In the old days, despite more than a little success by the British in their ‘divide and rule’ strategy, the majority of people were bound together in the common cause of community, empowerment and independence.
They were bound together in the struggle for access to proper health care, to an education, to land ownership, to capital, and to a fair share of the economic pie. And also bound together in their determination to form unions, to control their own destiny as a people, and to vote in elections.
We mustn’t forget that it was only 59 years ago (in 1952), after centuries of sweat, tears and blood, that every man and woman in this country was given the right to vote in an election. Prior to that, only people with a certain amount of money were allowed to vote.
I trust that you will forgive my naivete, therefore, for having expected, with the instruments of power, the responsibility of nationhood, and the need to grow and safeguard our society, our economy and our democracy vested in our hands since the 19th day of September, 1983, that our people’s sense of common cause would have become even stronger over these past 28 years.
After all, isn’t it a fact that a greater, and genuine, sense of common cause renders a people better able to handle greater responsibility?
But that didn’t happen. Instead, the colonial ‘divide and rule’ strategy has been adopted and taken to a new level by callous, power-hungry, neo-colonialist, self-serving, wannabe-emperor politicians whose interest in raising the collective civic, social and political consciousness of our people is, at best, minimal.
No altruistic leader could be anything but ashamed at the woefully deficient education and social development systems that we have in our Federation today. There’s no question that our people are undereducated and underdeveloped, virtually dismembered as a community and comprised of gangs such as Douglas Gang, Grant Gang, Parry Gang, Amory Gang, KMS Gang, West Side Gang, Crips, Bloods, etc., etc. No common cause, just a bunch of ordinary folks manipulated and moulded by the present political culture to serve the narrow causes of their leaders, at the heavy cost of their own emasculation and the loss of common cause with their brothers and sisters in the community.
So the ordinary folks, rather than being united in their own common cause, are tribalized, and hostile, one faction to the other.
There is no longer the ‘common enemy’, the British. We’re now each other’s enemy. We’re our own enemy. Divide and Rule, stronger than ever… Which is exactly how the leadership wants it to be.
It was bad enough for the British to practise ‘divide and rule’, but at least they were pursuing their interests, and not ours. However, when our own, who seek power under false promises that they will make law and order, integrity in public life, efficient and prudent governance, and fairness and justice their top priority, do the same thing to us, then they’re guilty of savagery most foul.
And that savagery is evident in the gross mismanagement, graft and corruption, and in the breakdown in values, discipline, respect, productivity, and law and order that we’re seeing in the country. And in the manipulation and abuse of the instruments of power to serve the narrow interests of leaders.
Yet, that’s not the worst of it. Because it’s we, the people, who have it so. I’m still unable to fathom how so many of us continue allowing ourselves to be fooled, used and laughed at by these savage leaders.
Look at St. Kitts & Nevis. Riddled in debt, strangling in recession, atrociously governed, rampant corruption, no transparency, no integrity in public life law and regulations to control unscrupulous officials, the Constitution and law and order disrespected and scoffed by leaders, nothing works, and election robbery is in progress in Nevis!
Yet there is no sense of moral indignation or mass outrage. People say that they admire the PM for being ‘smart’. They admire him for the way he can compromise and control people, and for his skill at winning elections. But they don’t question his utter disrespect for the Constitution, for law and order or for fair elections; his ethics; his outrageous and disgraceful utterances and behaviour; Lex Consulting, La Vallee, Kittitian Hill, the SIDF Fund, Potato Bay, crime and national security, the national debt, or how many properties he owns. They don’t stand up to protest the cost of living, electricity, lands, houses and jobs for themselves and their families, etc.
They worship at the altar of ‘Ten Man In One’. And they cuss out leaders and others who oppose their hero. Common cause is gone to hell, and we have become each other’s enemy. Our house, our society, our sense of community, is divided to the point of total destruction.
Blind, unquestioning, self-defeating support. And blind, unquestioning, self-defeating hatred. A nation at war with itself, thanks to the divide-and-rule strategy of the leader, so that he might stay on top of us.
And pretty much the same syndrome has shown its face in Nevis with the Premier. But NRP supporters have not one, but two heroes, namely, Mr. Parry and Dr. Douglas. They too keep singing Dr. Douglas’ praises for his smartness and his skills. And they’re expecting him to deliver the goods with an election victory on Monday, July 11th,2011.
Yes, Nevisian voters, NRP supporters and others, know that this NIA election is Denzil Douglas’ election.
And both Dr. Douglas and Mr. Parry are exploiting the loss of common cause among the people. They’re using the gang mentality(“Let the guns blaze”, said Mr. Parry) to keep people divided, one gang against the other and hating each other, just like we see being played out on the blood-stained streets of the Federation, so that NRP would secure the win for Dr .Douglas.
When the NRP supporters wake up and find out what Mr. Parry has gotten them into with this love affair with Dr. Douglas, they will be very sorry.(And I must say that Mr. Parry’s last-minute attempt on Friday, July 8th, to separate himself from St. Kitts politicians, by saying that they come to interfere in Nevis politics but that NRP will not allow that, is not only laughable, but it won’t convince anybody of anything other than he might be confused).
