“We ready, we stronger but we gon mek dem wait! We in charge! Labour large and we in charge!” he asserted to hundreds of loyal supporters at Port Zante, as the party celebrated the anniversary of the fourth year of its fourth term in government.
He told Labourites that they have given him 19 years as prime minister. “Never thought you would give me so much,” said a grateful Douglas.
When the Cabinet and government of Denzil Douglas looked like it was falling apart in January, 2013, the four term prime minister made it abundantly clear that he intended to do everything within his power to remain in government. He obviously meant it.
It was 25th January, 2012 and Dr, Douglas took to the airwaves in a nationwide address to announce that he had fired his Senior Minister, Dr. Timothy Harris. Five days later, on 30th January, Deputy Prime Minister Sam Condor resigned, telling Douglas in his letter delivered at 8:35am, “The recent developments pertaining to issues of Governance and Constitutional integrity have brought me to the point where I feel constrained to tender my resignation as a Member of Cabinet, with immediate effect.”
Many observers felt that that moment was one of the darkest for Douglas in his almost two decades as Head of Government. When he fired Harris in 2013, it was the evening of the party’s anniversary of the third year of its fourth term. One year later, on Saturday 25th January, 2014, the fourth anniversary, Douglas projected a more confident posture telling his audience that “God has been good to us because we could not do this alone. You knew where we were one year ago. One year ago when those vagabonds, those traitors…only God could have kept us where we are today.”
It was widely felt in 2013 that with the added pressure of a Motion of No Confidence filed with the Clerk of the National Assembly, that the government would have failed to muster enough support amongst the elected representatives to survive the vote. Then, and still today, Dr. Douglas only commanded the support of five (5) of the eleven (11) elected members and the majority six (6) had written to the Governor General to confirm that they all intended to vote in favour of the motion.
This meant that Douglas would have had to either resign within three days or be fired by the Governor General, who would have been required to invite another elected member to form a government, once it was certain that that person was most likely to command the support of the majority. The other option available to Douglas was to invite the Governor General to dissolve the parliament for fresh elections. Almost 14 months after, these options have not been exercised, despite public protestations and court challenges that the opposition says have been frustrated. And today, the Denzil Douglas Administration remains in office, just as he pledged when his back was against the wall and his party and government appeared to be crumbling.
Both Condor and Harris have since established a new organization, the People’s Labour Party, (PLP), and formed a united front with the main opposition party, the People’s Action Movement, (PAM) and the Concerned Citizens Movement, (CCM), in Nevis. They have tipped Harris to be the one they would support to serve as prime minister if they manage to win a majority after the next elections. Douglas has therefore been very critical of them for their actions.
Douglas has replaced Harris and Condor with new candidates to run in their respective constituencies, promising that he and his new team are there to do the work of the people. “We said we would work for you. Nobody, nothing can prevent us from working for you. And when those who no longer wanted to work for you, those who have taken bribes to become PAM and they no longer wanted to work for you, we have found people who would work for you. Men, young dynamic men who have come about as a result of Labour’s Spring Time and are now ready to serve and work for you”
As Douglas danced his way on to the stage on Saturday, and as he got into his impromptu speech, he was emphatic, “I aint gon call no election until I know every single one ah dem (his new candidates) gon win.”
That statement however has been viewed by opposition members as a contradiction and one that admits that he and his party are not ready as he was projecting in his chant, “We ready, we stronger, but we gon mek dem wait.”
An opposition spokesman said it is clear that Douglas is not ready also because of the criticism he made against his own supporters when he told them, “And that is why I say you nuh, is you keeping back the election you nuh, because you need to do much more work. We wukking for you, but what about you wukking for yourself? You got to register your children. Every single one of them who is not registered must be registered. Those of you, who have particular talents and want to serve and walk with your team in your constituency, let the candidates know that you are ready to serve.”
Then he announced, “And I want to declare here and now, there will be no future government of this country unless Labour is part of it. We gon mek dem wait until Labour say we will call it, because you see, Labour must win.”
The prime minister and Labour Party leader also had a message for the people in Nevis. “I want to say to the people of Nevis, we nar leave you all out. We nar leave Nevis out. Nevis gon be part ah dis. Tell dem Douglas say, Nevis is part of this victory. And so those who have ears to hear, they better damn well hear. And those who have eyes to see, they better damn well see. Nevis gon be part ah dis.”
He did not explain what he meant.