The Labour legacy

Those of you who have been following the face-book page of the Electoral Office would have noticed results of the Nevis Village Council/NIA have been posted for the period 1961 – 1983. If you have been observant, you would note that in the 1971, 1975 &1979 elections, certain parties did not do very well. In fact in the 1971 elections, NRP won 6 of the 9 Wards; in 1975, there was no voting as all 9 NRP candidates were returned unopposed, and in the 1979 elections, NRP swept all 9 wards, soundly defeating the candidates that were put up by the St Kitts Nevis Labour Party. Labour and its surrogates have never done well in Nevis elections.

In the 1983 elections, NRP was also returned, 5 -0, this time against two Nevisian political parties.

In 1982, NRP, mainly through Hons Simeon Daniel & Ivor Stevens, participated in a Constitutional Conference in London, with representatives of Her Majesty’s United Kingdom Government.  Hon Simeon Daniel presented the case for Nevis.

In that speech, Hon Simeon Daniel made some very interesting points.  He charted the political history of the Trinity of Islands, highlighted that in 1882 Nevis was governed separately to St Kitts. Nevis, after being included as part of the colony of St Kitts Nevis and Anguilla made attempts to secede in 1974 and 1979. Both times, Nevis’ efforts were rebuffed by the British Government, mainly on the grounds that we needed the support of the Colonial Government ( a Labour one), and that we did not have it.

Our efforts at self-determination was rebuffed by Britain because the Labour Government in Basseterre opposed the separation of Nevis from St Kitts, and that support for secession by the colonial Government was a critical step to the consideration of separation.  But yet, the said British Government approved the secession of Ellice Island (now Tuvalu) from the Gilbert and Ellice Islands although they were smaller and poorer than Nevis.  They also approved the separation of Anguilla from St Kitts -Nevis & Anguilla even without the support of the Government seated in Basseterre.  Double Standards?

Then, in 1983, Labour,in Opposition in St Kitts produced its Green Paper and supported Nevis’ separation from St. Kitts. Too little, too late!

Nevis supported the Independence for St. Kitts and Nevis. But in doing so, Hon Daniel talked compromise.  He said “the suggested compromise is that St Kitts and Nevis should go into independence together, but that Nevis should enjoy a wide range of exclusive legislative and executive powers in a Federal relationship with St Kitts and, as I already mentioned, Minister, should be empowered at a future date, to opt for separation from St Kitts should this prove to be the wish of the people of Nevis.”

Where is such statesmanship and compromise today?

For further reading, see Miscellaneous Report  No 2 (1983) that was presented to the [British] Parliament by the Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs.