By: T.C. Phipps-Benjamin
For the past three years, the people of the federation of St. Kitts and Nevis have agitated for change.
On Tuesday February 17, 2015, that thrust for change became a reality. The people of St. Kitts and Nevis spoke loudly at the polls by electing a new coalition government dubbed Team Unity. The collective opposition, comprising the PAM, PLP and CCM parties swept the Denzil L. Douglas lead SKNLP government out of office securing 7 of the 11 parliamentary seats. The Labour Party won 3 seats while their sister party NRP on Nevis won only 1.
As far back as December of 2012, a collective show of opposition parliamentarians that became known as Team Unity, was the tell tale sign that confidence in the leadership of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party was fast waning. History records the political downward spiral the federation took as the Team Unity alliance was met with stubborn opposition because of their firm condemnation of the land for debt swap.
Once Team Unity was officially launched in 2013, the groundswell of support for their bold initiative against the Denzil Douglas led government was an indication of the people’s confidence in them. Despite the calculated delay of the MONC by Denzil Douglas, Team Unity’s momentum continued to build resoundingly.
The issues on which the collective opposition parties campaigned were many but they were the everyday apparent issues that impacted ordinary citizens. The need for equality and fairness was paramount to the people and the powers that be seemed not to value the wishes of the people. Team Unity candidates listened.
The people continued in earnest to protest a myriad of issues including the extremely high VAT, the unreasonable increases in electricity, the unbearably high costs of electricity, the swapping of prime lands, the blatant attempts to stifle the leadership of the NIA, the high incidence of crime, the abuse of the SIDF, the illicit sale of passports, the BHS debacle, lack of transparency and integrity, concerted efforts to frustrate the will of the people and much more.
On the night of the general elections when ballots were expected to be safely transported and counted, the process was grossly compromised.
Shortly after 4 am the day after the elections, Supervisor of Elections Mr. Wingrove George relayed information to the listening public via ZIZ radio that election results would be indefinitely halted as there were discrepancies that needed to be addressed. George further advised that an explanation would be forthcoming in a subsequent announcement. By that time, information was circulating in the public domain that Team Unity was ahead. Unofficially, it seemed a new day had dawned in the federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. By mid-morning on Tuesday February 17, it was clear; a brand new government would soon be installed in the federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, bringing to an end the 20-year old leadership of Denzil L. Douglas and his Administration.
In Basseterre, throngs of people cheered as party leaders emerged from the balcony of Team Unity Headquarters on Tuesday, February 15, 2015. Prime Minister elect Dr. Timothy Harris showered heartfelt expressions of “thank you’s” on ALL of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis who made Team Unity and ultimately a new government a reality. He reminded all that the arduous and long fought for victory belongs to the people and assured listeners of his government’s commitment to the people. He expressed how humbled he has been by the overwhelming show of support of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis and reaffirmed his commitment to serving ALL the people in a new Team Unity administration.
Several of Dr. Harris’s colleagues including Eugene Hamilton, Lindsay Grant, Vernon Connor, Sam Condor, Ian Patches Liburd and Dwyer Astaphan offered brief remarks expressing love and appreciation for the people. Thousands also caught a glimpse of the cast of dedicated workers intimately involved in making Team Unity a huge 21st century success.
The delay of official election results was openly condemned by Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent. Meanwhile, a letter from civil society was forwarded to Mr. George demanding he immediately disclose official election results in keeping with the tenets of democracy in the federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. The election results were finally officially disclosed by the Supervisor of elections, long past the midday hour.
Forming a brand spanking new Team Unity government are Ian “Patches” Liburd of constituency 1, Lindsay F. Grant, constituency 4, Shawn K. Richards, constituency 5, Dr. Timothy S. Harris, constituency 7, Eugene A. Hamilton, constituency 8, Mark A. G. Brantley, constituency 9, and Vance W. Amory, constituency 10. Candidates Sam T. Condor, Jonel Powell, Vernon Connor and Alexis Jeffers will likely serve in various capacities to ensure the success of a Team Unity government.
It is official; the people of the federation of St. Kitts and Nevis rejected the Dr. Denzil L. Douglas led Labour Party government replacing them with a Team Unity government led by Dr. Timothy S. Harris.
For one day, the nation paused!
The long fight for democracy in the small nation of St. Kitts and Nevis has always been about the people. A Team Unity government has been chosen by the people of the federation. It is now their duty to ensure the tenets of good governance prevails.
The people have spoken overwhelmingly and now Team Unity must be ready to serve ALL the people of the great nation of St. Kitts and Nevis.