A GRASSROOTS COMMUNIQUE
Grassroots announces its intention to start off the
new year by moving with all deliberate speed to carry its message of full and
unqualified support for the YES vote seeking independence for Nevis in the
upcoming referendum, into every community and household on the island of Nevis.
We will spare no quarter in our effort to clarify the aim of the referendum,
which has become so clouded with other issues that the populace is in danger of
losing sight of its purpose.
For instance; those who are insisting that everything
should be in place first, clearly don’t know what they are talking about,
because in the same breath they say that things have improved so much under the
present Federal Administration that there is now no reason to leave. That’s
what is commonly said to be ‘double-talk’ in polite circles. Among the common
people, a less polite term is commonly used. These people should have spoken up
before the Federation of St.Kitts and Nevis was brought into being and insisted
that ‘everything should be in place first.’
But forget that - in the
first place, any people anywhere who seek to improve their situation by
withdrawing from whatever arrangement constrains them, don’t wait until
‘everything is in place first’, they move out from under the yoke at the first
opportunity and then put their hearts and souls into the task of building their
future unfettered. That is the way the choice for freedom and independence
works. No people have ever elected to stay in a bad situation until things got
better before they left. Except masochists.
On the second point,
improvements that have taken place in Nevis have occurred despite the
troublesome inequitable relationship, and not because the Federal
Administration had finally recognised and treated Nevis like an equal partner.
These and other misleading ideas are some of the things that Grassroots will
hasten to clarify in attempting to remove the cloud of confusion regarding the
referendum in the coming days.
We will strip away the false presumptions and
pretensions that have so cluttered up the debate that the image of a free and
independent Nevis has been made by some, to resemble a lunar landscape or a
disaster zone. We will use every legal means at hand to get our message across
in units that are concise, digestible, enlightening, and in some cases,
A Grassroots Communique - January 30th 2004
There seem to be a few clever opponents of
secessionists willing to say the most outrageous things in order to score a few
points against us and scare the electorate into voting NO in the next
referendum in Nevis. One of the things the opposition is fond of saying, is
that Nevis is not ready to secede yet, that we should solve all our social and
economic problems first. In other words, if we don’t solve these pressing
problems first we will not be able to operate successfully as an independent country.
If this brilliant piece
of advice had been offered and accepted by others in previous times and other
places, mankind would still be living in the middle ages, or perhaps even the
stone age. No slaves for instance, would ever have attempted to be free! No
country on earth has been able to solve all of its problems. Not ever. Even the
richest and strongest countries like the USA, Canada, France and Germany,
despite their wealth, eminence and power, are struggling just like the poorest
to deal with crime, poverty, education, health, unemployment and other serious
“Homeless people” for
instance, are a well-known phenomenon on the streets of London, Paris, New
York, and Toronto. All peoples in all countries have always had to try to deal
with these problems from biblical times to the present day. Some advances have
been made, not because people elected to stay in circumstances that were
unfavourable to them, but because they chose to leave and blaze new trails
after they were free to do so.
Another thing the
opposition likes to scare people with is the fact that the UN, USA, UK, WTO and
other important agencies and nations are not openly backing the secession drive
in Nevis. But that is nothing new or surprising; they don’t openly support
secession efforts anywhere. They would be guilty of interfering in a sovereign
country’s internal affairs if they did. But that certainly doesn’t mean that
they are going to ignore us after we achieve independence as the opposition is
loudly claiming. That is a completely false picture of what is most likely to
Once Nevis achieves
Independence and seeks recognition as an independent sovereign nation, other
world bodies, countries and agencies will consider and make their own
determination on how best to deal with us. Bearing in mind that we are not, or
will not be a rogue state, or a terrorist territory or a communist enclave, or
a threat to anybody – a range of diplomatic exchanges is likely to commence as
soon as the constitutional majority of people in Nevis have indicated with a
YES vote in the referendum, that Nevis should withdraw from the federation with
St.Kitts. It cannot logically, legally, or of course, constitutionally happen
The earliest diplomatic
discussions will probably be with the UK who created our federation in the
first place and included the constitutional provision that allows Nevis to
secede, and also with St.Kitts, which according to the constitution, will then
become a sovereign state on its own. British diplomats will probably mediate
the earliest discussions between Nevis and St.Kitts, followed by diplomatic
missions from other Caribbean countries.
