie’, or two, or three; to soften support for Dr. Harris and cause Dr. Harris to consider less stressful and unpleasant alternatives for himself; and, in the process, to squeeze a more pliable person into the seat.
As I said, Denzil Douglas is a bad man.
But his badness, in this and in a host of other matters, has driven lots and lots of people, including, I’m pretty sure, Dr. Harris himself, to frustration, embarrassment, humiliation, deprivation, anger and, yes, to desperation.
And so last night in Lodge, the Desperate Man kicked the Bad Man’s butt, ably and enthusiastically supported by a very passionate group of Constituents who have evidently reached the same point of frustration, embarrassment, humiliation, deprivation, anger and desperation as their Parliamentary Representative, and even beyond him.
They have had enough of the Bad Man. They wanted to know why he would choose to come talk to them well after the horse had bolted. They wanted to know why all of this disrespect towards Dr. Harris and, by extension, towards themselves by the Bad Man.
They had reached the end of the line as far as all of that was concerned. And they were now pushing back against the Bad Man, revealing their outrage and desperation.
One Constituent told the Bad Man that she was more Labour than him and the people whom he had brought to the meeting to support him.
Those of us who were comic book readers or cowboy movie fans as kids will recall the Bad Man being chased out of Dodge City by its good citizens made desperate by the Bad Man and his bad behavior.
Well, last night, the Bad Man was chased out of ‘Lodge City’, wounded and ass-whooped by the good and desperate citizens of the area and by their Parliamentary Representative.
Last night was a game changer. A crossing of the Rubicon. A sign that the people of this country are at last ready to make sure that ‘badness outa style’.
History will, for the most part, show that when a Bad Man and a Desperate Man clash, the Desperate Man wins.
And you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that there are a lot of desperate people in this country presently.
And desperate with good reason.
Over the last nearly three years, they have been bludgeoned by business closures, reduced work weeks, increased unemployment, unexpected retirements, increment freezes, a stagnant economy, a high cost of living, devilishly high electricity rates (and, like a bolt of lightning out of a clear blue sky, now this 6% Customs Service Charge on an already too-heavy electricity burden), damage to and loss of appliances as a result of an unsteady electricity supply, increased water rates, airport charges, VAT, Government debt restructuring, the ‘haircut’, the loss of thousands of acres of sugar lands in the land-for-debt swap with the Bank, the prospect of citizens becoming further marginalized in their own land, massive electoral shenanigans and misconduct, and more recently a hot and fast flow of new passports being issued to persons born abroad of Kittivisian parents or grandparents, who may not even know where our country is on the map, and who are being encouraged to vote in the upcoming Nevis elections, as has been done before in St. Kitts in the last Federal elections (all to help prop up the Bad Man and to keep badness in style).
In addition, there have been egregious acts of disrespect for our Constitution and our laws by leaders, unabated arrogance and corruption, a stubborn unwillingness by leaders to pass proper Integrity in Public Life legislation, a relentless assault on the people’s intelligence and sensibilities, etc., etc.
And in the process, the Bad Man who calls himself ‘Ten Man in One’, has, by his badness, unwittingly created an army of desperate men (and women) lined up, and lining up, against him.
This army includes lots of Labour people who have come to realize that the Bad Man has, in effect, mashed up the Labour Party and has desecrated its very foundation, traditions and good name. They have come to recognize that he has hijacked and emasculated the entire Labour Movement in this country, and that he is an imposter.
And it is this army of desperate men and women that will defeat him and send the Bad Man packing.
As I said, in the clash between Bad Man and Desperate Man, it is Desperate Man who will prevail, because while the Bad Man is always on the hunt for gain, the Desperate Man has nothing to lose. And while the Bad Man is motivated by the desire to be hold the advantage over other humans, the Desperate Man is overtaken by the most fundamental force in nature: the fight for survival and self esteem
And based on what happened in ‘Lodge City’ last night, that force is being unleashed in our country, finally, it seems.