We do not take instructions from the Prime Minister says NIP Deputy Leader

Flemming said, “I can understand why some persons might want to have that point of view. We came out of an opposition party. We came out of the People’s Action Movement, which is in opposition at this particular point in time. What we have said in the National Integrity Party is that whilst we are an opposition party, we do not deem it necessary always to criticize the government.”

The reason said the politician is that the government has an obligation to the citizens of the country to provide good governance and they in the National Integrity Party believe that if the government falls short of that mandate, then the government should be criticized. “We also believe that if the government is executing policies and programs which are in the benefit of the citizens of this country and in the benefit of the country overall, then we believe we should credit the government.”

He said his party equally holds the view that whilst the emphasis traditionally for opposition parties is placed on the wrongs of the sitting government, you would hardly hear, in the past, any opposition party giving credit to a sitting government which they are trying to replace. Flemming said that it is critical for equal emphasis to be placed on the incoming candidates in terms of those on the opposition offering themselves for an election because we have to recognize that opposition parties are deemed the alternative to government.

He went further to argue that such parties are said to be the government in waiting so just as the sitting government is up for scrutiny, in terms of its performance and what it is doing, then it is also critical that the electorate of this country begin to look at persons who are coming out of these opposition parties saying they are the alternative government.

In the NIP, said Flemming, they are bringing a new brand of politics and their position is all part of that process.

Flemming is hoping to contest the Central Basseterre seat, while his colleagues, Glenroy Blanchette, the Leader of NIP, is eyeing a run in East Basseterre and their party Chairman, Bernard Welsh, will be trying his hands in the West Basseterre seat. This would not be the first run for any of them because Welsh also contested his district for PAM in 2010, losing to Sam Condor of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party at the time. Blanchette, like Flemming was the PAM candidate for two consecutive election cycles, (2004 and 2010) also for PAM; with the leader in East Basseterre against Asim Martin and Flemming against Marcella Liburd in Central. They all lost convincingly.

Flemming was challenged by a member of the public during his Friday afternoon radio interview on local radio and was asked why the party has had a change of heart in fielding 11 candidates in the various constituencies in St. Kitts and Nevis, as they had promised. He however shuffled and fought to find a suitable response, finally saying that because of the prevailing political climate, which he intimated was so divisive and vindictive, the party has been having much difficulty attracting other candidates, though persons have shown interest. It therefore now looks like only the three leaders of the party will be entered as candidates.

Another point raised with Flemming was the absence of political meetings by the NIP and he indicated that such avenues are not the only means to reach the people. To accomplish this he said they have been hosting a daily radio talk show and have preferred to meet directly with potential voters.  He also failed to provide a confident answer to the caller when asked if his party had an office. Having an office he stated was also not the only means to reach the people.

The long running accusation that the National Integrity Party was being directed and controlled by the leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party and the Prime Minister, Dr. Denzil Douglas, was dismissed by Flemming when he was asked if they are taking instructions from him. “Why should we take instructions from the Prime Minister? We do not take instructions from the Prime Minister. We take instructions from the people who are going to elect us,” concluded Flemming.


 

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