“Playing the Moral Card”

Despite the unprecedented attempt at a unified thrust between ALL political parties in the federation, there are many opposed to any semblance of Unity. Some adamantly insist that the political status quo ought not be modified. In fact, they suggest that those who have disassociated themselves with the current Denzil Douglas lead administration are merely angry, ungrateful men and women eager to be at the helm of power themselves. All may not be well in St. Kitts and Nevis but should this “dynamic political shift” called Unity be given any chance, the anti-Unity proponents insist the federation will be plunged into irreversible mayhem.

Over the past 30 years, whenever the electorate has made changes to the government of the day, one thing remains true; citizens demonstrate a deeply ingrained faith in politicians. Voters understand that the affairs of the federation MUST be run and whether we laud them or loathe them, politicians bear a significant responsibility for the social, economic and political climate in which we live. And so, come Election Day, despite what we feel about the state of the federation, we go to the polls and exercise our franchise. We go expecting that a group of men and women deemed fit for leadership would be elected by the people to stand up in parliament on behalf of the people to legislate laws and uphold good governance.

The fall out between the government and two of its senior leaders put grave pressure on politicians and the electorate alike. On either side of the political aisle, citizens have now been charged with the responsibility of assessing the moral compass that should guide our political hopefuls and our seasoned politicians who are essentially the nation’s leaders.

Lately, the “resign now” trumpet has been blowing from the current administration’s camp suggesting that former Ministers Sam Condor and Dr. Timothy Harris benefited from the resources of the Labour Party and are therefore “morally bound” to resign their seats and go back to the polls to seek a new mandate.

In their defense, the former Labour government leaders, not one, not two but three of them, insist the “great Labour party” lead by the Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas has become morally bankrupt and  to defy the policies of this current Labour Party is actually to take a stand in solidarity with the tenets of the visionary Labour leaders of the past who paved the way for the current crop of 21st century Labour politicians.

That the leader compromised various core principles of the party and as a consequence brought the party to its knees, Condor and Harris argue is an affront to the best practices of moral responsibility that the government preaches.

Condor and Harris suggest for example that the sale of the people’s patrimony, particularly in the non-consultative manner it was executed through the 2012 Vesting of Certain Lands Bill, was politically inept and demonstrated a lack of vision as it relates to land ownership for the federation’s citizens. This, according to the former ministers, along with other glaringly flawed government policies, made it difficult to go into parliament to just say “yes” to a political party in the name of “collective responsibility” all the while hurting an entire federation.

As the political stalemate continues to play out, the discussion on morality and integrity is contingent upon the perspective from which the political argument is raised. Supporters of the government’s now eight month delayed MONC have made it a point to revisit the political shortcomings of the Sir Kennedy Alphonse Simmonds lead administration of the 80’s and early 90’s to justify actions taken by this current administration. At a time when we boast that we have progressed politically, led by a party, which vowed to rise above the politics of the past, the government continues instead to make its argument in political “dinosaur” years. Of course, most citizens understand the government’s argument is inevitable given the fact that should the MONC be tabled, the Labour administration is politically handicapped in its ability to win without Condor and Harris. As a result, the nation is currently bracing itself for federal elections.

Meanwhile, there is an all-out push by the current team of government leaders to speak of countless “alleged wrongs and questionable ills” committed by the former Labour ministers that were absolutely acceptable and above board under the Labour umbrella. It seems Harris and Condor were merely “good” Labour men when they were in the Labour fold but have become scumbags, hypocrites and “hogs” for seeking to restore honesty and decency to government. In fact, these “recycled politicians” as they are now branded would be best served if only they would have parted ways with the government, shut up and bask in their golden years of retirement from public service. How dare they defy a leader who time and again has stamped his seal of authority on his cabinet?

If cabinet members have a “collective/moral responsibility” to support their leader, even if that leader makes questionable or flawed decisions that ultimately affect the people, who can the people rely on to stand up for them in the face of wrong?

Can there be credence to the cries for morality from the Labour platform when all of the alleged ills being spoken about Sam and Tim happened under the watch of a sitting Prime Minister who said nothing and did nothing but now call his former colleagues ungrateful “hogs” for stepping away from these very wrongs?

Whether the people will trust the former senior ministers given their extended alliance with a corrupt government is one thing. They have sought redemption and forgiveness from the public. They insist their consciences are clear and today, their fate lies in the hands of the electorate. What the people now know is that a leader at the seat of power of our nation who prides him or herself in inciting, dividing and conquering is a recipe for disaster.

The attempt at stemming divisiveness remains stifled at best. While there seems to be a genuine effort of many citizens of varying political persuasions to move beyond the petty party politics and unite the nation, a “well-oiled” Labour machinery is working tirelessly to undermine these efforts.

Irrespective of where we end up as a nation, one can only commend the accomplishments of ALL citizens who have given the concept of “uniting” across party lines some consideration. The history books will record that Kittitians and Nevisians who have been former staunch Labour supporters, staunch PAM, die hard CCM or hard core NRP supporters have made up the Unity chorus. None of the Unity marches, meetings or other initiatives that have occurred over the course of several months have been just about one political party. Collectively, our people have been advocates of something more than the same blind political allegiance that “cows” us from demanding greater representation from our legislators for fear of reprisals.

That many of the nation’s citizens have been bold enough to shake off the political tentacles and shoot down the efforts of the anti-unity front is an unprecedented time in our federation’s history. The mood across our land of beauty is an indication that our people yearn to be united!


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