BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - WITH Federal Elections on the horizon, the major players within the political arena of St. Kitts and Nevis have slowly begun to outline their plans should they be victorious at the Elections.
One general consensus coming out of the General Elections will be that the Federation will likely leave the Queen behind as the Head of State.
With the People’s Action Movement (PAM) and the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) coalition expected to enter the next election cycle without the People’s Labour Party (PLP), part of their aim was recently outlined in a 14-prong approach that included moving to Republic status.
That was announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the PAM, Shawn Richards during a media conference in which he noted is one of the group’s priority areas should it be re-elected to office.
“Looking ahead to a fresh start, the following should offer a glimpse of our vision for the future. The pillars of our future economy, political and social development will include, but not be limited to:
(1). The full actualization of our political aspirations to chart our own destiny under a Republican system of government where a Kittitian or Nevisian sits as our Head of State.
“(2). The advancement of the decade has taught us that the time has come for St. Kitts and Nevis to review its monarchical system of government, and to begin the dialogue to advance to a new status, just as Trinidad, Guyana, Dominica and now Barbados have done in the past,” Richards declared.
That position means that St. Kitts and Nevis will be fully independent from Her Majesty the Queen, who still controls much of the Federation’s politics.
But even before that can be done, Richards affirmed that he would not make a decision arbitrarily without consultation, noting that it would not be taken along partisan lines, and that it would have full input from all stakeholders across St. Kitts and Nevis.
“All political parties, along with civil society and the youth will have an opportunity to guide the way forward. These thoughts on Republicanism are of my own and I would have to dialogue with the partners,” he added.
Barbados was the first in the modern Caribbean era to remove the Queen as its Head of State after lengthy discussions of the plan.
Just recently Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness spoke to the issue during the visit of members of the Royal family to the region, and it was only last month Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister, Gaston Browne hinted at the same position.
The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) has also indicated its intention to do likewise against the Crown.
At the Labour Day Rally yesterday (May 2), SKNLP’s Leader, Dr. Terrance Drew announced that it is time for the country to move away from the Monarchy, referencing the struggles the ancestors faced to develop the Federation for it to remain under the Queen’s control.
“A new SKNLP-led government will start the journey away from the Monarchy to the goal of constitutional status as a Republic.
“The reason why I am mentioning this - and I would have mentioned it even before - is that since the first slaves came to the shore, and even before that the original people who lived here, burning in their hearts…and I am saying to you my people that we must start serious discussions to have a free people and to have total liberation here in St. Kitts and Nevis,” Drew said.
Since the Federation gained its independence, like many other territories under Colonial rule, it has not fully removed itself from the control of the Queen.
Over the years, a number of representatives from the Palace in London had visited the Federation, with the Queen’s grandson, Prince Harry being the last to do so back in 2016.