As the CCM and the NRP campaign for this month’s local island elections, there has not been much debate across party lines, on the matter of independence for Nevis, but the opposition party has made it clear in its manifesto, that if elected, they intend to continue efforts to have a bipartisan approach towards the achievement of political independence.
The party said it would spearhead national consultations on the issue, so that they can hear from Nevisians at home and abroad, to garner their views on the way forward.
According to the manifesto, the CCM will also seek to negotiate with the Federal Government on the equitable distribution of gifts received from friendly governments, while also making representation on other financial sharing arrangements in such proportions as may be agreed.
Recognizing that the people of Nevis are required to head to the polls, on average, every 2 years, for local and then federal elections, the CCM said it would lobby for the enactment of legislation towards a fixed date for simultaneous general and local elections.
CCM is of the conviction that self determination of their island homeland must not be predicated on partisan politics. The party agrees however, that given the prevailing economic and geo-political trends, the task ahead would not be easy.
The CCM has already made one attempt to take the people of Nevis into independence from St. Kitts, but the 1998 referendum that required a 2/3 vote, failed to generate the support, falling dangerously close to the target, with only 61.7%. Since then the matter of secession has been skilfully avoided as a frontline political agenda of the party.
Though the ruling NRP, when it was formed in 1970, had secession as its only purpose, the party diverted its course to form a coalition government in 1980 with the then ruling People’s Action Movement Party, lasting some 15 years, and thereby abandoning its mission for self determination. Today the NRP says it prefers cooperation within the federal structure, rather than confrontation for independence.