Remarks by Dr. Denzil Douglas Leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party on the Occasion of The 86th Anniversary of the founding of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party

Dr Douglas speaking at the Spanish Church of God, Fiennes Avenue, Basseterre
Dr Douglas speaking at the Spanish Church of God, Fiennes Avenue, Basseterre

Spanish Church of God, Fiennes Ave, Central Basseterre

Sunday, January 27, 2018 at 10:00 a.m.

It is my distinct pleasure and privilege to worship with this wonderful congregation on this exceptionally beautiful morning. The Holy Bible in Hebrews 10:25 admonishes us, ‘Let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” It is for this reason we have come to worship with you, our beloved brethren.

We have also come to share in the celebration of the 9
th anniversary of the election of the Hon. Marcella Liburd to the Parliament to represent the good people of Central Basseterre. We have come to pray with her that the Almighty God would continue to bless her and and imbue her with strength, wisdom and understanding as she serves you with humility. The people of Central Basseterre love Marcella and we are thankful to God for her. Marcella was elected to serve on January 25th, 2010. God has been good to her.

January 25th also marked a very important milestone for the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party. It is the 86th Anniversary of the establishment of the St. Kitts Workers League, the forerunner to the St. Kitts and Nevis Trades and Labour Union and the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party. I am very proud of the men and women who came before us and upon whose shoulders this great Labour movement has been built, starting in 1932.

I would like us to take a moment to pay homage to those brave men and women who stood up, stood firm and unbending, in the face of oppression in order to advance the social welfare and assert the economic and political rights of working people and the middle class in St. Kitts. Let us honour in our prayers the founding members of this great Party in the persons of Thomas Manchester (President); W.A.H. Seaton (Vice-president); J.L. Harney (Treasurer); J.W. Blackett (Secretary); J.M. Sebastian and Joseph Nathaniel France, both executive members.

Today, we honour the sacrifice and service of these visionary men because it is out of their collective action and protest that our nation is able to stand as an equal in the international community of nations, and ordinary people in St. Kitts and Nevis are able to compete with the very best regionally and internationally in standard of living, education and skills. Through the founding fathers’ collective action, a series of events was set in motion that led to the emergence and recognition of a representative body for the working-class which was committed to ending colonial rule and introducing reforms in worker’s compensation and land reform legislation that set our people on a path of self-actualization, freedom and hope.

Today, we reflect on their strength. Today, we reflect on their will. Today, we reflect on the fortitude with which they sacrificed ALL to ensure that out of the crucible of struggle, the fruit of LIBERTY for ALL the people of St. Kitts and Nevis would be born.

This morning, we gather together to give thanks and praise to the Divine Power for bringing our great Party thus far. For 86 YEARS, our Party has been at the forefront of struggle and change in our beloved Federation and has revolutionized the life prospects and wellbeing of the ordinary men and women of our country. I am thankful for the tremendous legacy that has been passed down from generation to generation. As one who has had the privilege to lead this great movement for almost 30 of those 86 years, I am all too aware of the tremendous responsibility we have to carry that legacy forward.

When we survey the history of this great Federation, we observe that the history of progress in St. Kitts and Nevis is linked to successive administrations of the Labour Party, which started under the leadership of the Rt. Excellent Sir Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw. To put it succinctly, the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party has been at the centre of every seismic change that has ever occurred in St. Kitts and Nevis since the 20th Century. The legacy of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party is the birthright of St. Kitts and Nevis!

The Labour Party’s creed, “For the Good that We Can Do,” has always informed and influenced our people-centric approaches based on the ideal of servant leadership. Our founding fathers set a vision for the times that successive leaders within our great movement have carried down through the generations; a vision which has informed our effective and inclusive responses to all our nation’s challenges. It is that vision that influences our philosophy of inclusion. We believe that the Dominicanos living among us are part of us, that you are our brothers and sisters. We want to live among you and live with you. We want to strengthen the bonds of kinship and friendship. We love you because we are the same people; we are all Kittitians and Nevisians, and we have a common hope and destiny.

My Dominicano friends, brothers and sisters, together we can build the kind of society that we would be proud to deliver to future generations. This vision calls for all of us to repudiate the high levels of anti-social behaviour, criminality and indiscipline that have become so prevalent in our society today. This vision also calls upon us to repudiate, to categorically REJECT, the malignant nepotism, corruption, victimization and public malfeasance that have become the order of the day. These things are ungodly and have set our country on a path of destruction, as Soddom and Gomorroh in the biblical account.

It is time for us to set a new course to get our country back on track. ALL of us must become the net beneficiaries of the proceeds of this great country, whether rich or poor; black, white or Hispanic; English-speaking or Spanish-speaking. ALL OF US must have a stake in the national prosperity agenda.

Today, it is my solemn prayer that God will complete the work that He has started WITHIN our Party and THROUGH our Party that began on that fateful day of January 25, 1932. This party believes in and is committed to leadership that PUTS PEOPLE FIRST!

Thank you for having me! May God richly bless you!

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