Our Readers' Opinions
August 16, 2013

Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace wrote to Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves on August 5, concerning the political impasse in St Kitts and Nevis between the Dr Denzil Douglas-led Government and the Opposition.

Fri Aug 16, 2013

From Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace to Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves

Leader of the Opposition St. Vincent and the Grenadines Honourable Arnhim U. Eustace, MP, BSc. MA. Econ.

Democrat House Murray’s Road PO Box 1300 Kingstown St. Vincent W.I. 0100 Tel: 1 (784) 451 2845/456 2114 Fax: 1 (784) 456 2456 Email: ndpinsvg@gmail.com www.facebook.com/NewDemocraticParty

August 5, 2013

Dear Prime Minster,

As you are aware, it was Keats who penned the following words: “My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains.” These words aptly describe the way I feel as I examine the unfolding political travesty in St. Kitts and Nevis, made worse still by the deafening silence of Caribbean leaders in reply.{{more}}

I refer to the refusal of the Speaker of the House of Assembly and the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis to table for debate a No-Confidence Motion brought by Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition in Parliament. This has been the situation since the 11th December, 2012, a period of some eight (8) months.

It is of no mean significance that of the eleven (11) elected representatives in the House of Assembly, six (6) now constitute the Opposition and therefore the arithmetical and constitutional majority for the purposes of a Vote of No-Confidence. Consequently, there exists a greater than remote prospect of the Motion passing. I am informed that against this backdrop, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Denzil Douglas, is taking action to present a Boundaries Commission report.

This state of affairs is patently unacceptable.

Are the Governments of our region unable to intervene collectively in this issue, fearful that any intervention will be construed as an interference in the internal affairs of another state? This I reject. We are a region – the CARICOM region. The unambiguous trajectory of our movement is not simply a single economic space but a single political space too. We are viewed by our people and internationally as a region, a democratic region with a strong parliamentary tradition. For the purposes of foreign trade and investment, we are seen as one. What then happens to our credibility as a region?

Do we ignore the voices of a majority of elected Members of Parliament and therefore perhaps a majority of Kittitians they represent? Do we ignore too the Chamber of Commerce, and the other civil society stakeholders I am informed have demonstrated their grave concern about the parliamentary stand-off?

A few days ago, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas, with much fanfare and camaraderie. The white elephant in the resplendent hall was the St. Kitts and Nevis situation.

At the sub-regional level, we now have an OECS Parliament as we seek to deepen our integration movement – a goal we have so often lauded. Are we now willing to sacrifice on the altar of political expediency so much of what we believe and tout?

Mr Prime Minister, you will no doubt remember the Grand Beach Accord of 2000, the result of the intervention of CARICOM leaders to resolve a Vincentian political impasse. That intervention cut in half the life of the Mitchell Administration. And you, Prime Minister, then the Leader of the Opposition, were its prime beneficiary. Given your own experience in this regard, it is incumbent upon you and the other CARICOM heads of Government to intervene so as to broker a resolution to the Kittitian parliamentary deadlock. I leave it to you as Prime Minister of a CARICOM member state that was the recipient of such regional intervention, to issue this call to regional heads.

I shall today call upon other CARICOM Opposition Leaders and regional NGOs to let their voices be heard on this matter.

Yours Respectfully,
Arnhim Ulric Eustace
Leader of the Opposition

CC Dr. Hon. Denzil Douglas
Opposition Leaders St. Kitts Nevis
CARICOM Heads and Opposition Leaders
CARICOM Secretary General
OECS Secretary General
Regional media