Off the Mark: I-Soursop and all dem Kittitians should keep off we Nevis Culturama

An ambitious and brilliant lawyer, he waded through and ended up being named the official Leader of Opposition in the Federal Parliament as a rookie parliamentarian beating his own leader the Hon Vance Amory to the coveted position.

He however sacrificed one of his own (it is akin to cannibalism) the Hon A. Michael Perkins for him to be named the Leader of the Opposition. That was after the 2010 Federal elections.  The People’s Action Movement (PAM) of St. Kitts which had two seats in the Federal Parliament made a deal with CCM, which too had two seats.

The deal was simple: If PAM were to take the Leader of Opposition slot in the Federal Parliament, then CCM would retain the senator seat. PAM was being fair and humanly considerate to the CCM, because their Michael Perkins was already a nominated senator and they did not wish to send him home at a time when jobs were hard to come by.

Mark Brantley stuck to his guns and insisted that he would be the Leader of Opposition, a position he had assumed after a by-election in 2006 to fill the seat left behind on Nevis by the passing of the then Leader of Opposition, the Hon Malcolm Guishard.

Brantley was reminded that Perkins would have to be sent home, if PAM were to nominate, but that was not his worry. The CCM threw Michael Perkins under the bus, and he ended up joining the long line of unemployed in this country.

This is not being made up, as Perkins was on radio recently complaining that he could not get a job, and that he would have to leave his home country to look for a job elsewhere. The CCM made him jobless to allow the Hon Mark A.G. Brantley to be the Leader of Opposition.

The CCM just looked at Perkins and did nothing as he took his job hunting crusade on radio.

Incidentally the platform he chose to air his predicament was a programme known as ‘On the Mark’, hosted by the very man who helped throw him under the bus. Mercifully when he went crying on radio, Mark Brantley had given the mantle to host the programme to another CCM politician, the Hon Alexis Jeffers.

My subject has nothing to do with the broad-siding of poor Michael Perkins, but rather on the person who engineered it. After they threw Perkins under the bus, Brantley became the Leader of Opposition. That is a national position, where he represents the interests of all people from the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis that do not support the government.

But people might have to rethink that position and wonder if they will have to get another elected leader who would truly represent all the people of the Federation, because the Hon Mark Brantley has shown that he has no love for people from St. Kitts. He has shown it in style.

On his ‘On the Mark’ show on Voice of Nevis (VON) Radio on Wednesday August 1, he hit out at Kittitians, or may I respectfully call them people from the island of St. Kitts for coming to the island of Nevis to take part in the annual Culturama festival.

Yes he did it. Apparently since the votes that took him to the Federal Parliament were all from Nevis, he has no regard for the people of St. Kitts. That is rather absurd, because when he organised a so-called freedom march in Nevis, it is people from St. Kitts that he begged to come to march with him in a failed bid to intimidate the Nevis Reformation Party in government.

That time Kittitians meant a whole world to the Leader of the Federal Opposition. But come Culturama, he expresses his disgust at their coming to Nevis. If he is a man of his principles, he should then stop Nevisian vendors from crossing the channel to sell the succulent Emory Polly mangoes in St. Kitts.

Yes, if according to Hon Mark Brantley Kittitians should not come to participate in things Nevisian, in the same vein he should stop his political leader, the Hon Vance Amory, from travelling to St. Kitts every Saturday to participate as a panellist on a St. Kitts radio station. Nevis has two well established radio stations.

“So the question is, to me, whether or not our Culturama is failing and if it is failing what do we do to fix it?”, that is a question that Brantley posed on his show, but one that is redundant because he had earlier given his reason why Culturama is failing: Too many Kittitians taking part, so he had said. 

It is a well known fact that the CCM had been calling for a boycott of Culturama since they were beaten by the NRP at the 2006 Nevis Island Assembly polls. To confirm, this is what the Hon Brantley said on his show on Wednesday August 1:

“I regret that I myself have not been able to attend any of the shows yet, but I… and therefore I do not know what the attendance has been like. Reports from Mr Cool Show and the Miss Swim Wear Show was (sic) that they were quite well attended and that is a good thing,” said Brantley.

He then added: “People have been going out to the shows perhaps, but there has been not without its controversy.”

What controversy Hon Brantley, Leader of Opposition in St. Kitts and Nevis?

“I suppose it is not culture without some controversy,” he apparently seemed to answer the question. “And what has happened is that the shows that they have held thus far are, all the shows, have been won by people from St. Kitts.”

Excuse us Hon Leader of Opposition of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis!

“The Culturama Committee and the powers that be, some years ago decided to open up the competitions and to allow the people who live in St. Kitts to come over and to participate and so that has happened and the result of that has been that some years ago we saw I-Soursop a calypsoian from St. Kitts being crowned Nevis Culturama King,” said Brantley.

