As Leader of the People’s Action Movement, (PAM), Mr. Richards recently completed an overseas mission that took his party’s concerns to the United Kingdom and other sister Caribbean states, including Antigua & Barbuda, where on the past weekend he appeared as the guest speaker at two important functions hosted by the ruling United Progressive Party, (UPP).
During his address at the plenary session of the UPP’s annual convention on Saturday, 16th March, the PAM Leader called on that country’s Prime Minister, Mr. Baldwin Spencer, todo all in his capacity, as a CARICOM leader, to help persuade the government and Speaker of the National Assembly in St. Kitts and Nevis, to act responsibly, and allow the Vote of No confidence to be heard in the parliament.
In his update on the ongoing political developments in his country, Mr. Richards indicated that it was now some 95 days (up to Saturday), “since a large majority of the people and members of parliament in St. Kitts and Nevis, have said to him, (Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas), in very certain terms, we no longer have any confidence in you, it is time to go”.
Richards Added that despite many calls and pleading from top civil society groups, the Prime Minister,”… like a jilted and unsatisfying lover, (and) this addict of political power and a threat to the public purse, continues to stalk the halls of justice, fair play, integrity and decency. But the writing is on the wall, it is time for him to go. And when he does leave, the people of St. Kitts and Nevis have said to us in the opposition, we want you to help this country to heal.”
Richards told Prime Minister Spencer and other top Antiguan government ministers and officials, that “As a solution, the majority of elected members of parliament, have all committed to form a government of National Unity that has agreed to construct new pillars of democracy, such as term Limits, Fixed dates for elections, Freedom of Information Legislation, Integrity in Public Life legislation, and the reformation of a corrupt and prostituted electoral system, that is controlled and directed by the government to allow unregistered people to vote; and that allows people to vote in constituencies where they never lived. All this protected by the help of the army on Election Day.”
The PAM Leader described Prime Minister Douglas and the Labour Government of as “uncaring, corrupt, vindictive and disrespectful”.
He said, “It is an administration that has mismanaged our economy to the tune of a National Debt of 3 Billion. In 1995 when they took office the debt was 200 million, but in 17 years, it has gone to 3,000 Million. In other words, it is an increase of approximately 176 million dollars each year in debt, since he and his Labour party came to office.”
While in Antigua, Richards also addressed the UPP Youth Conference on Thursday 14th march, at the Sandals Hotel, urging the young leaders there to hold on to what they have got, in the administration of Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer.
“Hold on to what you’ve got because in times like these, it is an imperative that the ship on which you sail, is captained by one of sound judgment; one of great capacities and leadership abilities; and one who has chartered many rough seas and is now better positioned to maneuver the obstacles that are placed before him and this great state of Antigua & Barbuda,” stated Richards to the UPP Youth leaders.
Richards who is now back in St. Kitts said that he and his party will continue to lobby and do all that is necessary to restore confidence in the country which is now, as he said, facing a terrible political crisis.