I am not going to call any names, and even then, this happened so many years ago that it might sound like one of those parables that are told in the Bible. But what I am telling here is true, that it did happen — not that it can happen.
This is the story of this one big man who was running away from the local bailiff. When one day he saw the bailiff come towards his house he gave his two sons, who were playing on the landing, instructions to the effect that when the man came that they tell him that he (the father) had travelled to St. Kitts.
“Hello boys,” said the gentleman when he finally got to the house. “Tell your father that I need to talk to him,”
The elder of the kids volunteered and said: “Daddy is not in.”
“Where is he?” asked the bailiff.
“He said that he had travelled to St. Kitts,” told the elder of the two boys.
In those days we had only one boat which after it left in the morning, would not return until late in the afternoon. The bailiff knew that he was in for a rough ride. But something bothered him and as a result he asked a rhetoric question: “Did he tell you when he will return?”
The boys looked at each other sheepishly and the younger of the two volunteered: “Let me go and ask him.” And off the child ran to the bedroom. Trust the boys to keep a secret and you are doomed.
On the WINN FM’s website on December 21 last year, my attention was drawn to a story headlined: “Is the Governor General about to retire?”
Of course rumours were making the rounds at that particular time, and as a result I decided to read it. But to make issues better understood what was in the story, I will quote a few words from it. The story was written by top journalist Ms Toni Fredrick who was one of the very few journalists in the entire world invited to cover the US presidential election. She is that good.
“The pending retirement of the Governor General Dr Sir Cuthbert Sebastian appears to have been confirmed by Leader of the Federal Opposition Mark Brantley.” Please note how she has crafted her language: “appears to have been…”
“A guest on WINN FM’s Voices programme on Thursday Mr Brantley was asked by host Ian ‘Patches’ Liburd if in his capacity as Opposition Leader, he had been consulted or advised about the retirement of the Governor General, reportedly set for December 31st.”
Ms Fredrick’s story quotes Brantley as having said: “The Prime Minister has had a word with me several weeks ago. He had indicated to me at the time, what you have now expressed, but that certain formalities would need to take place.”
The story added: “…And so I assured him that I would not speak publically (sic) on the discussion that he and I had, and I would…want to respect that, because I did tell him that…I would wait certainly on the government to make whatever announcement they’re prepared to make. But he did advise me of what you’ve just mentioned.”
Now, who is Mark Brantley? He is Leader of the Opposition in the Federal Parliament and because of his privileged position, the Prime Minister the Rt Hon Dr Denzil Douglas discussed a top secret matter with him, and in Brantley’s word “I assured him that I would not speak publicly on the discussion…”
If Brantley had promised the Prime Minister that he would not talk about the discussion publicly until the government made “whatever announcement they’re prepared to make”, had ‘Voices’ become a hushed place where you do not hear what is being said — didn’t he let out the information before it was officially confirmed?
Is this the man that wants to be a Prime Minister by way of motion of no confidence? He now has a date: Tuesday January 15 when Federal Parliament sits. But can we trust him to keep government secrets secret? Thank God Nevisians have the chance to test him come Tuesday January 22. I appeal to the people of St. John’s to put him where his likes belong — out in the cold.
All is not that bad for the Concerned Citizens Movement as they have a leader in Hon Vance Amory who was ‘outed’, as we say it locally, on the same WINN FM’s voices by a truly concerned citizen who would not just sit and hear the former Nevis Premier peddling information about some bouncing cheques some twenty-six years or so ago.
All the years we have known that it was the PAM government in St. Kitts that bounced those salary cheques for Nevisian civil servants. So when he appeared on Voices on Monday January 7 (he actually travelled to St. Kits unlike Brantley who called in), he talked at length on how PAM punished Nevisians.
