The Land Issue – Appealing To A Son Of The Soil!

 

H. E. Cedric Harper is a son of the soil. Maybe he can speak to our federation’s Prime Minister.

 

April 11, 2013

H.E. Cedric Harper

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Ambassador to Cuba

And High Commissioner to Jamaica

P.O. Box 157 Kingston 7

Jamaica

 

Dear Sir:

 

I write as a proud citizen of the federation of St. Christopher and Nevis regarding a contentious issue, which demands the pursuit of reasonable alternatives that will minimize, if not eliminate, the current woes of our people.

 

As you may be aware, the federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has become one of the most highly indebted nations in the free world. While government has insisted that the accumulation of much of this debt is fundamental in order to grow the budding economy of our young independent nation, a vast majority of citizens strongly believe the current three billion E.C. dollar debt was irresponsibly racked up by a Government whose leader does not seem to pride himself in standing on the tenets of transparency, accountability or integrity. Despite being forewarned, the drunken sailor type spending still looms over the current administration, particularly at election time.

 

The St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr. the Right Honourable Denzil Douglas has transformed the once stable economic haven of the federation of St. Kitts and Nevis into economic, social and political disarray renowned for its burdensome tax policies, rampant with violent and petty crime, awash with divisiveness and riddled with a ballooning national debt among other things. However, it is the recent siphoning off of prime Kittitian lands that has become the mother of all disgusts for the federation’s citizens.

 

By the utterances of several “yeas” in parliament last November, the government’s major banking partner, the St. Kitts-Nevis Anguilla National Bank was given the green light to transact a land for debt swap allowing some 1200 acres of prime lands, mainly in the rural areas of St. Kitts, to be swapped as payment against the federation’s astronomical debt. This is the best and most expedient solution a once humble, poor boy from St. Pauls could devise for the people he loves; the very people he well knows have little worth but the prime lands that he has sold. By the stroke of a pen, hundreds of acres of prime Kittitian lands will no longer be accessible for farming or for development by locals but will now be the property of foreigners.

 

As a son of the soil who hails from the village of Cayon, my strong opposition to the decision to auction off so many of our lands has to do with the fact that such actions dis-empower our people. The worth of our people is intrinsically tied to our lands. By enabling those who aren’t of Kittitian heritage to possess greater power than natural born citizens through the ownership of “our” lands, merely sets the stage for a tragic repeat of history; a history whereby our own people, unable to afford a piece of the rock, will come to depend on those who, by virtue of their financial clout, can simply draw down some US $250,000, attain Kittitian or Nevisian citizenship, purchase our lands for peanuts change, open their businesses, gloat over their new found bounty, then pity us born citizens token jobs and call it investment.

 

This I submit is regression at its best. This was not the vision of our forefathers. This is not why our first Premier Robert L. Bradshaw fought against the plantocracy.

The ministers of government espouse that their collective decision to endorse the land for debt swap is best for the people. However, the general consensus of the ordinary man today is that our current leader and his team was myopic in their decision to so freely give away our patrimony. The depth of the hurt and disappointment I feel about this travesty resonates with thousands of citizens at home and abroad.

 

Having recently learned of your close affiliation with Dr. Douglas during the formative years of his political career, I write with the hope that you can somehow take my impassioned plea and the grief of many other citizens to him. Urge Prime Minister Douglas to seriously consider repealing the Vesting of Certain Lands Bill 2012 before another square foot of our prized paradise is auctioned off to our potential masters.

 

This is my plea to you.

 

Speak to the heart and to the conscience of our leader that he might err on the side of care and compassion for the people who gave him the very mandate he boasts about. Impress upon him what he already knows; that upholding the principles of “country before self” is the key element that will guide him in taking our federation in the right direction.

 

Too many fences have been broken at the hands of our politicians. I plead with you on behalf of my fellow villagers and citizens to engage our leader in fruitful dialogue so he can begin to mend those broken fences and restore the people’s confidence in a government that serves the will of ALL the people and not just the wishes of loyal Labour stalwarts. One way to start is to give us back the 1200 acres of our birthright.

 

We are nothing without our land.

 

It cannot be business as usual without it.

 

Sincerely,

Lennox D. Liburd

Citizen of the Federation of

St. Kitts and Nevis

 




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