Denzil Douglas: Voting is not about politics, its about the human rights of Kittitians and Nevisians
Basseterre, St Kitts, November 14, 2019 – Buoyed by the turnout of hundreds to nationals to recent town hall meetings in Miami and New York and the “rock Star” reception of the NextGen SKN Labour candidates, political leader of the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP0 the Right Hon Dr Denzil L Douglas said the tremendous display of support and enthusiastic reception from the Diaspora “truly warms our hearts and has really convinced me that our message of hope and liberation has taken root and that our overseas nationals are ready to join with our local residents and citizens to change the change.”
” We in the Labour Party are truly inspired and motivated to see the tremendous level of support and the rising clamour to change this uncaring, incompetent and corrupt government that is led by Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris. Labour is fired up and ready to go,” said Dr Douglas during his weekly radio programme “Ask the Leader.”
“It makes it even clearer why Dr Harris and his coalition members are trying their best to prevent our overseas nationals from voting in the next general elections. The display of support for the Labour Party by our overseas nationals is overwhelming,” said Dr Douglas, who added that “it demonstrates that we have the winning formula with this NextGenSKN team.”
He said he expects Dr Harris “will probably re-double his efforts to disenfranchise our overseas nationals.”
” However, as the Leader of the Opposition, I pledge to do all in my power within the bounds of the law to ensure that any such measure to disenfranchise our overseas nationals will be vigorously resisted and if passed, to be challenged in court,” said Dr Douglas, who approved the presentation by his Deputy Political Leader, Hon Marcella Liburd that “any move to amend the National Assembly Elections Act to remove those clauses that grant our overseas nationals the right to vote would be a step backward.”
“St Kitts and Nevis and the rest of the world has evolved since the late 1970’s when there used to be a six month residency requirement that limited the ability of our nationals to vote in the our general elections. Now, mature democracies around the world are moving in the direction of ensuring that as much of our citizens as possible are able to vote. In all advanced nations measures are being implemented to make it easier for citizens to vote wherever they are located around the world,” Dr Douglas told listeners.
“The Harris administration is trying to take us backward to the bygone era that existed 30 years ago. But our citizens abroad are speaking loudly in protest against any move to rob them of their birthright – which is the right to vote. They are saying that as long as their birth certificate says “born in St. Kitts” or “born in Nevis” they have a right to vote. They pay taxes here and would not submit to any regime that wants taxation without representation. They send home large amounts in remittances in support of their families which account for 17% of the GDP of St Kitts and Nevis and helps to drive our economy. They donate to various causes within the communities of their birth such as churches and schools as well as community festivals and other activities,” said Dr Douglas.
He agreed with an important point made by the deputy political leader, who pointed to recent developments in women’s soccer where St Kitts and Nevis is now 8th place in the CONCACAF tournaments.
“We are proud of our young female athletes who have brought us to the Olympic qualifying round for the first time ever in the history of St Kitts and Nevis. Most of the women on the team do not live in St Kitts and Nevis, but they are citizens and they are carrying our flag proudly at these international games. Are we going to tell these women that they cannot vote in our elections? We in the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party insist that once you are born here, once your navel string is buried here you will have a right to vote,” said Dr Douglas.
“This is not about politics! This is about the human rights of our citizens.”