In late 2015 I published a book called “Breaking the Cycle” in which I drew attention to the political tribalism from which our country has suffered since 1967. I also focused on the need for constitutional, governance and electoral reform. I documented the excesses of the Douglas Government up to and including the 2015 general election. I suggested that the result of that election won by Team Unity, a coalition of three political parties, raised hope that the never ending cycle of political tribalism would be broken. I warned however that change was not guaranteed. I wrote the following at the end of the first chapter: “Previous governments quickly fell into the entrenched partisan ways with the leaders consolidating power around themselves and their close associates. Will the new Prime Minister, Timothy Harris and his Team Unity government do the same? The jury is out and the clock is ticking.”
The purpose of this commentary is to reflect on where the country is four and a half years later.
Lindsay Grant, Minister in the Unity administration, said last week that the Unity manifesto on which they were elected in 2015 was “a contract with the people” and that “Unity has delivered on almost everything in the manifesto and more”. I assume he used the word “almost” because Unity has not delivered on their fundamental contract with the people to make government and the electoral system open, transparent and accountable which it is not at present and never has been…
Once again the CBI programme of St. Kitts and Nevis is coming under worldwide negative scrutiny. This time it is not questionable diplomatic passports being dished out without accountability. It is not Iranian nationals being allowed to circumvent international sanctions. It is not about undesirables being whisked through the due diligence process. It is not about the half built eyesores at Frigate Bay and elsewhere on both islands. This time it is sales agents and their principals openly abusing the programme by advertising their investment products and selling them at prices lower than the permitted minimums. Government has issued a strong statement condemning this practice. But it should go further and thoroughly investigate the abuses. After due investigation Government should withdraw the CBI designation and all fiscal incentives granted to any developer who is found to have abused the programme. We will see from the action it takes in the near future how serious Government is in addressing this problem and in maintaining the platinum brand which it claims for the CBI programme….
The issue of the “overseas vote” is a difficult one with arguments on both sides. If we really want to improve democracy in St. Kitts and Nevis this would be the ideal issue to put to a referendum with all political parties agreeing up front a) to respect the decision b) to implement it and… Read More
Yesterday in the Prime Minister’s Press Conference a member of the media said that I gave an opinion on the judgment of the High Court of England in what has become known as the Batman Case involving Peter Virdee and his business colleague. I wish to make it absolutely clear that I have given no formal… Read More
I am not in a position to say whether the allegations made by Virdee against our PM are true or not. Nor did the U.K. Court make that judgment. We will no doubt hear further if and when Virdee is tried on the charges of bribery. We will then hear what other evidence if any… Read More
The basic principle of the rule of law is that no man or woman is above the law. Democracy does not work well without the rule of law. Elections alone don’t constitute democracy. This is an important lesson from the current controversies in the US which has a democratically elected leader who is at loggerheads… Read More
In my first commentary in this series on lessons in democracy from the current controversies over governance in the USA, I focused on the abuse of Facebook and social media in attempts to brainwash voters. I will in this commentary focus on the traditional media. The media is an indispensable element of democracy. No country… Read More
CLW COMMENTARY ON LESSONS IN DEMOCRACY – PDF Through television and other media sources we are exposed on a daily and almost irresistible basis and in very graphic ways to the current controversies in the USA over the challenges to democracy in that country. Perhaps the most fascinating of these controversies involves the use of… Read More
HISTORY & HERITAGE WEEK LECTURE – 23rd FEBRUARY 2017 clw-lecture-23-2-17-3.pdf I am honoured by the invitation of UWI Open Campus to deliver this lecture as part of History & Heritage Week which coincides with the 50th anniversary of the attainment of Associated Statehood by St. Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla on 27th February 1967. History and… Read More