By Loshaun Dixon
Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris emphatically asserted that the Federation can count on his leadership in good and challenging times, as he responded to some claims to the contrary made by members of his own cabinet.
Speaking at a People’s Labour Party (PLP) press conference, Dr. Harris said that he has provided proven leadership for the country.
“In good times and in bad times, focused leadership; calm and exemplary that our country needed, will always be provided by yours truly, Dr Timothy Harris.”
He said in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic leadership mattered most, and said he delivered leadership to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis and to the region.
“Today we have one of the best records in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic. Leadership does in fact matter. Our leadership and stewardship in the darkest hour of our country is well appreciated by those of our citizens at home and abroad, and others looking on.”
He added that his party remains a committed partner in Team Unity, despite talks of disgruntlement among the three parties in the coalition.
“We will continue to deliver to the people; delivering with love, care and consideration. Unity has been at the centre of our success as a party and a government, so we stand firm in unity as a people.”
The Prime Minister said the PLP is at work, giving support to partners in all constituencies in St Kitts and Nevis.
“We used all of our resources to advance the cause of unity, and where others were weak we made them strong, because we believed in unity.”
He said the growth and development of PLP have helped in the broader goal of Team Unity.
“Every candidate under the Team Unity banner benefitted from the strength, the organisation, and support of the PLP.”
Dr Harris thanked the partners who contributed their support to the efforts.
Addressing rumours that he is pushing for a third term after promising only to serve two as Prime Minister, Dr Harris said he is focused on serving the people.
“No need for a conversation on a third term. I have never spoken on a third term. I, therefore, have nothing to say about it. I am concerned about utilising the opportunity that God has given me to lead us safely and properly for such a time like this.”
Dr Harris’ remarks came days after Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the People’s Action Movement (PAM) Shawn Richards gave an emotional speech at PAM’s National Convention, in which he stated that the concept of Unity was under attack.
“I say to you quite clearly and without any reservations that the concept of Unity is under attack by selfishness and greed, in an environment where political cooperation is quickly being replaced by the politics of personal destruction.
“I am not going to dwell with any splinters in my eyes or with any thorns in my side, so this evening I am here to talk. I am very clear that the concept of Unity must be pursued always, for our nation will be better for it. It cannot be saved just by mere lip service but by concrete actions.”
Richards said in any partnership there will be strong debates, even disagreements, but it stays together once the core principles are kept.
“None of us could have done what we did in government without the support of each other.”
He said he had been a loyal Deputy Prime Minister for the past seven years, but added that he must be loyal to the task of keeping the promise.
“And I stand here tonight, determined to stand up for Unity and keep the promise. And what is that fundamental premise of the promise?”
With Prime Minister Dr Harris in the audience, Richards said moving forward it “will not be business as usual.”
“We must and will keep our oath to the people. We in PAM cannot be expected to hold hands that are no longer open. We can’t extend an open hand to be given a closed fist in return. We have never sought to use the fact that we are the dominant partner in this movement to bully anyone or to have our exclusive way.
“We understand the need for compromise. We must all be true to our word, determined even, against all odds, to keep our promise to each other. PAM will always be willing to give both consideration and respect, but expect those in return.”
Richards noted that PAM remains a committed member of Team Unity, and intends to ensure all the promises made are kept.