July 15, 2020
Supervisor of Elections, Mr. Elvin Bailey captures the title of “Mr. Willfully Blind.” Lately he has been breaking a sweat to earn his sugar-cake as an apologist for the coalition regime. Yesterday, his interview on the talk radio programme “Issues” aired on Freedom 106.5 FM was no exception. He tried his crafty best to make the case that the June 5th General Election was free and fair. He would make a great witness for the prosecution because he instead admitted that as the Supervisor of Elections, he is “biased” and hence, could not provide his opinion or give his assessment of the election. It is therefore no small wonder that he would go on to make excuses for the wanton, flagrant constitutional violations that took place and his repeated failure to safeguard our electoral process.
When asked what he thought about the Governor General’s rejection of all eight of the Returning Officers whom he trained and recommended, he insisted that his were only recommendations and that “the Governor General may or may not accept the recommendations of the Supervisor”. Bailey danced around the fact that none of the Poll Clerks and Presiding Officers were trained in 2020 and several of them had not even taken the oath or had their letters of authorization on Polling Day. The trained Returning Officers who were rejected were replaced by persons who appeared to be hand-picked by Dr. Timothy Harris himself. These questions were raised when the Prime Minister’s own brother-in-law, Jermaine “Sacky” Lake was among the new appointees. It is no wonder then that the Returning Officer for Constituency #4, who was also interviewed, refused to answer a caller who asked how many training sessions and on what dates was he trained.
Which elections did Bailey supervise? Is he alright?
On the issue of whether or not the ballot boxes met the constitutional requirements, Bailey declared that “the legislation says, the ballot boxes must be made of sturdy material with one padlock…they were sturdy, they had a padlock…they were not wooden, but they were see through, you could see your vote drop to the bottom.”
Every single voter saw for themselves that plastic zip ties were used to keep the plastic ballot boxes closed. Bailey has never seen a lock in his life? Part IV, Section 67 (ii) of the St. Christopher and Nevis National Assembly Elections Act (2009) which makes it mandatory that “…Every ballot box shall be made of some durable material with one lock and key…” No locks and no keys were used to secure the ballot boxes in any of the 129 polling sites across the Federation. Furthermore the use of “see-through” plastic bins further compromised the rights of voters to a secret ballot.
Which elections did Bailey supervise? Is he alright?
Bailey’s interview amounted to a gas-bag of nonsensical excuses and insulting untruths. He said that he made up for the two-hour delay in the opening of the Bird Rock polling site by allowing all persons who were in the line by 6 pm to cast their vote. He said that additional time was allotted and the additional time was at 6 pm. How can closing a polling site at precisely the same time it is due to be closed had it opened on time be considered “additional time”? There have been numerous reports that persons were prevented from voting when they arrived before 6 pm expecting the polling hours to be extended.
Which elections did Bailey really supervise? Is he alright?
The people of St. Kitts and Nevis cannot accept a stolen election. Bailey utterly failed to fulfill his role as Supervisor and to manage the process without fear or favour. As a result, the so-called results of the election cannot in good conscience be considered to be an accurate reflection of the people’s will. The failures Bailey hinted towards during his interview were absolutely appalling and highly unacceptable. The fact that he is bold-facedly defending multiple electoral irregularities is deeply disturbing. It reflects a willful and wanton disregard and disrespect for the democratic rights of our people. If someone in his position has such a mindset, where are we headed as a nation and as a people?
Photo 1: Voters Line Up on Polling Day
Photo 2. Plastic Bins Used at Ballot Boxes on Polling Day
Photo 3. Mr. Germaine Lake, Presiding Officer Delivering Chairs to Bird Rock Polling Station at 9 am.
July 7, 2020
In another twist in the Grant and Powel “Misappropriation of Client’s Funds” saga, the Chief Justice of the OECS Supreme Court of Appeal, the Honourable Dame Janice Pereira denied the application by the Hon. Lindsay Grant and the Hon. Jonel Powell on July 6, 2020.
Grant and Powell asked for “an extension of time within which to seek leave to appeal and set aside the default judgement” of Justice J. Ventose that was handed down on October 28, 2019.
In this landmark ruling, the Chief Justice strongly condemns the application by Grant and Powell as negligent, reckless, futile and a complete waste of the Court’s time when she stated, on page 2 paragraph  of the ruling that “we refused the application to extend time for applying for leave to appeal, which in effect rendered the rolled-up applications for leave to appeal and a stay, otiose.”
With such a decisive ruling, Grant and Powell, have used their final lifeline to set aside the damning ruling of Justice J. Ventose. He found them to be liable of “Breach of Trust”, “Breach of their Fiduciary Duty” and for “Misappropriation of Monies belonging to the Claimant”, Mr. Tanzania Tobin Tanzil, in the amount of “US$460,000.00” or EC$1.2 million.
