Part of the rationale provided by the new Premier, Mr. Vance Amory, was that upon taking office, after the elections, they discovered a pool of wrongdoings by the Nevis Reformation Party Administration of former Premier, Joseph Parry. These included contracts that were awarded to persons, though many of them never turned up on the job and were never seen by other workers in those departments where they were contracted or employed to be operating.
However, the NRP is now challenging that claim by the CCM, saying that they note with great alarm that the new Concerned Citizen’s Movement (CCM) Administration is systematically targeting known supporters of the NRP and is engaged in political tribalism in the work force.
“This Administration is seeking to justify the massive firing on what it describes as “an analysis of the staffing of various Departments”, it is clear that no such audit could have informed the predetermined firing of over one hundred workers as these politically motivated dismissals started during the first week that CCM returned to office. Surely, a new and busy Cabinet did not have the time or the requisite skills to do the needs assessment that such an analysis required,” claimed the NRP.
The NRP leadership said it is calling on the Administration to identify workers who they claim were employed “purely for their political support” and who had “no particular job descriptions and no particular qualifications”. We encourage the Administration to support their actions with facts. Further, in the interest of openness, we urge the CCM Administration to defend their recent appointments on the said grounds of “qualifications”, challenged NRP.
Since the election last month, members of the new Administration have been revealing various questionable contracts and payments that they claimed were arranged by the NRP; some just days before the elections.
In NRP’s response this week, they said it was interesting that the release spoke specifically to a case where “a worker was paid nearly $4,000.00 per month for the past several years and has never spent a single day at any Government office”.
“We in the NRP encourage this self-proclaimed CCM “Administration of transparency” to reflect on the history of their employment of some of their known associates and past candidates who were paid not less than $4,000.00 per month. We also encourage the Administration to reflect on one particular individual who was paid $8,000.00 per month and who never spent a single day working for the Administration!”
NRP said it is patently clear that the CCM press release of February 15th was aimed at quelling the discomfort and unease caused in Nevis, as families faced the painful realization that this insensitive and uncaring Administration is focused on taking bread out of the mouths of persons who express opposing views, simply to teach them a political lesson. The Nevis Reformation Party condemns the loss of jobs and this execution by “Firing Squad” carried out by this uncaring CCM Administration, stated NRP.
“We remind all citizens and residents of Nevis that this mass firing is a repeat of the CCM policy which started in 1992, when they discriminated against supporters of the NRP and fired (for no good reasons), persons including Mr. Wendell Huggins, Mrs. Christine Springette, Mr. Hastings Daniel, Miss. Dorette Daniel and others. After the 2013 election and in less than a month, this self-proclaimed CCM “Administration of transparency” has maliciously fired more than one hundred persons who they believe support the NRP!”
Leader of the NRP and former Premier, Joseph Parry said, “during their first twenty days in office, the uncaring Vance Amory and Mark Brantley led CCM Administration callously fired an average of five persons per day. By comparison, during the first twenty days in office, the NRP led Administration was busy creating jobs. During that period, we started construction of the roads to Jessup’s, Barnes Ghaut, Paradise and Cotton Ground and we started providing training for our people”.
NRP also opined that quite recently, when the Housing and Land Development Corporation was restructured and some workers were retrenched, Mark Brantley feigned concern and mounted fierce opposition. Indeed, he lamented the fact that workers had been sent home. Yet, less than a month into a new job as Deputy Premier, he is one of the key architects of the mass firing of workers.
Clearly under the NRP Administration, workers were accorded a great deal of respect, recognition and encouragement, said the opposition party. The NRP Administration championed education and training and this resulted in the largest number of scholarships awarded for students to attend Universities and Colleges, since we attained self-government in Nevis in 1983, stated their press release. NRP is of the view that this CCM Administration has returned to office seeking revenge on persons who did not support them.
One of the two NRP candidates who prevailed in the January poll, Mr. Robelto Hector stated that “the NRP views this act of mass firing as a major threat to individual rights. He said the action is clearly indiscriminate and whimsical and highlights the absence of strategic leadership skills and any well thought out policy of growth for the island. Hector continued, “No party should use the institution of government to victimize individuals. We are positive that this new Cabinet knows that what they are doing is wrong. Yet, this CCM Administration has decided to defy logic and good sense and go ahead with their witch hunt. All this disruption in the workforce is in an attempt to punish known supporters of the NRP. In this regard, we challenge the CCM to identify a single one of their supporters among the list of persons terminated”.
The NRP said it is appalled that while this CCM Administration continues to arbitrarily send home workers, the Administration has not announced a single initiative that will grow the economy and provide jobs. We urge the Administration to cease this practice of “political tribalism” and immediately stop this deliberate and willful targeting of NRP supporters.
“We encourage those workers who were victimized and executed by the CCM firing squad and in particular, we urge the Nevisian public at large to condemn this sadistic and terrorist act of humiliating our brothers and sisters,” said NRP in its press statement. The Nevis Reformation Party will meet with persons who have been arbitrarily dismissed by the CCM Administration and will be offering legal assistance for persons who wish to examine whether they have been wrongfully dismissed.
NRP said “We urge the Nevis Christian Council, the Evangelical Association and the Chamber of Industry and Commerce to stand up for justice and break their deafening silence on the political tribalism engaged in by the CCM. Nevisians should not be victimized in this ruthless manner in the land of their birth.”
However, the CCM has indicated that it is satisfied that what occurred under the previous Administration was a wholesale abuse of the public purse and Premier Amory promised that this has to stop. He said it cannot be business as usual, with what he termed secret deals, nepotism and cronyism, which he stated have no place in the governance of the island.