Leading Attorney-at-Law and Queen’s Counsel, Charles Wilkin, makes a fervent plea for the state of St. Kitts and Nevis to break the cycle of tribal politics that has unsettled and hindered the growth and development of the twin-island “federation”.
He uses as his starting point, a detailed description and chronology of the political events between December 2012 and February 2015 – the so-called 26 Month Election – the third major crisis the country would face in its relatively short political history.
The work is descriptive, analytical and prescriptive. The first of its two parts also traces the historical and constitutional developments that resulted in the joining together of St. Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla as a colony of Britain and then an Associated State from which Anguilla was separated by violent revolt. Wilkin contends that it was in these constitutional arrangements that the seeds of distrust and tribal politics were first sown.
In Part Two, the author analyses the detrimental effects of this tradition of tribal politics, which he argues, has been exacerbated by an inadequate constitution that effectively creates an ‘elective dictatorship’. He goes further, however, by providing prescriptions for constitutional change, including term limits for parliamentarians, far-reaching electoral and civil service reforms as well as new laws relating to campaign financing, freedom of information and the governance structures of state institutions.
The resolution of the 26-month election crisis and the lessons learned lead Wilkin to be cautiously optimistic that the new government in place, comprising of a coalition of three parties, will address some of the fundamental changes he suggests as being necessary to create a true democracy for St. Kitts and Nevis.