Why Not Secession? by John Denny Observer Reporter

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During a lunch break at a recent conference, the conversation at our table turned to the topic of the secession of Nevis from the Federation. I expressed my view that Nevis could stand on her own. The first response I heard was, “You have only been here six months. You have a lot to learn.” Another response that others at the table seemed to agree with was, “Why would you want to break up the country and what good would it do?” This is a tale of two islands that used to be three. Anguilla left because they felt they were getting the short end of the stick.” They remain under the Crown, but likely will not be forever. The question I have asked many people since I have been here is: What does St. Kitts have that Nevis needs for her survival? The answers I get usually depend on whether I ask a Kittian or a Nevisian. Overwhelmingly, Kittians scoff at the idea and speak of Nevis as an island of children (I have actually heard this reference more than once), that Nevis couldn’t possibly run their own affairs without the help of their big sister. Many Nevisians believe Nevis could be fully independent, but don’t think it will happen any time soon. Although I am not Nevisian, I agree: it could happen, but not soon. Nothing happens quickly in Nevis. Independence for Nevis and a united Caribbean are not mutually exclusive. We can go in both directions- an independent state of a much bigger union. I do believe in a united Caribbean and I feel it is on its way with the OECS Supreme Court in place and the emerging Caribbean Single Market and Economy. Laws and commerce are the most sensible reason for uniting. Fairness and equality are the reasons for independence. Skeptics of secession say independence would complicate travel between the two islands. Europe and Africa are uniting. For the most part, travel between their states and countries are becoming easier. In my county of origin, the United States, the only way one knows they have left one state and entered another, are if you see the sign that says, “Welcome to Illinois,” or where ever. With the right laws in place and a method to enforce those laws, the Caribbean could be the same. It will take time, vision and leadership, but I believe it will happen – but then again, I am an optimist. The secessionists of Nevis feel, much like Anguilla did, that they are getting the short end of the stick. Their statistics claim that St. Kitts has taken an unfair portion of foreign assistance and that the government in Basseterre is not fiscally responsible enough to rule over the finances of themselves, much less Nevis. With one exception, Nevis has all the resources it needs to be an independent state. Those resources are: *Good soil to grow plenty of food. *The people that live here – Nevisians ” that already differentiate themselves from Kittians. *Many beautiful beaches and a rainforest covered mountain that millions of people around the world would love to visit. *And, in time, an endless supply of clean energy. The exception ” the resource Nevis lacks is confidence. This resource will, some day, come in the form of a candidate. A candidate with the confidence in eventual success and the will to accomplish – a candidate who is not afraid to say, “Yes We Can.”

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