The march was organized under the banner, “Save our Lands” as it sought to bring public attention to the Labour Administration’s decision to turn over 1,200 acres of land to a local financial institution, which they believe will offer the land for sale at prices that may be much too high for the ordinary Kittitian and Nevisian.
Starting from Greenlands just before 5:00pm, the march made its way to Bank Street, downtown Basseterre, arriving at approximately 6:00pm, after a move through the main city centre.
It is estimated that approximately 1,000 persons joined the leaders of PAM, as their show of support against the government’s action. The large crowd carried placards, chanted various anti-government slogans and uttered passionate feelings about the need to protect the patrimony of Kittitians, through efforts to keep the former sugar lands in the hands of the people, and not being allowed to be sold to persons who may not be from the island.
As the protestors made their way down Church Street, where the seat of government is located, they were diverted off course by police road signs, to College Street, thus being forced to use the road behind the headquarters of government. According to one senior PAM leader, they had originally obtained permission from the police authorities to travel the extent of Church Street, but for some unknown reason, they were veered off track.
This, however, said the PAM official, did not deter the marchers as they continued on their journey, especially given the verbal exchanges between groups of persons who appeared to be supporters of the ruling Labour Government, (who were gathered in the vicinity of Government Headquarters) and the protesters in the march.
One of the key features of the march that drew comments from many viewing from the sidewalk was the diversity of representation, with people of varied social and political backgrounds, including some known not to be supporters of the PAM party. The protestors included the very young, teenagers, senior citizens, business people, professionals, many working class citizens and a contingent from sister island Nevis. Also joining the ranks were leaders of the activist group known as Operation Rescue-former Labour Minister, Dwyer Astaphan and former PAM Finance Minister, Richard Caines, who also spoke at the post- march rally. Former PAM candidates Junie (Scrape) Hodge and Ronald Williams also participated in the event.
The event has been categorized as one of the biggest protest marches to be staged in the island in recent time and is therefore being viewed by PAM as a strong show of support for their campaign against the land swap for debt deal of the government. One PAM official has also summarized the strong positive public support as an early sign of growing loyalty to the opposition party, which is now under new leadership, headed by Member of Parliament for Sandy Point, Shawn Richards.