Given the gravity of the decision, all Courts across the Commonwealth Caribbean have already condemned these actions. In a sense, this ruling should provide a compelling reason for both guilty men to resign from public office.
Grant and Powell however, continue to disrespect the people of St. Kitts and Nevis. They defy national and regional norms demanding integrity in public office by continuing to parade themselves shamelessly in public office as Parliamentarians.
The July 6, 2020 ruling casts a dark cloud over the opening of the National Assembly of St. Kitts and Nevis. This is due to take place tomorrow, Wednesday, July 8, 2020. During the first sitting of Parliament Grant and Powell are due to take the Oath/Affirmation of Allegiance of Members.
June 28, 2020
The battle to determine the will of the people is just beginning. War has been declared to save the democracy of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“Elections and the right to a free and fair voting process constitute, perhaps, the most important elements in the conception and practice of liberal democracy. We are not conceding.” These are the fighting words of Dr. Denzil Douglas, Political Leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, Ms. Marcella Liburd, Deputy Political Leader, Dr. Terrance Drew, Party Chairman, Mr. Konris Maynard, Steve Wrensford, Leon Natta-Nelson, Kenneth “Kenny” Douglas and the rest of the Labour Party membership, supporters and friends.
After careful and thorough examination of the election data, eyewitness accounts from residents and citizens as well as reports collected from Inside and Outside Agents which monitored the voting process, the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party is challenging the legitimacy of the People’s Labour Party’s (PLP) and People’s Action Movement’s (PAM) election and return results. Its investigation has uncovered shocking evidence alleging that the outcome of the June 5, 2020 election was greatly influenced by extensive corruption linked to a massive “land-for-votes” scheme in addition to substantial and significant electoral irregularities, breaches of the Electoral Office (without the intervention of the Electoral Commission) and bribery.
It was discovered, through eye-witness accounts, that in the weeks leading up to the General Election, the Ministry of Sustainable Development distributed over six hundred (600) parcels of land, with some persons receiving the same parcel or land, and with the expressed agreement that they must vote for the PAM’s/PLP’s candidates within specific constituencies. Very few individuals from the relevant government ministries were involved in this “land-for-vote” scheme. Applications and approvals were fraudulently derived as they did not go through the ordinary government process or administrative teams. In many cases, voters received their land approval letters either from the candidate themselves, or their campaign offices.
Some voters were given lands that were already owned by persons with houses on them, and others were given lands through developments that were created within two weeks of Election Day, without going through any procedure for establishment or approval.
Surveyors were seen surveying land lots even on Election Day. Hundreds of lots were given out in Sandy Point, where the Labour Party’s Ambassador Kenneth ‘Kenny’ Douglas contested the seat.
Of the appropriately 600 lots that were given out, at least 350 were distributed in the weeks and days leading up to the General Election across all the constituencies.
In the case of St. Christopher Three, a total of 113 persons appeared contrary to election laws. Many were added on the 2020 Voter’s Register in January and May of 2020.
Of that amount, the names of at least forty (40) persons were added to the list used for the General Election.
Also, at least 40 of these hidden additions were registrants originating from the Dominican Republic who live in Constituencies Number One and Two, but voted in Constituency Number Three. Some of these registrants obtained their citizenship in 2020, and some were not qualified to vote.
Even more chilling and egregious is the fact that Labour Party Candidate Konris Maynard had objected to those new registrants who appeared on the January 2020 list, but those objections were intentionally not given a hearing.
These alarming irregularities and activities undermine the political and democratic will of the people which is the sole authority that gives legitimacy to any government. It is not surprising that Mr. Maynard’s opponent won by 89 votes when the list was manipulated to illegally add 113 names of PLP’s supporters.
Election-rigging tactics were unleashed in a dramatic fashion. In Constituency Number Eight, which was contested by SKNLP candidate, Dr. Terrance Drew, over 50 names of Labour Party supporters were removed from the voter’s list in 2020 without due process.
Four (4) PAM voters were permitted to vote without their names being on the list. These too were objected to by Dr. Drew’s agent which was ignored and not recorded as required by law. They were allowed to vote against the law.
With the State of Emergency and lockdowns, the Labour Party was prohibited from uncovering these irregularities. However, when these dishonest tactics were exposed following Nomination Day, the Electoral Office was closed. This prevented persons from resolving their election issues and left with very little time to go to court to challenge the unlawful removal and transfer of names.
Individuals, who were not qualified or previously removed from the Poverty Alleviation Program (PAP), were added and given a lump sum retroactive payment in some cases dating from December 2019. These were only done after speaking to the candidates or the campaign team, where voters were told that their names would be added to the PAP list, only if they promised to vote for the PAM/PLP’s candidates.
As a result of that, it has been discovered that some voters now received three government’s grant payments: PAP, STEP and Pay-for-Peace.
