Maiden Political Speech by Konris Maynard at Special Branch Meeting

The Hon. Dr. Earl Asim Martin, Deputy Prime Minister and deputy party leader;
Other Members of the winning Labour Party Ticket;

Constituents of St. Christopher #3 in Shadwell, La Guerite, St. Johnston Village, Russell Village, St. Johnston Ave, Wigley Avenue, Millionaire St, Haynes Smith Village, Fortlands, Trafalgar, Lime Kiln, the whole Village area, Buckleys, Sea View, Bay View, Camps Estate, Ocean View, Ocean Gardens, Mattingley Heights, Beacon Heights, Dewars, the West Farm Area, Abbotts, the Boyds Area, and Palmetto Point;

Constituents from all other constituencies;
Ladies and Gentlemen in Radio, TV, and Internet land;
Members of the Media;
Good Evening!

Welcome to Champs Ville!

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others – Mahatma Ghandi My name is Konris Gregor Menten Maynard and with utmost humility and a deep sense of patriotism I accept the nomination for the St. Kitts Nevis Labour Party Candidate for Representation of Constituency #3. I did not travel this journey alone and would like to extend my profound gratitude to Mr. Osbert France and the Attorney General, Mr. Jason Hamilton. They acceded to the call of service for the greater good of our country and they will no doubt be indispensable in our mission to win the hearts and minds of the good people of constituency #3.

First and Foremost I am a child of God in Christian Faith. I am the son of Linkon Willclove Maynard of Camps Estate and Trafalgar Village of St. Kitts and Verlyn Deloris Claxton Maynard of Ramsbury Nevis. I am married to the love my life, the breathtakingly beautiful Mrs. Shamara Elliz Morton-Maynard of St. Pauls’ Village, St. Kitts. My maternal Grandfather, Mr. Hugh Claxton was a dear friend of Sir Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw. My mother recalls Sir Bradshaw talking politics with my grandfather on their veranda in Nevis. My maternal grandmother, Mrs. Janet Claxton hails originally from the Hodge family in Anguilla. My paternal Grandfather, Mr. Harold Maynard Senior, whom everyone affectionately called Big John, was a cane cutter for all his life in the West Basseterre area until his retirement. He was in fact the foreman for many of the sugar fields in this area during his time. He was also a staunch supporter of the Labour Movement as he would have witnessed firsthand the perils of colonialism and the plantocracy. He never missed a Labour Day march. My paternal Grandmother, Ellen Maynard, was a homemaker and seamstress in West Basseterre especially the Boyd’s and West Farm areas. She also acted as counselor and confidant for many families in West Basseterre. It is therefore in my DNA to answer to this noble call of service of the people of West Basseterre. And so, I submit myself.

In 1932 after much struggle and sacrifice in our nation, the Worker’s League, which would later be renamed the St.Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, was officially launched. A most humble young man was among the early members of the Worker’s League. His name was Joseph Nathaniel France. Although originally from our sister isle of Nevis, Sir France made his home in this constituency, constituency #3, the constituency where life begins in St. Kitts, the constituency that sparked a revolution in the entire Caribbean in the aftermath of the 1935 Buckley’s Riot where Sir France found himself playing the role of peacemaker in order to bring an end to the Riot. Comrade France took up the baton then, to run the race of empowering the people of this area and the country as whole. During his life, he was a part of every progressive movement to advance the cause of: workers without rights, people without land, and the masses without a voice. He never shirked in his responsibility to be a man of the people. Such was his service that he successfully contested nine (9) General Elections from 1946 to 1984. Well done Sir Comrade France!

