Dr. Daniel did his part; those after him should make an account of what they did
By Llewellyn Parris
The founding father of modern Nevis, the Hon Dr Simeon Daniel, passed away on Sunday May 27 at his home. I am writing this piece Tuesday morning (June 5) while his funeral will be in the afternoon and so I will not dwell on the funeral, which as he had wished before he died, would be held at his church, the St. Thomas Anglican Church, Lowlands.
Persons of all political persuasions have been paying tributes to the fallen hero. I have taken it rather hard because I was close to some younger members of his family and as a result I used to frequent his home. However, from a political standpoint, I joined the executive of the Nevis Reformation Party in 1992, after he would have retired. We therefore never shared a political platform.
The two radio stations on Nevis, Voice of Nevis (VON) and Choice 105.3 FM dedicated their political shows to the life and times of the late Dr Daniel. These are Let’s Talk and On The Mark programmes on VON, and Tell Me and Breakfast Menu with Chef Waltie on Choice 105.3 FM. From those four programmes, many people learnt a lot about the fallen hero, and those who knew that history were pleasantly taken down memory lane.
Lawyer Theodore Hobson went on the rampage Tuesday night May 29 on VON’s Let’s Talk programme accusing Dr Daniel of having failed to seek session for Nevis. Dr Daniel was the architect of Section 113 and he best knew how and when to invoke it. For the nine years he was Premier, such a need did not arise.
Dr Daniel secured Section 113 in the Constitution to be used as a strategic safety net for Nevisians but the CCM have always wanted to use it as a political machete to mow down our brothers and sisters in St. Kitts. It is Dr Daniel’s name they are now dragging in the mud.
The Hon Mark Brantley on his show on Wednesday May 30 played from the archives a full speech that was delivered by Dr. Simeon Daniel on Friday June 19, 1992 in which he announced that he had resigned as the leader of the Nevis Reformation Party.
On Thursday May 31, Tell Me programme on Choice 105.3 FM which was jointly hosted by Junior Minister, the Hon Carlisle Powell and myself, had two special guests in Hon Joseph Parry, the Premier, and retired politician Mr Uhral Swanston who served in Dr Daniel’s government as a minister.
Dr Daniel’s Exit Speech, as my co-host Hon Powell called it, was also played in full, and it was quite revealing.
“We abide by the results,” said Dr Daniel in his exit speech. “The people have opted for a change of Government and that is their right in a democratic society. We congratulate the Concerned Citizens Movement at the victory and in particular, their three successful candidates.”
A number of persons who had not heard that speech have approached me and said that if what was outlined by Dr Daniel is what his government had done in nine years, then they could not see what the CCM did in next fourteen years because it appeared to them as if the present NRP government, when it came into office in 2006, continued from where Dr Daniel’s government had left off.
Dr Daniel listed the long list of milestones his government had achieved in the short time it was in government. For lack of space, I will not touch on all areas Dr Daniel talked about, but will highlight the glaring ones, but it is important to note what he said: “Our record speaks for itself. It is a record of which you can be proud.”
In Housing he said: “The Housing and Land Development Corporation has developed lands at Hard Times, Forthergills, Prospects, Pot Works, and some 600 Nevisian families have already purchased their lots.”
The current NRP, continuing from where the CCM had made an attempt by offering low quality houses, revolutionised housing in Nevis. Its flagship Cherry Garden stands out as a unique housing project in the region.
“Our water development programme has the staggering record of providing the following villages with a 24-hour supply: Brown Hill, Bath Village, Hanley’s Road, Brick Kiln, Butlers, New Castle, Barnaby, Cotton Ground, Jessups, Barnes Ghaut, Fountain and Westberry. New water mains have been provided in Charlestown, new reservoirs were built at Rawlings, Hamilton, Brown Pasture, Mount Lilly, Fothergills, and Jessups,” said Dr Daniel.
He continued: “In 1992 work has already started in providing to the remaining villages of Cox, Beaumont, and Pond Hill. When these are completed, every village in Nevis, will have a 24-hour a day water supply.”
Well it took the present NRP to go back and upgrade the system that Dr Daniel had left in place, and increased the amount of water available on Nevis by prospecting and opening up new wells.
“In roads, funds have already been negotiated for the revamping of the Nevis Island Main Road from the Caribbean Development Bank,” said Dr Daniel. “Other roads have been repaired and constructed all over the island, too numerous to mention.”
It is the present NRP government that finished the section from St. James Anglican Church to Market Shop in Gingerland, via Butlers. Nevis is a 36 sq miles island, and with Dr Daniel having secured funds before he demitted office, then it is a world record by CCM to have failed to complete the Island Main Road in 14 years.
