The road to Basseterre is via Charlestown

For those who may have doubted him or not understood what he meant when he expressed those remarks in the past, then perhaps this week will clearly demonstrate that he has in fact been right. Simply put, no political party in St. Kitts and Nevis today can form the next government at the federal level, without the support and partnership of a political party in Nevis.

That is why the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, the People’s Action Movement (PAM), and the newly formed People’s Labour Party, (PLP) are all heading to Charlestown this week to sign separate agreements with their respective political allies across the Narrows.

For the past two years, the PAM and then later the PLP, have made known their decision to forge an alliance with the now ruling Concerned Citizens Movement, CCM, led by current Nevis Premier, Vance Amory, with Brantley as his deputy.

These three parties have decided, and they formally announced it on 26th September, 2013, during a massive public meeting at Greenlands, Basseterre, that they have agreed to work together, as a coalition, to contest the next elections.

They even went further to declare that the six Members of Parliament who are part of their slate of candidates, and who constitute a majority of the elected Representatives in the National Assembly, intend to support Dr. Timothy Harris to be appointed Prime Minister, if they gain a majority of seats after the next elections.

Now, the ruling St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, SKNLP, is also planning this week Thursday to head to Nevis to formally and publicly announce that they are working with the opposition Nevis Reformation Party, NRP, to jointly contest the polls expected early in the New Year.

In the past when the ruling party was accused of already being in a coalition with NRP, this was denied. The claim was being made because the lone NRP Member of Parliament, Patrice Nisbett, was offered, and he accepted, the post of Attorney General, following the General Elections of 2010.

For some political historians all this would have been impossible, even 10 years ago, because of the great distrust that Nevisians have had for Kittitian politicians, especially those from the SKNLP, whom they have accused of only using and abusing them in the past, and when the time is right, they are discarded.

But the effort of the Team Unity grouping has been ridiculed in the past by the SKNLP and when they first announced their commitment to work as a three member coalition, they were scoffed at as a “concoction” that would not last.

But instead of disintegrating, Team Unity appears to have become a strong political force that some polls say, would be very difficult to defeat.

It was only last week in the National Assembly that the Member of Parliament for Central Basseterre, Marcella Liburd, who is also the Chairman of the SKNLP, scoffed at the Team Unity group, saying that up to now they have not been able to host a joint event in Nevis while Labour and NRP have held at least two town hall meetings.

It seems like Liburd is now getting her answer, as the Leaders of PAM and PLP head to Nevis on Wednesday morning, (17th December), to sign what they are calling the “Charlestown Accord”.

Since early 2013 the three parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding, setting out the conditions and terms of their unity front. The Charlestown Accord, the coalition says, is now designed to set out the real benefits for the people of Nevis.

The ceremony is set for 9:00am at the Red Cross Building on Chapel Street, Nevis.

A release Tuesday afternoon explained that “The commitments will formalize what Team Unity Leader Dr. Timothy Harris announced in Parliament and will be executed by the leaders of CCM, PLP and PAM, who will partner in the new government of National Unity.

A similar release from the Office of the Prime Minister, also on Tuesday, indicated that “The governing St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) and the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) will unveil a draft agreement formalizing a spirit of cooperation, collaboration and commitment for the national good.”

This was also confirmed by Prime Minister and Leader of the SKNLP, Dr. Denzil Douglas when he hosted a recent radio programme on the government owned broadcasting station.

Douglas said, “That is why building on and strengthening the bonds between St. Kitts and Nevis is so important to me.”

PM-amd-ParryDr. Douglas said his St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party and the Nevis Reformation Party of Joseph Parry are two distinct political organizations which shall maintain these distinctions.

“However, in a spirit of confidence and commitment, we have worked for months now to produce a draft agreement through which the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party and the Nevis Reformation Party will ensure continued growth and advancement for the people of both St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

He announced that in keeping with the democratic ideals that guide the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party and the Nevis Reformation Party, the Agreement will be presented to the people of the Federation, in order for them to respond, comment, and suggest “so that, together, we may all continue this important march forward – as one nation.”

The Agreement will be unveiled during a joint event at Pinney’s Beach in Nevis and Port Zante, St. Kitts featuring I-Octane and Copper Shot on Thursday 18th December from 6: 00 p.m.

With all eyes on Charlestown this week, it would become obvious that the Opposition Leader, Brantley, was right in his prediction, that anyone who wishes to form the government, come 2015, must first get its endorsement and support from either CCM or NRP.

The history of the politics of St. Kitts and Nevis has already shown that the importance of the Nevis parties is very critical, because in 1980 that is precisely how the PAM was able to replace the SKNLP of then Premier Lee L Moore, when, ironically, they formed a coalition government with NRP.

Now it is the turn of Douglas and SKNLP to attempt the same with NRP as a pathway back to Church Street and Government Headquarters, after the elections in the first 90 days of next year. But Team Unity, (CCM, PAM and PLP), too are hoping that their coalition would beat Douglas and Parry to the finish line.

As always, the people will have the final say.


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