BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, MAY 20TH 2013 (CUOPM) – In a moving, dramatic reminder of the vision, courage, and heroism that sets the history of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party apart from that of all other political parties in St. Kitts and Nevis, National Heroes – Bradshaw, Southwell, and France stepped onto the stage of the packed St. Kitts Marriott Ballroom Sunday, making hearts pound, eyes well, and the souls of 700 Labour members soar.
The occasion was the Labour Party’s 81st Annual Conference. Expressing deep and abiding faith in the leadership of Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, and recounting the triumphs and travails of their beloved Labour Party, these three iconic names expressed strong disagreement with those who seem intent on destroying the Labour Party in order to supposedly “save” it.
The speakers were not Sir Robert Bradshaw, Sir C. A. Paul Southwell, and Sir Joseph Nathaniel France, of course, but Bradshaw’s first-born, Etsu; Southwell’s first-born, Poesy; and France’s second daughter, Prudence.
Lauding Prime Minister Douglas for his wise leadership of the Party for which their fathers gave their lives, they captivated their fellow-Labourites by recounting the mountains their fathers conquered, and praised the Labour Party for its steadfast support of Prime Minister Douglas.
Prudence France reminded the public session of the Conference that even though Bradshaw, Southwell, and France often had clear, strong differences, these differences were dealt with privately because they, the founding fathers of Labour, always understood that the Party “was bigger than any of them.”
Ms. France then went on to warn “If any of you are too young to remember what life was like under the opposition (PAM), believe me – you do not want to know.”
To thunderous applause, Prime Minister Douglas was returned as Leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party unopposed, with Minister Hon. Marcella Liburd being voted in as Party Chairman, and Deputy Prime Minister the Hon. Dr. Earl Asim Martin and Minister Sen. the Hon. Nigel Carty being voted in as Deputy Leader and Deputy Chair, respectively.
With a verbal acuity reminiscent of her late father’s, and with many reaching for Kleenex and handkerchiefs, Etsu Bradshaw-Caines explained, among other things, that even after her father had been Minister of Finance in the West Indies Federation, “he returned home and served as Minister Without Portfolio. He was willing to wait his turn……….They called my father a dictator, too” she said, swinging around to look directly at the Prime Minister.
“But, Denzil Douglas – Mr. Prime Minister – you were elected to lead. I am confident that you know all of these things. You share my father’s name. You know his game – politics. Do not stop! Denzil Llewellyn Douglas, Hold Strain.”
“Hold strain” was Bradshaw’s favorite expression when imploring the people not to give up. They were also his last words at the time of his death, directed on that occasion at his Comrade C.A. Paul Southwell, and witnessed by Etsu.
Sunday’s overflow at the Annual Conference was a dramatic follow-up to Labour’s massive Labour Day march earlier this month, and was a resolute outpouring of support for Party Leader and Prime Minister Douglas.
Reminding the Conference that Labour was created “to make the poor, working class; the working class, middle class; and the middle class, wealthy,” the Prime Minister’s message resonated powerfully with the crowd, many of whom have personally experienced lightning speed intergenerational upward mobility as a direct result of Labour’s historic education and other policies.
Paying homage to the wisdom and vision of his late father, Poesy Southwell urged vigilance regarding those who are now trying to twist and re-define the Labour Party, because those who are not Labour “have no authority to determine who is and is not Labour.”
He discussed the tremendous value of the competence and effectiveness for which Prime Minister Douglas is known beyond our shores and, in a comical but on-point aside, reminded the Conference that two sailors may be in the water counting on a “rescue” boat, but the ship of Labour sails on, fully manned, in great condition, and all hands on deck.