A disgruntled and upset electorate began to reveal the claims made above when most discovered that they were sorely deceived and tricked into electing a corrupt and incompetent government.
Ultimately, alleged bribery, intentional electoral dishonesty and rigging strategies have distorted, watered down and influenced the true will of the people. While election fraud takes on a wide variety of forms, they cancel modern democracy, which was so valiantly and sacrificially fought for by our forebears, such as the Rt. Sir Robert L. Bradshaw and others.
The people of St. Kitts and Nevis deserve better. They deserve a fair and free democratic country. They deserve a new election where the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party can fairly compete on a level playing field.
June 1, 2020
“I have examined all the persons available and I think that the Leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party is the best person to lead the country at this time and in all circumstances, especially post-COVID-19 and taking the country forward”. These words, uttered by H.E. Sam Condor, former Deputy Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, capture the main theme of a homecoming and reconciliation event organized by the NextGen SKN Labour Party on Sunday, May 31, 2020.
During this interview, Dr. Denzil Douglas, flanked by Condor and Mr. Dwyer Astaphan, also a former Minister in the previous Douglas-led administration, engaged in a frank and candid discussion about the process towards healing of the relationship among long-time friends after a period of painful separation. “Lessons are learnt when friendships are broken. When friendship is repaired, there is no limit to what good can come from it,” said Douglas. “Reconciliation is important to the Labour Party, in order to assist it in healing…The concept of NextGen speaks to inclusiveness, as much as being modern, visionary and futuristic. We could not seriously advance all these things unless we went through this period of reconciliation and renewal …If the Party is to regain its former strength and glory, we must make sure that the factors which led to its weakening situation must be looked at and corrected. It is about building from where we were to where we need to be in the future. This is critical,” exclaimed the veteran political leader when asked why reconciliation was so important at this time.
This message of reconciliation at this stage is quite significant in the run up to one of the most controversial elections that has been faced in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, which is taking place in an atmosphere of intimidation and subterfuge perpetrated by the very person that both Condor and Astaphan broke ranks with the Labour Party to support.
“This decision [to support Dr. Denzil Douglas] was not a difficult decision to make…The miscreancy, the bad governance of Team Unity have helped to make reconciliation all the more easier…I do not believe that Harris or anyone in that group can shepherd us through the difficulties that will come…I don’t think that Team Unity has anywhere near the capability and commitment…I think that Harris has failed miserably…He is not interested in a good governance agenda. He is only interested in self-indulgence and self-advancement and that of his close friends. At this time when the people really need the help and the guidance and the country needs to be structured [Harris] neither has the inclination, nor the ability to carry us there…Based on its trajectory, Team Unity, once re-elected will be a massive endangerment to the best interest of this country…Another five years will only add fuel to the mismanagement and corruption that is taking place,” Astaphan explained emphatically.
“Team Unity had a wonderful opportunity in 2015 and COVID-19 also presented an opportunity and they failed on both counts. They do not have the kind of leadership that our country needs at this time…Looking at the Manifesto and hearing the Labour Party candidates speak, the Labour Party is convinced that the governance agenda is critical…You are not hearing that, not even as an intent from the present government to address the questions of good governance,” said Ambassador Condor.
Douglas in his closing remarks seized the moment to extend the olive branch of forgiveness and reconciliation to all supporters who broke ranks. “Let us all come back together, Labour is open. Let us all do it together and in one accord, find the new good,” he concluded.
June 1, 2020
On Sunday May 31, 2020, Dr. Denzil Douglas and the NextGEN SKN team assembled an impressive fleet of vehicles that snaked through the island of St. Kitts for miles.
Supporters, well-wishers and their families lined the main road jumping, waving, dancing and chanting.
The public showcase of support began at Frigate Bay and ended up at Buckley’s after spending five hours on the road.
The LABOUR train of over 2,000 cars, buses, trucks and mini vans drove through each constituency with candidates accompanied by lively music sharing their vision and plans for their constituency and the Federation.
It was a festive atmosphere filled with excitement and revelry as Labour Party’s supporters displayed their solidarity. Most bystanders were full of joy while others were surprised. One on-looker commented that “Labour is going to take this one”.
A first-time voter told the crowd gathered that she is at home not working after finishing secondary school with seven subjects. “NextGEN! NextGEN!” she shouted. “There is no doubt that there is a wind of change blowing through the land. We red up the place today. The jubilation is real. The enthusiasm is alive. We have them,” she said.
A police officer indicated that the motorcade was relatively peaceful and that “for the most part supporters were calm, respectful and doing their thing.”
All the supporters declared that they have a positive view of Dr. Denzil Douglas and the NextGEN SKN team whom they are confident will bring prosperity, housing, jobs and business to the country.
“This is no small affair. See the size and scope? It is a big deal. Some people felt that with the public health concerns still in the air, supporters would have been afraid to brave the motorcade. Not so,” said Dr. Terrance Drew, SKNLP Candidate for Constituency #8.
