LoP Douglas urges SKN to move towards one goal in post COVID era

In his message marking the 38th Anniversary of political independence (September 19), the former prime minister noted it is certainly difficult to ask anyone in these trying times to accept that this is the new normal.

Basseterre: Using this year’s Independence theme, Leader of the Opposition in St Kitts and Nevis, Dr Denzil L Douglas, called for the adaptation of a community-based effort to assist the most vulnerable with a people-led diversification of a post-COVID-19 economy infused with the ingenious entrepreneurial ideas of a digitized world and recreate a society resolved to push ahead with a determination to work until the vision becomes reality, tolerance of peoples’ freedoms and liberties.

In his message marking the 38th Anniversary of political independence (September 19), the former prime minister noted it is certainly difficult to ask anyone in these trying times to accept that this is the new normal.

“It is even more painstakingly difficult to tell ourselves that life as we knew it may never return. However, despite the bitterness of what is the new normal, we must adapt for as one nation we can help each other to find ways to cope with this new norm. The Federation has a history of communities supporting, sharing, and caring for each other. Families ought not to struggle alone,” he said.

Dr Douglas called for the adaptation of a community-based effort to share and provide for the most vulnerable in these extremely difficult times.

“The SKNLP since the 70’s has always ensured the citizens are able to adjust to changing economies and we embrace the challenge of providing our support to all lives and livelihoods, which are being threatened,” and cautioned that the nation requires all its citizens to sustain its development and advancement.

“We must never countenance a society where opposing views are not welcomed. I caution, that we cannot adapt to a society where further divisions become entrenched and the vaxxed and un-vaxxed are placed at odds with each other. Our nation has to push ahead together. We must not adapt nor conform to a society (neither globally, regionally, nor locally) where the heavy hand of the government is used to silence peaceful protesters. Instead we must harmonize freedom voices as is suggested in the song, ‘Sound The Trumpet’ by Norma Francis of St Pauls,” said the Opposition Leader.

He said St Kitts and Nevis must not be a nation of togetherness only in lip service to promote an agenda for the haves and already totally empowered.

“The street vendor must be cared for, our students, their education and their futures must be guaranteed, hotel workers, bus drivers, nurses, the police, craft makers entertainers, taxi drivers, the old and the young, their futures must also be guaranteed,” said Douglas who was prime minister from 1995 to 2015.

Noting that St Kitts and Nevis has gone through several phases of diversification, Dr Douglas noted that during his tenure he transitioned the people and livelihoods from sugar monocrop to tourism, financial, light manufacturing and educational services.

“We now face together another need for a national response to diversification. We can do this together as we always have. Let us look to the future beyond COVID-19, one which will see an economic sector infused with the ingenious entrepreneurial ideas of a digitized world, all a result of the need to diversify during this pandemic. I encourage you now to be brave, bold, and even audacious with your ideas for generating new livelihood opportunities during these trying times,” he said.

He called for an end to pre-COVID-19 inequities, challenges, and divides.

“Our post COVID-19 reality must be created from the challenges we now face as a nation. Recreating a modern, digitized St Kitts and Nevis will require; resolve to push ahead, determination to work until our vision becomes reality, tolerance of peoples’ freedoms and liberties, boldly protecting the most vulnerable through constitutional reform, and importantly acceptance of all Kittitians and Nevisians as part of this adapted, diversified, recreated digitized economic sector,” said Dr Douglas.

In ending his message of hope for Independence 38, Dr Douglas called on the nation to move singularly towards one goal, adapting, diversifying, and recreating the new St Kitts and Nevis that will weather any storm.

“The St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party will always be here for each and every citizen at home and abroad. We will triumph together over COVID-19, and we will together enjoy a new state of normalcy,” Dr Douglas said.