And then there was 1989. Sir France had served his time. The Labour Party called upon a man who, although was not from the constituency and not very well known in the constituency at the time, was given that baton to continue to race on for the plight of the masses in our communities. Regrettably that baton from Sir France has been dropped. However, I am here tonight to pick up that baton and run on behalf of the people of West Basseterre and Win BIG for you! For the people of Palmetto Point, who yearn for a functioning and usable Community Center that can be used by the villagers to access computer services and facilitate after school community activities, I am here to Win BIG for you! For the constituents of The Boyd’s area who have heard one too many stories about why, after so many years, they still cannot get a playfield, I am now here to win Big for you! For the young men in the Boyd’s and West farm area who have shown me their keen interest in farming and fishing and landscaping and who are ready to go but just need the impetus and help to get their businesses off the ground, I will give my all to Win Big for you! In Camps Estate where a simple small play area can allow for our dear children to play safely, instead of dangerously frolicking in the streets, Camps, I will win Big for You! A playfield in Shadwell will soon be a reality. We must also act to preserve and find good use for the ruins of the Old Cotton House. The people of Shadwell, much like Points, West Farm, Boyds, Camps, Buckleys and the entire village area must benefit from their fair share of Affordable housing and land ownership. You can now feel confident that I will be winning big for you! For the people of La Guerite and the entire village area who want access to the community center in La Guerite in order to ensure that our constituents, especially our young people, have a safe and pleasant facility to conduct their extra curricula activities. La Guerite and the village, I am here to win big for you! What about the rejuvenation of Village-O-Rama? What about a concerted effort to build comradery in West Basseterre? What about after school homework assistance programs for our disadvantaged youths? What about big sister programs for mentorship of our young females? What about community beautifying competitions to encourage a sense of community pride. Well, I am here now and will run this race to Win Big for you! The Trafalgar South Stars still have to complete practice by sun down because there are no lights for them to hone their skills during the night time. My dream is to see the Lime Kiln play field developed into a first class sporting facility accommodating Basketball, Cricket, Football, and more. Trafalgar and Lime Kiln, I pledge to win Big For you! We must continue to view sports and promote sports as a viable medium through which we can develop our young and inquisitive minds. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, there has been a lack of serious effort in our constituency to provide the proper sporting facilities so that the youth are encouraged to use sport to release the plentiful energy that they have. It is not sufficient to suggest that you were unable to get these done because you were prevented from doing so. I can recall, upon returning from studying and completing my Masters degree, it was only natural for me in deciding to get involved in a community group where I could assist in mentoring the young men of our community. I chose sport and was voted the P.R.O for the Village Superstars Football Club. At the time the Patsy Allers Play Field was in horrible condition. Determined to see this change, I worked assiduously to resurface the playfield. In a few short months, with the help of a supportive executive and caring institutions around the country, we had ourselves a velvet playing field envied by all passerby’s. My point here is that some people may have thought that things will magically get done by sitting back, driving around, and saying “You alright” and smile. This is not how it works. You have to get up, get dirty and work hard to see your vision through. The poignant words of my mother ring loud in my head that hard work always pays off. So I endeavor to work hard and Win Big for you!

There is no avoiding the fact that our constituency has been associated with less than stellar activities among our young men in particular. We must therefore be in the forefront of the country in creating community initiatives to reach out to our disillusioned young men who are begging for love and attention and for someone to listen to their plight. With the help of the community we can join forces and win big for the young men around us. I have met many young men who want to make an honest dollar but feel that they have not been given a fair chance to succeed. We must ensure that we provide them with every opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way to the society. This is especially why the PPEP must be here to stay! Thankfully, there is every indication that all efforts are being made to ensure that this program is sustainable over the long term such that its purpose is to give a head start to our youth so that they can one day swim out on their own. Let us big up the PPEP boys from our constituency who have admitted, that this experience has given them a sense of hope that indeed they can make something of themselves.

Comrades, we are an incredible people and our history shows that we have indeed come from very far to be where we are today such that we as a people live in a largely free and fair society thanks to the many sacrifices of our forefathers and our current leaders. From being the first English colony and the first permanent French Colony in the Caribbean to sugar production for over 300 years; through the hardships of slavery; to the oppression of the working class by the Planter class; to the formation of the Worker’s League; the St. Kitts – Nevis Trades and Labour Union, and the St. Kitts – Nevis Labour Party; to the Buckley’s Riot of 1935; to the granting of adult suffrage in 1952 and obtaining Associated statehood status in 1967; through the failed attempted coup of a lawfully elected Labour Government in 1967; to Sir Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw acquiring the sugar lands in 1975; to St. Kitts and Nevis obtaining independence from Great Britain in 1983; to the civil unrest in 1993; to the vision of the Port Zante Development; to the failed referendum vote for secession in Nevis in 1998; to the devastating hurricanes in the late 1990’s; to the successful hosting of Carifesta in 2000; to having a World Champion in Kim Collins and 7 West Indian cricketers from our Sister Isle of Nevis; to becoming the smallest nation in the world to host world cup matches in 2007; to having our citizens like Sir Hugh Anthony Rawlins and Sir Dennis Byron presiding over the highest Courts in the Caribbean; to being a leader in Education, Tourism, Manufacturing; to now being elevated to a High Income State; to only recently celebrating 30 years of Independence; the people of St. Kitts and Nevis have always proven to be a resilient people such that when we come together with a common and genuine purpose, singing One Song while playing our different and varying roles, we can be an unstoppable force.