If the motorcade itself could be used as a barometer for the voting strength of Party supporters and the desire for change, then the Labour Party train is certainly heading, full steam, towards a victory on Election Day.
May 29, 2020
In a further attack on the democratic interests of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, outgoing Prime Minister, Dr. Timothy Harris has revoked an earlier invitation to the Organisation of American States (OAS) to send an election observer mission to St. Kitts and Nevis.
This abhorrent development was brought to the attention of the Political Leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party in a letter from the OAS Secretary General in response to a letter that was sent by the Labour Party to that Organisation on Sunday, May 24, 2020.
In its letter to the Organisation of American States, the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party expressed its “most ardent disquiet” regarding recent actions taken by Dr. Harris to use the cover of the COVID-19 pandemic to achieve an unfair political advantage in the upcoming general election. These included, among others, the announcement of the dissolution of the National Assembly more than 24 hours after coming into effect; the imposition of a six-month State of Emergency just prior to the announcement of general elections as well as well-founded concerns about the management of the Electoral Office.
In the highest appreciation of the Organization of American States as the standard-bearer in election observation, Dr. Denzil Douglas expressed his “hope” along with the Executive and supporters of the St Kitts and Nevis Labour Party “that the OAS will be actively observing the 2020 elections in St Kitts and Nevis. Consequently, and in that hope, I look forward to an opportunity to discuss the issues raised herein with such a mission, and to being afforded the space to amplify and support the points outlined.”
In response to the Party’s May 24th correspondence the OAS Secretary-General, H.E. Luise Almagro confirmed, in a letter dated May 28th, that he had accepted a May 19th invitation by Dr. Harris for the OAS to deploy an Electoral Observation Mission to the June 5,2020 General Elections. According to the Secretary-General, “the team of observers, which is currently observing the post-electoral phase in Suriname, was expected to travel to St. Kitts and Nevis. Funding for the mission had been secured and the team had been cleared of COVID-19 after the team had been repeatedly tested in Suriname”. Following his May 20th response, the Secretary-General was informed by the government on May 27th that “following the establishment of a 14-day quarantine, it would not be feasible for the observer mission to travel to St. Kitts and Nevis.”
Harris’ disinvitation of the OAS Observer Mission was done under the pretense of the need for COVID-19 quarantine protocols, but Almagro said in his letter to Dr. Douglas that “OAS/GS regrets that a practical solution was not put in place like was the case in Suriname to allow our observers to deploy, but is respectful of the sovereign decision.”
“I am very, very concerned that something sinister is being planned. The electorate, citizens and residents, civil society, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and friendly countries of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis must be informed of this latest development in the saga of the outgoing Harris administration’s attempts to hold on to power in the face of a sure defeat at the polls on June 5th ,” said Dr. Douglas.
“This is further vindication of our court action to bring an end to the unconstitutional State of Emergency as evidence mounts that it is being used by Harris for an evil purpose and to give the administration an unfair advantage in the upcoming elections”, Dr. Douglas added.
May 28, 2020
The urgent Court case brought by the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party to the High Court on May 22 and 27, 2020 through its representatives the Hon. Konris Maynard, the Hon. Marcella Liburd and the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas against the Attorney General and ZIZ Broadcasting Corporation, was heard today, May 28, 2020 at 9 am. The constitutional challenge which was served yesterday, is seeking an injunction on the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and the ZIZ Broadcasting Corporation for infringements of the rights and liberties of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, its candidates and supporters and the people of St. Kitts and Nevis in general.
Mr. Sylvester Anthony, Counsel for the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party clarified what took place during the popular “Voices” programme on WINN FM 098.9 FM where he expressed his alarm and concern.
“During the two hour deliberations, the lawyers of the Attorney General sought to have the matter of the hearing adjourned until Tuesday and the judge indicated that he would hear the matter today and that he would not adjourn it to Tuesday. However, when he returned judge recused himself and the matter has now been set before another judge for 10 am tomorrow,” he elaborated.
Mr. Anthony took the opportunity to dispel some of the myths that have been circulating on social media and in social commentary that the Labour Party’s case is seeking an injunction against the State of Emergency or the upcoming election.
“This application is not an injunction on the State of Emergency or an injunction on the Election. It is an injunction asserting that the State of Emergency should end because it is being used in a manner that is discriminatory; that the regulations are disproportionate and are not necessary at this point for the managing of the COVID-19 pandemic based on the medical and scientific evidence that the government itself has advanced. That’s what this case is about,” said Mr. Anthony.
