Dougie Strikes Back – Statement in response to Mark Brantley
My Fellow Nationals:
On January 25, 2010, in free and fair internationally observed elections, the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party was democratically chosen by the voters of St. Kitts to lead this nation for the next five years.
Indeed, voters on that day entrusted to Labour an overwhelming 75% of the seats here on St. Kitts. They placed their trust in Labour and they voted for each of the Labour candidates on the basis that they would each become part of a Labour Government and would stand solidly behind Labour throughout the term for which they were elected.
Impartial international financial institutions have repeatedly affirmed the competence with which my Government has managed the economic affairs of our nation. Indeed, the massive reduction in debt and impressive turnaround in our fiscal performance appear miraculous to many and have drawn commendation worldwide. We are now poised to move forward with a progressive agenda for growth and development that would allow us to reap the rewards of the fiscal responsibility that we have displayed in these challenging times. This, at a time when even a casual glance across our region, or around the world, provides frightening reminders of the ravages that the global crisis has been inflicting beyond our shores.
And it is at this moment, My Fellow Nationals, it is in these conditions of global fragility and volatility, that the Leader of the Opposition has chosen to advocate a Motion of No Confidence in the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Let me state at the outset that it is his right, as a member of the St. Kitts-Nevis National Assembly, so to do, just as it is the right of most parliamentarians, in most legislative bodies, anywhere in the world. However, it is also an established fact that the Government of St. Kitts-Nevis has been resolute in our determination to shield our tiny Federation from the economic unraveling that we have observed in so many countries beyond our shores, and this we have been able to do. In light of this, therefore, I question the judgment of the Honorable Member’s proposed motion at this particular moment in world affairs. I cannot help but ask whether he is concerned about its implications, in this interdependent global economy, of his questioning the legitimacy of the duly elected Government of St. Kitts-Nevis, NOT for him as a successful and experienced lawyer, and not for me as a successful and experienced medical doctor, but for the countless Kittitians and Nevisians whose economic well-being depends so greatly on the stability of St. Kitts-Nevis, in the eyes of the international community. A stability that this Labour Government has worked so hard – and with positive results – to create.
My Fellow Nationals: The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party is the oldest, largest, and most competent political party in the history of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Indeed 2012 marks the 80th year of our existence. And we are proud of this achievement.
And over the years, Labour has developed a tremendous store of goodwill: A goodwill born of Labour having delivered the right to vote – for all. The right to free secondary education – for all. The right to dignity in our advanced years via the protections of social security. Dramatically expanded access to university via the unprecedented provision of scholarships and loans. The transformation of thousands of traditionally landless Kittitians into first-time landowners. Thousands of young people and their households being empowered via the technological capabilities to facilitate both academic research as well as access to the e-commerce opportunities around which so much of the world economy now revolves. The rapid expansion of media outlets. The direct and regular questioning of public officials. The quantifiable and extraordinary expansion of homeownership – at historic and utterly unprecedented levels – all across this island…
This is the legacy of Labour.
A legacy of social and economic transformation.
A legacy of competence and dependability, achieved through the support of a professional, committed and hard working public service system.
And it is for the vision, ethos, and competence of Labour that the people of St. Kitts voted so overwhelmingly in 2010.
However, in our 2010 elections, the people of St. Kitts, being of sound mind and clear vision, affirmed their desire to entrust the affairs of state to a Labour Administration. And to this they remain entitled.
There are many in our Federation who long to control the reins of Government. They are not prepared, however, to undertake the difficult work that is required in order to win the broad-based trust of the people, as reflected at the ballot box. This hard work Labour has always undertaken, and this hard work Labour shall continue to embrace both today’s and in the years ahead.
St. Kitts-Nevis is a democracy.
And an overwhelming majority of voters, in 2010, made clear their desire for St. Kitts-Nevis to be led by a Labour Administration.
I wish to make clear today that not only did the voters choose Labour, they also decided NOT to choose other parties that wished to form the Government. Hence, they do not expect that this country’s Labour representatives, therefore, will betray their trust by embracing combinations and permutations of persons the voters did not wish to lead the Government, to do so. Instead, Instead they expect that their Labour Representatives will ensure that, in keeping with the democratically expressed will of the people, the important responsibilities of governance continue to be undertaken and managed, in a spirit of humility and dedication, by Labour.
I believe that this no confidence motion is designed to undermine the confidence and the stimulation that now exist in the economy of St Kitts and Nevis because the motion has the effect of eroding investor confidence in St Kitts and Nevis. As such the leader of the opposition has sought to employ a serious constitutional tool in a very flippant and frivolous manner in order to achieve a narrow political gain.
In any event, I wish to assure our many investors and potential investors, locally and internationally, that we have a long tradition of parliamentary democracy and that every action taken to date is in accordance with the constitutional rights enjoyed by our people and their representatives. I am also confident that, whatever the outcome of the proposed motion, our people will hold tightly to our cherished traditions of peace, stability, respect for the Law, and democracy. Be assured, therefore, that your investment is safe and secure in our progressive country.
I also wish to assure our people that I will do everything in my power to ensure that the Labour Government remains true to the mandate you have given us and that we do not betray your trust. I stand ready to move forward with the expansive programme of growth and development we have unfolded here in our beloved Federation and to discharge my obligation to complete the mandate that you so overwhelmingly and graciously gave us in 2010.
May the Almighty God bless us all.