In Nevis, the leader is the Hon Vance Amory and the deputy is the Hon Mark Brantley. In St. Kitts and Nevis, the leader is the Hon Mark Brantley and the follower (not even deputy for that matter) is the Hon Vance Amory.
Here is the real story: On December 5, the Hon Mark Brantley, in his role as the Leader of the Federal Opposition, filed a motion for a Vote of no Confidence in the Prime Minister of the Federation, the Rt Hon Dr Denzil L. Douglas. He was advised that he got it all wrong.
He rushed and the following day filed another motion for a Vote of no Confidence in the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis “caused by the poor Leadership of Prime Minster the Rt Hon Dr Denzil L. Douglas”.
Before he could even congratulate himself, he was advised that he had it all wrong, again! The resolution should not have been presented to the Speaker of the House of Assembly but to the Clerk.
On Monday December 10, at 9:07 pm Brantley was on Nevis Politics (a CCM website) where he bragged: “A new day is upon us. A new dawn beckons. I hope that history will record that a few good men stood up and confronted tyranny not with tyranny but with the constitutional tools available to us.”
Did Mr Brantley say ‘a few good men’? Let him tell that to the faithful followers of the Concerned Citizens Movement party, people who were members when he was still in school and people who were members when he accused its leader Hon Vance Amory of having been asleep at the wheel.
Brantley’s Motion of no Confidence: Certainly the first in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, and no one will vouch to say if it will be the last. However, its intended long term implications by the person who filed it have effectively put the dutiful CCM followers into a political tailspin.
But one person has summed it up in a most philosophical way. Writing on the SKN List (a Yahoo Newsgroup) on December 5, one Mr Immanuel Sharry put forward his opinion that not even the most rabid CCM supporters have come forward to challenge. That is how potent Mr Sharry was.
“Does this mean Brantley will become PM?” posed Mr Sharry. “That is not a safe move, given how green he is and the questions surrounding his commitment to the Federation’s survival. Don’t trust that he will not be hauling his colleagues to court to get the top spot, should they prevail with this long shot of an exercise.
“This is nonsense and should hold no place in our system. This, a clear tainted shoo-in, I might add is what can very well throw the whole place into a Haiti like tailspin, knowing the leopard’s spots already, one can just gauge what will be coming down the pipes after.”
I say we need more men and women of courage like Mr Sharry who when they see wrong they shout out to warn all and sundry that something somewhere is terribly wrong and that we should be on our guards.
Truth be told, that Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Dr Denzil Douglas has the grassroots support and is not moved by the motion. He advised that Hon Brantley had the constitutional right to file the motion. The worried person is the leader of CCM, the Hon Vance Amory, who now has a genuine fear that Brantley’s action is a beginning of the end of the CCM as a party.
Ideally what does the Hon Mark Brantley envisage? He has not kept that away from the public. According to him, he is the leader of the other three opposition members of the House of Assembly, Hon Vance Amory (ouch!!), Hon Shawn Richards and Hon Eugene Hamilton.
He then said that they would get the support of two members on the Government benches in the House, and since the House has eleven members, they would make a majority and the motion would sail through.
While he is squirming about the general election that he has forced on Nevis, he is gleefully moving towards triggering a general Federal Election. That will be two for Nevis.
Who then would be the Prime Minister? Would Brantley be the Prime Minister?
That would be a very, very long shot and one thrown in the dark if Hon Brantley is imagining that he would be handed the top job just like that. He would face a monumental task to convince those same parliamentarians that he is better than them.
And even before the motion has been tabled, one of the two Government members they were targeting has publicly said that he is not defecting from the Labour Party.
Do the maths, Hon Brantley and go and apologise to the Hon Vance Amory and the faithful CCM members who know how things have been done in the past.
To achieve his dream, Hon Brantley is calling for a coalition of political parties. Where was he, the Tuesday morning on November 30, 1993 when leaders of the two political parties on St. Kitts, the Hon Dr Kennedy Simmonds (PAM) and the Hon Dr Denzil Douglas (Labour) crossed the shark infested waters to kneel at the feet of the Hon Vance Amory?
Like the Wise Men bringing gifts for Baby Jesus, each leader from St. Kitts offered Hon Vance Amory the position of Prime Minister so as to stabilise the country, after the two St. Kitts parties would have each won four seats in the House of Assembly at the General Elections which had been held the previous day on Monday November 29, 1993.
