Douglas Wattley

By LR Liburd

The St. Kitts-Nevis Observer

 Chairman of the People’s Labour Party (PLP), Douglas Wattley has announced his resignation as Chair of the Board of Directors of the State-owned ZIZ Broadcasting Corporation.

This announcement was revealed through a post on Wattley’s Facebook page on Sunday (Jul. 3) in which he said: “Here is a bit of good news for some – on Friday 1st July 2016, I tendered my resignation as Chairperson of the ZBC Board of Directors.”

Wattley’s appointment was made public by Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris in a press statement issued on Friday, May 29, 2015.

Wattley, like former Press Secretary to the Prime Minister, Clecton Phillip, has been very vocal in his support for the tri-party coalition Team Unity and a known critic of the Dr. Denzil Douglas-led Labour Government.

In recent times, however, there seemed to have been a fallout between Wattley and some Government Ministers, particularly PM Harris.

Earlier in this year, Wattley had posted a comment on his Facebook page condemning the statement Dr. Harris made at a press conference when told that an individual had requested audience with him since December last but was denied.

I find this notion about not criticizing the Team Unity Government in Public to be the height of nonsense. So how are they to hear from us? They don’t call us into private sessions. We used to meet regularly before the elections – now we can’t hardly get an audience. And you all well know that I have a lot to say – so if the public square is the only place to air my grievances – so be it. If they don’t change – I don’t change. And I am only going to get louder.”

 He also spoke to being advised by some individuals not to criticise the Government on its performance.

On February 7, 2016, he wrote on his Facebook page: Hey guys! Many Team Unity supporters say to me that I should keep any criticism I have of the Government out of the public square. They argue that if I were to go public with any dissatisfaction I have about the performance or non-performance of the government, I would only achieve what I fought against – putting Denzil Douglas back in office. So my question is – isn’t that the same argument that helped to create the Denzil Douglas we all learned to dislike and kept him in office for twenty years? Tell me then, when is it ok to criticize?”

Seemingly pointing his fingers at the Junior Minister of Health, Senator Wendy Phipps, Wattley reminded in a March 14, 2016 post how it was felt by some people when Dr. Douglas had given power in the Cabinet to a non-elected member.

“You all remember how vex Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris and His Excellency Sam Condor got when they thought that Dr. Denzil Douglas favored and gave more power in the Cabinet to Nigel Carty – to the extent that they both felt dissed? And you all remember how when we were campaigning we said time and again that nobody voted for Carty – and I was one who hammered home that point? Well, let us just say that I feel the same way today. It takes a hell of a lot to run for office in St. Kitts and Nevis and it is an awesome achievement to win at the polls. What I stood for then, I stand for today! Team Unity will not create a Nigel Carty. I rest my case!”

He followed up with a June 24, 2016 post in which he was more direct.

“So whose Ministry is it anyway? I did not vote for no Junior Minister or Minister of State. The Honorable Eugene Hamilton is my Parliamentary Representative. He has to come to the people of Constituency #8 and ask for their vote in a few short years. So will the Junior Minister accompany him? This is Politics 101. I did not vote for you; you cannot, therefore, be vested with more power than the person for whom I voted. Somebody is testing the faith of the people of Constituency #8. Fix it or else! I had enough of this nonsense. “Grand glutinous words and high sounding phrases” will not appease us. So if you want the fight to start now, please let us know!”

 Wattley, a former Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister and who was also Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Communication, Works and Public Utilities during the Labour Party’s tenure in Government, was sympathetic towards the Dr. Patrick Martin’s cause and had accused the Team Unity Government of humiliating and discrediting him as the Federation’s Chief Medical Officer.

“I deplore the apparent efforts of the Government to stain the reputation of a tenured public servant who has served his Country with marked distinction over many years,” he said in a statement on his Facebook page.

He also publicly pledged his support to the retiring CMO.

“He is a good, decent and moral citizen. He has been a highly productive Public Servant and the Country is better because for his service. So I am appalled at the attempts by the Government to discredit, humiliate and diminish the man – Dr. Patrick Martin.”

 In furtherance of his comments on the Dr. Martin’s issue, Wattley hopes “that other fair-minded citizens will stand behind this good man and publicly support him. The Government’s intent and action are wrong-headed.”

While it is public knowledge that he has resigned his position at ZIZ Broadcasting Corporation, many people are asking if he had done the same as Chairman for the People’s Labour Party which was formed by PM Harris and Sam Condor while in opposition.