For Dr. Timothy Harris, the leader of the People’s Labour Party and the candidate identified to lead a future government drawn from opposition party delegates, if successful; this Christmas holiday is also a time that has challenged citizens with various issues of national importance.
“In our national life, there have arisen over the past year, numerous matters of public concern that we as a people have grappled with, some of which have brought us success and joy, while others have brought us only pain, shame and hardship,” said Harris.
Yet however, there are other developments that have dogged and plagued this country in a manner that have caused bewilderment, consternation, horror and malaise across the body politic of this once proud democratic society, continued the opposition politician.
For the leader of the united Team Unity coalition of opposition parties, the abandonment of the country’s constitutional authority by the Parliament to exercise its most sacred and inalienable responsibility to allow a Motion of No Confidence to be debated, to ensure the legitimacy of the Executive Branch of the Government has indeed rendered our Parliament “a useless instrument”, according to former Chief Justice of the OECS Supreme Court, Sir Brian Alleyne.
Harris further argues, that “Another great cause of concern is the deliberate attempt to gerrymander the constituency boundaries in the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis by an illegitimate Prime Minister who has lost favour with the people and who at all costs wants to foist himself upon a people enduring hardship and shame after eighteen years under his leadership.”
Not only has there been a challenge on the political front, said Harris, but so too on the social scene. “Still, atop all these woes are some social and economic fundamentals that strain our quality of life. For example, the decline in social cohesion amongst our people; increasing economic hardship manifested in unacceptably high levels of unemployment, especially among our young people; a crippling cost of living; and the unrelenting scandals that have damaged the image of this country over the years. Most recently, we have heard of the sale of a diplomatic passport to an Iranian national for one million dollars and to date the good people of St. Kitts and Nevis have not been given a credible explanation by the Prime Minister.”
Harris has placed the blame for all these problems, squarely at the feet of former Prime Minister, Dr. Denzil Douglas, and made it clear that the problems faced by the country have been “man-made”. Despite that however, Harris encouraged citizens to be joyous this season.
Harris also pointed to some brighter moments in the year that he felt were deserving of recognition. “Our successes and causes for celebration this year include the thirtieth anniversary of our Federation of St Kitts and Nevis as an independent nation. The retirement of Dr. Sir Cuthbert Sebastian, the longest serving Governor General in our country’s history, after an illustrious career of public service. His exemplary performance as Governor General is worthy of emulation by his successor.”
He also highlighted the successes in education and the corporate sector, “We laud too the achievement of forty years of conducting business by the TDC Group of Companies; the excellent performances of our young people in several endeavours, particularly in the field of education where we have produced joint State Scholars following this year’s CAPE results; and in the development of young leaders such as the “Twenty-five Most Remarkable Teens”.