For Brantley, who is also the Deputy Premier of Nevis, “Our Nation needs a new direction, a new approach, a fresh appreciation of democracy and nation building, a re-examination and reconstitution of what it truly means to be a Kittitian and Nevisian people.”
He cautioned that Kittitians and Nevisians must not repeat the mistakes of 2013, as individuals and as a country. “We must accept that what we have today is only the present and what we hope for is a future of peace, prosperity and progress for our people. But if the past is gone so too we must accept that the future is not promised and whilst we have hopes, dreams and aspirations for ourselves and our Nation, we must equally accept that we, you and I, must work together to achieve those hopes, dreams and aspirations.”
Brantley painted 2013 as year that was a difficult one, with citizens buffeted between “pillar and post”. For him, joblessness, an ever increasing cost of living, unacceptable criminal activity, and an ever coarsening of our public discourse have become natural concomitants of modern life in our once halcyon country.
In his reflection, Brantley allowed his thoughts to move as far back as 2011, when as he said, Nevis saw a blatant attempt to corrupt the electoral process, the very foundation of our Nation’s democracy. It took 18 long months of litigation, the independence of the courts and prayers, to right the gross injustice meted out to the Nevisian people, explained Brantley.
“You may well wonder why I have gone back as far as 2011? I have done so because it marked a watershed event in our young history. It told us that persons even in the highest offices in our country and those imbued with considerable constitutional power were willing to corrupt the very institutions that they were required by law to protect,” explained the Opposition Leader. Once the Court had ruled historically that those who benefitted from wrong doing were null and void, the people of Nevis in January of 2013 spoke eloquently and overwhelmingly for the Government of their choice. Democracy had awoken from its coma and was once again alive and well in our beloved isle of Nevis, added Brantley.
The situation has worsened according to Brantley, who also holds the position of Deputy Leader of the CCM, in Nevis. “A new Attorney General was illegally sworn in to provide an additional vote for the Honourable Prime Minister to attempt to pass legislation to increase the number of Senators so that the voice of the majority of elected Parliamentarians could be silenced. Again the Court intervened and the new Attorney General was finally sworn in legally. The result is that St. Kitts and Nevis now functions with an illegitimate minority Government with a majority of elected Parliamentarians sitting on the opposition benches.”
Brantley also took swipe at National Assembly Speaker, Curtis Martin when he declared, “Our Honourable Speaker, once an office revered and admired, has been rendered a regional laughing stock showing rank political partisanship when the country cries out for statesmanship. Your loyal Opposition has on principle boycotted this kangaroo Parliament and in 2014 and for so long as the Motion of No Confidence remains untabled and unheard, we shall categorically continue to do so.”
He believes that 2013 has been a year of serious challenges and difficulties for our Nation. “The question now is what shall we as a country do? Will we learn from those mistakes and fashion solutions to ensure that we do not repeat them? Or shall we continue along the same path with the same cast of characters and pray that what they have not done in 20 years they will somehow do in the future?”
He said that it is his simple view that in 2014 our people will be asked a simple question. Do we wish more of the same or do we wish a new approach to governance in our Nation? It is a simple question which we all will have to answer in this New Year, promised Mr. Brantley.