(Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 18, 2013) With countless Caribbean nationals living abroad, Caribbean Government and opposition leaders must often travel overseas to report on developments at home.
St. Kitts-Nevis has presented a study in contrasts this year, with Prime Minister Denzil Douglas and his team heading to Manchester, New York, and elsewhere, facts and figures very much at the ready; clear as to their purpose, priorities, and accomplishments, while both at home and abroad those attempting to unseat them have been the picture of troubling contradictions and uncertainty.
A Member of Prime Minister Douglas’ Cabinet recently decided that the quickest, least taxing route to becoming Prime Minister would be to offer opposition parties the possibility of a No Confidence Motion against the Government of which he was a part, in exchange for them naming him Prime Minister
This move, however, has left opposition parties mired in confusion and contradictions.
Focusing tenaciously on two matters only – anti-Douglas propaganda, and the Motion of No Confidence as the path to national office, they have had little time to develop priority programs.
And so, in New York, Miami, and elsewhere, they tell their gatherings that they will introduce comprehensive health care – something the Labour Government is already doing.
They disparage the Government’s high-profile skills-training and jobs program at the same time that Euro-zone Heads have declared that this is exactly the type of initiative that Europe must introduce – without delay – in order to stimulate growth and develop the zone’s human capital.
They condemn “slow growth” in the Federation despite their audiences’ awareness that “slow growth” has been the reality in Tanzania, France, Japan, the United States, El Salvador, the United Kingdom, Italy, Pakistan, Spain, and almost every country on earth – including every single Caricom member-state, due to the 5-year global crisis.
They condemn the Citizenship by Investment Program while their opposition candidates who are also lawyers travel overseas offering their services in this program for a fee. They lambast the Sugar Industry Diversification Fund while programs, projects, and institutions led by leading anti-Government figures repeatedly apply to and receive funding from same.
Nationals living abroad who attend the Labour Government’s overseas briefings come to weigh the torrent of opposition propaganda against the facts, figures, and Government presenters before them, and they ask serious, wide-ranging questions.
The sessions last for hours, with Prime Minister Douglas and his team addressing every question and, in the process, stirring the national pride of attendees as they contemplate the governance ethos and capabilities that had to have gone into (i) tiny St. Kitts-Nevis outstripping all OECS member states in manufacturing exports, year after year, in the midst of a global recession; (ii) Silver Reef, Oceans Edge, Marriott Residences, Koi Resorts, Park Hyatt, the Ross University expansion and other foreign investment projects moving forward, while similar projects are faltering across the Caribbean and around the world; (iii) local businesspersons investing tens of millions in Imperial Bay Resorts, Golden Rock Commercial Center, Pelican Bay, and other projects, thereby disproving opposition claims that investor confidence is down; (iv) the Federation’s debt:GDP ratio having been reduced to 135% with a further reduction to under 100% projected for this year; (v) crime having been reduced by more than 50%; (vi) the sense of cohesion and focus fueling the Douglas-led cabinet.
At the same time, overseas nationals must grapple with the fact that there are those who have been demanding that the motion be debated in Parliament immediately. Despite this, they took the matter to court, thereby removing it from parliamentary consideration, as per the St. Kitts-Nevis Constitution.
And there are now reports that they may yet again reverse themselves by withdrawing the matter from the Courts. It was also announced that the opposition parties had agreed to name the former Cabinet Minister (since fired) Prime Minister in a coalition Government.
The (official) Leader of the Opposition has since responded, however, by announcing in Parliament that there has been no such agreement.
Most recently, the former Minister and a colleague have proceeded to form their own political party, of which it was announced the former Minister had been named leader.
The partner in the new political party has informed the media, however, that he is unaware of any such leadership announcement.
Accountability and focus are the defining features of the St. Kitts-Nevis Douglas-led Government. The country’s Federal Cabinet is highly competent, experienced, and prepared – traits that are essential at home, and crucial abroad. The same cannot be said of those who striving to unseat the Labour Party, something long known by those who follow St. Kitts-Nevis Parliamentary proceeding at home, and now equally understood by nationals living abroad.