A former sugar worker who attended felt that he had been short-changed in terms of compensation after the closure of the sugar industry in 2005, (I think his name is John Paul Freeman). And he was also very upset at the thought of sugar lands being swapped off for debt, and ending up in foreign hands. So he asked what would be sold next, and Dr. Denzil Douglas, the Prime Minister of St. Kitts & Nevis, said this:
“If you want more of the Government’s money, I’m going to have to sell you”.
Sell John Paul?
Coming from any mouth, such a comment is utterly unacceptable. A million times more so coming from the mouth of a Prime Minister.
This is the same Prime Minister who, just a week earlier, had said that St. Kitts & Nevis was a ‘Black man country’ and that it would stay that way. Yet on Wednesday 24th October, 2012, he would talk of selling John Paul Freeman.
If you’re thinking of telling me that Dr. Douglas was joking, stop, because that’s no joke.
And if he can contemplate selling Kittitians and Nevisians who “want more of the Government’s money”, what should Kittitians and Nevisians contemplate doing with him for spending their money and causing them to be plunged into a $3 billion debt, and to be forced into a haircut and into an IMF adjustment program? What should they contemplate doping with him for now looking to sell out, not just acres, but square miles, of these two tiny islands in a bid to lower that debt? And to sell it out of the hands and reach of the people of this country?
What should the people contemplate doing with him after he went into Parliament to pass an Act giving him a virtually free hand to pass off more of our lands without having to consult with anyone?
In addition to the 1,200 acres already listed to be sold off, there remain another 3,500 acres under mortgage. That’s 4,700 acres altogether, before the passage of the Act. And there is no provision in the Act which ends his authority to transfer lands, no ‘Sunset Clause’, when the particular $900 million debt is paid off, so his hands are absolutely free.
And now that his hands are absolutely free with regard to selling off the people’s lands, he’s now telling the people, as symbolized by a person no more fitting than a former sugar worker, that he’d sell them.
He’s free and they’re for sale.
This gross and growing imbalance in the relationship between a nation’s leader and its citizens, whereby the former becomes increasingly and conspicuously powerful, free and unchecked, abusive, insulting and arrogant, while the latter become increasingly weak, disadvantaged, disrespected, abused, insulted and burdened, a tragic imbalance documented countless times and in countless places throughout history, has reached its breaking point in St. Kitts & Nevis.
When John Paul Freeman left his home last Wednesday evening to go to that Town Hall Meeting, I’m sure he had no idea that before that day ended he’d secure a spot in the history of this country.
He secured that spot by being there, by asking that question and by receiving Dr. Douglas’ disrespectful, crass, cruel, barbaric answer.
He became the symbol of all of the people of this country, and of the contempt which their leader, Dr. Denzil Douglas, has for them. A contempt which defines Dr. Douglas.
But, truth be told, Dr. Denzil Douglas has been selling out the people of this country for a long time. It’s only now he’s talking publicly about it.
And he started with Labour people.
Stalwarts such as the late Euclid Hanley and Desmond ‘Scratch’ Ward died of broken hearts. They, as well as Fitzroy Bryant, Lee Moore, St. John Payne, Fidel O’Flaherty, Charles Mills, and others, discreetly told their stories with regard to Dr. Douglas and his leadership.
They all came to experience him for what he is, as have other stalwarts and supporters who are still alive today and who murmur, mumble and grumble among themselves as their hearts, hope and dignity break under the strain of his personality and his leadership.
Indeed, the murmuring, mumbling and grumbling have gone public, manifested in screams of anguish and shouts of “FOUL”!
And as the screams and shouts increase in intensity and volume, the definition of Dr. Douglas has become increasingly clear and pronounced for all to see.
This awakening of the people seems to have pressed Dr. Douglas into even more indiscretions, abusiveness and egregiousness, which in turn has only served to sharpen the people’s negative perception of him, and to transport them to the breaking point which has now been reached, and to which I referred earlier.
Just two nights ago, at a Town Hall Meeting at Halfway Tree, he attempted to sell out the former Labour Administrations of Bradshaw, Southwell and Moore when he said that the $3 billion national debt was an accumulation of debt of the former PAM-NRP Administration and Labour Administrations before that.
If my memory serves me right, PAM-NRP left a national debt of $200 million. So if PAM-NRP and the former Labour Administrations had collectively accumulated only $200 million in debt, how would Dr. Douglas explain the remaining $2.8 billion to get him to the $3 billion national debt?
He cited the $400 million debt of the sugar industry, saying essentially that the industry had been maintained to keep people in jobs. Bad decision, bad answer. That money could have long ago been invested in transforming the economy while still keeping those same people employed. A number of them could’ve been successful entrepreneurs today, instead of having to look to him or someone else for help.
It wasn’t the workers’ fault that the debt soared to $400 million. It was his, but he wanted to deflect attention from himself, and to justify the debt. So he sold out the workers.
He also said that much of the debt arose from Government’s construction of homes.
If people are equipped in skills and given the proper support to be self-sufficient and responsible homeowners, they’ll be better able to pay for their homes. And the Government would receive returns on its investment in home construction; plus, substantial macroeconomic benefits would be enjoyed.
And the reasons for the losses to the Government in this area go way beyond the homeowners, and the responsibility must sit at Dr. Douglas’ feet.
Accordingly, his pointing a finger at people for not paying for their homes is also not a good reason, especially coming from him, to justify the massive Government debt.
But even with the losses from the sugar industry and home construction, he was unable to provide the arithmetic to justify the Government’s debt of $3 billion.
So he did what he does best. He did what helps to define him. He blamed PAM, sugar workers, homeowners, and even Labour Administrations of Bradshaw, Southwell and Moore, for the $3 billion national debt which responsible, efficient Denzil Douglas has now to bring down to save this country.
Of course, it has been part of his modus operandi to sell out his ministerial colleagues, especially the harder-working, more popular ones, and Labour Party members, and even former friends, who’ve chosen to be independent thinkers, to question things, and to question him.
He has sold out just about everybody and everything that he has been able to sell out. That’s what defines him.
He even sold out his own son with regard to a question put to him concerning Lex Consulting.
So he started the selling out with Labour stalwarts, and he has now included former Labour Administrations and a former sugar worker, a true symbol of all that the Labour Movement has stood for.
He has come full circle, compliments of the pressure from the good people of St. Kitts & Nevis in this land-for-debt swap matter, and thanks to John Paul Freeman who, on Wednesday, 24tth October,2012, helped to give the people of our Federation, and others, an insight into the real Denzil Douglas.
It seems that they’re at breaking point, and he’s at breaking point.