In St. Kitts and Nevis at last the people have found a collective voice of protest against the attack on democracy by the Government of Prime Minister Denzil Douglas. Over the past eight months protestors have indicated their support and preference for a government of National Unity. This has resonated across the entire community; ordinary and middle class people, civil society, including the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the Christian Council, the Evangelical Association and the Bar Association, have all expressed their disgust at the Douglas regime’s blatant subversion of the Parliamentary democratic process. Their rage is becoming increasingly palpable in condemnation of the corruption, inefficiency and arrogance of the Prime Minister and his Minority Government. A motion of no confidence was submitted to the Speaker in December 2012 and seven months later, is yet to be tabled, a first in the Common Wealth where Parliamentary Democracy is practiced.
The Federation is not known for its protest action. For far too long political pundits have been saying that Kittitians are domesticated, tamed and cowed too easily, subjecting them to abuse by their politicians. On Wednesday the 18th of June, a group led by some very courageous women made a lie of that claim. The Commissioner of Police had denied their request to organize a peaceful march, on the tacit advice of his political masters, and threatened them with the might of the security forces. However, they were not deterred, and many assembled expecting to be arrested. They showed a level of intestinal fortitude, not seen in this country since the Buckley’s riot. They looked Authority squarely in the eyes, and Authority blinked. The Commissioner was forced to recant. I feel that this has heralded a new dimension in politics in the Federation, a paradigm shift. No longer are the citizens of this Federation prepared to be intimidated by the vitriolic and brogue antics of the Prime Minister, and will do whatever it takes to preserve democracy in the Federation.
The erosion of democracy in the Federation was gradual and at times almost imperceptible; we did not reach this abyss overnight. For far too long the citizens allowed bad political practices to slip by, defending them as members of the various political tribes. It is about time that we become politically mature to the point that any act that is wrong and egregious, ought to offend our sensibilities, irrespective of our party preferences. Only then will we as citizens of this beloved country, be able to hold the feet of our politicians to the fire, ensuring that they behave honorably.
Young people must be made cognizant that they are fighting for their very inheritance which is being given away to foreigners through the land for debt swap and the concessions given to foreign owned businesses in this Federation. The National debt which was wantonly created by the Labour government has to be repaid by young people and their grandchildren. The Nation’s human resources have been left on the scrap heap and now are being given handouts and menial jobs through the PEP program. They should be affronted at the way in which their very existence is being dehumanized and ridiculed by this blatant attempt to secure their support and vote at the next election. Both the Government and private sector have not generated any long term economic plans for their development and long-term employment. The Government because it had been able to borrow and spend with impunity and never tried to develop or encourage a manufacturing sector in this country. It has become irrelevant and now contends itself to abuse, propaganda and trickery.
The proposed boundary changes, in an attempt to win the next election, are a recipe for strife in the Federation. The Nation’s politicians have gotten off lightly so far and are under the illusion that the citizens are all “froth and no morby”. Nationals are fed up with the erosion of their democratic rights and the constant betrayal of their integrity and trust. Any attempt to divide Sandy Point and change Constituencies 7 and 9 so as to adversely benefit the Labour Party and the NRP will be resisted and protested. In democratic societies adaption is the norm and politicians accept that people expect better and that votes lie in satisfying them, thus things change. Democrats envy the ability of dictators to shut down demonstrations. For example Russia has bullied its protestors with threats of fines and imprisonment; Saudi Arabia has bribed them to be quiet. In the long run, dictators pay a higher price. Using force, as has been attempted in St. Kitts, to dive people off the street, weaken governments fatally. The people have to take affirmative action prayer alone will not help this Nation which is facing social, economic and financial disaster with the resultant breakdown of law and order.