The call for unity is not a new thing. And the need for it does not exist in St. Kitts & Nevis only. It is universal.
A human race reduced to fighting down and killing one another, whether for personal, religious, cultural, ethnic, territorial or other reasons, may be a source of wealth and comfort for arms dealers and other callous and cynical interest groups, but it is an abomination to God, and contrary to the best interests of mankind.
It is an abomination to God because He told us to go forth and multiply, not to go forth and divide. And he created us in His own image; so when we fight down and kill each other (whether literally or otherwise), we are fighting down God.
Yes, we can disagree. Indeed, it is natural to disagree. Imagine what a mediocre, boring and dishonest world it would be if we all agreed on all things. But disagreement must never be allowed to trump the common good, even if the disagreement is about what the common good is. And it is especially in cases where there is disagreement on what the common good is that discussion, debate, understanding, tolerance and respect are most required.
So even in the midst of disagreement, there can be a unity of approach to human interactions and affairs, based on principles, tolerance, respect, fairness and humaneness, and also based on submerging and overcoming our differences in the quest for common goals.
Haile Selassie, Kwame Nkrumah and Nelson Mandela advocated passionately for unity. The Organization of African Unity (OAU) was formed in 1963 and replaced in 2002 by the African Union (AU) whose purpose, inter alia, is to promote unity and solidarity among African states and to act as a collective voice for the African Continent.
The European Union, with all of its diversity and adversity, is designed to serve a common cause. As are the United States of America, the Confederation of Canada, the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth of Australia, etc.
By all means, criticize, stand and speak for your convictions, and be passionate, but with “one love, one heart, let’s get together and feel alright”, as we were called upon to do by Bob Marley, who nearly got himself killed in the cause of unity in Jamaica.
You see, when we’re unified we embrace the diversity and the adversity, and we become one and strong. One love! So strong that now with no enemy within, no enemy outside can hurt us, as Winston Churchill would have said.
Of course, it is easier said than done. But the easy road leads inevitably to an inhospitable destination.
Being a people whose history has been cruelly chiseled and carved in divisiveness, generations of Kittitians and Nevisians have been poisoned, and continue to be poisoned, with the effects of that divisiveness; so with this collective and centuries-old experience, we have a special obligation and opportunity to conquer this demon of disunity and to make our homeland a better place for ourselves, for our children and for generations yet unborn, by living and working in unity.
And once we launch ourselves on this journey, then we may well find out that others in the region, and the world, will follow, which would be a beautiful thing!
Efforts have been made at Caribbean unity, with the West Indies Federation, UWI, CARIFTA, CARICOM, OECS, CCJ, etc., etc. Some successes have been achieved, in the face of many obstacles; and the process continues.
For me, one of the biggest stumbling blocks to greater Caribbean unity has been the immaturity that exists in the member states, where, to a disturbingly large extent, the politics is so deeply divisive, and it infects virtually every aspect of life.
Logic tells you that leaders who are nurtured on disunity, and whose political survival and success at home depend on it, cannot reasonably be expected to make meaningful progress towards regional unity. Weak building blocks make for a weak building.
When Barak Obama won his second, and final, presidential election, he acknowledged the people who had not voted for him, and he promised to serve them as passionately and vigorously as he would serve the people who had voted for him. A man who so many people, out of bigotry and other maladies, chose to hate and sought to frustrate, himself chose to rise above that, and to manifest and symbolize unity.
Which Caribbean leader can measure up? Yet, that is the standard which we require, both at local and regional levels, so that our people, our societies and our economies might survive and succeed in this very difficult world.
And it is bad enough that there are some leaders in the Caribbean who may be trying to measure up to the Obama standard but who, for some reason, are failing.
What is downright disgusting and deplorable are leaders, like the illegitimate, desperate and abominable one we have here in Basseterre, who not only do not try to measure up to the Obama standard, but who absolutely condemn and ridicule unity.
Our nation and our region need leaders who reject the colonial strategy of divide and rule and who can survive and succeed at home without it. Leaders who are committed to real unity, both at home and regionally.
Step forward Timothy Harris, Vance Amory, Mark Brantley, Shawn Richards, Sam Condor, Eugene Hamilton, Alexis Jeffers, Lindsay Grant, Ian Patches Liburd, and Jonel Powell.