Shawn Richards, leader of PAM, introduced candidate Vernon Connor, an educator, to the large and responsive crowd, indicated that he was the best man to challenge the incumbent Labour Party candidate, Dr. Denzil Douglas, who is also the prime minister of the country.
Speaking to the crowd in an energized manner, Connor outlined some of his background and qualifications for the job. He indicated also that he was born in the constituency, with common experiences of poverty.
“I am a man just like you, born from the bowels of poverty, born into a single-parent home, born into hardship and born into the agriculture life. At the tender age of ten, I cut sugarcane just like many of you. I worked the ground and planted food in Saddler’s mountain and picked mangoes up at Houston. I know what it is to walk barefoot or with mashdown shoes, and I still wear mashdown shoes.
According to the candidate, he expects to represent everyone, regardless of their political affiliations or other choices.
“I will run a campaign of inclusiveness. I will not pass anyone by. I will not overlook anyone regardless of color, status, wealth, power, religion or political affiliation, whether you support PAM, PLP, NIP, Labour, as your representative in government, I will listen to you and I will work for you and I will fight for you. I practiced this as a pastor. I practiced this as a teacher, and I will practice this as a politician too! I give you my word,” Connor told the audience.
Connor explained to the audience that political tribalism is “too dangerous. It is too destructive”, and it is badly affecting families in the country, and that’s why he supports Team Unity.
“Team Unity stands for fairness for one and fairness for all. No discrimination. No victimization. Whosever will may come and be blessed. Bring your hurt from 30 years ago, bring your disappointment from 5 years ago and Team Unity will fix it. I will ensure that Team Unity fixes it,” opined Connor.
According to the educator, with three political parties coming together with respect, they have formed an entity that could be trusted.
“This is a paradigm shift in the politics of St. Kitts-Nevis for the upward mobility of our citizens. Three parties coming together to form one, a unity that can be trusted, different but together, diverse but united. There is strength in our diversity,” Connor told the audience.
He pointed out that the constituency had “vast expanses of rich, productive, arable land”, but the area has not been developed over the years, he said.
“This constituency has grown too little. We can hardly boast that we have achieved our aspiration. We have given so much. We have received so little. This is an unfair exchange. This constituency has become a barricaded society. We are barricaded by fear. We are barricaded by dependency, and we are barricaded by poverty of mind, body and soul.
“And we have been told that there is only one person that can lead us. This is the biggest lie that has ever been told to a loving, caring and honest people. We can no longer be fooled. Tonight, Constituency six has wisened up,” Connor proclaimed.
Among the development plans he cited for the constituency were rebuilding of the Dieppe Bay pier to facilitate import and export between St Martin, St Eustatius and other nearby ports. In agriculture, he disclosed plans to construct at least one major agro-processing factory to generate exports and revenue, the reopening of the National Bank in Saddlers and the construct an indoor and outdoor sports complex at Caines’ Pasture.
Connor told the audience that he was ready to serve the people in the constituency and to serve the country.
Not withstanding the exuberance on display Thursday, the challenger has much work to do in a constituency that has traditionally voted for the Labour Party.