Written by Andre Huie,
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The strategy of the St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party Opposition is being questioned by political analyst and pollster Peter Wickham.
According to Mr. Wickham, the party and its leader are under the impression that they did not really lose the February 16th General Election and the Team Unity Government will not last for five years.
“The style of opposition suggests to me that the Labour Party is convinced that they did not lose the election, the Labour Party is convinced that they have done nothing wrong, and the Labour Party is convinced that the best way to undo what has been done in the last election, is by keeping the pressure on. Realistically it cannot be sustained for five years,” Wickham told WINN FM in a recent interview.
“I think there is a perception on the part of the Labour Party that this government will not last five years, and if it doesn’t last five years, certainly their strategy is right. If it does last five years, the strategy will burn itself out in short order, and I do feel that a political party that is as old as the Labour Party, the former Prime Minister the Leader of the Opposition, you have some of the more senior Members who are still holding seats in Parliament, says to me that there’s no break with the Old Guard, and that Old Guard has to be careful that it doesn’t burn itself out by repeating the same things it would have said when it was in government.”
In the aftermath of the February 16th General Election, Leader of St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party, Opposition Leader Dr. Denzil Douglas repeatedly accused the Unity coalition of sabotaging chartered flights of Labour Party voters returning to the Federation to vote, and charged that this impacted the outcome of the election. The Party has never presented proof of this claim.
Meantime, Mr. Wickham is suggesting that the future of the leadership of the Labour Party will depend on what happens at the end of the governing term.
“You would also recall before the last election, Dr. Douglas indicated that he was leaving office and that would have been his last term. If it is that he remains in Opposition for this next five years, the questions can reasonably be asked…if that was supposed to be your last term then will you continue for another five years? If your intention was to retire, then what is the benefit of remaining in office for five years and to then run again when the next election is called, because then you would have stayed five years after you time you intended to leave,” Wickham said.
“I think in time, the members of the Party will begin to ask a question whether it is not appropriate that the Leader who has just been defeated should place his leadership…at the disposal of the party…this to me is part of the posture that says, we didn’t actually lose the last election, and if we didn’t lose the last election the Leader has been wronged and it is only appropriate then that the Leader who has been wronged should remain until he can right those wrongs.”
The St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party has accused the Team Unity Administration of victimization, a claim on which Mr. Wickham notes the government has to tread carefully.
“There’s another political reality, which is a slightly more sensitive one, where the Unity Government has to walk a very fine line in relation to respecting peoples’ rights not to be victimized but being wary of the fact that within the government you might very well have individuals who may seek to undo them,” Mr. Wickham said.
“…And while I don’t think that it is wise for any government to be victimizing people, I also think that the Unity Administration has to be very careful that it does not leave people in office who may have a loyalty to someone other than the current government because that would ensure that they don’t make their first year in office, and I think that they would want to move cautiously in that regard to ensure that persons who may want to do them ill, are neutralized significantly.”
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