The accusation that has been leveled against Dr. Timothy Harris by Dr. Denzil Douglas claims that the former Senior Minister is continuing to hold on to the strings of the Labour Party for him to be relevant in the politics of St. Kitts and Nevis.
This is what Prime Minister Douglas advanced when asked recently about his former Cabinet colleague whom he fired just a few weeks ago. Douglas was reacting to a question about comments being made in the media by Dr. Harris when he stated, “I think Harris can say anything he feels like because Harris is aware of the strength of the Labour party and so he continues to hold on to the strings of the Labour Party for him to be relevant in the politics of St. Kitts and Nevis.”
In a challenge to the former minister Douglas said “If Harris thinks that he is independent, as he has been saying to people in his constituency during his house to house campaigning, that he will be an independent candidate, why then does he continue to sit on the government side (in parliament) which is the Labour Party?”
Douglas revealed that Harris’ agreement to join with members of the opposition to sign a letter that was sent to the Governor General, Sir Edmund Lawrence, indicating that they do not support Douglas as Prime Minister and that they intend to vote for a motion of no confidence that has been filed against the government, is a clear indication that the one -time Senior Minister is no longer part of the Labour Government.
Douglas claimed that the signing of the letter on Tuesday 5th March is nothing new in terms of the actions of Harris.
“Harris voted against the government side … recently. Harris has spoken out clearly against the government in recent times, so this is nothing new,” protested the Prime Minister.
However what was new to the Prime Minister as he admitted was that Harris went as far as to put his position in writing. “What I think however the letter indicates, is that he has put it in writing, that we (Harris and Sam Condor) are no longer with the Labour Government, we are with PAM. (It) Is very very clear. Very very clear because again they are reiterating that if the motion or any other Bill was to come to the parliament, they will vote with the opposition, with PAM, against the Labour Government. The Labour Party Government that placed them in parliament.”
“The very same people who are Labour supporters, who voted for them in the last election and placed them in parliament, they are now saying (to the supporters) that when they are in parliament, they don’t need Labour anymore, they don’t need the party and its support. That’s what they are saying to the world that’s what I interpret that to be,” stated Dr. Douglas.
The Prime Minister has however suggested that despite the letter he remains comfortable that he still has the mandate to bring legislation to the House and to continue with the budget and other important pieces of legislation.
When challenged on this though Douglas remarked, “Of course, as the leader of the country I can’t think in a very irresponsible and myopic way. I can’t. I have to be broad in my outlook, I have to be planning ahead because that’s the role and responsibility that I have.”
He said that he wished to make it clear that the motion of no confidence has its place but that the government has an agenda for which it is responsible. “If the two members who recently signed the document with four others, had resigned their seats in parliament then for a moment, I would feel uneasy, because we would have had to go to by-elections, and during that period of by-elections if they were of no more on my side, because they are no longer in the parliament, then I think I would be having some problems of consideration.”
When asked to clarify what he meant about not being on his side anymore he said, “But they are not dead.” They are not dead. Just as they changed their minds yesterday (Tuesday 5th March) and said that they will vote (for the motion of no confidence), so too they can change their mind to do anything. They are still alive. I don’t know what motivated them to be on the other side; suppose I can demotivate them? Suppose they can be demotivated? Or I can increase my motivation beyond what they got.”
When pushed about if that is something he would be prepared to do, he said “I am prepared to do anything for the stability in our country.”
On Wednesday 6th March, a special meeting of the Labour Party Branch was hosted in the constituency of Number Seven, running from Bellvue to Ottley’s in the northern part of St. Kitts. It is also well known that this meeting was convened by the Leader of the party, Dr. Denzil Douglas and that the incumbent representative for the district, Dr. Timothy Harris, who is still the Chairman of Labour, was not invited nor welcome.
Sources who attended the meeting indicated that the party has given every indication that it is preparing its replacement candidate for the constituency and are not looking ahead with Harris as part of the candidate list for the upcoming election.
Deputy Chairman of Labour, Senator Nigel Carty recently shared that the party will in fact field a number of new candidates for the election, though at the time he did not provide further details on their identity.