Former Parliamentary Representative for Constituency, G. A. Dwyer Astaphan, launched Operation Rescue which seeks to rescue the Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis from the failed leadership of Dr. Denzil L. Douglas. The movement saw two public meetings held at Greenland’s Park and recently, Astaphan announced that a public meeting and a march are being organised to be held on 8th April, 2011 and 15th April, 2011 respectively.
“We plan to have a public meeting on Friday 8th April at 4:00 p.m. at Bank Street, an afternoon meeting. The Operation Rescue team will be on the platform and of course on the ground. We will have the usual speakers and possibly some others. We will be continuing our theme which is on the failed leadership of Douglas, the conditions of the country, the breakdown in values, morals, social institutions, the fiscal crisis that we are facing, the credibility crisis that we are facing and what seems to be signs of a collapse – and we don’t say this with any joy – we are seeing something that is of great concern to us and we are attributing prime responsibility for all of this at the feet of the Prime Minister.”
Regarding the 15th April, 2011 march, Astaphan indicated that it is scheduled to begin at 4:00 p.m.
“We are asking employers to allow workers who want to participate in the march to leave work at 3:00 and to pay them for the hour that they will be gone or to pay them for the time they will be gone for the rest of that shift. We are also asking employment to appreciate the importance of this moment for them to articulate their concerns and for them to demonstrate their responsibility, to articulate those concerns regarding the state of the country, where we are and where we’re headed and what they would like to do about it.”
Astaphan made a call to all social institutions to participate in the march.
“We are calling on all of the social institutions, the social partners, the Teachers’ Union, the Taxi Association, the Bus Associations, the various social organisations on both islands and the economic partners and the individuals in society to come and participate in the march. There is no need to be afraid of anything or anybody. Your interests and the interests of your children, the interests of your country are paramount and should not be allowed to be buried because somebody may want to be vindictive and spite you from a job or from an opportunity to get a piece of land. In fact, it is that that we have to get rid of in order to deliver ourselves into a fair democratic society. So we must not be afraid of what is causing us to be where we are.”
Reminding that Operation Rescue is a movement that is not guided by any one political belief, Astaphan encouraged persons to express themselves during the march via the use of placards but warned that blasphemous and rude behaviour and expressions will not be tolerated.
“This is not Labour or PAM or CCM or NRP. This is about misguided leadership in a country that is in crisis as a result, a serious credibility crisis, a moral crisis, a values crisis, a social crisis and an economic crisis. We need transparency, we need credibility, we need Integrity in Public Life…This march is a peaceful march, a thoughtful march. There will be no jump up music…there will be no excitability. It is a purposeful and calm and deliberate and thoughtful march. We are insisting that people, whatever political party you support, you are welcomed to attend participate by please no party colours. Feel free to put whatever placards you want as long as they are respectful and not blasphemous, or obscene or rude or anything like that. We don’t want any of that. We just want the people of St. Kitts and Nevis to understand that this is not just an opportunity to stand up for a national cause…it’s a responsibility to do so. The country is far more important than one man.”
The march is to begin at West Independence Square flowing south along that road, west along the Bay Road, up Fort Street, west along Cayon Street, down Church Street, west across Liverpool Row, down College Street and east along the Bay Road, back up Fort Street, east along Cayon Street, down West Independence Square Street where it will culminate with a rally.