What is wrong with Mr Calvin Johnson, better known as I-Soursop joining his kith and kin on Nevis to be part of them? A self-confessed supporter of the People’s Action Movement (PAM) party on St. Kitts, he would be excused to wonder out loudly why the Leader of Opposition who is supposed to look for the interests of the PAM party could go on radio and lash out at him — and call out his name.

I-Soursop, who is a motor mechanic by profession, also confesses that he repairs vehicles belonging Labour and PAM supporters and Nevisians as well. He is reported to have said that the year he won the Culturama Senior Kaiso competition, he saw a man in the crowd shouting that I-Sour Sop must win.

Since he did not know who that person was, he checked with his son, and his son is reportedly to have told him, “That is the Hon Mark Brantley.”

But this is then what Brantley added on his show: “We are told that the Junior Kaiso Show both the king.. not both.. the king, first runner-up and second runner-up were from St. Kitts. The swimsuit competition that too was won by someone from St. Kitts, the Mr Cool Competition was won by a gentleman from St. Kitts.

“And indeed in the semi-finals for the Calypso Show I-Soursop won that getting the maximum points going to the finals.

“So it raises the question, is it appropriate that the people of St. Kitts, those living there be permitted to participate in our Culturama in Nevis. And it has generated a considerable level of debate on blogs and online and in the Facebook and the like. I myself enjoin them as it is because I think it is a useful debate.”

Good for the Leader of Opposition who has been running behind the PAM party looking for political support for him to be elected the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, and when a self-confessed member of the PAM party wins in Nevis he raises hell.

I do not know I-Soursop personally, but if I were to meet him, I would ask him not to worry, but to ensure that all his relatives and friends on Nevis do the noble thing and put the Hon Mark Brantley in his rightful place — that is when elections are next held on Nevis.

It is absurd to the extreme that the CCM urges their members to boycott Culturama and when the Culturama Committee is forced to look from across the waters to have participants from St. Kitts, Brantley hits the roof, while admitting on radio that he has not been attending the shows.

Who are Kittitians? Is Hon Brantley aware that there could be more Nevisians living on St. Kitts than on Nevis? If I were to ask hypothetically, supposing a son or daughter of the Hon Dr Asim Martin, or the Hon Dr Timothy Harris, or even a grandson or granddaughter of Mr Washington Archibald were to participate in Culturama, what would Brantley say?

Is he aware that the three persons I have named, who are prominent Kittitians are actually from Nevis? What about the grandchildren of the Hon Joseph N. France, a nationalist who fought for this country’s independence from St. Kitts? He was born in Nevis.

Hon Brantley ranted even about the Mr Cool show winner. Well, his grandparents reportedly live in Brown Hill. Is that not in St. John’s Parish? Will Hon Brantley go to that home to ask for votes?

He is a decent man. I believe he will not ask for votes from homes that have connections in St. Kitts and they are many. That is the gentleman’s way — you do not like me, you do not come to me.

What says Hon Brantley of those Nevisians who have gone to St. Kitts and won? After Miss Hazel Glasford won the Miss Culture in 1991, she crossed the Narrows and in 1992 was crowned the Ms Carnival.

Even before Ms Glasford, we had Miss Bernadette Maynard who was crowned the Ms Culture Queen in 1978, and come 1983 the year of independence she crossed the Narrows, beat all the beauties out there, and was crowned the Miss Independence.

What about Hollywood who beat King Konris in a junior calypso show on St. Kitts? What about the Inspirer, my neighbour on Craddock Road who went to St. Kitts and was crowned the junior calypso king? Haven’t their CCM activists Dis ‘N Dat and Astro gone to St. Kitts to compete? Or is it because they did not win that is why he is quiet?

According to the Gospel of Mark Brantley, it is okay for Nevisians to go to St. Kitts to live there. It is okay for Nevisians who live on Nevis to go to St. Kitts and win, but no Kittitian should come to Nevis even if their roots are from Nevis. That is according to the revised Gospel of the Leader of Federal Opposition. He represents Nevisians and not Kittitians.

For the record, in 2003 the Miss Culture winner, Miss Eloise Herbert, was a Kittitian with Nevis roots. Those are the people Brantley wants banned from Culturama. What about non-Kittitian who are also non-Nevisians that take part in Culturama shows –what does Hon Brantley say about them?

Didn’t we even have a girl from Africa participating in the Miss Culture? What did Brantley say? Nothing, because his problem is with Kittitians, the very people he has sown to protect as the Leader of Opposition. Kittitians be warned and read the signs of the time.

If it is secession the Hon Brantley is looking for, then he is taking the wrong path. He is using Culturama to invoke the secession clause through the back door. He is even using it as a political machete to mow down Kittitians. Stop it: Kittitians are our brothers and sisters.

He should study the history of the Nevis Reformation Party and he will find out why the Hon Dr Simeon Daniel, the Father of Modern Nevis inserted the secession clause and how he intended for it to be used.

As it relates to Kittitians, the Hon Mark Brantley was completely off the mark on his Wednesday August 1 edition of the ‘On the Mark’ radio show.

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