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Posted: Sunday 12 February, 2017 at 4:42 PM
By: Terresa McCall,

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – A challenge has been thrown out to younger politicians to change the “tone and substance” of the words and actions of their parties into ones that are more mature, constructive and conducive to the advancement of the country.


    The challenge was made by former politician and founder of Operation Rescue G. A. Dwyer Astaphan, who appeared on SKNVibes’ inaugural issue of the ‘Bottom Line’.


    Astaphan was one of four panelists, the others being Newrish Nital and politicians Ambassador Jonel Powell and Dr. Terrence Drew.


    “…The rambunctious behaviour of politicians on the platform, on the street corners, in the alleyways and in the Parliament, makes it difficult for them to recant that rambunctiousness after they have been defeated. And so they encourage the rambunctiousness and divisiveness among their supporters and all of that militates against a smooth and sophisticated and mature transitioning of power,” Astaphan expressed while addressing the issue of transition of power.


    His challenge to Drew and Powell is for them to lead by example and effect change in the behaviour of their particular political interests for the good of St. Kitts and Nevis. 


    “And this is what these young politicians – regardless of which party they represent – have to share in common if this country is going to have a chance to operate to the level of its ability… Jonel and Terrance representing two different political interests, and the collective behaviour you hear coming out of the mouths of those political interests are no example at all to set to anybody in terms of being conciliatory, cooperative and constructive for a nation.


    “It is they as young politicians and future leaders who have to change the tone and the substance otherwise whether it is actual governing or transitioning, dog will continue to eat our dinner and we continue to disgrace our ancestors and to shortchange our descendants. And so we have to step up to the plate and let the common cause, the bigger picture, the call to true maturity and responsibility in leadership of a nation take priority over different approaches to nation governing. And…differences of opinion are not only healthy…the scientists would tell you they are absolutely necessary.”


    Astaphan said the maturity level has to rise to the point where politicians understand that contradiction in politics is healthy once done respectfully and robustly.


    “We have not advanced far enough in terms of our political and social maturity…to the point where we are operating as a micro modern nation in the world. And I’m putting the responsibility as an older man, as a former politician, on the shoulders of those two fellows here and those who are either in their parties or in other parties, whether for them or against them. 


    “And if I’m for you it doesn’t mean I am going to accept anything you say. I’m going to challenge you. Robert Bradshaw taught me that as a little boy… and that is what leadership should embrace… difference.”


    Log on to tomorrow (Feb. 13) morning when the full ‘Bottom Line’ edition would be posted for viewing.


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