Premier of Nevis Vance Amory

By Kenneth Williams

Editor In Chief/Publisher

When you have spent your life serving the people and are looking for a successor, that is when the thinking gets serious. Vance Amory finds himself in this position. Mr. Amory, Premier of Nevis and area representative for St. Georges Gingerland, started things off by meeting with his constituency group.

He told them he was thinking about his successor and that, when the time came, the individual he would endorse would be Stedman Tross. Amory considers him loyal as well as honourable and a good servant of the people. These are qualities Amory has always held in high esteem.

Word got out about the Gingerland meeting.  It was disclosed that Amory told his group he was ending his role in politics and turning those responsibilities over to someone else.

The Observer immediately contacted two people who attended the Gingerland meeting. Both of them told this newspaper separately that the Premier did talk about succession in the meeting. However, they understood that the reason for mentioning succession was that Amory wished to get out of the way to let the right person succeed him when the proper time comes.  Both sources said Amory did not indicate when he would retire.

There are at least five people who have indicated interest in contesting the Gingerland seat when Amory leaves.  That is a good indication why the Premier made his early statement on who he would support.

There are few political leaders in the Federation who enjoy such a fountain of goodwill among Nevisians and Kittitians at home and abroad than Vance Amory. Many of the faithful who felt Amory should step aside and hand over the mantle to someone else are now muttering that Mr. Brantley is not ready yet.

In fact, past CCM executive members are showing up at meetings simply to discourage Amory from announcing that he is retiring. One past CCM heavyweight even told The Observer, ‘Where greed, selfishness, pompousness and show-off reign, it is folly not to remain with a level-headed, humble and honest Vance Amory.”

With all this duly considered, this newspaper finds several reasons why we agree that Amory should stay on for at least one more term.

It was under Amory’s leadership that the New Castle Airport was expanded to accommodate Liat Dash 8 and American Eagle ATRS as well as private small jets. The Premier is determined to further expand the runway and terminal building in order to accommodate Boeing 737 and other large jets in that class.  Nevis caters to high end tourists who prefer to fly directly into Nevis from major international cities and Amory is working hard to accomplish this.

The government of Kuwait provided funds to upgrade the New Castle Airport.  It was Amory who secured that funding, not a small accomplishment.  The Kuwaitis provide funding at very concessional rates and Amory was able to secure all the monies needed from Kuwait. There was no funding before and none since has come to the Federation from Kuwait.

Amory reportedly has a trip planned to Kuwait and is expected to return to our Federation with a multi-million dollar commitment for an expanded New Castle Airport.  The Kuwaiti government is clearly impressed with Amory’s leadership and will help him accomplish his goals.

Such qualities of honesty, politeness and trustworthiness are rare in politics.  This newspaper is proud that Vance Amory will continue to bring home the bacon to the people of Nevis.

The Premier also has a plan to redesign the Charlestown Harbour. His ideas call for construction of a cruise ship and mega-yacht facility. Amory wants to see more small cruise ships carrying more wealthy visitors by sea and desires a place where mega-yachts can be accommodated. The proposed mega-yacht center in Charlestown Harbour will impact high net worth persons with money to spend. Amory plans to get the initial funding for this project from the SIDF.  He disclosed to a friend that millions of dollars went to Christophe Harbour so Nevis deserves a grant too.

These two projects will result in increased activities in Charlestown Harbour where fewer cruise passengers will generate as much spending as ships several times their size.  More revenue will be available to taxi drivers, restaurants and gift shops as well and the island of Nevis will benefit.

The relationship between St. Kitts and Nevis are improving and have never been better. While some detractors are talking about two salaries, Amory is bringing over real money — nearly $50 million since Unity won the election 19 months ago.  This is all free money that Nevis does not have to repay.  Try to compare that with the loan Nevis was stuck with on the airport lands. That is all that Nevis got  out of a six and a half year Labour- NRP collusion. Amory will get the SIDF to convert the airport land loan  to a grant.

Amory fought hard to help Nevis get its fair share of Federation intakes. As Premier, he wrote several letters to former Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas requesting Nevis’ fair share of the funds. He requested that his administration be given the opportunity to recommend Nevisians to serve on the government’s statutory boards and to allow Nevis to nominate persons for the various embassies and missions abroad. Douglas did not even acknowledge receipt of many of those letters.

Amory has had his prayers answered.

Since the Unity Government took office 19 months ago, nearly all of his wishes have come true. He has placed various Nevisians in several embassies abroad, including Dr. Everson Hull and Elsa Wilkins.  Amory is the senior minister in the federal government and has acted as Prime Minister on several occasions. He has the Prime Minister’s ears and the Prime Minister regards him as a loyal and trusted friend.

The Premier shares the national spotlight with the Prime Minister. He is recognized as the Federation’s most important active elder statesman. Regional and international agencies respect him. Amory is a warm, caring person who is genuinely concerned about the well being of others.

While Amory has been hurt by efforts of at least one Johnny Come Lately politician in his party to push him out, the love and outpouring of support at home and abroad has sustained him and cemented his reserve.  He is running at full steam again.

Our question is a simple one: Why would he want to leave when his prayers for better access to the Federation’s resources have been answered?

Nevis is getting its full share and the only complaints are coming from opponents in Labour and NRP.  An old adage says, ‘When the opposition is complaining about what you are doing, it means you are doing something right.’  Amory is doing many things right.

He is focused on the good he can accomplish for the Federation, Nevis and his constituents in Gingerland. He is not worried about flash, flourish and self-serving shows.  The person who tried to force Amory out is full of himself — boastful, selfish and using people as a means to an end.  That is why he may have lost some ground support and persons that were supporting him.  He is more show than substance and is full of himself, travelling around the world and sending back more photos than the rover on Mars. Do you remember when he jumped to national television to announce Amory’s illness?  He received word –perhaps a rumour — that Vance Amory was ill and did he call Amory to confirm anything? He just jumped on television.

Sometimes people replace reality with a wish. Well, we called Amory and got him on the first try. He needs Amory more than ever. He is very unpopular now and if Amory does not run, he cannot win. Half of the people voting for CCM in any elections on Nevis vote because of Vance Amory.  Nobody can be sure of what the outcome of an election might be without Amory. Nevis has not been subjected to this test since 1989.  Can anyone show what that man has given the people of Nevis for six combined years since he has been in government. That is nearly four years in the NIA and 19 months in the Unity Government. All the people of the Federation get are high travel bills and plenty of photos of a disingenuous grin.

Beware of media reports that suggest Amory is leaving. There are power-hungry actors with cash to pay for reports for such stories.  If Vance Amory does not run, we will support Party.