During the past couple of days members of the opposition have targeted their public demonstrations in the direction of both Douglas and Martin, who head two crucial arms of the government and constitutional structure, namely the Executive and the Legislature.
So on Monday, 17th February, just as the business day was beginning, opposition politicians picketed the workplace of Speaker Martin, at the headquarters of the National Bank on Central Street, in downtown Basseterre. Though Martin serves as Speaker, which is a part-time undertaking, so to speak, his full time employment is with the bank.
The demonstrators displayed placards with various messages, but there was no doubt in the minds of the many passersby who paused for a moment to observe what was happening. The one sign that said it all for the opposition was one carried by a Rastafarian supporter of the opposition Unity Team, which is a coalition of three main groups, (PAM, CCM and PLP). The sign read, “We will be here every day”. Whether that promise will materialize is left to be seen but it was also understood to mean that they intended to maintain their program of protestation.
Another placard, used the not so flattering nickname of the Speaker, and urged him, “Wimpy do the right thing”, while one sported by the Deputy Leader of the People’s Action Movement, Jonel Powell, made the message more direct, “Do de right ting, call de motion”.
Powell was joined by his law partner and former leader of PAM, Lindsay Grant, who also made known his views with his placard, similar to Powell, reading, “Speaker, do de right ting”.
Others said, “Time for a good leader,” De government is illegal,” and Douglas is illegitimate”.
It was only last Wednesday that a High Court Judge declared that there was basically no impediment to the Speaker calling the motion, adding that the members of parliament who took the matter to court to force Martin to allow the motion to be debated, was within their constitutional right to do so, and that such facilitation ought to be made and in good timing. The opposition had claimed that both the Cabinet and the Speaker were responsible for the delay. The judge however said that he found insufficient evidence before him to influence his decision in that direction.
However, former leader of Government Business in the National Assembly and former Deputy Prime Minister, Sam Condor, told the media that it has always been the government that decided what made it to the Order Paper for parliamentary discussion, as directed by the Cabinet.
Condor and other opposition members, including Ian Liburd, were also present at Monday’s demonstration.
It has been 14 months since the motion was filed on 11th December, 2012, by Leader of the Opposition Mark Brantley, but to no avail.
Last Friday, 14th February, 2014, a similar demonstration took place in the vicinity of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, where Prime Minister Douglas, along with other Heads of Government and Ministers of Finance, from the OECS, were gathered for the 78 Meeting of the Monetary Council of the Central Bank.