Night caught up on an Arab wondering through the vast desert (if the story said which country it was, I cannot remember) and as is the norm, he stopped and pitched up tent and after eating and feeding his camel, he entered the tent and fell asleep almost immediately.
In the middle of the night it started raining. The Arab fearing that the camel could catch a cold if its head got wet, decided to allow the poor animal to just push its head inside the tent.
He unzipped the tent and the camel squeezed in its head. However, the rain increased and the next thing the camel made attempt, and succeeded in pushing its entire body inside the tent. However, the Arab was thrown out by the sheer size of the camel and he ended up in the rain.
The Hon Vance Amory, in his heydays, was a great batsman. He hit the ball so hard that his opponents literally feared him. He could also elect to terrorise opponents by hitting the ball as hard as he could, because he was doing so under the cover of immunity of the rules of the game we West Indians love — cricket.
In his illustrious political career he has moved from a back bencher to a front bencher and then back to a back bencher. Under the cover of parliamentary immunity, the Hon Vance Amory is known to have hit humiliating words directed at a graceful woman who is the mother of one of the Federation’s top scholars.
But unlike his opponents in the game of cricket who would be in the field with him and could hit back by catching him or even running him out, this poor lady from Charlestown is not even a member of the august house.
An abuse to this woman by the Hon Amory, who is the parliamentary representative for St. George’s, was an abuse to a mother, a sister, a daughter, a cousin etc. It was a crime against womanhood. A man should detest from abusing a woman who cannot respond.
Late in his life, the Hon Vance Amory has found himself on shaky grounds. He, unfortunately, forgets that he has no immunity when he crosses the Narrows to go to St. Kitts, not to attend the Federal House, where he has immunity, but rather to sit as a panellist on WINN 98.9 FM’s Inside the News programme on Saturdays.
I sat and listened amused when on Saturday September Mr Alistair Yearwood terrorised him on the programme. Hon Amory, in one of his rare moments, lost his cool. On radio, he has no immunity.
It appears to me as if this state of lack of immunity for this leader of the Opposition Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) Party is widening and quite fast. That state of affair affects him even on his political platform.
But is it of his own making?
Hon Amory is a seasoned politician. Yes, he dislodged the Dr Simeon Daniel-led NRP administration in 1992. When we had a political crisis after the 1993 Federal elections, he was offered, by the two political parties on St. Kitts, the opportunity to be the Prime Minister, not of Nevis, but of St. Kitts and Nevis but he declined.
He chose to remain neutral.
After the 1995 Federal elections that saw the Labour Party sweep seven of the eight seats on St. Kitts leaving PAM with a mere one seat held by the Hon Hugh Heyliger of Sandy Point, Hon Vance Amory refused to take up a federal opportunity presented to his party.
With the Labour Party having seven seats, PAM one seat, CCM two seats and NRP one seat, CCM had the highest number of opposition members. But instead of him taking the Leader of Opposition he allowed PAM to take it.
And PAM knows how to use political opportunities. They nominated a senator in Mr Vernon Veira. The Hon Vance Amory and the Hon Malcolm Guishard of the CCM were like passengers in the back seat of a bus because PAM, though not in the driver’s seat, was closer to the door — probably collecting the fares.
However, Labour overran PAM in the 2000 Federal elections with an astounding All Eight win on St. Kitts. Many thought that the Hon Vance Amory was afraid of the Leader of Opposition position and with PAM out of Parliament, they assumed he would allow the Hon Patrice Nisbett of the NRP to be the Leader of Opposition.
Earlier PAM had one seat and they allowed it to hold the position of Leader of Opposition. The NRP now had one, but CCM was mortally afraid of NRP so much so that the Hon Amory decided to be the Leader of Opposition. They even nominated Mr Michael Perkins as a senator.
His position as Leader of Opposition was short-lived as he ended up passing it on to the Hon Malcolm Guishard. It was claimed that he could not hold that position while he was also the Premier of Nevis. We bought that argument gracefully.
But here is the irony: the Hon Vance Amory was dislodged from premiership by the Hon Joseph Parry of the NRP in 2006. But unfortunately for the island of Nevis, the Leader of Opposition, the Hon Malcolm Guishard, died in 2007.
