November 8, 2018
What lessons reside in the CCJ referendum failures in Antigua/Barbuda and Grenada? A resounding win in an election does not automatically translate to referendum success of one’s position. The Office of the Prime Minister is not invincible, notwithstanding its far-reaching powers. Caribbean people understand the value of checks and balances on the exercise of political power.
The CCJ question is ultimately about safeguarding human rights. Caribbean people make no bones about such matters. Case in point is the public condemnation of extremes linked to the RSS-supported, security surge. Counter-insurgency measures are needed but not at the expense of human dignity.
The Privy Council will be repealed and replaced, if not by our will then by another’s. However, people of free will cannot be harangued into signing on. The first inclination is to vote “No” especially in an intensely tribal political environment.
The CCJ vote down should benefit St. Kitts and Nevis as it navigates issues of paramount importance. They include, among other things, CBI, National Security, National Health Insurance, Constituency Boundaries, and Climate Change Adaptation.
What is the best way forward to “Yes”? The government should try seeking consensus through an inclusive and thorough process of universal education and inclusive consultation coordinated by independent citizens. The alternative – political apartheid – continues to take its toll in terms of resource waste and the burden of personal stress.
Small states are rendered smaller and more vulnerable by internal-origin, self-serving divisiveness. Reaching across the aisle spells political maturity and the application of the collaborative approach as the primary organizing principle of governance. Such mindset shift augers well for the advancement of and within the OECS Economic Union.