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SKNLP leaders deny rumours of disunity within the party

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by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Since taking over the leadership of the St. Kitts Nevis Labour Party, Dr. Terrance Drew has faced criticism and has been the subject of rumours.

One of the most prevalent rumours was Dr. Drew did not have the backing of the previous leader Dr. Denzil Douglas.

The two SKNLP Candidates for the upcoming election were guests on the SKNLP program, Women in Focus, on July 28, where they used the opportunity to respond to the notion that the past and present party leaders are not on the same page as it relates to the leadership.

“We went through a period of serious soul searching after the 2020 elections. We didn’t like the results; we knew that there were serious violations of legal and normal practices. But we nevertheless said we have to move on, and so we began seriously to consult with our people as to how we would look in the future whenever the elections come around again, and we transitioned. Several committees put together credible ideas that could be pursued, we pursued them, and here we are. We went through a period of transition of leadership, and Dr. Drew has emerged as the leader among those who contested. I didn’t contest. I refused to contest, and so here we are with a new leader,” said former SKNLP leader and Candidate for No 6, Dr. Douglas.

Almost a decade as a member of the SKNLP and now the party’s new leader, Dr. Drew stated that the party is not in the business of handpicking leaders.

“Our party is not in the game of handpicking anybody; the comrades truly have the say as to what [takes] place within the party, and that is why I know we have survived 90 years, and we are still the dominant party in the Federation, and we are the oldest party in the English-speaking Caribbean. Comrade Dr. Douglas, who was the leader for 33 years and the Prime Minister for 20 years, has been very gracious in the whole transition process. As he has said, he made sure that all the committees were put in place. So people must understand that this transition process was not an overnight thing; it took us a while of going through moments that were challenging that we had to overcome.”

Dr. Drew expressed that he was proud of the handling of the transition on the part of Dr. Douglas.

“And that is why we’re very proud of how we handled it as a party because irrespective of everything, because of his example and what he ensured, and I’m speaking of our comrade Dr. Douglas, these things ensure that the party remained strong and remain together and so I want to thank him for his leadership in all of this. And so, what emerged at the end of the day was wholesome, and nothing at all threatened the fabric of the party. We see other parties falling apart, [the] coalition falling apart, but the St. Kitts Nevis Labour Party, we have become even stronger.”

The former SKNLP leader and former Prime Minister addressed the claim that he would not let go of leadership as many have said about regional political stalwarts like Dr. Keith Mitchell, 75, now opposition in Grenada, after losing to 44-year-old Dickon Mitchell and Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadine, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, 76, who recently announced his plans to seek reelection as leader of his party and will contest the next general election in 2025.

Dr. Douglas said that perspective is nonsense.

“They used to say Douglas is going to die with his boots on, absolute nonsense. Douglas is here to ensure that the transition is completed from opposition to the government. New Prime Minister, new leader, new team, the A-Team led by Dr. Drew. ”

If the SKNLP manages to win a majority and Dr. Drew wins constituency No. 8 in the upcoming general elections on August 5, the new SKNLP leader would likely be the next Prime Minister of the Federation.

The people will decide the next iteration of the St. Kitts and Nevis government in one week.

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