Douglas Says New SKNLP Political Leader Will Embrace, Protect And Strengthen Oldest Political Party In The English-Speaking Caribbean
BASSETERRE, ST KITTS, November 29, 2021 — The election of a new political leader of the 89-year-old St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party on Sunday should be aimed at embracing, protecting, and strengthening the oldest political party in the English-speaking Caribbean and the strongest single political party in the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis, says Rt Hon Dr. Denzil L Douglas in his final message as a national political leader at a national conference at which Dr. Terrance Drew was elected to replace him at the end of his 32 year tenure.
“Today we build on the tremendous work begun by our bold and visionary founders almost 99 years ago.
And today we put in place structures and procedures that, similarly, will serve our great Party for decades to come,” said Dr Douglas who will continue as Leader of the Opposition in the St Kitts and Nevis National Assembly.
He told hundreds of delegates that he was humbled and tremendously honoured to be standing before them “as we transition the leadership of this great Party which I have had the joy and honour to lead for some 32 years. I pause to thank Almighty God. I pause to thank the good people of Constituency 6. And I pause to thank the women and men of this great organisation, who have worked alongside me, assisted me, and supported me as, together, we have not only modernized our great Party but have indeed, transformed the social and economic structure of our beautiful country,” Dr. Douglas said.
He said that the transition from one leader to another is not new in the life of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party. “The 1989 General Elections led to some intense internal debate regarding the issue of leadership, the relationship between the Party and the St Kitts-Nevis Trades & Labour Union. I stepped on the political stage in 1989 inspired by the desire to fill the void created in the leadership of this Party. This Party, which has been the source of strength and upliftment for the tens of thousands whose lives and livelihoods were directly impacted by the ethos of our Party. An ethos captured so powerfully in our motto and mantra: For the Good that We Can Do,” said Dr. Douglas.
He said that in accepting the mantle of leadership, he was determined not only to hold the base of the Party together but to expand, modernize and re-structure the Labour Party into a modern organisation.
“Over time, the leadership of our Party has made fundamental changes to our Party’s Constitution. As a result, today we will not only be electing a new political leader by secret ballot but also two (2) Deputy Leaders; a new National Chairman and three Deputy National Chairpersons; and a National Assistant Secretary. After today, the National Executive will then appoint the National Secretary, the National Treasurer, the Assistant National Treasurer, etc., of administrative leadership of the Party. As delegates today, we will all exercise our democratic rights. We will vote for those candidates who will hold high – and carry forward- the torches that are being passed to them, he added.
He expressed confidence that the hearts and capacities of the three candidates “burn a fire to improve the lives, and protect the interests, of the women, men, and children of this, our special land.”
“We all know the ways in which the transformative agenda of the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party was aborted in 2015 by the incoming administration, but you have my commitment that I will be at the side of whomever we choose today to take our Party – and our nation forward,” said Dr. Douglas.
He said prior to the change of government in 2015, the SKNLP Government which he headed for 20 years “were well on our way to building a bridge between St Kitts and Nevis; to reclaim lands to in order to provide new, valuable and long-lasting jobs for Kittitians and Nevisians; to construct a cross country highway to open up a safer route through both ends of St Kitts and provide better access to good arable lands; to impact, transform, and expand agricultural development as a result of this cross-country highway; to boost our Federation’s foreign exchange earnings in the process and to establish the state-of-the-art hospital which this Federation so urgently needs.”
Outgoing SKNLP chairman, Dr. Terrance Drew was elected national political leader.
Dr. Drew received 184 votes, to Konris Maynard, 153 votes, and Dr. Geoffrey Hanley who garnered 70 votes. Of the 412 votes cast, five were rejected.