Instead, the political tug of war between the incumbent St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party led by Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas and the united opposition, continued here on Friday afternoon, (only three days into the New Year), when the Government withdrew permission for a much publicized public meeting that Team Unity was scheduled to host at Bank Street, in the heart of the city, Basseterre. Minutes before the political meeting was to commence the police on the island are reported to have been given directives “from higher up” to withdraw the permit.
The meeting had been publicized for days and hundreds of supporters, including many nationals who are presently home for the Christmas and Carnival Season were hoping to attend, so that they can hear firsthand, some of the critical issues confronting the homeland. However, according to one opposition source, it seems like the government, supported by the efforts of some in the Carnival Committee, had other ideas.
What MiyVue.com has been told by opposition members is that just before 4:00pm on Friday afternoon, 3rd January, 2014, while the stage, lighting and sound system for the meeting were being prepared for erection on site, they were informed by senior officers of the police force that they had received instructions from officials outside of the force, to prevent the meeting from taking place. In response, a delegation from the opposition, comprised of Dr. Timothy Harris, Eugene Hamilton, Constance Mitcham and Jonelle Powell, visited the Police Headquarters and met with the police top brass on duty.
In that meeting it was explained that the police never did receive a request from anyone else, including the Carnival Committee, prior to today, to host a “jam session” through the streets of Basseterre at the same time when the meeting was also due to take place. The police acknowledged that they had already granted permission, days before Friday, providing the “green light” for the meeting. However, given the orders that were “sent down” said the source in the police, they were left with no alternative but to withdraw the permit for the meeting.
It is well known that yesterday, (Thursday 2nd January) was Last Lap for carnival and no event was previously planned for Friday. MiyVue.com has been reliably informed that it was not until around midday on Friday, 4 hours before the meeting was to start, that officials in the Carnival Committee arranged with the Kollision Band to appear on the streets for a “jam session”. It was an announcement that caught many off-guard and not even the official Facebook page of the Carnival Committee, up to 9:00pm Friday night, had any information about the street jamming.
The Committee did however have a listing of all the upcoming and remaining events associated with the festival which stated, as follows:
Not so fast! Not so fast! There’s more action in store for YOU!
SATURDAY 4th – Bar Crawl (by popular demand) & Prime Minister’s Gala
SUNDAY 5th – Cool Down Fete on Frigate Bay Lawn
SATURDAY 11th – Prize Giving
SATURDAY 18th – INTERNATIONAL NIGHT
There was no mention of a street jam in that Facebook posting that was made at approximately 12:00pm on Friday, 3rd January, 2014, 4 hours before the meeting.
Also, when MiyVue.com News Room checked the Facebook page of the Kollision Band, their post, which was made also at approximately 12:00pm, stated as follows:
Yes ppl if you think carnival over. Guess what Kollision Band will be jamming on the road thru Basseterre this afternoon friday starting at 3:00 pm. It will be mass thru town.
The police therefore tried to explain that because of the jam session the meeting was no longer possible. In the end, it seemed like it was a jam session that no one wanted, as the band failed to attract followers, as many stood on the sides wondering why was Kollision on the road and if there was a special jam, why was it not the newly crowned Road March Champions, Small Axe Band.
MiyVue.com also understands that a request for the meeting to take place on Saturday was also denied because of the Prime Minister’s New Year’s Gala, scheduled to take place at 8:00pm at the St. Kitts Marriott, about three miles away.
Members of the opposition say they find it hard to understand what a Gala in Frigate has to do with a request for a meeting in Basseterre and at different times. “It is obvious said one opposition candidate, “the government is just using all types of excuses and are afraid of us having our meeting.”
But while the discussion was taking place between the police and the opposition delegates, scores of opposition supporters were already beginning to gather on Bank Street, as small vendors, many who depend on these types of activities for sales generation, were already set up and eagerly awaiting the influx of meeting goers who would become potential customers. They were therefore shocked and disappointed to learn that the meeting was off.
It was just around 6:00pm when Dr. Timothy Harris was allowed by Deputy Police Commissioner Stafford Liburd, who was on the scene, to take to the podium to explain to the growing crowd what was happening and why the meeting was cancelled. Harris told them that the actions of the government, over-ruling the police, will not stop the opposition from bringing the message to the people and exposing the corrupt practices and failures of the Prime Minister.
He said this high handed decision will only make Team United and its supporters stronger and more determined to remove the government from office and he gave the assurance that come the next election Dr. Douglas and his entire team will be voted out of office.
The crowd displayed their anger and made known their objections to what had happened with many saying that the actions of the government have only strengthened their resolve to vote unity and “vote out Douglas and all ah dem”.
When Harris announced that the meeting has now been re-scheduled to Monday 6th January, 2014, at the junction of Five Ways in McKnight, it was met with a loud applause and cheers from the spectators.