Basseterre, St. Kitts (CUOPM) — Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr Denzil Douglas, who is seeking a fifth consecutive term in office, has signalled that the February 16th general election will be his last at the helm of the ruling St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP).
“I have said to you I will not be here forever, it is during this term we will see succession, we will see the hand-over of the leadership of our party and our Government,” said the 62-year-old leader at the launch of the SKNLP team of candidates.
Dr. Douglas, the longest serving Caribbean Prime Minister, who came to office in 1995, said the “dynamic leadership” of the party and the government would emerge over the coming months.
“Without any water in my mouth, I say, it is the time that is important, this election is different because we shall see leadership change within the party during the next term that you shall give us. It’s a new era for Labour,” said Dr Douglas.
He said the candidates contesting the polls represent a combination of maturity, experience and youth, recalling the struggles of the party over the last 80 years on behalf of the population.
“This is a party that is rooted in history, we will never forget where we have come from. There is only one option in this election, victory for Labour because history is on our side,” he said, adding that the opposition was busy running to the courts to try and stop the election because they are not ready to lead the country.
“This new team will continue the real progress and real change, they will take us into a brighter future,” he said.
Prime Minister Douglas also promised that the socio-economic progress the twin island Federation had enjoyed over the past 20 years would continue into the future under a Labour administration.
He said “Victory for Labour” is the only option that the electorate has in the February 16th 2015 General Election.
“I declare there is only one option in this election. One option ‘Victory for Labour,’ because history is on our side. We have called it at this time because you have seen that the opposition, PAM and PLP are not ready. They are not ready and that is why they are running to the courts begging for time, begging for time, want extra time tell them tonight here in Basseterre that the boss say that time is up long time,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
Presenting the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party candidates to a mammoth crowd, Prime Minister Douglas said the 2015 General Election for the 11 seats in St. Kitts and Nevis is so different from the other polls.
“It is different because of the timing. It is a moment in history where it embraces the history, the political history, the social and economic history of our country. It analyzes it and your team is now ready to move beyond analysis to implementation of strategies and plans to take it to the next level so that 80 years from now, the history would have been written that this team assembled here tonight would have taken St. Kitts and Nevis to the next level for the benefit of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis,” he said.
He noted that the election is called while the Federation is celebrating the 80th anniversary of the Buckley’s Riot when the blood of “our ancestors were shed in Basseterre, St. Johnsons Avenue, shot to death because they dared to challenge the status quo for bettter wages, better housing conditions, better healthcare for themselves and their children and for that they were shot to death.”
“That must never happen again in the history of our country. That’s why, time is important in this election. The timing is important it is history. It is destined that this St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party that led the revolution 80 years ago, now faces another revolution that it must lead as our people take this country to the next level,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
He said the 8 candidates on the Labour Party platform, are the men and women who would do exactly that.
“We must never ever forget as we plan for a better and brighter future. When we rang the bell in Buckley’s, it was not by mistake. It was our date, because it was the anniversary of the founding of our party which was then 3 years old, a party was 3 years old in 1935, having been found in 1932 and led a revolution that spread throughout the whole Caribbean this is a party that is rooted in history and we will never ever forget where we have come from,” Dr. Douglas said.
He said the general election is different as it highlights St. Kitts and Nevis position in its relationship to the rest of the Caribbean and the rest of the world.
“Where do we stand today? #1! We are standing proud and tall and you must never allow yourselves to be dragged down by a government that does not care for the ordinary man, a government that has proven itself for 15 years when only half of the population of this country lived and only half of the communities of this country were given the necessary social support that they needed to advance themselves, never again I say and this team will make sure that it doesn’t happen again,” said the Prime Minister.
He pointed out that the twin-island Federation was punching way above its weight as it has achieved.
“The progress that we have made being conscious of the fact that we must never return to where we have come from, they have come together to make sure that we move forward,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
Meanwhile, speaking on his weekly radio programme, Ask the Prime Minister, Dr Douglas said, “everything that we have in St Kitts and Nevis today, every positive that we see around us, everything outstanding accomplishment that sets us apart from our Caribbean neighbours and the rest of the world is a result of special vision, special focus, special skill, special expertise, special capabilities”.