Written by G. A. Dwyer Astaphan Posted On: Tuesday, 31 January 2012 Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 January 2012
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My friend Sam Condor could be recorded as the Deputy Leader who has been most disrespected by the Leader of both his political Party and Government in the history of St. Kitts & Nevis.We remember that Mr. Michael Powell, the Deputy Leader of the People’s Action Movement and the Deputy Prime Minister of St. Kitts & Nevis, had been unceremoniously kicked out of Government back in the early 1990’s.
And there are interesting observations that can be made of the Powell and the Condor situations.
For example, while the people of St.Kitts & Nevis may have seen Mr. Powell as a maverick, they still aren’t aware of the reason(s), even up to today, for Dr. Simmonds’ treatment of him. Of course, some people will know the reason(s), but the general public can only speculate on the matter.
Mr. Condor, unlike Mr. Powell, isn’t at all seen as a maverick. Indeed, he’s seen as a quiet sufferer in the cause, and as the consummate loyalist, albeit to an entity which today resembles nothing close to the Labour Party.
And while the people may have their doubts and their theories about the Powell situation, they know for sure that Mr. Condor has done absolutely nothing to justify the utter disdain and disrespect that he’s received at the hands of Dr. Douglas for the last sixteen, going on seventeen, years.
Some people argue, however, that the net result of the two situations has been at least the same, because while Dr. Simmonds fired Mr. Powell and sent him home at once, Dr. Douglas also ‘fired’ Mr. Condor, not by sending him home at once, but by marginalizing and disrespecting him, and by stringing him out for nearly seventeen years.
Others go further and say, based on the prolonged agony to which he has been subjected, that Mr. Condor’s ill-treatment has been far worse than Mr. Powell’s.
They all say that Dr. Douglas has been smarter than Dr. Simmonds because he kept Mr. Condor on the platform and in the Cabinet as he embedded himself into a powerful position, and that way he succeeded in preventing major political trauma, while Dr. Simmonds, by his instant dismissal of Mr. Powell, hastened his own political demise.
We all remember that in the elections of 1993, Mr. Powell ran against the PAM Government and won over 300 votes, thereby assuring a victory in East Basseterre for Labour’s candidate, Dr. Asim Martin.
And through it all, Mr. Condor has soldiered on.
But I believe that he’s near, or at, his breaking point.
That episode last year in which he demanded a change of Permanent Secretary, was refused access to ZIZ TV and Radio to make a live, unmonitored broadcast, and ended up losing the Ministry of National Security while the Permanent Secretary, a Douglas surrogate, not only held on to her post but was elevated and appointed as an OECS Commissioner, now addressed as “Her Excellency”, must’ve been the final straw.
Nothing could’ve been more disdainful and disrespectful than that. It was a severe slap in the face of Mr. Condor. Indeed, more like a kick in the teeth.
So how can Mr. Condor in good conscience stand on a political platform with Dr. Douglas in another election, or even on the eve of Labour Day 2012 and tell the people of this country, by his words, or simply by his sharing the platform, that he supports Dr. Douglas as the leader? How can he espouse the virtues of the Labour Movement under a leader who has deliberately pulverized the Movement? How can he tell the people:”Vote for us? We’re a team and a good team. We’re the best team”? How can he do that when he knows that the team of old, and the real Labour Party, have been gutted?
How can he?
What would happen to the people’s love and respect for him? And his legacy?
Together with Mr. Condor and two other persons who had dared to ask hard questions of Dr. Douglas, Dr. Timothy Harris was labeled by Dr. Douglas as a member of “The Gang of Four”.
He too has had problems with Permanent Secretaries, all Douglas surrogates.
After the 2010 general elections, he was ‘put to pasture’ in the Ministry of Agriculture and given the vacuous moniker of “Senior Minister”. And like Mr. Condor, he’s been the target of vicious abuse and vilification from gophers of Dr. Douglas.
Mr. Condor and Dr. Harris are presently the only members of Government who enjoy widespread respect, goodwill and affection in their constituencies and nationally. The only two who, in the present circumstances, and apart from Dr. Douglas, who dares not now try his luck outside of Constituency 6, could retain their seats fairly and squarely.
How can Dr. Timothy Harris in good conscience stand on a political platform with Dr. Denzil Douglas, sending a message to the people (just by his presence on the platform) that he endorses Dr. Douglas as his leader, and still retain the respect and affection of the people of Constituency 7 and the country?
