By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 25, 2018 – Acting Director of the Department of Community Development has informed the opposition St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) that it cannot use the community centers in St. Kitts to have discussions on national issues with citizens and residents.
Speaking on the Issues programme on Freedom 106.5 FM, SKNLP chairperson, Hon. Marcella Liburd noted that while in government, the Labour Party administration gave permission at all times to Dr. Timothy Harris’ coalition opposition and the People’s Action Movement (PAM), to use the community centres.
“The present Minister of Community Development, Hon. Eugene Hamilton while in opposition, held his PAM constituency political branch meetings in the Cayon Community Centre, the Conaree Community Centre and the St. Peter’s Community Center,” said Liburd.
“We (Labour Party Government) were of the view that the community must have use of the community centres whether for political, national or social events. We never denied them permission,” said Ms. Liburd, who challenged Mr. Hamilton to publicly deny that he used the community centres while in opposition.
Ms. Liburd said despite several letters applying for permission, there has been no response in writing.
“We have asked them to do so. They have refused to respond in writing,” said Ms. Liburd, who disclosed that Senator Hon. Nigel Carty visited the Department of Community Development and was told by Ms. Ann Wigley that the Minister has issued instructions that the Labour Party cannot have use of the community centres.
Sen. Carty said Ms. Liburd was not specific whether it was Minister Hamilton or the Junior Minister, Sen. the Hon. Wendy Phipps.
She also disclosed that the keys for the community centres in St. Christopher 7 (Ottley’s/Belle Vue), whose parliamentary representative is Prime Minister Harris, are now kept in the Office of the Prime Minister.
As late as 2014, the then opposition Team Unity led by Dr. Harris held a series of meetings and permission was given by the Labour Government to hold meetings on May 6th at the New Town Community Center in East Basseterre, the St. Johnston Community Center in West Basseterre on 9th May, the Edgar Gilbert Sports Complex on May 15th; the Conaree Community Center on June 1st and the Challengers Community Center on June 5th.
It was under the SKNLP administration of the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas that several community centres were constructed with the financial assistance of the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan).