BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, MAY 7TH 2013 (CUOPM) – Just over 12 hours after St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, issued a call from his party’s political platform Sunday night, for supporters to “fall in,” thousands of persons marched through the streets of Basseterre minutes after heavy rain, thunder and lightning delayed the start of the traditional march by three hours.
“I want to thank you for being here. It has been a glorious day. We give thanks to almighty God, because without God, we would be nothing and Labour is what it is today because of the blessings from Almighty God. Let us give God Three cheers,” Prime Minister Douglas told the mammoth crowd at the Patsy Allers Recreation Ground after the march.
He pointed out that the Party started out about a month ago in preparation for this full confidence march through the streets of Basseterre and what a wonderful four weeks of preparation it was.
“We know that the people support the Labour Party and you know why they support us – the Party and the Government? It is because of trust. It is because of confidence in the leadership of the Labour Party, confidence in the leadership of the government, confidence in the people themselves and that is why today they have come out in their numbers,” said Dr. Douglas, the National Political Leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party.
Pointing to the Party’s proud record, Dr. Douglas noted that it is unmatched in St. Kitts and Nevis.
“The Labour Party and the Labour Movement have been winning elections from since 1939 up until today. One moment in our history, we lost elections. That was in 1980 because the Party became disunited and today I call upon the people of this great Party to remain united. Labour has been good to the people in all of its policies before 1980 and after 1995. The Party in government has been good to the people of this country,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
He said since taking office in July 1995, his government has empowered the ordinary people of the country.
“We have empowered them with building nearly 4,000 houses, while empowering over 16,000 people on the island of St. Kitts which has just about 36,000 people,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who also highlighted several achievements in the areas of information technology, land ownership, job creation, education, health, social and community development.
“I want to make the point that the empowerment continues in education and in job creation. It continues in the distribution of land to our people. Our record is unmatched and when I say it has been a record, the record continues to be added upon because we are not done yet. Tell them we are not done yet, we have much more further to go and we shall overcome and go further,” said Dr. Douglas, who was joined by all members of his cabinet as well as leaders of the sister organisation – the St. Kitts-Nevis Trades and Labour Union.
He said that in preparation of moving forward, the newly-appointed Minister of Labour, the Hon. Patrice Nisbett will soon unveil a new Labour Code.
“When we were being told under the former Minister of Labour (Hon. Sam Condor) that certain things could not be done, three months after we had a new Labour Minister, things are being done. There was a plan by Sam Condor. Where is he today? He has gone hiding from the people. Where are Sam Condor and Timothy Harris? Hiding from the comrades here in this park,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
He said that the employees working in several sectors of the economy will soon benefit from the policies of the government.
“When we were being told that people who are working in the factories, working in homes as domestic servants, and working in shops, bars and restaurants for 10 years and more; and who we said were deserving of a gratuity payment as a result of long service; nothing happen for the last three years that we have been talking to him.
In three months….what was ‘nada’ has now become a fulfilment of our agenda. And so very shortly, you will be told by legislation that every single woman on the industrial estates, who has been there for 15 years or more and who have worked with one for all of her life, you can now move on under Labour, because you will be by law entitled to a gratuity payment and then you can move on to another place of employment, if that is your wish,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
“When we said to him, we needed to have in place a short term unemployment payment benefit for those who have been working and contributing to the Social Security Fund; nothing for years. I had a meeting with the Social Security Director and the Actuary, just a few weeks ago and they said ‘Mr. Prime Minister, we have given no less than two reports to the former Minister Condor at that time and not one word came back to the cabinet’,” said Dr. Douglas, who added:
“I have said I want that done. And I will tell you in just a few weeks when that will be put in place. You’ve worked hard, you’ve made contributions to the Social Security Fund; if you lose your job and you have nothing to pay your bills at least you could be able to go to the fund and get something out of it; that would be done.”
Government will soon implement a National Insurance Scheme.
“You know how much pain and agony families have endured when their love ones coming down with serious illnesses like cancer and other chronic illnesses. They go to the banks, the empty their entire bank account and they still can’t find enough money to pay the medical bills that they have to pay. We said that is nonsense and that must come to an end. That is why today, we say to you that within a matter of weeks, we will be bringing in place the National Health Insurance programme that entitles you and your families to receive adequate financial support to look after your health whether here in St. Kitts and Nevis or abroad,” said Dr. Douglas.
He highlighted that the recently introduced People Empowerment Programme (PEP) has provided opportunities for no less than 1, 600 young and unemployed people attaching them to places of work and in situations.
Prime Minister Douglas also highlighted his government’s lap top programme which saw the distribution of laptops to all high school students and teachers.
“We are a government that prepares our young people for the future. Nothing is too much or too expensive for our young people as long as we know it is going to better their preparations for life. That’s what Labour is about when we talk about empowerment of young people,” said Dr. Douglas.
The Prime Minister appealed to his supporters to keep the party firm and strong.
“From what I see today, nobody can beat Labour but itself. I keep saying that nobody can beat Labour, but Labour Itself. We have gotten rid of those who have tried to disunite us. We now must move forward as one united party and movement. You have a duty and that duty is to make sure that you and your children are registered to vote,” said Dr. Douglas.
“It has been a wonderful march. The Lord has really blessed us. Look at how the Lord has given his works. We did not understand, it but the Lord wanted people to amass in their great numbers and have a march that we’ve never seen before,” said Prime Minister Douglas.