CHARLESTOWN, Nevis – THE clamorous chants of “we want justice…we demand fair play” by some 1 500 supporters of the Concerned Citizens Movement, echoed through the streets of downtown Charlestown yesterday (July 12) in protest of what they claimed to be a rigged election.
At about 3:30 p.m., disgruntled supporters of the CCM began gathering at the Memorial Square in Charlestown for a 4:00 p.m. meeting at that venue with their party’s Leader Vance Amory.
On arrival of Amory and the party’s Deputy Leader, Mark Brantley, and hearing that the Premier-designate, Joseph Parry, Hensley Daniel and Robelto Hector were scheduled to be Sworn In at approximately 5:00 p.m. at the Elquemedo Willet Park, the rapidly growing crowd decided that a protest march should take the place of the meeting.
It was evident that the Leaders were hurt, but their feelings did not supersede those of their supporters who abandoned the meeting and boldly headed towards the Park chanting, “We want justice…we demand fair play.”
Amory and Brantley, despite their pleas, finally decided not only to lend support to their party’s supporters, but to lead them on the march.
However, some 20 metres from the Charlestown Police Station, a number of officers ran to the front of the procession and demanded that they desist from their intention.
After approximately 10 minutes of discussion between the party’s leaders and the police, the former relented and the march continued.
But, on arrival in the vicinity of the Elquemedo Willet Park, a reinforced police barred the protestors from entering the venue.
This action resulted in remarks such as, “Why have a Swearing In Ceremony when they know that they thief the election? Why can’t we enter the Park when we are all Nevisians? Is it because we are wearing blue? What about those who are within dressed in green T-shirts?”
But this did not persuade the officers from the stand they had taken.
So, the protesters blocked the road, bringing traffic to a virtual standstill, as they shouted “boos, thief and rigged election” as certain members of the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) were entering the Park, especially Hensley Daniel and Laughton ‘Laffie’ Browne.
On arrival of a St. Kitts’ delegation led by Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas, the chants, boos and shouts of "thief" reached a crescendo.
At one stage, the crowd had decided to surge towards the gate of the Park but was tempered by their party’s Leaders who displayed a very high degree of control and subjugation ability.
Shortly before the Swearing In Ceremony concluded, some of the protesters made their way to the Ferry Terminal in wait of Dr. Douglas and his delegation.
Again, the police were there to control the crowd and stopped them from entering the pier where a Coast Guard vessel was waiting to take the delegation back to St. Kitts.
The delegation arrived and the chants, boos and shouts of "thief" continued.
Many people voiced their opinion to this publication, and among them was one of Amory’s daughters who resides in the US.
“I think the election results were wrong because they cheated, especially in St. John’s. We came out in our numbers and this is a reflection of the will of the people. This is the first time in the history of elections in Nevis that the electorate has shown its disapproval of an outcome.
“Our peaceful but forceful behaviour this afternoon and tonight is to show that we are fed up of the corruption, fed up of the injustices and we want them to know how we feel.
“You asked why we came here to protest when Dr. Douglas was leaving. Well, the answer is simple. As you have heard, the people shouted thief and, indeed he is a thief, because he is the one who orchestrated the injustices to steal the election. And not only is he an election thief, but also a liar and he’s not for Nevisians. Look what he has done with our revenue from the hotel industry. He took our money to St. Kitts, talks about VAT and gives us back 24 percent, while the same is not done to certain hotels in St. Kitts. That is not right! What is for Nevis should remain in Nevis…we need the money too,” Ms. Amory said.
One male supporter, who was in favour of Amory’s daughter said, claimed that the recently-concluded election was an act of corruption.
“I came out here to protest with my brothers and sisters. This election was an act of corruption devised by Douglas. He seeks to remain in power and to do so he wants to ensure that he has the support of the NRP and Parry.
“Do you remember what Astaphan said? Dougie is an election scientist and I believe he has made it a study and knows that it is numbers that win elections. Can you remember what the judge said about him? The judge said he is a stranger to the truth. This means he is a believer of lies and a perpetrator of them.
“What bothers me is that Parry is of the same caliber. His large feet can now fit into Dougie’s small shoes because it has elasticity. Therefore, they are birds of a feather, and evidence of this lies in his statement in Barbados when the journalist asked him about the blazing guns. If a man who purports to be a genuine and caring leader of a people, as his party’s election slogan states, can lie so barefacedly, how can we trust him to lead us into the future? And that is not the only lie he has told. He’s just like Dougie and the Supervisor of Elections who would certainly be dealt with accordingly by the Most High for being a manipulator of the truth and hiding behind the cloth,” the supporter said.
A female supporter opined that “something fishy” played out during the counting of the ballots.
“We all know that the election was padded. Dr. Douglas helped the NRP in padding it. And then you had the Supervisor of Elections, a so-called man of God, not rectifying the deliberate removal of people’s names from the Voters’ List.
“Logics can tell you that Parry knew what was happening long before the election. I, as a first-time voter had smelled something fishy. You reporters need to ask Parry why he was not enthusiastic in having the names back on the list. You must also ask him if he knew that the disenfranchised voters with ID cards were CCM’s supporters and, if so, how he came by that knowledge.
“The final counting of the ballot has to be a joke. How long does it take to count a box with less than 400 ballots? Why did it take the parties concerned approximately two hours to do so? Where were the observers? Something indeed smells fishy,” she opined.
On Monday (July 11), the nationals and residents of Nevis went to the polls to select the party of their choice to lead them for the next five years.
Of the contesting parties, the incumbent NRP won three of the five seats with Parry, Daniel and Hector retaining their seats, while Amory of the CCM also retained his and newcomer Alexis Jeffers won in his Constituency.
However, Brantley, who at 2:00 a.m. yesterday was leading by 116 votes, lost by 14 to Daniel when the Supervisor of Elections announced at 4:00 a.m. that his tally was 1 344 with 14 rejected ballots.
The CCM's Leaders indicated that they would not concede defeat because there were too many irregularities.