“[The case is also] about ZIZ Corporation, a state-owned media house not ensuring that all political voices are heard. It is not about getting “free-time” on ZIZ, it is about getting equal time … It is about ensuring that the activities of Opposition Parties are covered in the news and current affairs programming of the state-owned media … So this case is not about injuncting the Election. It is not about injuncting the State of Emergency. It is not about opening the borders for planes to land. This is about ensuring that the Government does not continue to use the COVID-19 Regulations to give itself an advantage in a political campaign and to suppress the voices of the Opposition and the supporters of the Opposition. That’s what this case is about,” the Senior Counsel explained further.
The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party awaits the 10 am hearing and is determined to vigorously defend its claim that the government, in an abuse of its power, is using the COVID-19 as a cover to give themselves an advantage in a political campaign and to suppress the voices of the Opposition and the supporters of the Opposition.
Official Statement on Dissolution of Parliament by the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas Political Leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party May 13, 2020
My fellow citizens and residents,
The NextGen SKN Labour Party is very pleased that the outgoing Timothy Harris has finally decided to follow the constitutional mandate and has announced the proroguing of the National Assembly of St. Kitts and Nevis. I find it absolutely disgraceful, despicable and downright disrespectful that Mr. Harris would make his broadcast at 7 pm on Wednesday evening more than 24 hours after he claimed that the dissolution became effective. This sneaky and reckless behavior raises the question in the psyche of the nation, “what else is Harris hiding?”
This announcement has been long overdue. The five-year deadline since the last general elections has passed since February 15, 2020. Despite the many attempts by this regime to find loopholes to go around the Constitution, the loops cannot and will not hold. Today, the Constitution of St. Christopher and Nevis has spoken loudly, with authority and with finality. The Constitution will speak again on August 11, 2020 when the final curtain will come down on this deceptive and miscreant regime.
I am ever thankful that the Constitution is the Supreme Authority of our land and provides the necessary checks and balances that would frustrate any scheming by despots to perpetuate their time in power. For a government that has spoken so boastfully about its prospects for winning, the fact that it has allowed itself to lose the element of surprise and to let the clock run out on its term in office, speaks volumes. The writing is on the wall, and the government is mortally afraid of going back to the people.
Today, the Constitution has spoken!
The RULE OF LAW has prevailed here in St. Kitts and Nevis!
Today, the people of our beloved Federation can cease to be anxious and look forward to the future with excitement knowing that Hope and Help is on the horizon!
Come that bright Election Day morning the WILL OF THE PEOPLE of SHALL prevail in this our blessed land!
The last five years have not been easy for our people. Rampant corruption, nepotism and victimization have left many languishing on the margins of the national prosperity agenda. The Harris-led administration has had one focus and one focus only, which is to abuse the power afforded to them by the state to enrich themselves and their families; strip away at our systems of transparency and accountability and to secure for themselves an unfair political advantage by suppressing opposition voices. Scandal after international scandal has diminished the esteemed Office of the Prime Minister and tainted the image of our country regionally and internationally.
The Harris administration has had all the time and money that was needed to implement progressive policies and projects that would stimulate growth in our economy, enhance the wellbeing of our people and improve the quality of life of every man, woman and child. Instead, they have squandered all opportunities at every turn. All across our Federation, there is a palpable sense that we are a nation in decline and we are moving in the wrong direction.
Now, when the our nation is facing one of the worst public health crises the world has seen in over a century, this neglectful, incompetent and uncaring government continues to fail our people. The public health response has been erratic and haphazard with no commitment to mass testing that would effectively contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Yet the pandemic has been used as a cover to justify what is really the political decision to impose a six month State-of-Emergency in order to limit the freedom of movement of our people and grant the security forces broad powers of discretion and arrest far beyond what is necessary to successfully cope with its public health impacts. To restrict those freedoms at the most important time for such in a Democracy is a despotic act. Yes, by passing that resolution, Harris, just like despots in other parts of the world, has decided that we will have an election during a State of Emergency.
The mismanagement of the public health crisis has been compounded by the government’s failure to implement a comprehensive and holistic plan to deal with the economic fallout of the crisis. The forecast for Caribbean economies is bleak. The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean has predicted that the effects of COVID-19 will cause the biggest recession that the region has suffered since 1914 and 1930. Specifically, the International Monetary Fund has projected that the ripple effects of the Global Health Crisis will cause GDP growth in St. Kitts and Nevis to contract by 8.1%.
Given that the pandemic began to shut down global travel as early as December 2019 and the belated closure in St. Kitts and Nevis on March 25, 2020, the Travel and Tourism industry has been especially hard hit. The economic crisis it has spurred has disrupted the lives of our people indiscriminately and has had a devastating impact on every business, large and small, and every worker regardless of which sector they are in. As a result, thousands have lost their jobs, lost income or are receiving no income at all. Countless others have been thrown into the breadline as a result of an inadequate government stimulus plan that has yet to put ONE DOLLAR into the hands of the people who need it the most. Our elderly and pensioners, the working poor and those who struggle to make a daily living in the informal economy have been left to drown with no social net to save them.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the many fault lines that could severely and permanently compromise/cripple the sustainable development of our country if swift action is not taken immediately. Loss of jobs and slower economic activity could push more people into poverty. Our health care system, which was already under unimaginable strain, may not be able to support the general health and wellness of the population if a second wave of COVID-19 cases were to arise. While all schools have closed and lessons have moved online, inequities and inequalities in education will be exacerbated due to unequal digital access and access to laptops and computers by teachers and students, a result facilitated by the government’s suspension of the One-to-One Laptop programme.
