Monday January 08, 2007
By Corliss Smithen
Leader of the Opposition in the Federal Parliament and former government minister of the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) has reiterated his call for Nevis’ political independence.
In his New Year’s message, Malcolm Guishard opined there could be no meaningful projection for the new year without a review of the politics that binds St. Kitts/Nevis while at the same time has also been a most divisive tool in the unique twin-island Federation.
“It cannot be considered fair to the people of St. Kitts if the people of Nevis influenced their choice of the political party they wish to lead them; neither is it just for the people of Nevis to be subjected to the political machinations of a political party in St. Kitts.“It cannot be considered prudent that the people of St. Kitts go to the polls once every five years to elect a government, while the people of Nevis go to the polls twice. The policies and decisions of the Nevis Island Administration must be stifled when the premier of Nevis is not even a member of the Federal Parliament, when the premier is not in a position to influence any legislation introduced in the Federal Parliament which would ultimately affect the social and or economic development on Nevis.”
He said it was apparent there was a lack of interest on both sides to move forward with the independence of Nevis and the independence of St. Kitts so that these two islands can indeed become a true Federation.
“While my preference is full independence for Nevis, I am aware that the prime minister, the premier of Nevis as well as the leader of the People’s Action Movement have all stated their preference for constitutional reform.
“I, therefore, urge the prime minister and the premier of Nevis to hasten the process whereby the true wishes of the people of St. Kitts/Nevis can be expressed in a referendum…
“With our two islands pursuing their development, independent of partisan coalition across the waters, then treaties of cooperation and friendship will further enhance the existing relationship without either island being disadvantaged,” Guishard said.
Speaking to a number of initiatives that will be undertaken by the political directorate in both St. Kitts and Nevis, Guishard said these undoubtedly would engender employment opportunities and broaden the tourism sector in both of our islands.
“We are told by both leaders that there are hotels and villas to be constructed and new initiatives to be undertaken in agriculture.
“The ICC World Cup and the hosting of the Australian, South African, Scottish and Dutch teams and supporters offer tremendous promotions for our islands, the benefits of which will redound for centuries.
“We can all make the experience worthwhile and memorable and I am certain that the visitors would not short-change the positive promotion of our islands.”
As he reflected on the past year, Guishard recalled a number of positive and negative defining moments that have impacted the lives of Kittitians and Nevisians.
“Like every other citizen or resident of our Federation, I take pride and share in what we have achieved. Nevertheless, lament we must of the increase in crime and violence that is threatening to usurp the gains that we have made and are making as a country.
“Increasing crime and violence is strangling our nation. We must condemn these acts and every effort should be made to apprehend the perpetrators and they must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“I, therefore, encourage our people to become involved in community policing and take back our country to the once acclaimed “most peaceful country in the world”.
“I petition the government to partner with the private sector and civil society to strategise and plan a comprehensive programme that will mitigate increasing crime and violence and restore “our country where peace abounds”.
“There are many who share the view that our country is flirting with decadence and its manifestation is mostly associated with young people…there is the corollary of increasing crime and violence.”
After governing for 14 years, Guishard’s Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) party lost the 10 July, 2006 elections to the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) and said it is now time to grapple
with the serious responsibility of managing the affairs of the island.
“The elections are over. The time for innuendos, misrepresentation and propaganda are over…It is time for us to put the politics behind us and I encourage all of us to be on board as we confront the challenge of continuing to build this beautiful island of ours,” Guishard advised, challenging that the forensic audit, which has been promised, be implemented.
“Our people must be satisfied that no minister, advisor or civil servant embezzled or otherwise personally benefited from any interference with the people’s money. “
He finally called on all to position themselves to surmount the challenges and maximise the use of opportunities.