“The rulers of these nation states had two advantages to help them keep control. One was gunpowder which was brought to Europe from China…The other advantage to the ruler of a nation state was the growth of trade, especially in the north of Europe. In cities such as London and Paris merchants and craftsmen were likely to support any king who kept order, made the roads safe from the private armies of noblemen and the seas free of pirates.”
Then it dawned on me, history is repeating itself in St. Kitts and Nevis! In pre-renaissance Europe, members of the “establishment” kept Kings in power to protect their selfish and narrow material interests, notwithstanding the many civil atrocities and human rights abuses perpetrated by those tyrannical rulers. In modern day St. Kitts and Nevis, members of the “establishment” turn blind eyes, deaf ears and in some cases make pronouncements that reflect a callous insensitivity to the plight of a people who endure an illegitimate Prime Minister Douglas, the self-styled “maximum leader” of the Caribbean, who perpetrates atrocities in this country, including the deprivation of the majority of their right to have a government of their choice.
Cases in point! Some months ago, members of the political opposition who hold a majority of elected seats in Parliament, expressed to the International Monetary Fund and the Commonwealth Secretariat their serious concerns with regard the political situation in this country and the threat to democracy that exists under Denzil Douglas who, along with the Speaker of Parliament and Governor General, appear to have no intention of having debated and voted upon, the motion of no confidence that was properly filed late last year. In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, just over two months ago, the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Arnhim Eustace, wrote to Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves asking him to take up the no confidence matter with his OECS and CARICOM colleagues as a matter of urgency, given the political imperatives in St. Kitts and Nevis and potential impact on good governance in other OECS and CARICOM member states.
The majority of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, who public opinion polls show have no confidence in Denzil Douglas as Prime Minister, waited in eager anticipation for a signal from the influential regional and international “establishment” that they are not just concerned about this unprecedented situation but are in fact willing to do something to bring it to an early, peaceful and just end. Alas, our hopes were dashed when the members of the establishment responded in similar fashion, essentially telling a distressed people that there is no reason to intervene in our internal affairs because St. Kitts and Nevis is governable.
Officials from the Western Hemisphere Department of the IMF in a press conference six months ago said, “It would be nice to have a resolution to the motion of no confidence in the government of St. Kitts and Nevis but it appears that the government is functioning as normal.” Some five months ago and on behalf of the Commonwealth, Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma said, “These are constitutional and Parliamentary processes which every member state has to work through themselves and find a resolution to in the national interest. It is not for the Secretary General to be advising Member States on their own domestic political situations, which are better attempted by themselves through these processes.”
The most flourishing commentary came in a written response from Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves who said, inter alia, “there is no proper basis for either the OECS or CARICOM to intervene formally in the current political situation in St. Kitts and Nevis…any formal outside interference in a country’s internal affairs is premature and unacceptable, particularly since there is no break-down in law and order and none is reasonably apprehended.”
In other words, the elites of the “establishment” are saying to the anguished majority of St. Kitts and Nevis, unless there is public disorder, unless people are losing or are at risk of losing their lives and properties, we have no business interfering in your internal affairs! Which makes me wonder…what if the “establishment” took the same approach with regard money laundering, where would our societies be today? There is an old saying, “what gone bad at morning can’t come good at evening” and just as moneys gained from illicit means cannot be legitimized by laundering through a legitimate financial institution, an individual who does not meet the constitutional requirement to be Prime Minister cannot legitimately occupy and function in that office.
Since December 11th 2012, the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Mark Brantley, filed with the Clerk of Parliament, a motion of no confidence in Denzil Douglas and his administration. That filing made it pellucid to the world that Douglas is leading a minority administration, in contravention of the Constitution, holding only five of the eleven elected members in Parliament, whilst the Opposition holds a clear majority of six elected members.
Section 52(1) of the St. Kitts and Nevis Constitution says, “There shall be a Prime Minister of Saint Christopher and Nevis who shall be appointed by the Governor-General.” Section 52(2) says, “Whenever the Governor-General has occasion to appoint a Prime Minister he shall appoint a representative who appears to him likely to command the support of the majority of the Representatives.”
Prime Minister Gonsalves in his response to Opposition Leader Eustace also said, “It is axiomatic that a democratically-elected government ought always to be representative of the people. That representativeness is made manifest in a government which commands the majority of the representatives elected in free and fair elections. When a government no longer has the support of the majority of the elected members of the Parliament, it has several options, namely: (i) To resign and cause fresh general elections to be held; (ii) to face a vote of confidence in the legislature in appropriate circumstances; or (iii) to act in accordance with any other appropriate constitutional directive given by the Head of State (Governor General). These are eternal, core principles of good governance. So, it is usual and expected that when a motion of no-confidence, properly drafted, is duly filed against a government, such a motion ought to be deliberately considered and determined by the legislature in the shortest time practicable, having regard to all pressing or other extraordinary exigencies of State. That is an established constitutional convention in parliamentary democracy.”
So, the elites of the “establishment” seem happy to go about doing business with an illegitimate Prime Minister who makes it safe for our lands and our passport moneys to be distributed to foreigners, whilst the people suffer under the weight of mismanagement and corruption, and our children and grandchildren become marginalized and disenfranchised. That is a hard, cold reality that we wake up to every morning in modern day St. Kitts and Nevis!