Just as it has exposed the fault lines in our sustainable development, the COVID-19 has also exposed the considerable weaknesses and ineptitude of the Harris-led coalition administration. The national COVID-19 Emergency Response has excluded more people than it has included, and has been devoid of the human empathy, altruism and compassion that would truly impact lives.
This is a very, very serious crisis and there is need for serious, focused and courageous leadership if our country is to adeptly navigate its worst effects and successfully bridge to better days. It is for this reason and more that the upcoming general election is critical now, more than ever. Decision 2020 represents one of the most important decisions on leadership that our nation has ever faced since 1993. This COVID-19 imperative brings into serious perspective the vital need for a date for the election to be announced as soon as possible following the dissolution of Parliament.
Setting a date for the election as early as possible is absolutely vital in order for the relevant authorities to effectively plan for an election day scenario that makes it possible for all registered citizens to exercise their franchise and for the voting process to be conducted in keeping with the social distancing and sanitization protocols required by this crisis. Best practices around the world testify that that in order to ensure that elections are conducted in a manner that is free, fair and inclusive of all voters – whether they are quarantined or not; whether they are sick or not – a national Plan of Action must be put in place as far in advance as possible. To delay the setting of a date for the election is to put lives at risk and to erect barriers to the exercise of the democratic rights of the citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis.
The pathway to eradicating the COVID-19 from our shores and reducing and mitigating the negative fallout of its economic impacts will be very, very challenging. It is therefore mandatory that the economic aftermath of the COVID-19 be managed by a Government that has full powers in order to execute a long-term strategy for economic recovery. St. Kitts and Nevis cannot afford to deal with the impending economic recession without a legitimate, competent and compassionate Government in place, one that can commit one hundred per cent to putting our economy back on track and getting our people back to work in the shortest timeframe possible. St. Kitts and Nevis cannot afford to have the attention of the Government to be split, or worse, wholly focused on securing its political interest in the upcoming general elections.
Our people must come first over politics! Therefore the sooner the general elections are dispensed with, the better for our people. In places where the right leader has put in place the right policies, the people suffer less. The time has come to put an END to the suffering of our people!
The NextGen SKN Labour Party has been preparing itself over the last five years for such a time as this. We have the track record in astute crisis management and we have already devised a plan to find a strategic pathway to take our country safely and successfully through this crisis. We have already established an Economic Recovery Advisory Council that will advise our Party as to the various approaches that can be taken to ensure that our economy is restored to global competitiveness and that our people and businesses not only survive, but also thrive in the new post-COVID environment.
WE in the NextGen SKN Labour Party are confident that what is best for St. Kitts and Nevis lies on the other side of this crisis and we are determined to find and hold-on to the COVID-silver lining. Similarly, the people of St. Kitts and Nevis can rest assured that Hope, Opportunity and Relief are on the way with the NextGen SKN Labour Party!
WE will use the help and good will of the international community to revolutionize our public health and primary health care systems.
WE will attract new partnerships and investment in order to diversify our economy to take advantage of the opportunities created by this global crisis.
WE will achieve a better normal for our workers that is flexible, fair and future-ready.
WE will build multidimensional resilience in our people by empowering them to create intergenerational wealth.
WE will provide competent, creative, innovative, inclusive and accountable leadership that will restore St. Kitts and Nevis to its pride-of-place as a regional leader and success story.
WE will make St. Kitts NUMBER ONE AGAIN!
As the general election approaches I want to remind our people that the fate of our country literally lays at your index finger-tip. Do not give up your power and use your power wisely!
I know that our people are excited about the future. They are anxious to exercise their voting rights. They are dead set on choosing the right leadership and the right team, with the best hands on experience to manage this public health crisis and lead them with proven success through the tough economic times that lie ahead!
VOTE LABOUR if you want to make St. Kitts and Nevis FIRST again!
VOTE LABOUR if you want to harvest your dreams and secure a prosperous future for yourselves, your families and future generations!
As I speak I KNOW that the national mood for a wind of change IS UNSTOPPABLE!
I thank you!
LABOUR DAY ADDRESS TO THE NATION by the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas Political Leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party
My Fellow Citizens and Residents,
Happy Labour Day!