How can he?
Mr. Glen ‘Ghost’ Phillip has already come to realize how tightly he’s manipulated and controlled by Dr. Douglas in terms of getting things done in his Constituency and Ministry.
And he’s now allegedly having his hands full with his Permanent Secretary. He wants someone who is more willing to work with him as Minister. But the Permanent Secretary is also a Douglas surrogate, and Mr. Phillip is now learning that in the world of Dr. Denzil Douglas, the Permanent Secretary is far more important than he is. So he will suffer pretty much the same fate that Mr. Condor and Dr. Harris have suffered.
And if he doesn’t cool down and come to terms with that, he might even be reminded of a thing or two as to how he got there.
This is a defining moment for Mr. Phillip. A moment in which he can step from under Dr. Denzil Douglas’ dark cloud, and become his own man politically.
He could cross the floor of Parliament and proclaim himself an Independent. By doing so, he would hasten the demise of Dr. Douglas and he, Mr. Phillip, would virtually assure himself of a place in the Government following the departure of Dr. Douglas, whether at or before next election.
Why would he want to condemn himself to being a one-term Parliamentarian? What alternative is there for him? To remain in there and continue to be emasculated, marginalized and disrespected? And to sink in infamy with Dr. Douglas?
How can Mr. Glenn ‘Ghost’ Phillip stand on a platform and by word or deed declare his continuing support of Dr. Douglas as his leader? How can he do that and expect to hold on to the seat in Constituency 4, boundary adjustments and shenanigans notwithstanding? How can he do that and expect to truly earn the respect of the people of that Constituency and the country?
How can he?
Ms. Marcella Liburd allegedly has Permanent Secretary problems too. The leadership, for whatever reasons it may proclaim, isn’t altogether pleased with the Permanent Secretary who was hand-picked by Ms. Liburd to administer the areas of Culture, Gender Affairs, etc.
And when, with the departure of Mr. Elvis Newton to another Ministry, the Permanent Secretary post in Health became vacant, a person who was not Ms. Liburd’s first choice was given the job.
I can’t say that that person is a surrogate of Dr. Douglas. In fact, I would very much doubt that. And I won’t for a moment suggest that he isn’t well suited for the job. Instead, I want to believe that he is.
However, it wouldn’t surprise me if his appointment was a signal from Dr. Douglas to Ms. Liburd telling her:”My will, not thy will, be done!”
I can’t advise, or even expect, Ms. Liburd to take a stand, because she’s a committed acolyte of Dr. Douglas, and the notion of being the next Party Leader and Prime Minister has been dangled before her eyes, all being part of the ‘manipulate and marginalize’ game that Dr. Douglas plays with people.
Manipulate Marcella, and marginalize Sam. Manipulate Sotto Voce, and marginalize Tim. Manipulate Ricky, and marginalize ‘Ghost’. And so on.
What will inevitably happen with Ms. Liburd is that if she sticks with Dr. Douglas, she increases her chances of being a one-term Parliamentary representative, again boundary adjustments and shenanigans notwithstanding.
Indeed, while I’m on this matter of boundary adjustments and shenanigans, it’s important to note the festering disaffection among the body politic. And the Nevis election case hasn’t helped to contain this disaffection. People are under severe pressure, they’re hurting badly, the no longer believe much of what Dr. Douglas says, and they simply no longer believe in him.
If members of the Government are aware of all of these things, how can they stand on a platform and declare their support of Dr. Douglas as their leader? How can they do that and expect to have the respect, trust, affection and support of the people of this country? How can they do that and still have a good chance of re-election? And how can they believe that the people will tolerate any more shenanigans?
How can they?
How can they, in this the 80th anniversary of the Labour Party, go along with, indeed yield to, a charlatan who is now trying to make over of himself as the Robert Bradshaw of the 21st century?
How can they allow themselves to be part of this farce and travesty?
How can the elder statesman of the Labour Party, Sir Cuthbert Sebastian, allow this to happen?
How can His Excellency, Mr. Condor, Dr. Harris, Mr. Phillip, Ms. Liburd and Dr. Martin not realize that the people will sooner or later put a stop to the nonsense? And that if displeasure is demonstrated en masse in this country, it will be their fault as much as it is that of Denzil Douglas? And that the brush of history will paint them just as harshly as it will paint him?
How can they?
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