The Concerned Citizens Movement took to the halls of the Nevis Performance Art Center to officially introduce Mark Brantley as the new leader of the CCM. And he paid tribute to outgoing head Vance Amory, likening him to Nelson Mandela is that he was voluntarily turning over the leadership while still alive and kicking,
Brantley will take over for Vance Amory, who has been at the helm of the party for 30 years, since its inception in 1987. This exchange of leaders is a historic one for the Federation, as CCM officials said it will be the first time a leadership role has been relinquished will the current premier is still in power.
According to CCM officials, every other leader on St. Kitts and Nevis has stayed in control until re-election was impossible or death took them away from their seat, and Amory’s decision allows the CCM to ensure a smooth transition between eras.
Brantley likened Amory’s decision to that of Nelson Mandela and PJ Patterson, who both also passed on leadership while still able to be in control.
“You are witnessing a leader in government at the very height of his power both locally and Federally stepping aside to allow another a chance to lead,” Brantley said. “Vance Amory is leaving the leadership of the CCM because he understands that organizations must constantly be allowed to renew and grow. In so doing, this giant Vance Amory has few parallels in the region and the world.”
Brantley took to the stage to end the night’s proceedings to accept his new role as the leader of the movement. “I have made many speeches in my life but none as important or as humbling as this one,” Brantley said.
Beginning in this way emphasized how much he wants to be in the position he now finds himself. Just three-months-ago Brantley was in New York delivering a speech to world at the United Nations general assembly.
“I intend to lead with humility and to seek Gods face and his guidance,” Brantley said. “In my prayers I will not ask for riches or for power or even for long life. Nay, I shall like King Solomon of old ask for wisdom. From Moses to Joshua, Nevis is getting ever stronger.”
The theme of ‘from Moses to Joshua’ was echoed by multiple officials during their addresses at the convention hall. Brantley compared their transition to that of the transition of power in the old testament, as Moses began the journey but Joshua was selected to take over when the time came.
Brantley then spoke of his own beginnings, explaining his road to education and political achievement. He acknowledged his impoverished upbringings and thanked those who helped him get to where he is today, speaking of family, friends and teachers who gave him the opportunity to succeed. He listed his scholastic achievements, and noted that with each accomplishment there was a person or persons who gave him the financial support to make them happen.
“To this day I know a tin has seven small sausages because the six of us would get 1 each and the children would fight each other for a piece of the last one,” Brantley said. “I say all this to say that I stand proudly here today as a living testament to how lives can be transformed and young people empowered through the help of others who dared to care.” After his acknowledgments and explaining his path to the podium, Brantley then turned to focus on the task at hand. Brantley has claimed his seat at the head of the CCM, but that seat means nothing if the Movement is voted out of office in the coming election.
“Let us therefore leave this Convention and prepare ourselves for the elections,” Brantley concluded. “When the call comes we want you to be ready. The big blue bell is already at Long Point in Customs. It will now be cleared and placed in the hands of our beloved Premier. When you hear ting a-ling a-ling it will be time to go.”