By Toni Frederick
BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) -- Former Deputy Prime Minister Sam Condor has rejected calls from the government and its supporters that, as he was elected on a St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) ticket by party supporters, he ought to resign as an MP. Speaking on Friday, Condor said he broke ranks with the prime minister in the interest of the electorate.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Sam Condor. UN Photo/Lou Rouse
“People elected me to serve them and represent the interest of the country. The land for debt swap was not in the interest of the country and I against that, and I don’t have to go back to ask anybody about that! The increase in Senators Bill is against the democratic principles that Bradshaw and Moore and Labour stood for, and I against that and I don’t have to go back to ask anybody anything about that! When people voted for me, that is what they voted for me for, to represent the interest of the country, and what Douglas doing not in the interest of the country!” Condor said.
Condor, along with former SKNLP senior minister Dr Timothy Harris, crossed the floor to form the People’s Labour Party (PLP). Among the reasons cited for their breaking ranks with Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas was the government’s decision to give 1,200 acres of public land with the National Bank in exchange for debt, and its attempt to increase the number of non-elected positions in the Parliament.
The PLP in turn has pledged to work with the other parties currently represented on the opposition benches, under what has been dubbed a Unity Construct.
Condor also rejected assertions that the current makeup of the Parliament -- five seats on the government benches to six on the opposition -- is no different from when a minority government sat in 1993.
“They’re miles apart. It’s like black and white. It’s like the east from the west!” he told supporters at a Unity rally in Basseterre on Friday.
He recalled that, in 1993, the People’s Action Movement (PAM) and Labour each won four federal seats, the Concerned Citizens’ Movement (CCM) won two seats and the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) one.
The former deputy prime minister told those gathered that Douglas went to Nevis to invite NRP leader Joseph Parry to join with his Labour Party. Condor said that Parry declined, having been part of a PAM-NRP coalition for 13 years. He said that Parry offered to approach CCM leader Vance Amory on Douglas’ behalf, about joining forces with Labour.
According to Condor, the CCM leader also declined, telling Douglas that he and his party were “in neutral,” and were not going to get involved in St Kitts affairs.
Condor, who served as deputy prime minister for 17 years, said that Amory indicated that his party would sit in opposition where it would lend support to the government.
“We had six people sitting on the Opposition benches. I was there. I know what happen! At no time Amory… refuse to support the government programme. They said it at the beginning that they are prepared to sit on the… opposition benches, but they will support the government. They told us that in plain English! So there was no way that the situation was the same. They had a minority government that was legal and legitimate. Two different things! What’s happening now is totally wrong!” he said to cheers from supporters.
When the People’s Action Movement joined with the Nevis Reformation Party to form a minority government in 1993, SKNLP leader Douglas denounced the coalition.
“The ruling coalition ended up with a minority of seats, a minority of seats I say… Dr Simmonds does not command the support of the majority of elected representatives. My party rejects the legitimacy of the PAM-NRP minority government and echoes the call for fresh general elections,” Douglas told the BBC.
Today, Douglas leads a five-seat minority government made up of four SKNLP seats and one NRP.
Republished with permission of West Indies News Network