For once I almost supported him until a man who identified himself as Willie Liburd, but I have now come to learn that his official name is Mr William Liburd, but that some people call him Joiner, called to the programme and took the CCM leader to task. He told Hon Amory that it was the government in Nevis that had failed to warn the National Bank in advance that the government in Nevis intended to overdraw its account.
Mr Vance Amory reminded listeners that he was the Permanent Secretary at that time and he attempted to find out under what authority Mr Liburd was talking. Mr Liburd replied and said that at that time he was the Chairman of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank. Now Nevisians know exactly that it was under the leadership of Mr Vance Amory as the PS in Ministry of Finance, that they were failed.
The gentleman now wants his old job back from the very same people (voters) who fired him in July 2006. Can these people trust him? Can they look him in the face and ask him “Can I trust you?” I believe that they can ask him, but what would he say to them, now that Willie Joiner has ‘outed’ him?
The saga did not end there. Host of Voices programme, Mr Ian ‘Patches’ Liburd then asked him the question every right thinking citizen of this country has been wanting to ask him but did not have the opportunity or even the courage to ask him: He was asked what was his relationship with the Hon Mark Brantley.
I cannot remember the exact words he uttered, but the most important thing that everyone should know is that he kind of stammered, when he said that the relationship was quite okay and on being asked why Brantley is Leader of the Federal Opposition, he replied that it was done by agreement.
I want to hope that his party chairman Mr Steadmond Tross was not listening because it is him who, after Brantley was freshly elected to the Federal Parliament in 2007 to replace the late Hon Malcolm Guishard who was Leader of the Opposition, told the press that the Hon Vance Amory would be Leader of the Opposition.
He was at pains to tell the press that after the 2000 Federal Elections the Hon Vance Amory who was still the Premier of Nevis had taken that position, but it was found out that it would be untenable for him to be both the Premier of Nevis and Leader of Opposition in the Federal Parliament at the same time and that is how Hon Guishard took over the latter position.
But since Hon Vance Amory was no longer the Premier, following Hon Guishard’s death, Mr Tross told the press that there would be nothing to stop Hon Amory being Leader of the Opposition and even added that the party’s executive had ratified that position.
Nevisians should not ask Hon Amory what kind of arrangement they arrived at, but should direct the question to Mr Tross. If he does not get to read this, please someone tell him that Nevisians want to know what kind of arrangement was reached, yet he had announced that Amory would be Leader of the Opposition.
If Mr Tross was listening to the Voices Programme on Monday, I wonder if he heard Hon Vance Amory say that it was also by agreement that Hon Guishard had assumed the role of Leader of the Opposition. Everyone who was old enough some twelve years ago will know that it was not exactly the kind of agreement one would imagine, but was rather out of circumstances.
Can I (or anyone else for that matter) trust Hon Vance Amory leader of the CCM and representative for Nevis Three in the Nevis Island Assembly (which he still wants to retain on Tuesday January 22) and for Nevis Ten in the Federal Parliament?
Before he answers that one which is a straightforward question, I would wish for him to ponder on something that he said to the temporary host of the WINN FM’s Inside the News programme, Mr Ian ‘Patches’ Liburd on Saturday June 16 last year.
“Thank you very much Patches and good morning to the panellists, I am happy to be here,” said Hon Amory on that day. “I was hoping that it would be somebody else, but as the person couldn’t come I thought that as I was in St. Kitts I could just fit myself in.”
He went on: “I have come, as I said this morning, to be part of this discussion because we have been trying to get a consistent representative of the CCM to come and be part of the discussion and I had hoped that we would have had someone this morning.”
Six months down the road (it will be seven months next Saturday Jan 18) he is still appearing on the Inside the News programme something that has turned him into some kind of a street fighter from the language that he uses. Last Saturday (January 4) he was not able to attend but he called and told host Mr Clive Bacchus that he will appear this Saturday January 11.
What did Hon Amory say on June 16 last year? Has he fulfilled what he promised? Can I trust you, Hon Vance Amory? You too, go ahead and take the CITY.