Salute to Team Unity

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It took guts to call an election right smack in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the incumbent Team Unity administration in St. Kitts Nevis showed that it had plenty of it – intestinal fortitude. You see, many governments around the world (ours included) have not acquitted themselves well in this Covid crisis, and their fumbling and stumbling will be their undoing when the election days of reckoning arrive. These woebegone administrations dare not call an election any time soon. But not the Team Unity administration led by an outstanding, yet remarkably humble and unassuming gentleman named Dr. Timothy Harris. Team Unity was not going to make any excuses and seek to delay the vote on account of the global health crisis. Nay, this administration was so very proud of its sterling record, especially during this crisis, that it boldly touted that record as reason enough for it to be returned to power.

Consider, if you will, that one of its slogans was, ONE GOOD TERM DESERVES ANOTHER. It was quite popular. As was, VOTE FOR CONTINUITY WITH TEAM UNITY. And who can forget the unmistakable pride with which Shawn Richards, the deputy Prime Minister of Sugar City, told the voters of his administration’s good stewardship in times of feast as well as famine. Said the good deputy PM, “When other countries are saying to workers, I can only give you $75.00 a week, Team Unity has said, I can give you up to $1,000.00 per month. When other countries have not been able to respond, because if you go nearby to Antigua, to date, not one single stimulus package has been put in place in Antigua. We have been able to do do that because we have managed this country well.” We can certainly join with the people of St. Kitts Nevis who seem to be saying, by virtue of the overwhelming victory delivered to Team Unity (They snagged 9 seats; Labour garnered just 2), “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”

This writerwas privileged to be at the homegoing service here in Antigua for Vernessa Matthew, a former distinguished permanent secretary in our Public Works Department a few months ago, and I was struck by Dr. Harris’ understated and gentlemanly manner of being. He entered the sanctuary without any fanfare (Apparently, no one knew ahead of time that he would be attending), and when he took the podium, without airs or pretensions, to say a few words on the life and legacy of his University of the West Indies classmate, he spoke tenderly of her many attributes, their life-long friendship and the wonderful times they’d had together at Cave Hill. The sense was that this Dr. Harris was a man who really cared about people, especially when he said words to the effect, his voice breaking with emotion, ‘When I heard that my former university classmate had passed away, I just knew that I had to be at the service celebrating her life.’

Needless to say, it was a touching moment that stayed with this writer – the nobility of it all – the notion that we ought to care about each other, we ought to care about people. And this quality of caring, so manifest in the good doctor, seemed to be the hallmark of his Team Unity administration. Think the impressive $120 million stimulus package, enabled in large part, by the prudent squirrelling away of millions of dollars in Citizenship By Investment monies. Not to mention the thoughtful and focused   manner in which Team Unity has handled the affairs of State. Kudos!

We here at NEWSCO salute Dr. Timothy Harris and his Team Unity, and we certainly wish them and the people of St. Kitts Nevis a safe, bright and prosperous future. It is a good bet that all will be well in Sugar City, considering that Team Unity considers itself servants of the people, and that they are occupying the corridors of power, but for a time. As Dr. Harris so aptly declared in his post-election speech, “I thank you for LENDING me your vote.” Hmmm! ‘Lend’ is the operative word. We’ve never heard it put quite like that – the lending of a vote, as opposed to some ‘divine right’ or an outright purchase. He also pledged to not let the people down and to, (gasp!) get this, keep his campaign promises. Said he, “We shall create the modern history in St. Kitts and Nevis by making the example of the best managed small island state. That is my pledge and that is my commitment. “

Not surprisingly, in an appearance on our very own OBSERVER AM broadcast, the aforementioned Shawn Richards, echoed the words of Dr. Timothy Harris, to wit, that the people of St. Kitts were satisfied that the incumbent administration had delivered for them. He spoke of the exceptional way in which the government had handled the country’s finances, and yes, he pointedly refused to apologise for his campaign comparison between Team Unity in St. Kitts and the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP). No need to apologise for that which is true.

         To be sure, even before deputy PM Richards’ caustic campaign remarks about the inadequacies of this ABLP administration, it was an open secret that our government had been “weighed in the balance and found wanting.” With not one red cent in stimulus money, and with ever-shifting protocols and procedures, it was/is enough to give the citizenry whiplash. From minute to minute, depending on who is giving the report, every blessed thing changes here in Antigua. Folks, if you are not clear as to if there is local testing, or if we have money set aside, or who will be quarantined, or where persons will be quarantined, and so on and so forth (pass the Maalox), don’t feel badly. You are not alone. Not even the members of this administration know what the hell is going on, or what the hell they are doing! Or what will be the flavour of the moment or the policy du jour. How like a nursery rhyme character who marched ten thousand men to the top of the hill and marched them down again! Mindlessly. Aimlessly. (Dramamine, anyone?) Without purpose.

        Folks, we are neither up nor down! Seems, we could learn a few things from Team Unity in St. Kitts Nevis.

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