About two years ago, three former candidates of the People’s Action Movement, namely Roy Fleming, Bernard Welsh, and I, took the very serious and bold decision to form a new political party in the federation of St. Kitts and Nevis called the National Integrity Party (NIP). The National Integrity Party was born out of the anti-corruption movement in PAM following the Marriott Bribery Scandal in which the disgraced former leader of PAM, was caught on video negotiating a bribe to sell 200 acres of prime government land to a purported foreign investor in exchange for US$1.7 million dollars which was to be sent to offshore accounts.
Since then, the National Integrity Party has made an indelible mark on the political landscape of our country by helping to educate the populace and change the very divisive political culture that has continued to threaten our national development. The National Integrity Party has been at the vanguard of the struggle for integrity in public life, a position which we are extremely proud of.
The National Integrity Party has also been championing the cause for responsible opposition in an attempt to change the political mindset of opposition parties who are bent on destroying the country just to gain political power. We believe that opposition parties have a very important role to play in our parliamentary democracy, particularly the keeping of the government in check through constructive criticism, but such a role should not be sacrificed on the altar of political expedience and a mad rush for power. We also believe it is imperative that citizens not only hold ministers of government accountable for their actions but citizens must also scrutinize opposition parties and demand the highest levels of integrity.
History has shown that when a political party abandons its own principles in order to gain power at any cost, that political party ends up lost in the political wilderness. It is for that reason why the National Integrity Party has remained steadfast in its principles and core values of honesty, trust, and integrity in spite of the vicious personal attacks against its leadership by members of PAM, PLP, and CCM.
Political developments during the past few months have created an atmosphere of tension and uncertainty as a result of electoral dramas being played out in our courts between the government and the coalition of opposition parties. At each step of the way, both sides have claimed victory. We believe that political disputes should be settled by the people because only the people should have the power to appoint or remove a leader or government.
The National Integrity Party has been a sideline observer in this entire drama and has learned much from it. We support the position of other international and regional bodies that the constituency boundaries should be realigned. Therefore, the recent judicial maneuverings have only served to further divide our people.
Over the past two years, the National Integrity Party has been accused of being a spoiler in the upcoming general elections by trying to attract votes from the major political parties in St. Kitts. Nothing is further from the truth. No political party has a monopoly on voters. Each political party has the right to vie for votes. The National Integrity Party has therefore been campaigning on a platform of new ideas which seek to provide a new alternative on our political landscape. The National Integrity Party is eternally grateful for the support we have received and for this we express our heartfelt thanks.
Today, 6th February 2015, is Nomination Day for all candidates seeking to contest the February 16th General Elections. After careful consideration and consultation with our supporters, we, the candidates of the National Integrity Party have decided not to contest these elections. Therefore, we have advised the Supervisor of Elections that we would not be seeking nomination today. We do so in an effort to bring a sense of calm to the charged political atmosphere that presently exists.
The leadership of the National Integrity Party fully understands the obvious disappointment of our supporters and for this we sincerely apologize. In moving forward, the National Integrity Party will continue to be the voice of reason in our federation as we provide a responsible alternative government. We believe that a political party which practices responsible opposition will also demonstrate responsible behaviour when it gets into government.
The National Integrity Party expects that the civility of our people will be at its highest level during this election period. We therefore call on all political parties to refrain from creating an atmosphere which is not conducive to our traditional values of love and respect for others. We urge all voters to refrain from committing acts of violence but to exercise their franchise as it is their constitutional right so to do. This nation belongs to all of us regardless of which political party wins the elections. Let us continue to build our nation for posterity.
May God bless us all.