As the leader of the People’s Action Movement and parliamentary representative for Sandy Point, Shawn Richards shared his thoughts during the historic signing of the ‘Charlestown Accord’ in Nevis on Wednesday morning, December 17, 2014. The Accord was signed by leaders of PAM, CCM and PLP at the Red Cross Building in Charlestown.
Richards said that St Kitts has not always treated Nevis fairly in the past, adding that for a very long time Nevisians have rightly felt that they were being deprived of their fair share of the Federation’s resources.
He added that Nevis was indeed not benefitting from their “fair share of investments”, revenue, or services. He said this was unacceptable and…“We have come to set that right.”
“Before we can plan, we must confront our past. Our past has not been always characterized by smooth relations between St. Christopher and Nevis, has it? In fact, it has been marred with challenges since before Independence, and we acknowledge that,” Richards admitted.
Richards also said that the time is now for citizens and residents of the federation to face the past and current challenges “head-on”, and not pretend that the current political divide does not exist.
The two term parliamentarian said that although there are some cynics who would say “another party in Nevis has already given PAM an opportunity to do right by Nevis” the federation was… a much younger nation (then), and it was not realized.
“Well that may be so, but it does not mean that we should be defeated by history, we can choose to leave a better history for our children. In the face of improbable odds, people who love their country can change it. And we will.”
Richards said that St. Kitts and Nevis was “too young” as a nation to be able to handle the pressures of being independent, while losing revenue from the sugar industry which was at the time the main source of income
“We cannot allow that to cast a pall on our future. As real as our past challenges were, they can be faced, and they can be fixed. We have come here to confront them today,” Richards said
The politician noted that the time has come to refresh “the spirit of cooperation” between both islands in order to reaffirm the commitment to that noble idea that every single citizen deserves a chance to pursue their “full measure of happiness”.
“We have come here to let every citizen of the federation know that the days of petty grievances, petulant recriminations, and old worn out dogmas that have strangled our aspirations for so long are at an end. When we were a young nation, it was okay to reason like a child, but as Paul told the Corinthians, the time has come to put aside childish things,” Richards said.