By Caribbean News Global contributor
BASSETERRE, St Kitts – In his final message to the delegates of the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) as national political leader, Dr Denzil L. Douglas called for members and supporters to be fully energized and a commitment to work with the newly-elected successor, Dr Terrance Drew.
Dr Drew received 184 votes; Konris Maynard, 153 votes and Dr Geoffrey Hanley who garnered 70 votes. Of the 412 votes cast, five were rejected.
Dr Douglas, who remains as leader of the opposition in the St Kitts and Nevis National Assembly, said: “I stand ready, comrades, to ensure that our new party leader will be well-positioned to benefit from the vast and varied regional, and international relationships I have so effectively developed over the decades. The entire Federation knows how urgently the ideas and effectiveness of Labour are needed to bring to completion, the many projects which were already underway when we left office seven years ago, projects which remain incomplete today. And the entire Federation knows how urgently the ideas and effectiveness of Labour are needed to chart new and innovative paths forward.”
In expressing deep admiration and resounding support for these outstanding leaders of the Party, Dr Douglas, who served as national political leader for 32 years, pointed out that the new, modern organizational structure will require substantial financing.
“The new national executive must have that as its number one priority. In this, the new leader will have to play a leading role, and I declare right now my full and unquestioned support in this important task, for whoever emerges as our new leader today,” Dr Douglas told the delegates.
“We have no time for divisiveness. We have no time for strife. Together, our priorities must be cohesion and solidarity. And together, we must strive to build bridges across the boundaries of age, class, race, and political affiliation. Comrades, we will leave here today fully energized. Fully committed. In a spirit of celebration and thanksgiving for a new national executive. And in a spirit of celebration and thanksgiving for the person whom we, together, will elect as the new political leader of the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party,” said Dr Douglas.
Embrace, protect and strengthen oldest political party in the English-speaking Caribbean
The election of a new political leader of the 89-year-old St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party on Sunday should be aimed at embracing, protecting and strengthening the oldest political party in the English-speaking Caribbean and the strongest single political party in the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis, says Dr Douglas at a national conference at which Dr Drew was elected to replace him at the end of his 32-year tenure.
“Today we build on the tremendous work begun by our bold and visionary founders almost 99 years ago. And today we put in place structures and procedures that, similarly, will serve our great Party for decades to come.
As we transition the leadership of this great party which I have had the joy and honour to lead for some 32 years. […] “The 1989 general elections led to some intense internal debate regarding the issue of leadership, the relationship between the party and the St Kitts-Nevis Trades and Labour Union. I stepped on the political stage in 1989 inspired by the desire to fill the void created in the leadership of this party. This party, which has been the source of strength and upliftment for the tens of thousands whose lives and livelihoods were directly impacted by the ethos of our party. An ethos captured so powerfully in our motto and mantra: For the Good that We Can Do,” said Dr Douglas.