Published On: Fri, Mar 14th, 2014

Former St Kitts-Nevis minister accuses CARICOM heads of bad leadership

DSC02090BASSETERRE, St Kitts - The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) should be held accountable for “bad shepherding” of the region’s people, according to former St Kitts and Nevis government minister Dwyer Astaphan.

The local activist accused the regional integration movement of washing its hands in relation to the more than one-year-old delay in the tabling of the motion of no confidence in the Denzil Douglas administration.

In expressing his thoughts on the matter, Astaphan took aim at CARICOM chairman Ralph Gonsalves’ position that CARICOM cannot intervene in St Kitts because there has been no breakdown of law and order in the country. A former national security minister, Astaphan is querying whether the regional body needs to see graphic images of human carnage, extensive social and economic damage and loss in the federation as a prerequisite to CARICOM action.

“There can be a breakdown of law and order without there being any blood on the streets,” Astaphan argued, citing the 15-month-old motion of no confidence yet to be debated as an example.

Astaphan also took issue with Gonsalves’ assertion that the democratic institutions in St Kitts and Nevis are working out their problems. According to the former Labour Party official, the governor-general and the speaker of the house represent two of the three institutions that are preventing the motion from being heard.

Astaphan contends that Governor-General Sir Edmond Lawrence and Speaker Curtis Martin are “compromising good governance and undermining democracy” in the country.

“That represents a breakdown, and that is at least as bad as ordinary folk venting their frustration on the streets,” he told WINN FM.

Astaphan accused CARICOM of a grave dereliction of duty in allowing the current situation in Basseterre to continue unchecked.

He interprets their lack of action as a self-declaration of their unworthiness to lead the region in the 21st century.

“The ethical mandate will always trump the legal mandate. You must lead by example. You cannot tell the young people of the Caribbean conduct yourselves in an ethical manner, be disciplined have value systems, be productive and industrious… and you are walking away from your ethical mandate because there is no force of law on you to do something,” the former minister said.

WINN FM understands from a reliable source that the heads of government discussed the St Kitts crisis in caucus during their summit on Tuesday.

By Ken Richards, West Indies News Network

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