As I waited impatiently for a ridiculously long eight hours for the votes to be counted the night of August 27, 2007 I started reflecting on some events over the last few years that have impacted the Nevisian quest for independence.
My thoughts began in February of 2004 when I became elated that the two political parties on Nevis the NRP and CCM publicly stated their preference to not participate in the federal elections when they both signed a joint communiqué.
I and many other Nevisians looked at it as an opportunity for us to move forward towards a Nevis that is getting ready to stake its own little sovereign claim on the world. It was a proud moment for me as I saw Nevisians mutually putting political differences aside and coming together and taking a step in the right direction to gain its own identity in the world at large. It was the opportunity for which 62% of us Nevisians voted YES in the 1998 referendum longed for. Once again the opportunity had arrived!
But alas, my celebration was short lived and my great hopes were dashed severely against the proverbial rocks when both parties went back on their promise to the Nevisian public. I felt very disappointed and betrayed because once again we Nevisians have to endure this frustrating political exercise of futility.
When will all this end? Where is the final solution for the ills that harm Nevis in this federal union? Why are we Nevisians wasting our time with this foolish charade? Why is it we are making fools of ourselves in pursuing this lame exercise when it is so obvious the Nevisian population at large is totally uninterested?
Let’s us now fast forward to June 10, 2006 – a day that shocked the Nevisian political world when NRP won the elections using a strategy of well placed tainted propaganda.
This ushered in Joseph Parry as the premier of Nevis who seems to have a non-secessionist mindset. Since that time Premier Parry has stated on many occasions that the issue of independence for Nevis is off the table, completely rejecting 62% of Nevisians who voted YES in 1998. Some even touted the win of NRP as an acceptance of the non-secessionist position on Nevis.
Premier Parry then started a series of controversial closed door joint cabinet meetings between the Nevis Island Administration and the Kittitian-controlled federal government run by the Labour party of St. Kitts. Many including myself have poured scorn on these meetings and labeled them as a colossal waste of time.
Our criticism of these joint cabinets meetings was justified when it was learnt that the NRP-led NIA was comprehensively bamboozled by the fact that the government of Turkey made a donation of 50 computers to the Federation of St. Kitts Nevis but yet St. Kitts greedily grabbed every last one of those computers.
Here again is a perfect example of the disadvantage of this federation to the people of Nevis. What is most insulting is that Premier Parry and the NIA didn’t even have any knowledge of these 50 computers being donated to the federation in spite of them being in a joint cabinet with the federal government.
Now on June 11, 2007 Nevis was saddened and shocked when the much loved and revered Malcolm Guishard who himself was an avowed secessionist and a federal parliamentarian, died suddenly. This unfortunate untimely event opened the door for the by-election which took place on August 27, 2007.
NRP candidate the Honourable Hensley Daniel who was recently elected to the Nevis Island Administration just one short year ago is known to be someone who has frowned on the issue of independence for Nevis. I have personally experienced this as he told me while trying to have a conversation about the issue of Nevis Independence that, “he didn’t have time for stupidness”. I had this conversation with him on September 24th 2006 in Washington DC where he was the keynote speaker at the Nevisian Association of Washington DC Awards Banquet.
On the other hand his opponent was the well known secessionist Mr. Mark Brantley. So much so that he was intimately connected to the last Nevis Independence referendum in 1998. During that time he was responsible for leading the development of the new Nevisian constitution.
Mark Brantley has stated on many occasions that he is fully and strongly behind the push for Nevis Independence. Mark also continued this message on the political campaign trail making it part of his campaign strategy where the issue of Nevis Independence became part of his platform speeches.
His message resonated with the voters who happily elected him to the federal house with a landslide victory in St. John’s and a comfortable win overall. Mark was even able to attract many staunch NRP supporters who gravitated to his message of proper representation for Nevis with the Nevis Independence issue being part of this message. To me this sent a clear message that the ongoing issue of Nevis Independence is still alive and kicking in Nevis. This is a resounding rejection of Premier Parry and his NRP party’s position of taking independence for Nevis off the table.