The USA and Canada will
surely not be lagging far behind with some sort of early diplomatic response
since they both have close ties to Nevis and St.Kitts and would be eager to
help engineer a smooth transition so that any disruption or deviation from the
norm is minimised. Other countries that are not as close physically but have an
established relationship with Nevis are Kuwait, France, Germany and Taiwan.
To suggest that all of
these countries are going to turn their backs on us and end their friendly
relationship if we gain our independence from St.Kitts, is a scenario that
simply doesn’t hold water. It would be the only time in modern world history
that other nations turned away from a new, non-belligerent nation simply
because it had succeeded in its secession bid. Hopefully, the electorate will
see through the holes in this cheap, transparent deception and not be frightened
Careful thought and
consideration will clearly lead to the conclusion that since there is no
military conflict, warfare, bloodshed, insurrection or
simply a totally
being exercised in the prescribed manner by Nevis, punitive action by other
friendly nations is not called for nor appropriate and would make no sense at
all. There has been no need to take sides in a dispute, to call upon NATO or UN
peacekeeping forces, the Red Cross has not had to rush in supplies for
starving, beaten, frightened and dislocated refugees.
To what purpose or what end would other countries
banish us from the community of nations? Would it make any of them bigger or
more powerful, or more tolerant, or more exemplary to say “Nevis is too small
and insignificant for us to bother with”? Where is the rationale?
The opposition accuses the secessionists of mindless
and reckless propaganda for merely supporting the age-old dream of secession
for Nevis. But the kind of blather they are trying to scare people away from
the polls with, reveals a sorry lack of candour or responsibility. If they were
really so fearful of Nevis taking on the responsibilities of an independent
nation that their trepidation overpowers their reasoning, we might truly feel
sorry for them. But from all appearances and also past performances, they know
perfectly well that the ridiculous scare tactics they use will probably affect
some portion of the electorate, perhaps enough to foil the YES vote in the
referendum and kill the age-old dream of independence for Nevis. Shame on them!
There’s really nothing thing left to say
about these scare tactics except boo!
Why The Rush?
A Grassroots Communique - January 31st 2004
Incredibly, the forces in opposition
to the referendum are still asking that question although Nevisians have
been discussing the pros and cons of separating from St.Kitts for decades.
The previous administration’s early popularity had been won by its promise
to seek secession for Nevis at all costs. But they were actually following
the wishes that had been voiced by the general population
much, much earlier.
The present administration
renewed that age-old effort in 1996 and has kept that intention high on its
agenda and in clear focus on its political platform ever since. In the interim
there have been high-profile federal and local commissions relevant to the
issue, there has been a narrowly failed referendum, there have been radio
talk shows, newspaper articles, town hall meetings and the inevitable street
corner and rum shop discussions going on ad-infinitum.
It is deceitful to
suggest that there is some kind of mad rush by the secessionists to get the
people to vote in a referendum before they have all the facts or before they
have been fully prepared. The people of Nevis have been prepared for decades
and over the years have accumulated more knowledge and facts about what seceding
involves than most of the people who were living in countries that have already
done so. And the Nevis Island Administration has fully complied with constitutional
requirements for educating the populace prior to holding a referendum.
All this effort to
inform and prepare the public consumes time and resources. This is a necessary
expenditure of course, and completely justifiable. But at some point in time
it has to end, and action must begin with a determination made by the people.
The opposition though, wants all the talks, meetings commissions and discussions
to continue indefinitely. And they have used every ruse they could think
of to try to stall the proceedings with delaying tactics, in the hope and
expectation that significant numbers of voters will become weary of it all
and not bother to turn up at the polls, or else vote NO because they’ve been
led to believe that too many questions have been left unanswered.
It is not exactly
a brilliant tactic, but its effectiveness can be enhanced if the administration’s
timetable for the referendum is stretched beyond a certain point. The enthusiasm
and willingness of supporters will be sorely tested if the boredom of going
over and over the same ground is allowed to set in. The time for taking the
vote and making the decision is when public interest is the highest, when
everyone is most alert and feels most keenly about the issues which have
been under such thorough and stringent examination for so long.
That is the best time
for those on both sides of the issue, for it is likely
to ensure a larger turnout at the polls and thus more accurately reflect
the choice of the true majority of the people. It has taken years and years
for things to reach this point in Nevis. That is far from the misleading
opposition claims of rushing. It is time now for Nevisians to go to the polls
again. After all these years, there is simply no need and no reasonable purpose
for further delay. There has been no rush fellahs… why the ruse?