Did Hon Vance Amory rush to accept the double offer? Who would hate to be the prime minister of this great nation, and especially when it was being offered to them on a platter? He said to them (not his exact words), ‘Thanks but no thanks; I am neutral’, or something to that effect.
When a coalition of two parties would have saved the country and avoid chaos, the CCM leader said that his party did not subscribe to political coalitions, opting to remain neutral irrespective of what would happen to the country. I am not here to discuss what happened to the country after Amory rejected the offer to form a coalition with the St. Kitts parties.
19 years later, the deputy leader of the CCM is dragging his leader to form a coalition from the opposition benches whose immediate effect (if it succeeds) would be the fall of a constitutionally elected government.
When the CCM is called upon to build the country, it takes a neutral stand. When it is called upon to mash up the country, it shifts into high gear.
How is the Hon Vance Amory feeling, standing next to the Hon Shawn Richards and promising to work with him after he would have hit out at the same person in 2005? Is Amory losing it, or has he become the Apostle who metamorphosed from Saul to Paul?
In a news item on Tuesday March 1, 2005 headlined “Nevis Premier says opposition colleague ‘misguided’”, it was stated that the Premier of Nevis, Vance Amory, had expressed disappointment with the level of debate on the 2005 Budget from the newly-elected People’s Action Movement Parliamentary Representative for Constituency #5, Shawn Richards.
“I do trust that if he is not listening, that the persons who advised him are listening,” said Premier Amory, according to the news item. “I felt this morning, or today that he was ill-advised. I felt that he ought to have come here with a much different approach to look at the Budget of the day and not look at the history of the manifestos and all of those good things or bad things which were brought up.”
Hon Amory was quoted at length hitting out at the Hon Richards, which we do not have the time to look at now, but the news item ended thus: “‘I felt a little saddened this afternoon,’ Premier Amory told the National Assembly and the Federation as the Budget Debate was carried live on radio and television.”
That was in 2005. Richards is today the Political Leader of the People’s Action Movement, a party that is bigger and has more experience than the Concerned Citizen’s Movement whose best promise to the electorate is a five star; nay, four star; nay any good quality hotel and a dog farming niche industry.
If this coalition (a friend in the CCM recently told me that Amory and Brantley have entered into a collision — good for them if that is so) works, are Brantley and Amory aware that Richards stands the better chance to be the Prime Minister?
Well, this is the same Hon Shawn Richards who was criticised by Hon Amory in 2005, and one who was almost lynched by the CCM supporters at Brown Hill in 2007 during the by-election to fill the Federal Parliamentary seat left behind by the death of the Hon Malcolm Guishard.
The Hon Shawn Richards is a smart guy and a good learner, no wonder he beat the Hon Eugene Hamilton to PAM’s leadership. Just like the PAM of Dr Kennedy Simmonds used and discarded the NRP of Dr Simeon Daniel, so will the CCM of Mr Vance Amory and Mr Mark Brantley be used — I have not said discarded.
Now Hon Brantley is lamenting that his motion was not presented in Parliament because the Speaker fell ill. If the same opposition he leads had consented to taking up the position of Deputy Speaker, that scenario would not have arisen and his motion would have been put forward, because even the Prime Minister has acknowledged that it is an important one.
He did not have a place to sleep on St. Kitts when they were to debate a national issue on land for debt swap. However, when it comes to the mashing up of the country through a motion of no confidence, he announced to the entire world that he had secured a place to spend the night.
Is the Hon Vance Amory already running cold feet? When they held a press conference of the coalition partners recently, this is how they appeared: From left, Vance Amory, Shawn Richards, Mark Brantley, Eugene Hamilton and Vincent ‘Juicy’ Byron. The man in the middle is always the leader and the leader was Brantley and the followers were the rest.
And while everybody had a jacket on, that was not the case with Vance Amory. His followers on Nevis were left aghast when they realised that their leader had thrown himself into the gutters.
When Richards and Brantley talked of a coalition, Amory talked of collaboration and co-operation, but not a coalition. Amory is still in neutral but his leader at the Federal level, Brantley, is in high gear.
The CCM as a political party is experiencing a catastrophic gear-box failure. This never ending tug and push between Amory and Brantley has permanently debased their followers.
I wish to thank all my readers for the positive feedback I been receiving since I started penning this column. I take this opportunity to wish all of you a merry Christmas, a happy New Year, and delightful Carnival. This column is taking a two-week break and will be back on Wednesday January 9, 2013.