Arizona shooting has lessons for St. Kitts and Nevis and the Caribbean says Prime Minister Douglas

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas (photo by Erasmus Williams)

ST. KITTS, JANUARY 12TH 2011 (CUOPM) – The recent shooting of Arizona Democrat Gabriella Giffords and the killing of six persons including a U.S. District Judge is relevant to the Caribbean and St. Kitts and Nevis and a reminder that regardless of political persuasion, political opportunism must never be allowed to undermine social stability and political security.

So says St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas during his weekly radio programme “Ask the Prime Minister.”

“Why, you might ask, is what happens thousands of miles away in Arizona relevant to anyone in the Caribbean? More specifically, why is it relevant to us here in St. Kitts and Nevis?” asked Prime Minister Douglas, who said it was relevant “because of what it has to teach us.”

“And just as some elements in our society – unfortunately – seem to gravitate toward the worst aspects of popular culture in some large countries – with their emphasis on gangsta rap and thug culture, so too have some political interests in St. Kitts and Nevis been gravitating toward the worst practices of some political parties in large countries, far away,” said Dr. Douglas in his opening statement.

He told listeners to the one-hour programme that is syndicated on ZIZ Radio, Choice FM (Nevis), Kyss FM, Sugar City Rock, Radio One and Freedom FM, “we must remember that the same political gimmicks and visuals that are dangerous and unhealthy in large countries are dangerous and unhealthy here as well. Many Kittitians and Nevisians have objected to the political use of the visuals of which I speak, and I want to make a point of objecting to them again.”

Dr. Douglas said he was unbending on this issue because democracy is about more than simply voting every five years.

“Voting is, of course, an essential and sacred democratic ritual, to be sure, but how citizens live and behave between elections is also very important. And so, we in St. Kitts and Nevis must be wise enough and mature enough to understand and respect the sanctity of the ballot. We must understand that our overall security and stability are only possible when there are free and fair elections, and when the results of these elections are honoured – until the next election, when the people, once again, determine, for themselves, in whose hands they wish to place the leadership of their country,” said the St. Kitts and Nevis leader whose mandate was renewed for a fourth straight term on January 25th 2010.

“Between elections, as I was saying, is where the hard work lies. It is here that persons of all political stripes must have the self-control to place the good of the nation ahead of personal political advantage. And the raging debate in the United States now reminds us that, regardless of political persuasion, we must never allow political opportunism to contaminate our thinking to such an extent that we recklessly begin to use weapon visuals and symbols in our mass communication efforts – whether to intimidate psychologically, or to undermine economically, because that is a slippery slope from which it is not always easy to return,” said Dr. Douglas.

He said that the combined efforts of the people have created a social and economic environment to which people from nations large and small are flocking.

“We clearly have created something of value, then; something that is precious not only to us, but to others all over the world, as well. This places on us a special responsibility to understand the pillars on which social stability and political security – anywhere in the world – rest. And this places on us an even greater responsibility to ensure that in St. Kitts and Nevis we keep these pillars strong: Impassioned political debate? Strong disagreement? Yes. Personal animus and hatred? No. Concern for the long-term consequences of our decisions? Yes. Concern for “the moment” only? No. Embracing the approaches of our national heroes? Yes. Accepting the dangerous tactics of political parties far away? No,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

He said that America’s debate over the Arizona tragedy is a reminder that the citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis have something of great value.

“We are a Caribbean people, with Caribbean approaches, traditions, and sensibilities. Let us cherish what we have. And let us band together to keep it this way,” said the St. Kitts and Nevis leader.

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