Dr. Douglas and his lieutenant in Nevis are committing an act of savagery against the people of Nevis and against the electoral system of this Federation.
Over 200 Kittitians have been registered to vote in Nevis.
I have spoken with many of them.
One told me that he had bought a piece of land in Nevis. But he has no residence there. Just a bare piece of land. He has no family home or no other bona fide residential connection with Nevis. He lives in St. Kitts. Yet he wants to vote in Nevis.
Another told me that she has friends in Nevis whom she visits from time to time, and they encouraged her to register there. She wants to vote there too.
A third called me from Nevis where she has been working for a few months. She was registered in St. Kitts, but she said that she’d been told that her name was registered to vote in Nevis. She had no idea how that happened.
A fourth one was released from jail in St. Kitts last week by money from an activist for one of the Nevis parties who was in St. Kitts rounding up potential voters and giving them instructions as to who to meet, where to go, how much they are to be paid, etc., when they come over to Nevis for the election. Many are to be ferried over before Election Day so that they could be shown their polling station, and get comfortable.
And on, and on, and on.
I’m talking about people who have no residential connection with Nevis.
Meanwhile, over 245 bona fide Nevisian voters have been removed from the Voters’ List. And with the release of the Voters’ List only last weekend, just nine days before the election date, most of them haven’t had the time to challenge their removal.
In some cases, removals were done after objections were made. However, the notices to the voters in question were either never sent to them or there were no notices at all. So they had no fair chance to defend themselves.
Yet their names were taken off the List.
High Court Judge, Mr. Mario Mitchell heard the case of a family of five on Thursday July 7th. He found that their removal was null and void and ordered that that the List would not be complete without their names.
Meanwhile, CCM leader Mr. Vance Amory, brought a case for the other 240 or so aggrieved persons, but the Court ruled that he had no locus standi and that there was no evidence, for example, the affidavits, as there has been in the case of the family, to make the case to the court.
Had there been such evidence, the Court might have given the same order: put all 245 names on the List.
The bottom line here is that this effort to bring Kittitians with no residential connection to Nevis to vote in a Nevis election is an act of savagery against decency, against the concept of the constituency system which we use, and against the sacredness and the value of genuine Nevisian votes.
It is wrong!
And the savagery is rendered more heinous by the illegal, wicked, spiteful removal of 245 names of genuine Nevisian voters from the List in a dastardly attempt to rob them of their scared right to elect the government of their choice.
This act of savagery, if allowed to stand, will send us back to pre-1952, to days when the people of these islands were told by the colonial masters: work hard, behave yourselves, pay your taxes, but you can’t vote!
The people of Nevis need to take a stand on Monday, July 11th,2011. Forward Ever, Backward Never! They must now come together in common cause. CCM, NRP supporters and others .This is bigger than party. This is national, this is Constitutional; this is human rights!
All self-respecting Nevisians, and Kittitians, regardless of political persuasion, must act to condemn this, and demand that all of those 245 Nevisians get to vote on Monday.
All must stand and resist this act of savagery most foul that Dr. Douglas and his minions in Nevis are trying to perpetrate against the people, and against democracy.
The world is watching. The USA, UK, Canada, France, Japan, Taiwan, OAS, CARICOM, EU, Commonwealth, UN, and the rest are watching. The international media is watching. Investors are watching.
The Electoral Commission must show their mettle and exercise its Constitutional power to facilitate the exercise of this most sacred franchise by the people of Nevis.
They have the power of the Constitution and other law, and they have the ruling of Justice Mitchell, to support them in doing what is right in this critical moment when the people of this country hunger for decency and protection in leadership, and when history’s exacting pen is out and ready to judge them for their action or inaction.
Mr. William Dore, Mr. Hesketh Benjamin and Ms. Myrna Walwyn will have no better (perhaps no other) opportunity than this to etch their names on the right side of the history of this country by taking a strong and fair stand between now and 6pm Monday, July 11th, 2011, against this savagery most foul that is being perpetrated against their people.
The US revolutionary Thomas Paine said in 1776, as he urged his fellow Americans to resist and oust the British, had some very profound words of encouragement. Some of his countrymen had come to accept the status quo, thinking that fighting it would be futile. Some were comfortable, had good jobs, status, etc. and didn’t want to rock the boat. But they chose to live in subjugation to calculating, exploitative British rule.
“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right. The laying of a country desolate is the concern of all mankind. And these are times that try men’s souls. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered, yet we have the consolation that the harder the conflict, the more glorious is the triumph”.
What is happening in Nevis, and by extension in the whole Federation, is savagery most foul. Our country, our society, our Constitution, our laws, our tranquility, our economy, our electoral processes, our everything, are being laid waste by savage, tyrannical leaders.
Only the people can stop and reverse the process, and end the savagery and the tyranny.
And this is a good time for Nevisians to do so.
I wonder if they want 245 of us to come over to Nevis on Monday to support our sisters and brothers whose names were wrongly removed from the List in their effort to exercise their franchise.