‘Where’s Mine?’ Says Nevis Secession Supporters
The following quote appears in a story about Nevisian secession in today’s issue of The Observer: “Dr. [Everson] Hull cited itemized figures from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) showing that in free grant money from 1973 to 2006 St. Kitts received almost $244 million while in the same time period Nevis got $6,295,212. Broken into percentage it works out to St. Kitts getting 97.5 and Nevis getting 2.5 percent.”
This pattern seems to have continued in recent months. The nation of Taiwan, known formally as the Republic of China, has given generously to the Federation to assist in areas including agriculture, sports and fisheries development. These contributions are deeply appreciated and will assist in the nation as it grows. However, this aid does not seem to make it across the water from St. Kitts to Nevis, where a little help would be much appreciated and it might go a long way toward fostering a stronger political bond between the two islands.
No one should underestimate the bonds of family, history and culture that bring St. Kitts and Nevis together. Politics seem to be an altogether different story.
It would be helpful to pause for a moment and give politics some thought. There are a lot of definitions for democratic politics. Some people say it is the art of people leading people. Others have said it is the worst form of government except for all the others. An American writer once said that all politics could be summed up in two words: “Where’s mine?”
“Where’s mine?” could easily be the rallying cry of all those on Nevis who support secession. Earlier this year, when the Nevis Island Administration asked for more law enforcement support, the initial reaction of the federal government was to raise the issue of the NIA increasing its funding for police actions – though that is supposed to be a federal responsibility. Add to that the lack of sharing of foreign aid funds, “Where’s mine?” might wind up on posters, car bumpers and t-shirts all over Nevis in the near future.
If the Basseterre government does not want to fuel the flames of secession on Nevis, immediate and substantial steps will have to be taken to show the people of Nevis that they are full and valued citizens of the Federation, not second-class residents across the water. Such actions will not be enough if they are only a short-term gambit to cool things down. The government will have to pledge itself to a long-term policy of fair and proportional sharing of all aid or face an uncertain future.
It will be up to the federal government to turn “Where’s mine?” into “Here is something for everyone.”
A brief ode to the Nevis Electricity Company, Ltd.:
Twinkle, twinkle little star
We gaze at you from afar
If NEVLEC did provide your light
Who knows if you’d be seen tonight?