Fellow citizens and residents:
This week, on behalf of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, TEAM UNITY’s candidates Lindsay Grant and Jonel Powell moved the High Court to block efforts by the illegitimate Douglas minority administration to deny the people of this country the government of their choice. The High Court is the proper place in a democracy to adjudicate on matters relating to our rights and freedoms. That is why, as law-abiding citizens, we have asked the Court to intervene.
Under St. Kitts and Nevis law, Commonwealth citizens are allowed to vote in elections if they have continuous residence for at least twelve months. TEAM UNITY contends that those regulations exclude Commonwealth citizens who are here on student visas and thus we have asked the Court to make a ruling on this matter. We have also asked the Court to rule on the perennial vexing issue of persons voting in constituencies where they do not reside, in contravention of our election law.
It is not right, nor is it fair, that persons who ordinarily reside in one constituency, say in St. Christopher 6, should in contravention of the law and in violation of common decency and our democracy, be registered to vote in another constituency, say St. Christopher 4, in which they do not ordinarily reside.
TEAM UNITY knows that our people suffered, bled and died to ensure the right to vote. This sacred right is linked to our democracy and should not be used for trickery, at any time by anyone. Justice and fairness are at the core of our democracy and TEAM UNITY will fight every day, any attempt to tear at the fabric of this democracy and any attacks on our fundamental rights and freedoms.
The law is very clear in St. Kitts and Nevis about who should vote and where they should vote. And we believe that there is a preponderance of evidence to support our claim that this illegitimate, minority administration is again attempting to circumvent the people’s decisions and their wishes, through the encouragement of voter fraud.
Let me be very clear. We in TEAM UNITY believe in the right of everyone to vote, as long as our laws are not being broken. We also believe, just as the majority of the people in this country do, that the minority regime will do everything to hold on to power in a wretched effort to prolong its oppressive rule and the reckless policies that have resulted in St. Kitts and Nevis having:
· defaulted on the payment of millions of dollars to its bond holders;
· forced a haircut of at least 50% on its creditors;
· the highest total business tax rate in the Caribbean in 2013;
· the highest unemployment rate in its history;
· the highest youth joblessness in its history;
· the highest level of personal bankruptcy in our recent history;
· the shame of being noted as the country with the second highest Debt-to-GDP ratio in the world;
· an unprecedented 17% VAT introductory rate;
· an exorbitant 85% increase in electricity rates;
· the ignomy of being the country with the highest murder rate in the Caribbean in 2013 and also being reported among the top ten most homicidal countries in the world.
The people of St. Kitts and Nevis are enduring untold hardship and suffering. The minority regime remains in denial. Our young people lose hope daily in their country and its ability to provide for them. Senior citizens lay in bed in our main hospital, having gone for proper care and attention, but sadly and regrettably for them, appropriate medication is not always available.
We call upon people of all parties who believe in justice and fairness and the rule of law, rather than the rule of one man, to stand up against the minority, oppressive leader and his desperate attempts to hold on to power no matter the cost to our beloved country. Now is the time to stand up for our rights and for justice. Now is the time to stand up and to promote and defend our democracy. Our future, the prosperity of all our people and our beloved Federation, depends on our willingness to stand firm against injustice and the threat to freedoms in this country.
I therefore encourage you to join us in TEAM UNITY in this noble fight for justice, for freedom and for democracy.
May God bless you and may God bless the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
I thank you.
Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris, MP
Leader, TEAM UNITY