Vows life will be better under a Unity government At a massive inaugural Unity Partnership meeting Thursday night PLP Leader Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris was announced as the group’s leader. The meeting, held at Greenlands Park, was labeled by the Opposition as “historic”; having representatives from three different parties on one stage- CCM, PLP and PAM. All the candidates were dressed in white shirts and ties depicting the colors of the national flag. Only Hon. Vance Amory was not present, having been in the UK since this past weekend, and thus unable to make it. He did however send a message pledging his support to the Unity movement. The first Prime Minister of St. Kitts-Nevis Rt. Hon. Dr. Kennedy Simmonds sent a video message endorsing the Unity coalition. All of the candidates – Hon. Alexis Jeffers, Ian “Patches”Liburd, Lindsay Grant, Jonel Powell, Hon. Shawn Richards, Hon. Eugene Hamilton, Hon. Sam Condor and Hon. Mark Brantley- made brief presentations which were well received by the large and boisterous crowd. PAM’s Cyndie Demming read a message from the party’s candidate slated to run in Constituency #6, whom she identified only as “Mr. V”. When the Hon. Brantley announced Dr. Harris as the “next Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis”, there was widespread cheering and jubilation. It took Dr. Harris several minutes to shake hands and hug the many persons who rushed to the stage. Dr. Harris, former Cabinet Minister under the Denzil Douglas SKN Labour-Administration, said he was honored to have the distinction of being the leader of the Unity group. He thanked his Unity colleagues and well-wishers for their support. “I want to thank the thousands of you who have been praying, who have been giving support of all kind to this effort. We are better together and together we are better because unity is strength and I see a Unity government in place at the time of the next elections,”he said. He said Unity would form the next government despite any effort at boundary manipulation and other ‘tricks”on the part of the Prime Minister. “Even if they twist up the boundaries, they gerrymander the boundaries, they can’t get six seats; no matter if they go so, or dey go so, or dey go up there or down there, it is out with this Douglas Party,”he said. Dr. Harris, who holds a Ph.D degree in Accounting, said under a Unity government permanent employment opportunities would replace the government’s temporary work program PEP. He also vowed that they wouldremove the 17% VAT from food, medicine, agriculture and funeral expenses. “We forced the illegal government to recognize that thousands of people are out of work and rather than taking time to look at fundamental weaknesses in the economy and restructure it, the outgoing government gives us lies, excuses and chases butterflies over dangerous waterfalls and so we get nothing new. Same old politics of tricks for an election rather than policies that will change the country for the good of the nation. Rather than help the poor, this lame duck illegal government has pressured the poor with 17% VAT on food, medicine, agriculture; VAT us in life and in death,”he told the audience. The PLP Leader also pledged that under a unity government the SELF program will be restructured to be a genuine fund to assist the poor and needy with their education and learning. Their number one priority if elected into government would be jump-starting the local economy, Dr. Harris said. “Our number one priority will be getting our economy to work again. St. Kitts and Nevis has had negative growth year after year. Negative growth means less money in your pockets, less business for your hairdressing salons, your barbershops and your supermarkets. It means less money in circulation and your businesses suffering from bad credit, insolvency and eventually bankruptcy. That is why so many small businesses have closed. The economy is bad. Unity will put our country back to work. We will have a tourism plan, not a tourism after-thought. We will be proactive with our plan, not reactive.”He laid out other plans for a unity government including giving support to a strategy for expanding the manufacturing sector, make energy more affordable for people, make life better with full time high paying jobs, imposing term limits for Prime Ministers, balance budget legislation, depoliticization of the security forces, restructure the SIDF for greater transparency and accountability to Parliament, put an end to victimization, give fuller autonomy and the federal government’s fullest to the Nevis Island Administration, and bring electoral and Constitutional reform. “We will set our country to work on key economic drivers – Tourism, Agriculture, Financial Services and Alternative Energy. We will fix it with a carefully thought out plan that will grow the medical and education segments of tourism while working on leisure, and cultural tourism. “I see our country in the next few years growing at a decent pace, providing decent jobs for our people. I see a country properly managing its debt. I see a country where our citizens and residents are able to own a plot of land easily. In that regard, we note the tragedy and travesty of 1200 acres of land being taken from the people and we pledge to revisit the Vesting of Certain Lands Act to ensure that priority is given to our citizens and residents in land ownership,’said Dr. Harris. “Yes we can have a country built on the pillars of fairness, justice, equity, transparency, good governance and prosperity,”Dr. Harris vowed.