Douglas: severe hardship, anxiety and vulnerability push workers, civil servants to march on Labour Day 2019

Basseterre, St Kitts, May 8, 2019 – St Kitts and Nevis Leader of the Opposition, the Right Hon Dr Denzil L Douglas says the fervor and energy that saw thousands in Monday’s Labour March had a lot to do with the severe hardship, anxiety and vulnerability being felt by workers in St Kitts and Nevis under the Timothy Harris-led Team Unity administration.
He said his St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party has been fully mobilized in anticipation of the next general elections and the supporters are ready and are just waiting to be rid the federation of nepotistic, selfish, incompetent and corrupt government Team Unity Government.
“These past four years have been really difficult for our workers, most especially our civil servants who have had to work under very oppressive conditions. They are suffering under unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety. They are being pressured, marginalized, insulted, censured and harassed. Civil servants are having to work in environments where PLP activists have been encouraged by Harris himself to spy on and report on their colleagues; where persons are no longer able to listen to the radio station of their choice; and where persons are being written up and complained about to the Public Service Commission to be disciplined for the most frivolous of reasons,” Dr Douglas said during his weekly radio programme “Ask the Leader,” pointinh out that during previous programmes callers from St Kitts and Nevis have complained of the high levels of stress they are feeling and how demoralized and depressed the current environment has made them.
“Persons who are presumed to not be affiliated with the governing parties in the coalition have come under severe stress and scrutiny,” Dr Douglas said.
He said he was heartened to see the many civil servants who came out boldly and joined in the March, some even wearing red to express their newfound freedom to publicly express their support for and solidarity with the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, a marked difference from previous years when they were forced to stand on the sidelines to watch the march discretely.
“This year our civil servants had no fear. I believe that this was largely due to the resounding victory that was had by Leon Natta-Nelson who took the government to court for violating his constitutional right to freedom of expression, opinion and political affiliation. Justice (Eddy) entose in his ruling has outlawed for all posterity any government action that would impede or infringe the constitutional rights of civil servants. This year our civil servants marched boldly and even defiantly despite the fact that government police agents, in true Gestapo fashion, were visibly seen taking their pictures and recording their participation,” the Labour Party leader said.
Dr Douglas added that the ruling has liberated civil servants and has ensured that moving forward every civil servant would have legal cover for the expression of his or her constitutional democratic rights.
He said it was a tremendous victory not just for civil servants in St Kitts and Nevis but also regionally and throughout the British Commonwealth.
“There were nurses who were marching because they were fed up of being over-worked, underpaid and unappreciated. They were tired of being insulted and ignored by the Ministers of Health who continue to disrespect their daily sacrifice and who are not being given the equipment and medical supplies that they need to do their work. There were many in the general public who were marching in solidarity with our nurses and the shameful conditions at the JNF General Hospital in which they are forced to work,” Dr Douglas said on his weekly radio programme “Ask the Leader” on Tuesday night.
He said the workers on the industrial sites who are mostly single mothers were also represented and were marching for more job security and the protection of their long service gratuities.
” Workers of every stripe and orientation were represented from those who worked in the hospitality services to the farmers and fishermen who are all suffering by the tremendous slow-down in the economy and increased cost of living that has made life so difficult for many people. There were young people who were marching in protest against the lack of jobs and opportunities for their economic and educational advancement. Several of our youth spoke of how absolutely fed up they are with the rampant victimization that is taking place in the distribution of scholarships and jobs for those whose families are presumed to be supporters of Labour Party,” he said.
“Many, many others came out because they have had it with the poor performance, poor representation and abject failure of the Dr. Harris and his cabinet ministers on many of the issues that matter most: on health care; on crime; on the economy; in education; and in the failing Citizenship by Investment Programme,” said the Labour Party Leader.
He pointed out that there were also those who walked in protest against the construction of a new Basseterre High School on the nation’s most precious source of clean water – the Basseterre Valley Aquifer.
“Persons of all walks of life and socio-economic backgrounds were represented – workers walked alongside pensioners; business men and women walked hand in hand with street vendors, young and old came out to express their disappointment with this government and to stand in solidarity with the St Kitts-Nevis Trades and Labour Union and the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party and its NEXTGEN SKN team of leaders who they know will bring hope, opportunity and prosperity back to the ordinary citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Dr Douglas, who also the Leader of the Opposition.
Dr Douglas said the marchers recognize that if they want to see an expansion in the economy again – only a NEXTGEN Labour Party can do that.
“If they want to bring back investors only the NextGen Labour Party can do that; if they want a brand new General Hospital and see the modernization of our public health systems and services – only a NEXTGEN Labour Party can do that; If they want an increase in the minimum wage – only a NEXTGEN Labour Party can do that; If they want to see our CBI programme restored to its platinum standard – only a NEXTGEN Labour Party can do that; If they want bold, responsive, transparent and accountable governance – only a NEXTGEN Labour Party can do that,” Dr Douglas said.
He said that the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party has a track record of performance, the competence, capability and compassion that would restore the country as the most progressive and best performing in the region with a sophisticated, educated and competitive workforce that is second to none around the world. ”
“Our Party was born out of the struggle for the social, economic and political advancement of our nation’s working class and the fight against colonial rule and oppression. The Labour Movement and the St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party are united by one mission and one vision – which is to do all “the good that we can do” and to put people first. We are the only Party in St. Kitts who has consistently, across the generations, put the ordinary man, woman and child at the very center of national planning and the national development agenda and to respond creatively to the country’s economic and social challenges.
Dr Douglas said that the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party has been fully mobilized in anticipation of the next general elections and the supporters are ready and are just waiting to be rid of this nepotistic, selfish, incompetent and corrupt government.

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