Today is a Labour Day like no other. The onset of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has changed so much about life as we know it here in St. Kitts and Nevis. Along with the public health crisis it has engendered, this pandemic has also brought with it a forced economic recession that may be the worst our nation has ever experienced since its Independence in 1983.
In just four short months this pandemic has dramatically changed the way we live and work in our society: from quarantines to 24-hour lockdowns; to home-based work; to remote learning; to physical distancing; and to cancelled entertainment and sporting events. Of all these effects, the worst has been the very serious impact and the toll that this crisis has taken on our nation’s workers.
The closure of all ports-of-entry and disruptions in global supply chains have had a devastating impact on our nation’s economy. So many have become unemployed or are receiving no work as a result – from those who are directly connected to our travel and tourism industry such as our hotel workers, taxi drivers, hair-braiders and other hospitality service providers to those young women working in the manufacturing sector. There are also those self-employed in the formal and informal economy as lawyers and event planners, entertainers and DJs, private pre-school teachers, athletes, landscapers, bartenders, barbers and hairdressers. All across the spectrum of our workforce, our people are hurting.
Many in the hotel industry have not received wages and salaries for over two months. Others in the manufacturing sector and non-essential businesses are working on severely reduced hours that can barely meet the daily costs of feeding, clothing and housing their families. Many of our self-employed service providers and small business men and women have seen their sources of income dry up completely.
Today on this Labour Day 2020, our thoughts, prayers and support go out to Workers all across the nation.
Special prayers go out to our healthcare and frontline workers in particular and those who perform essential services. These are our doctors, nurses, hospital orderlies, cleaners and EMT staff, our bank clerks, our customs, SCASPA and immigration officers, police officers and defense force soldiers, sanitation officers, utility and maintenance service providers, our parks and beaches clean-up crews, supermarket staff, small farmers, fisherfolk and the hundreds of others who risk their lives daily to ensure that the basic health, economic, environmental and social rhythms of our country continue seamlessly and harmoniously.
Our country on a regular basis, owes all of you a debt we can never repay, but especially so during this COVID-19 pandemic.
You, our workers, are the true heroes of our nation. It is upon your shoulders that the cross of this pandemic is being borne. This notwithstanding, the COVID-19 has also illuminated the true value of the work that they do and the critical role that our workers play as the ladder upon which our economy will begin to climb again to its previous heights.
Today I want our workers to know that the NextGen SKN St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, which was nurtured from the bosom of the Labour Movement, knows and sees the value of our workers. Today, all across the nation our people are marching-in-place, they are marching “whey dey be” in celebration of our workers!
YOU are truly the heroes of our great Federation as we battle for our survival and YOU deserve that Medal of Honour and Excellence!
So today, I pledge to you, as the Political Leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party that, under a NextGen SKN, what you have sown in tears, by the hand of a neglectful, incompetent and uncaring government, you will, one day very, very soon, reap in joy!
We have heard your cries and appeals for assistance!
I give you the assurance that our Party has the plans and ideas that will put our people back to work as swiftly as possible. It is for this very reason that we have established an Economic Recovery Advisory Council that will guide our country back to global competitiveness in the shortest time possible.Our Party in government will also ensure that our workers are compensated for the risks that they have taken during this crisis and for the inordinate burden that they are bearing.
We will introduce new policies and measures that will prepare for a better post-COVID future. And how will we do this?
We shall do so by ensuring that:
Firstly, the environment for our workers is FLEXIBLE enough for workers to thrive, as businesses and industries are disrupted. To this end, we shall
- introduce flexi-hours for civil servants;
- provide financial assistance through a form of Unemployment Insurance provided by a revamped Severance Fund;
- provide loans and grants to small businesses to preserve employment and help them stay afloat;
- provide temporary payroll and other forms of support to allow small businesses to recover and assist large companies experiencing economic difficulties to fully re-engage workers who have been laid off or who have had their hours shortened.
Secondly, the environment must be FAIR enough through a phased increase in the Minimum Wage taking into consideration the interests of both workers and employers. We shall also increase salaries and wages for our Public Servants in anticipation of the boom in productivity as our people return to work with fresh energy and enhanced credentials.
Thirdly, the environment must be FUTURE-READY enough by providing support to entrepreneurs who create jobs while investing in our people and local companies and small businesses through training and incentives that will boost their confidence to seize opportunities, take risks and innovate.
Our NextGen SKN Labour Party will ensure that the 2020 Global Health Crisis marks a positive turning point in the progress towards shaping a better normal for our workers. Today, our Party stands in solidarity and cooperation with our workers. Together we will build a future of work that tackles the injustices that this pandemic has highlighted and that will respond to the challenges of climate, digital and demographic changes.