I have an unshakable belief that we are capable of achieving all that our minds can conceive. There is not a day that goes by, when I am having lunch or simply relaxing that I am not thinking about ways in which we as a people can further elevate ourselves to be the Gold Standard of Caribbean Prosperity. Our talent is unmatched, our gumption is profound, and when we channel our energies in a direction of positivity with the sole purpose to uplift not only ourselves but our neighbors, our friends and our country, I cannot imagine what can stop us from attaining the pinnacles of success in all facets of our unique society. I have an insatiable thirst to see more of my fellow countrymen become land and home owners, to become small business owners not only providing services to St. Kitts and Nevis but to the world. There is no reason why an accounting firm in St. Kitts and Nevis cannot be providing services for companies halfway around the world. There is no reason why a Construction Development Company based right here in St. Kitts, in West Basseterre, cannot only be building the next 5 star hotel on the Southeast Peninsular but also one in another corner of the globe. In this new age of technology we must continue to foster an environment where software companies of our indigenous people can build the next best app for the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. I hunger for us to become a more self-reliant nation where we produce most of what we eat. A nation’s Health is a nation’s wealth. There is no reason why we should not be among the healthiest people in the world. We have the best land, the best water, the freshest air and an untainted ocean around us. God has blessed us in abundance. Antigua, Anguilla, St. Maarten, the BVI and the whole of the eastern Caribbean should be eating our agricultural produce. With increased food security comes a reduction in food costs for the masses. As an electrical and computer engineer by training, I cannot help but to visualize a St. Kitts and Nevis that is energy independent. We have sun all year round 12 hours a day minimum, we have a consistent flow of the North east trade winds, and the ever real prospect of Geothermal in Nevis. I am pleased with the efforts made by this Labour Government on this front especially in light of the recent development of the Solar Farm at the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport. We must forge on toward energy independence as this will certainly reap significant savings in energy over the long run. Citizens, I have a longing for the name of St. Kitts and Nevis to become a staple in the dialogue of the world all over as a shining light of stability, creativity, beauty and prosperity. I want to hear the name of St. Kitts and Nevis in movies, on game shows, in pop culture. We must not only view tourism in its traditional sense of vacationers. We must continue to look seriously at Education Tourism where a sizeable university on our shores can provide hundreds of jobs as our domestic services would have to be expanded to cater for the short term residents. Health Tourism can one day be a term in our jargon where we can promote wellness in paradise.

This burning desire to contribute to the country of my birth, as I have done in many ways before now through Calypso, community involvement, donations to numerous charitable causes, mentorship and motivational speeches for our youth, in cultural expressions like drama, has now brought me to a place where I have answered to a higher calling of service; that of Political Representation of the People of West Basseterre. With God as my witness, I have decided to take up this challenge with a pureness of heart, with a genuine conviction to work on behalf of the people. My modus operandi is not to tear down one man, rather, it is to lift up a people.

It is undeniable, that we are well on our way to achieving many of these dreams we all share. In fact, since the granting of adult suffrage in 1952, we have made tremendous strides as a people. There is however, one glaring pervasive issue that threatens our ability to fully achieve our aspirations: that of Political Persuasion. We are not unique in this regard as many nations around the world grapple with the throngs of Political Divide which often result in the stifling of the developmental progress of growing nations. However, unlike many other Nations around the world that have a multitude of factors such as size, race, creed and religion that encourage and sustain these divides, I believe from the depths of my heart that we are small enough, daring enough, loving enough to attain the political maturity we not only desire but need: A maturity where the hard work and success of our fellow citizens is not belittled or discredited because of support for the ruling party or the opposition party; A maturity where it is acceptable and expected that all citizens will be given a fair chance to advance themselves, their family, their community and the Country; A maturity where we as citizens do not expect to work less diligently and honestly because our Party of choice is in power; A maturity where I must be able to support a political platform, The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Platform, freely, while still being able to live in harmony with my neighbors; A maturity where we can disagree amicably; A maturity where before, during, and after a political season, families and friends can always remain bonded together by one common purpose of advancing the cause of ALL in our remarkable Country; a maturity where we endeavor to always live up to our Nation’s motto, ‘Country Above Self’.

