Last year, I had the experience of my life. I had gone to shop at Valu Mart and was sitting on the bench outside the exit door, catching my breath, while my assistant pushed the loaded cart towards my vehicle. I was alerted By a voice: “Who is this, Washie?” I turned my head to see Sydney Morris standing over me. I said “Hello Sydney, how you doing?” As he peered to recognize me, I joked that both of us seemed to have the same disability to see at close range. We briefly discussed our common problem, the available treatment and the expense, and then, to my utter surprise, Sydney Morris sat down beside me. I was near the edge of the bench and so had to make room for him. Even as I edged away to give him room, his knees touched mine and I unconsciously adjusted my knees to make space between us. Then I quickly realized what I was doing and readjusted my knee. That knee-jerk reaction to Sydney Morris resulted from the triple surprise of meeting face to face with an old enemy, talking with him amicably and having him share a seat in a public setting. It was an awesome moment but there was more to come. We moved smoothly from our talk about our ailments to something which Sydney wanted to talk to me about. I had called his name earlier in the week on radio as I discussed the curse of political victimization which has afflicted our small population for the past four decades. It started under the direction of the Labour Party’s newest fiend the late Clarence Fitzroy Bryant. Bryant joined the Labour Party in the early 1960s in time to fill the parliamentary seat made vacant By Bradshaw’s firing of Egbert Kelly, who represented St. Peter’s and St. Mary’s Parishes. Throughout his political career, Bradshaw always recognized his educational limitations. Although the coaching he had received from the great Matthew Sebastian, and his correspondence courses from the Bennett College, had made him uniquely eloquent, he was ever mindful that he had only an elementary education and he always respectfully sought the company of educated people. When he became leader of the Labour Movement in the early 1940s he sought the support of a bright young mulato lawyer, Maurice Davis, who everyone believed was the brain of the Movement. With him and Joseph France, Mr. Davis was elected to the Legislative Council and served there until they fell out after his refusal to support a measure to upgrade Bradshaw’s position to chief Minister. Zagloul Butler was the next educated find. A trained lawyer, he felt that his rightful place was within the Labour Movement because his father WJE Butler was one of the movement’s founding fathers. But Zagloul did not last very long. He helped to campaign in the (1962) election and then quietly relocated to the British Virgin Islands. Cunningham Adams, the son of Adams, the butcher, a friend of Robert Bradshaw, returned to St. Kitts with his legal qualification and unsuccessfully sought accommodation in the movement. Bradshaw had apparently become disenchanted with lawyers who were prone to dictate to him. When he decided to enlist Fitzroy Bryant it was a response to the emergence of the PAM intelligentsia which consisted of Dr William Herbert, Dr Kennedy Simmonds and nearly all the graduate teachers of the St. Kitts-Nevis Grammar School and the Girls’ High School. Bryant endeared himself to Robert Bradshaw through his mother who was a close friend, admirer and confidante of the leader. Bradshaw soon became his puppet and he quickly effectively took over the direction of the Labour Movement, and quickly decided to rid the arena of all competition or opposition. Although he did not stage the 10th of June fiasco, he embellished it and used it for all it was worth, orchestrated a dragnet of persecution which included Joseph Archibald, a close loyal supporter of Robert Bradshaw and a rising star in the legal profession. Some people were arrested on all kinds of suspicions, some were deported willy-nilly, and some who dared to express their outrage were dismissed from the Civil Service. This was where political victimization began in St. Kitts. People’s domestic and professional lives were ruined while those who hurt them looked on with glee at the damage. Robert Bradshaw’s persona was transformed from a caring leader of his people into a monster who would hurt people to hold on to power. On his death bed, he repented for having allowed his close associates to mislead him. Sydney Morris was one of the targets of the new culture of victimization. He was a teacher of much promise, who took pride in his calling. We were colleagues and both of us had the feeling that no profession in the world was more important than teaching Quite early in our careers we took the lead over many of our elders in seminars, workshops and the teacher’s union. He went to Erdiston in Barbados and I went to Golden Grove in Antigua; he went to UPR, I went to Cave Hill; both of us looking forward to playing pivotal roles in the Education System. I was posted to the Basseterre Senior School with the mandate to transition it into a comprehensive High School; he was given a similar position at the Cayon All-age school with a view to his to soon becoming the first Principal of the Cayon High School. With his Masters degree in Education, he was better qualified than most including Chief Education Officer Charles Mills. But there was a problem; while he was a good headmaster, he was not politically correct; he dared to express among his fellow villagers a preference for the other political party, and, to Fitzroy Bryant, the Minister of Education, and dogmatist of the Labour Party, this was equal to sin. And sin must not go unpunished. Sydney’s punishment was a transfer over the mountain to St. Peters Primary School, followed up systematically By constant harassment By Charles Mills. It was obvious that they wanted him to get fed up and leave, and so when the ordeal became really unbearable he left and went to Bermuda to teach. The really bad outcome was that Sydney stopped talking to me, his friend and well wisher, his brother in the teaching fraternity. I was presumed to be very close to Bryant and By association privy to Sydney’s torment. I had become an enemy. When he succeeded Bryant as Minister of Education he turned on me and gave me a dose of what he thought was my own medicine. He did not know until we spoken Friday that I was among the first within the Labour Party to denounce Bryant for his treatment of Sydney Morris. I told Bryant that it was a disgrace, if only for the reason that he was wasting good talent which was so lacking in the teaching profession. When I accused him of victimizing me, he explained quite frankly and also quite humbly, the perception that was behind his actions. We both understood the complexity of our positions. We called truce and made our peace with one another. For me, it was a deeply moving experience to settle a difference which had kept a friendship splintered for 40 long years. Sydney and I are both old men, getting ready to call it quits. We could have gone to face our maker with this animus in our spirits. I am so happy that the chance arose for us to reconcile with each other and put the stupid political difference behind us. Hugh Heyliger joined our conversation which took a different turn and I am sure he felt a little non-plussed at meeting his former colleague and me sitting on a bench together. He left without realizing the deeply cleansing experience which I had undergone just before he came.