Cabinet Minister breaks silence: Reports that Condor and Harris boycotted several attempts to resolve impasse

Minister of Health, Community and Social Development, Culture and Gender Affairs, Hon. Marcella Liburd at the Cabinet Press Briefing last week.

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, FEBRUARY 13TH 2013 (CUOPM) – The single female member of the governing St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party Cabinet has broken her silence and has disclosed that several attempts had been made to resolve the impasse between Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas and his former Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Sam Condor and former Senior Minister Dr. The Hon. Timothy Harris, but both Condor and Harris “refused to show up.”

“I know several attempts have been made to have this thing resolved before it reached here and as far as I know every time the two Ministers involved have refused to show up. So it is not for want of trying on our part; every time (I don’t want to call other people’s name now, I’ll do it with their permission, if they allow me to) but several persons were used to mediate, agreed to mediate. In many instances they (Condor and Harris) agreed with who the mediator should be and then they don’t show up. So where do you go from there,” said Minister of Health, Community and Social Development, Culture and Gender Affairs, the Hon. Marcella Liburd.

She rejected any charges that the dismissal of Dr. Harris and the resignation of Mr. Condor from the Cabinet has plunged the twin-island Federation into a crisis.

“I don’t think that we have a crisis. I hear people talk about crisis all the time. What I think we have is a situation where there are definitely persons who want to be in charge, without following the rules because like everywhere else, there are rules to be followed. For example if you want to be the Leader of the Labour Party (I could only speak for the Labour Party), we have well established rules. We have our conference every year and anyone can run for any post including the leader of the Party. And so if someone to become the Leader of the Party, then you run to be the Leader of the Party,” Ms. Liburd explained.

She added: “There are persons who want to be the Leader, but don’t want to follow the rules, and so they try some other way. That is the way is see it.”

Asked Tuesday by “Issues” host Juni Liburd on Freedom 106.5 FM if the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party has a mechanism for other persons to take over the leadership of the 80-year-old Party, Ms. Liburd said:

“Yes. The Labour Party provides for that. How long you are there depends not so much on the time frame, but on your ability to produce at the end of the day and that goes for anything, politics is no exception. You could be there two years and be there too long, because the point is, you are not really productive, you are not really producing. So how long you are there has a lot to do with your ability to produce, your ability to ensure that whatever organization you are heading is going in the right direction. So it is not just a question of time and like I said, time for one person seems to be here but, time for other people that seem to be okay,” said Minister Liburd.

Members of the Cabinet at the Press Briefing last week.

Responding to another question, Ms. Liburd recalled the recent Press Conference by members of the Cabinet when objected to her former Colleagues referring to until-now-silent members of Cabinet as “yes-men.”

“Sometimes some people talk about respect. Yet they don’t think it’s disrespectful to be calling people ‘yes men’. They think that the only people who are right are those who think a particular way. If you oppose them, then you are ‘yes men’. That is the thinking. So we don’t have any right to our views. There’s no respect for us because they claim that we are just been carried along as ‘yes people’. But we made the point at that Press Conference that the reason why we remained silent was that we didn’t think it was right to be out in the media having this big to-ing and fro-ing between people in the same cabinet. That was our position. And so we took the decision to not go out and respond publicly to a lot of these things that were being said.”

Strongly of the view that the matter could have been resolved, Ms. Liburd recalled the annual Conference of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party in May last year when there was a strong move to remove both Ministers Condor and Harris from the posts they held in the Labour Party.

“There was a strong move from the people to do that and after much consultation and much pleading by the Chairman, Minister Harris, a lot of people who were adamant that this can’t go on, we pleaded with them not to push to have these two members removed because we wanted to have the unity going forward,” she recalled.

Both Condor and Harris in separate statements to the Conference pledged loyalty to the Party Leader, the Party Leadership, the Party and Government, but have since broken from decisions of the Party and Government.

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