In the lead-up to the 2006 Nevis Island Assembly elections, the Hon Guishard had announced to all and sundry that ‘win or lose’, it would be his last election. He had given an early notice that he wanted to retire.
After he lost to the Hon Hensley Daniel, Mr Guishard and members of the St. John’s faction of the CCM party anointed a young lawyer Mr Colin Tyrell, to succeed Mr Guishard. But unknown to them, their political leader, the Hon Vance Amory had another name, who was also a lawyer: Mr Mark Brantley.
Was Amory’s gesture supposed to stifle the unpredictable Brantley, who had publicly accused Amory of sleeping at the wheel when he (Amory) was Premier? Rumour also had it that Brantley was planning to launch a political party.
After Mr Guishard’s death, Mr Brantley run on the CCM ticket to fill the Federal seat he held. And since Hon Amory was no longer the Premier, chairman of the CCM Party, Mr Steadmond Tross, had announced that he (Amory) would assume the role of the Leader of Opposition in the Federal Parliament.
Speculation is never a good game. In this respect I will say that I do not know what happened when a political greenhorn upstaged a seasoned politician. But it did happen and Hon Mark Brantley was named the Leader of Opposition.
On the Federal Opposition benches, Brantley was in the driver’s seat, while Amory was in there as a mere passenger.
The 2010 Federal elections saw PAM win two seats just as the CCM. One would have expected that since the CCM had allowed them to take the Leader of Opposition when they had one seat and CCM had two, that PAM would sit out of that position.
Nothing like that happened. PAM were adamant. They had two seats and CCM had two. It was if CCM must be Leader of Opposition, then PAM would nominate, and if CCM wanted to nominate because they already had a nominated member in Mr Michael Perkins, that PAM would be Leader of Opposition.
Well, the rest is history. CCM sacrificed Mr Michael Perkin and put him on the breadline. The Hon Mark Brantley remained the Leader of Opposition, and PAM nominated.
There is talk to the effect that if a scenario would arise on St. Kitts like it did in 1993, CCM would not be neutral. If that were to happen, the Hon Mark Brantley wears the bigger hat at the Federal level and would be the person to take the position of the Prime Minister.
Some political pundits have said that the Hon Brantley is on the threshold of edging out his own leader, and are wondering out if that is the reason why the Hon Vance Amory keeps on reminding members of his party that he is the leader?
The Hon Mark Brantley was quoted by regional media as saying that the Prime Minister (the Rt Hon Dr Denzil Douglas?) after fourteen or fifteen years in power, he has nothing more to offer.
What caught the attention of keen listeners was the fact that he started by mentioning ‘fourteen’ before he added the word ‘fifteen’. Let’s look at this scenario: His own leader was the Premier of Nevis for fourteen years. Let’s look at this other scenario: Hon Vance Amory is older than the Rt. Hon Dr Denzil Douglas.
Whoosh! If one cock is too old and is only good for soup, then its older mate should also be destined for the pot — or ought to have already. Hon Mark Brantley has pointed a finger at Dr Douglas. Are his other fingers pointing at his own leader, Amory?
However, as a disclaimer, let me say upfront that the Hon Vance Amory still has the energy and charisma to lead the opposition CCM party for another ten years before he could even contemplate to think of the word ‘retirement’.
My view, unfortunately, is contrary to expectations of some within his party who will tell persons in Amory’s age bracket to “you old go siddung.” I ferociously disagree with them.
Amory appears to be a leader struggling to get political oxygen in his own party. Does he have the wherewithal to change that situation? He has two choices: Put out those denying him oxygen or vacate the tent.
If he puts them out, he risks being taken under the clock in Charlestown. He is not blind to the fact that there are lawyers within the CCM rank and file. Vacate the tent? I am not sure that the Hon Vance Amory is ready to leave a party that he formed.
Should he then listen to, and act on the message in the song ‘Coward of the County’, which is played regularly on Voice of Nevis (VON) radio in the mornings? That message is persistently bombarded on us, but my friendly advice is that even an upstart lawyer could send one under the clock if they were to invoke it.
I have a clear cut and pain free scenario for him that will work: In the forthcoming coming election in St. John’s he should throw his support behind Mr Hensley Daniel, a man who strongly advocates that elderly persons have a pivotal role to play in the development of our island Nevis.
Read my statement again — I said a man who values people, by actions and not slogans.