St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Fighting talk Tuesday from the People’s Action Movement, which appears ready for a possible showdown if the country’s security forces decide to enforce a no-march ban on PAM on Wednesday.
The most militant sounding official at the party’s news conference on Tuesday was former leader Lindsay Grant.
"If they arrest any one of the leadership tomorrow, it going to be mass confusion in St. Kitts and Nevis," Grant told the press.
"I don't believe the people who support the People's Action Movement would allow any of the leadership to be arrested and sit silently by. I do not believe any of the persons who support the PLP would allow their leadership to be arrested and sit idly by. So if peace is to reign and Rome is not to whatever, we must be allowed to peacefully demonstrate," he said.
"Tomorrow is a signal moment for the country. Tomorrow is a moment of decision for the country."
While refusing to use the word 'march' for what is apparently street action intended to express their dissatisfaction over the much delayed hearing of a motion of no confidence against the Douglas administration, PAM has been insisting that its constitutional rights are being infringed on because the motion hasn’t been heard, and because their latest request for a march has been denied.
Party Leader Shawn Richards during the news conference urged the citizens of St Kitts and Nevis to step forward to defend their constitutional rights.
He also gave a brief lecture about such rights.
Richards during his speech at the conference slapped several labels on Prime Minister Denzil Douglas, including calling him the world’s most notorious dictator – a reference clearly more emotional than factual.
The PAM leader accused the police of wanting to jail the country’s citizens, and accused the law officers of colluding with governing party politicians.
He quoted from emails he insisted were genuine that referred to those who dare march on Wednesday as insurgents, and security forces preparations to deal with these individuals, allegedly at the behest of the prime minister.
"So he’s now planning to use the security forces against the unarmed and peaceful citizens of this country, and we of the People's Action Movement note the threats to lock up and jail our citizens, because they seek to exercise their democratic and constitutional rights, but we urge the leadership of the police force and the defence force not to allow themselves to be dragged into an obvious campaign to take out country further down the path of dictatorship," Richards said.
"We remind you that your job is to protect the rights of the people, not to suffocate them...Fellow citizens we have come across evidence which confirms that the police leadership is colluding with the politicians."
Richards said the police had been advised not to arrest any of the leading opposition politicians, but to detain certain party supporters, and he accused the governing Labour Party of being a minority government willing to ignore the constitution.
"But we hold no fear in the desperate actions of any dictator, nor are we afraid of any police state. becasue as so many other dictators and tyrants have seen, the world is watching, and the international court of justice is waiting. If you want to beat us down, go ahead. If it is your plan to throw us in jail, we done change our clothes and awaiting. If it is your plan to shoot us down, go ahead. It is time you realize we are not afraid. We are willing to sacrifice for our nation."
Asked whether the Wednesday event had the support of the other two opposition parties hoping to form a unity-type government with PAM, former leader Grant described it as a national affair.
"It’s going to be not about the People's Action Movement, not about PLP, not about CCM, not about NRP, not about the Labour Party, it is going to be an issue as to whether or not the citizens of the country of St. Kitts and Nevis are prepared to stand up and fight up for their democracy which is under serious threat," the former PAM Leader said.
"We are expected thousands of people in their white, tomorrow come four o'clock to demonstrate to Denzil Douglas, he's not a utopia. He does not stand one man on an island, but we all share the pain the agony and the successes of anything that comes out of this country of St. Kitts and Nevis."
With a clear warning from the authorities that no march has been approved, there could be confrontation on the streets of Basseterre on Wednesday, if both sides stick to their convictions and take action they deem necessary.
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