Reprinted from a previous issue In St. Kitts there is money in the land. The Europeans knew this. A long time ago they came, braving the ocean in small ships emboldened by the prospect that there was money in the land. They planted their tobacco and made money from the land by sending it to Europe to sell and then they planted sugarcane and sent sugar to Europe to sell and made a lot of money from the land. When the time came and they could no longer make a lot of money from the land they abandoned the land, leaving others to try to make what money they could make from the land. Throughout all of its vicissitudes, the land has always promised money. Each generation has had its chance to make money from our land, but it has always been a noticeable feature that the people who make the money from the land have been the rich and powerful people who managed to use their wealth and connections to dominate the land.”””””” It has always been a noticeable feature that the majority of the people who toil on the land, from one age to the next, had never been the ones to make money from the land. Throughout the ages, for the past three hundred and fifty years, these people have been, in every shape and form, the hewers of wood and the drawers of water on the land, which has always eluded their grasp. It is time for this anomaly to end. It is time for Kittitians to come to terms with three hundred and fifty years of land exploitation and it is time to redress the grievance of the poor, landless people of St. Kitts. It is time for the poor people of St. Kitts to find some of the money in the land. A few years ago, in the second year of the present Labour Administration, I was invited to the Sandy Point High School to give the Independence Speech I challenged the roomful of students to reach out for independence. I told them that independence is meaningless to them as citizens unless they own a stake in their independent nation. I argued with them that someone who has no stake in his/her own country is a second class citizen and proceeded to suggest to them how they, as the children of poor people, might become stakeholders in their newly independent nation. With the help of the principal, I used the blackboard to demonstrate to them how they could, with their meager resources, accumulate sufficient funds to become investors in their country’s development. I encouraged them to save five dollars a week towards becoming co-operative owners of land in the years to come. Now that the sugar industry is no longer extant, the time is opportune for the redress of a long-standing grievance and a conscious effort should be made to settle the present generation of Kittitians on the St. Kitts land. Nothing would be more tragic, if at this point of our history, the landless people of the labouring class should find themselves again disenfranchised from the land on which generations of their ancestors sweated and bled. The environment is also propitious. A Labour government is in power. It was the pioneers of the Labour movement, Manchester, Sebastian and Nathan who first promoted the idea of land redistribution as one of the solutions to the problem of poverty, which afflicted the labouring population of St. Kitts. The present Labour administrators, the heirs of these great pioneers, should now rise to the opportunity to finish the great work, which inspired the Fahies, Saddlers and Harris developments.”””””””””””””” Some credit is due to the present government for releasing one thousand acres of land for vegetable and livestock development. This move has elevated former labourers of the sugar economy to small entrepreneurs on the land. These mini-farmers are cultivating nuts, onions, potatoes and pumpkins. They are raising beef, mutton and pork supplying their fellow Kittitians with food, and earning a proud and independent livelihood from their enterprise. Our country needs these enterprising people and must challenge the present young generation to become enterprising and to find money in the land. There are greater possibilities than what at present exist. There is money in the land. Money in the land from food, which will substantially reduce our import bills on food and drinks. There are possibilities in agro-processing in which the common and ordinary products such as breadfruit paw paw, pumpkins and cucumbers can be transformed into delicacies and beverages for the local market. There are possibilities for hundreds of our youth to be trained in entrepreneurship on the land and to exercise their talent in the husbandry of not 1000 but 10000 acres of land. The present engagement of the government with the land must be without dissimulation. It must be a genuine desire to raise our people at long last from consuming labourers to productive enterprisers. I hope that the authorities will see the point that a small low income house is not the just reward for the labouring classes who demand a share of the spoils from the decline of the industry which, having exploited their ancestors for 350 years, is now ready to collapse into their hands. There is money in the land and it is the sugar workers turn to find it. To deny them of this timely opportunity would be a gross betrayal, not only of the present generation, but also of the pioneers of the Labour Party.
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