Basseterre, St. Kitts (CUOPM) — Mounting calls for the Parliamentary Representative for St. Christopher 8, the Hon. Eugene Hamilton, to apologise for insensitive remarks about the people of Nevis.
The latest has come from a constituent of Mr. Hamilton, a candidate in Timothy Harris’ Unity coalition. Hamilton is also criticised for labelling Dr. Terrance Drew “as a Johnny come lately” following a call by Drew for him to apologise.
Mr. Larry Vaughan has labelled Mr. Hamilton’s remarks at the recent 49th Convention of the opposition People’s Action Movement (PAM) as “one of the lowest moments in this political saga was when my representative, Hon. Eugene Hamilton sought to retell story, in a public setting, that for decades had been told privately among Kittitians to the embarrassment of Anguillans. We each know about the stories of the three legged pot, the fish and the block of ice, the cheese moon, the high clothes lines and the moon on stick.”
Mr. Vaughan posted: “We know intimately how these stories spoke offensively of Anguillans as stupid people whose backwardness had not acquainted them with the advancements enjoyed in Basseterre in the pre-Statehood years.
Mr. Hamilton’s recount of such a story in a public forum and his transfer of such an insulting view to Nevisians were in my view both an unfortunate attempt at humour and an inappropriate act of rehashing the history of the disparity in development existed between Basseterre and Charlestown and The Valley that promoted polarisation and rancour.
While, Mr. Hamilton found such an attempt at humour to be appropriate, I am happy that his political opponent, Dr. Drew did take to the airwaves in a principled stand and demanded respect for Nevisians and all people in this federation. I support Dr. Drew’s effort to call on Mr. Hamilton to reconsider the facetious nature of his faux pas and to offer an apology to the proud people of Nevis who were put down by Hamilton’s attempt at humour.
I do think however that Dr. Drew’s passion may have caused him to venture too far when he ask Mr. Hamilton to resign over the matter. I also think the opposing candidate in St. Christopher 8 may have opted to pick a fight, a war of words with Mr. Hamilton, by seeking to apologise for holder of the office to which he seeks to contest. This may have passed Dr. Drew off as an impatient imposter of a most pious order.
Despite all that, I am personally disgusted and insulted by remarks made by my representative Mr. Hamilton in his attempt to counteract the comments and apology made by his opponent. There is no way Mr. Hamilton must think that he can address the young candidate as “Johnny Come Lately” and not in the same token offend the young people of this country who decide to take a principled stand and become engaged in political discourse in this country.
The derogatory term “Johnny Come Lately” questions the experience and/or allegiance of Dr. Drew and any person who challenges Mr. Hamilton and his uncultured comments, by extension.
Mr. Hamilton should be put on notice that every young person will not have the number of years that he, Eugene Hamilton, would have lived on this earth. As youth we would not have had the breadth of experience he would ever claim to have, but each of us, young or old, stand as equals in a democracy. After having achieved the age of 18, each man and woman is of the age of majority. Where the laws of St. Kitts and Nevis certify each of us competent as a voter, no one should seek to look down upon him or her for the reason of age and call him or her “Johnny Come Lately”.
Dr. Drew does not feign to have the experience of his father or grandfather, but comes to the contest committed to give respect to all people. Therefore, any response to his call for his opponent to exhibit this attribute ought not to be met with insult about his age or his experience, because such an insult is a direct affront to all young people and young voters.
On the other hand, I know politicians area slippery kind, and Mr. Hamilton may say that he had never meant to challenge and belittle the characteristic of youth and inexperience in Dr. Drew. If that is so, then it must be that Hamilton is questioning Dr. Drew’s allegiance to the Labour Movement.
This, being the only other possible option to or addition to the first meaning of “Johnny Come Lately”, would be an awful contradiction to Mr. Hamilton’s call for Unity in this country. It reveals to me the working of Mr. Hamilton’s mind. It tells me what his thoughts are of his PLP colleagues who have jointly come lately to the Unity front. I know Ian Patches Liburd once sang on the Labour Stage, will Mr. Hamilton now call him “Ian Come Lately”? I also know that Vance Amory was in neutral back in 1993. Will he today be known as Amory Swing Lately”?
In the political discourse good words are the best words. Insults, like praise are boomerangs. And any address by a politician is like painting a wall with a broad brush in which the meaning applied is both lost and found as a result of the lack of details. Our politicians need to be reminded that they must be positive and principled in everyday and in every way.
When one examines this sordid affair, one sees that Hon. Eugene Hamilton has not exhibited the principle of respect to our Nevisian brethren, to young people, nor to persons of new found allegiance in our democracy. Additionally, as one of the most senior politicians in age, Mr Hamilton refused to show discipline and statesmanship in his words and actions. In all fairness, Dr. Drew has come out of this episode as fresh as the springtime candidate that he promotes himself to be.
I would encourage Mr. Hamilton to consider that his party has supporters who are young and inexperienced. He needs not view them as “Johnny Come Latelys” should they choose to address him on any issue and call him to be accountable and responsible for his actions.
Furthermore, he should be very conscious that his Unity construct is comprised of new political converts both as candidates and supporters, people who must not vote and support more out of convenience that conviction.
Therefore, if Dr. Terrence Drew is a “Johnny Come Lately”, and should his call for respect and decorum be dismissed on this account, it means that Mr. Hamilton is only prepared to accept “latelys” who tow the line and embrace his insults.
That is not good Mr. MP. That is the mark of a tyrant.”