In my opinion, as I surveyed the political sphere to evaluate how I can contribute to a more mature political debate, the only realistic genuine option at present in St. Kitts is that of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party. This maturity has manifested itself through the decision of the St. Kitts Nevis Labour Party to bring into its fold, to bolster the experience already in the party, some new and exciting young dynamic fresh blood. It is indeed Springtime in Labour. In constituency #7, we have on our winning team, the next representative for the area, Dr. Vance Gilbert. In #8, my former teacher, Cool as Cucumber, Dr. Terrance Drew. And now in #3, yours truly, at your humble service. I take this opportunity to commend the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party and its leadership for taking this bold step of ushering in a new crop of servants to the people of this Federation. I commend them because, I, like Dr. Gilbert and Dr. Drew, am a very determined and independent thinking young man who will challenge the status quo. I will not simply accept that ‘that is how it is normally done’. I will debate passionately with my political peers whether it is a Junior Minister or the Prime Minister but with respect and dignity. What will be clear is that my discourse will be one to ensure that the policies of the Government achieve maximum benefit for the people of our beloved land.

I have joined this Labour Movement because throughout my intense study of this political landscape, although there is still much to be perfected within the Labour party, and although there are improvements to be had within the realms of Government like constitutional reform, public sector reform, and integrity in public life reform, it is clear, beyond a reasonable doubt which political side has the purest intentions going forward. It is clear to me who have become temporary friends out of convenience because of their own individual weaknesses to seriously challenge the Labour Government Administration. It is clear to me who will only be a part of any unity construct or any party unless they are anointed as Leader since it was not apparently forthcoming quickly enough in another dispensation. It is clear to me that the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party will be the one to weather this political storm to see sunshine once again because we are not bounded by men but by principles of a noble cause. It is also clear to me which construct is poised to selfdestruct such that no one knows whether or not it will exist in the near future. It is clear to me that Constituency # 3 did not ask anyone to take up there votes and carry it across the political isle which we clearly and strongly voted against.

Comrades, we live in a democracy. Do not buy into the notion that we should all be a part of one united party. That is anarchy! We must have a choice and the choice is now clear.

The People’s Action Movement has recently admitted that it is incapable of rallying the support of the masses in order to form the next Government of our Federation. It is quite telling that after almost 18 years out of Government, they do not have the momentum to get swept into power by the electorate. In myhumblest of opinions, they lack the Leadership that I am yearning for in my Country. In fact, such is the woefulness of the leadership that even, as the Unity Construct has been unveiled, the majority shareholder in the Unity Construct, PAM, was not able to provide the leader!

Now because I will not support any variation of PAM, it does not mean that I cannot love the people who support that party. In fact they may have very compelling reasons as to why they will support the PAM party; and they should have the right to do so without fears of being smeared by non-supporters like me. I am foremost a citizen of this country and I will always love its people whether you are labour, PAM, NRP, CCM, NIP, PLP, or supporters of any other political persuasion and those who support none. Upon learning that Mr. Jonel Powell was the PAM candidate for constituency #2, I called him to congratulate him on his new endeavor. I made clear then that although I am not supporting his team, I expect that he will contribute to a better brand of politics. However, my bet is that the Honorable Marcela Liburd will be too much for the young Powell to handle. I can also recall going to my high school prom with the daughter of a very prominent PAM party activist and supporter from right here in West Basseterre. I remember her uncle coming to me and saying he was so pleased to see that we were not allowing politics to prevent us from having a good time. We remain good friends to this day. In my calypso career, I have come across many staunch supporters of my music who are unapologetic supporters of the PAM party. I want this type of love to permeate every nook and cranny of this mother colony. Let us not be ashamed to discuss our differences, but never allow these differences to get the best of us. You see, I have not just spoken unity, I have lived it.

Comrades, we have now seen the unveiling of a construct of joint forces between the Concerned Citizens Movement, The People’s Action Movement, and the PLP. My life as most of you know it, is one that has been predicated on Love and Unity. All of my creative works have been, in some form or the other, geared toward bringing my fellow citizens closer together as one people. I hate no one. I waste no time being disgusted of others. I wish ill or evil on no one. My cup is a cup of love.