Before I close, I want to pause a moment to honour the fallen heroes of not only the Labour Movement, but also those who are our National Heroes and Independence National Honorees and Awardees who worked tirelessly to bring dignity, honour and fairness to workers and our nationals generally here in our Federation. It is to their unwavering dedication and perseverance that the struggle for better working conditions, compensation and dignity for our people were won! It was by their sacrifice that our workers and employees in general, achieved Severance Pay, Minimum Wage, 8-hour work day and 40-hour work week in both the public and private sectors.
It is also through their activism, that the dreams and aspirations of a downtrodden people were taken into the political arena, and through the exercise of legislative power were able to create the changes that led to the humanization, social and economic advancement and prosperity of our people.It is because of these stalwart leaders and others that the NextGenSKN Labour Party can stand today, 87 years later, and declare that St. Kitts and Nevis is the House that LABOUR built!
Our Party has been behind of, in front of and a part of every major economic and social policy that has revolutionized our country! We have the track record of crisis management that has steered the Ship of State successfully through turbulent waters time and time again. So rest assured, the NextGenSKN Labour Party will successfully navigate our country through the worst effects of this present challenge. WE SHALL ensure that our great Federation will emerge on the other side of this crisis STRONGER AND BETTER THAN EVER! We have done it before and we shall DO IT AGAIN!
Today, let us join hands in solidarity with Workers all across the nation knowing that our country cannot rebuild and recover without the hard work of our workers. Before we can reap the reward there must be Labour. In order to harvest our dreams, our people must ELECT LABOUR!
Today, let us March-in-place, “March whey you be”, MARCH ONWARDS to VICTORY! ONWARDS to the joyous daybreak of a prosperous future filled with Hope, Opportunity and Success for ALL Our People!
In spite of the State of Emergency, Happy Labour Day!
In spite of the State of Emergency, LONG LIVE the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party!
In spite of the State of Emergency, LONG LIVE the St. Kitts-Nevis Trades and Labour Union!
Address By the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L Douglas, Political Leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party In Observance Of World Press Freedom Day, May 3, 2020
Fellow Citizens and Residents,
Today, 3rd May 2020 is World Press Freedom Day and on behalf of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, I take this opportunity to renew my party’s commitment to press freedom, not only in St. Kitts and Nevis but throughout our Caribbean region and the world at large.
World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendations of UNESCO’s General Conference. Since then, May 3, the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day.
The theme of this year’s celebrations is “Journalism without Fear or Favour” and the United Nations informs us that May 3 acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom. It is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics. It is an opportunity to:
Celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom;
Assess the state of press freedom throughout the world;
Defend the media from attacks on their independence; and
Pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said “As the (COVID-19) pandemic spreads, it has also given rise to a second pandemic of misinformation, from harmful health advice to wild conspiracy theories. The press provides the antidote (which is) verified, scientific, fact-based news and analysis.”
Here in St. Kitts and Nevis, as in December 1993, we live in an environment where the government of the day continues to attack freedom of the press and freedom of access to the press using many machinations and other means of suppression. Dissenting views are not tolerated and are routinely denounced as fake news, whilst pronouncements in favour of the government, however fictitious, are promoted as fact.
We have seen this before. Many will recall that in December 1993, the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party was fighting an ongoing battle for press freedom with the government of the day. The Labour Spokesman was routinely attacked, the printery was set on fire and even a notice board attached to Masses House was taken down by the police. Our party was denied access to ZIZ Radio and Television whilst on the other hand, the government shut down all other channels whenever the Prime Minister made a television address to the nation.
When the Labour Party was returned to power in 1995, only two radio stations, one television station and three newspapers existed in St. Kitts and Nevis. They were ZIZ, VON Radio, The Labour Spokesman, The Democrat and the St. Kitts-Nevis Observer. Under my leadership, strong promotion, and belief in press freedom, that number rose to three newspapers and at least eight radio stations. When we left office in 2015, in addition to the three newspapers and ZIZ, there were VON Radio, Freedom FM, KYSS FM, WINN FM, Dominion Radio, Sugar City FM, Radio St. Kitts-Nevis and SKN Vibes, along with a host on online media entities.
Our record on press freedom is therefore quite clear and it is an enviable one that speaks for itself. Today, the government’s actions against the press speaks volumes. Prime Minister Harris has even gone so far as to take Freedom FM to court over what most people reportedly believe to be a politically motivated attack on free speech. Using fake social media profiles,the Harris government and its agents have also launched vicious attacks against female journalists with whom they disagree. And, as in 1993, our party is granted very limited access to the national media whilst the government abuses its power by regularly using ZIZ as its political campaign propaganda tool.
I want to remind our citizens that a free press is one of the strong pillars upon which any democracy is built and the absence of press freedom is one of the first steps toward dictatorship.
As the time to make choices draws near, I urge you to let the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party’s demonstration of respect for Journalism without Fear or Favour, freedom of speech and freedom in general, be one of the issues that guides you to make the right decision.
I wish all our media personnel a very happy and productive World Press Freedom Day 2020.