On September 20, 1999 the CCM held a huge ceremony to open the Long Point Port, and by all means they ought to be congratulated for that achievement. But here is what Dr Daniel had said on June 19, 1992: “In seaport development, funds for the study for the seaport were secured by us from the Caribbean Development Bank. Work is already in progress.”
And here is the big one.
“The airport: I am obliged to emphasise New Castle Airport project and that project has been approved contrary to statements made otherwise,” said Dr Daniel. “We had discussions with the European Development Fund representative. We have discussed four options, and the first one, which was the expansion of the runway in the direction of Newcastle Village.
“Let me state that the European Development Fund was prepared to accept no other option, and advised us that in no way would they be involved in the demolition of Hurricane Hill. The funds to construct the runway are available and this is known at Nevis and Federal level. The danger is that if the project is not pursued immediately, the funds would be transferred to another island in the Caribbean.”
The CCM did well because the funds were never transferred to another island. But they brought in so much confusion by insisting that they would shave off Hurricane Hill. It was as a result of loud voices by persons wanting to save Lover’s Beach that Hurricane Hill was spared.
And once the airport was completed, as is the norm in the Caribbean and many parts of the world, everyone thought that it would be named after the founding father of Nevis, Dr Simeon Daniel. This did not happen, even after Dr Daniel would have sourced and secured the funds.
The airport was named after the sitting Premier, the Hon Vance Amory, in circumstances he says he had no control because the Cabinet did it in his absence. But records (cabinet submissions) show that Hon Vance was the chairman of the meeting in which it was agreed that the airport would be named after him.
On Choice 105.3 FM’s Breakfast Menu hosted by Chef Waltie, Premier the Hon Joseph Parry was the guest on Tuesday June 5. The Premier was asked by the host why NRP lost after all the development that Dr Daniel had outlined. The Premier said that the CCM felt that they could bring down the NRP government by getting at its leader.
I am not blaming Chef Waltie, because I want to believe that because of lack of time, he did not ask the Premier to explain how the CCM managed to accomplish it. But, he did not need to because that answer had been given since last week Tuesday June 29 on Let’s Talk Programme.
Host Mr Evered ‘Webbo’ Herbert played a tape in which Mr Edric Stanley made the announcement that he was running for the seat held by Dr Simeon Daniel on a shadowy St. John’s People’s Party.
“The evidence will show though, Edric, that that speech helped to put him (Dr Daniel) out of office, because you ran against him,” said the host. “There was a point of view, that had you not participated, run, and split out the votes, Sim Daniel could have hold on.”
Mr Stanley denied it, but at least one heavyweight agreed it was so. However when Mr Stanley was further challenged, this time with the figures, he reluctantly agreed. Today Mr Stanley, though not a supporter of secession like the CCM, he is known to be their supporter.
Why would a serious contender for political office form a party that covers only one parish? I will not answer my own question.
Did the CCM celebrate after they succeeded in toppling the mighty Dr Simeon Daniel? How about toppling a government that had worked so hard for the people of Nevis? Sure they did, and that is only natural. Are they still celebrating today?
From across the Narrows, Mr Ian ‘Patches’ Liburd, host of the popular Voices Programme on WINN FM found out about the anniversary of CCM’s toppling Dr Daniel because his guest on Friday June 1 was the Hon Vance Amory, leader of the CCM, who took over the Government from Dr Simeon Daniel in 1992.
“It is sad to see him go, I think we all mourn his passing, and I can say that he was a true patriot,” said the former Premier. “If I were to say anything, I think in a report which I gave to VON Radio, I said that he was a stalwart and a warrior for the cause of Nevis.”
Yes, you heard it right. He called the late Dr Simeon Daniel a warrior. A warrior -- a word rabid sympathisers of his CCM party fret when it is mentioned, because they prefer the word Sheriff.
He then struggled to say how much he respected Dr Daniel explaining that he would never use a bad word on him even though they were politically opposed.
Yes, he said that he personally never would have done that. But what did he say when his followers had displayed a black doll dressed as a monkey and said it was Dr Daniel? What about the coffin of Dr Daniel (20 years before he died) that was displayed in the middle of Charlestown’s Main Street outside the present day NTA building?
Mr Amory then told the host: “Strangely and coincidentally, Patches, the 1st of June 1992 was the time when CCM was voted into government, 20 years ago.
“Today (June 1, 2012) is coincidentally that period and when you asked me to come on, sometime on Tuesday morning, and I said Friday, not because of the significance of the 1st. I was not even aware of it until I wrote it down.”