Now, I believe in unity: Unity in strength, unity in purpose, unity in struggles, unity in triumphs, unity. Therefore, if this collection of Members of Parliament wish to call themselves a Unity Party, a Unity Construct, a Unity Government, they have all right to do so. What I am interested in is what Cause are they unified for or against? What has brought on this cuddling of unlikely bed fellows? Will this cause stand the test of time? Or is it dependent on singular events such that if these events are pulled away tomorrow the argument for Unity falls through. For me it is clear. This is a unified effort against The Right Honorable Dr. Denzil Douglas, Full Stop. And again I say, they have all right to fight for this cause. If they as a group are convicted that the fight must be against Dr. Douglas then that is their prerogative. What I do not accept, as some are trying to suggest, is that this call for unity is for some far-reaching all-encompassing nationalistic goal that will fundamentally change the political, social, and or economic landscape of our twin-isles for the advancement of the masses. Let me elucidate. This is not a unity construct meant to bring Cayon, Sandy Point, Brown Hill, St. Johnston Village and St. Pauls people together; this is not a unity construct that is geared toward making the Federation Energy Independent; This is not a unity construct to make us a net exporter of food instead of a net importer; This is not a unity construct that wants to ensure that everyone has an equal vote at the polls where a vote in constituency 8 is no less powerful than a vote in constituency 5 because of imbalances in the population of these constituencies; This is not a unity construct that wants to see the end to secession talks between St. Kitts and Nevis as we see that the unity construct has lifelong secessionists in its midst. This is not a unity construct to bring my entire country together; This is a unity construct against Douglas.

Remember comrades, they are in opposition. And so they must find negative things to say even if they don’t exist as an opposition’s goal is to get into power. And so there is the issue of the Motion of No Confidence! The argument is that it is of such importance that it should be called, by convention, in a speedily time. Now the Prime Minister has two options, have the debate or dissolve parliament and call the elections. Well Mr. Prime Minister the people of # 3 have told me that they must be the ones to determine who is in or out of government and so they are ready for you to call the elections. As the Prime Minister and others have acknowledged, there is a need to address the intentionally crafted short falls of the constitution with regards to the amount of time allowed before a motion is brought before our honorable house. And my advice is that we should speedily proceed with a serious attempt at constitutional reform. There are much learned folk among us who can contribute to the revision of our constitution so that issues of Governance become unambiguous and measurable. However, constitutional reform should not only cover the parts that are convenient to one side. It has to address the issue of whether it should be possible for a representative who has been clearly voted into parliament on a particular party ticket and mandate to be able to wake up on the wrong side of the bed one morning and decide to take peoples votes and give them to another mandate which they clearly rejected. I agree, we should examine term or time limits for the office of the Prime Minister. However, what about term and time limits for other members of Parliament? There is much to do about the Boundaries Changes. Have you ever wondered why they are fighting so vehemently against making the constituencies more equitable? It is because this is a labour country and if it were to be split up into 8 equal constituencies, they very well know that Labour will win all 8 seats. So comprehensive constitutional reform must ensure that every vote in our country has equal weight, whether we consider proportional representation or a more robust constituency system that properly reflects the will of the majority of the people.

Comrades of number 3, I know that we have gone through an unprecedented time in our history where some us may have been confused about what was going on around us. Well the confusion is over. West Basseterre’s Time has come. It is Time for West Basseterre to be proud again because Labour and Konris will Win Big for you. So pick of your spirits and go tell your friends and family that the Labour Train is Rolling Again with all 8 carts moving in lock and step with each other. Tell your Pam friends, your PLP friends, your NIP friends that there is room on the train for them. We know, like the prodigal son some of you thought you were making the right move to go out of the fold of labour. And we know you are now seeing the light and might be hesitant to come back home, but come hither, as Labour will send for the fatted calf so that we can drink and eat and make merry for our people who were lost, are now found. The Labour Party who some thought was dead is Alive. Labour massive, reach out to every citizen. Knock on every door. Do not brand anybody because, I know that a lot of folks want to vote for this Fresh Labour Slate. People are beginning to notice that it is the Labour Party that is really building a team for the future and not a team littered with the past and has beens. Welcome everyone with open arms because we must be the Party of true love and not puppy love. Konris and Labour are here to Win Big for Everyone with Full Confidence! Someone told me that there is a gentleman who claims to be the new sheriff in town. Please advise him that every sheriff must answer to De King and the King has arrived! May God bless you, May God bless constituency number 3 and may God bless the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.

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