A general without soldiers?
By Llewellyn Parris
Host Ian ‘Patches’ Liburd of WINN FM’s Inside the News programme landed a big catch on Saturday July 16. The catch was so large that he could hardly hide his excitement.
“Thank you very much Dr (Charles) Warner,” said Mr Liburd as he tried to politely shove off one of his faithful panellists, to welcome the big catch, well into 50 minutes of the programme. “And believe it or not, we are joined by the former Premier of Nevis, Vance Amory; Vance I think it is Winksworth Amory...”
“Winkworth,” interjected Hon Amory. “Don’t confuse the name... it is a distinguished name.”
The other panellists did not appear to have been impressed by the way the host showed raw and unabashed enthusiasm towards the new panellist, other than some giggling in the background by the lone female panellist on the show.
“Thank you very much Patches and good morning to the panellists, I am happy to be here,” continued Hon Amory, who is the political leader of the opposition Concerned Citizens Movement party on Nevis. “I was hoping that it would be somebody else, but as the person couldn’t come I thought that as I was in St. Kitts I could just fit myself in.”
Well, what a start for Patches’ prize catch! The great party it is supposed to be, the CCM could not find anyone to represent it and its leader had to step in to save face. It reminded me of a quote, not from the Bible (although it might very well have been adapted from the Holy Book): A general is a general because there are soldiers.
“I have come, as I said this morning, to be part of this discussion because we have been trying to get a consistent representative of the CCM to come and be part of the discussion and I had hoped that we would have had someone this morning,” apologetically explained Hon Amory.
After the first half of Inside the News show, host Liburd came back still very excited and in his exhilaration while reintroducing the panellists, ended the homily by saying “and believe it, it is true we also have for the first time on Inside the News, the representative from the CCM party, the Concerned Citizens Movement, in the person of its leader Mr Vance Winkworth Amory.”
Mr Liburd might have gotten his facts wrong, because it was not the first time the CCM was represented on the show. However, if he meant that it was the first time that the leader of the party had appeared on the show, then that could be correct. But that is not what he said.
The failed candidate for the St. Thomas seat in the Nevis Island Assembly elections last year, Mr Keith Scarborough, better known as King Dis n’ Dat because of his calypso exploits appeared on the show last year. He should stick to calypso as that is the one field where he wins.
But Dis n’ Dat is a notch better than the other CCM operative, Mr Theodore Hobson, who has also represented the party on Inside the News. Hobson has been a perennial failure at the ballot box, but the CCM still used him as its representative on the Inside the News programme.
In 1983 Mr Hobson contested the St. Paul’s seat on his People’s Democratic Party (PDP) against NRP’s Ivor Steven. The drubbing was so hard that while Steven, he of late memories got 398 votes, Hobson managed a mere 38 votes. The thrashing continued at the 1984 Federal elections (St. Paul’s and St. John’s) when Steven bagged 870 against Hobson’s miserable 108.
Hobson is a fighter who does not give up even when the odds are heavily against him. He returned back to the slaughter field in 1987, and ended up being humiliated by NRP’s then political greenhorn, Mr Victor Jay Martin. Two more candidates in the race, Mr Franklyn Brand of the CCM and Mr Desmond Herbert of the Nevis National Party did not spoil for the NRP. Martin received 204, Franklyn Brand 99, Hobson 98 and Desmond Herbert 6 (six).
When he realised that his People’s Democratic Party would never be a suitable vehicle to take him to parliament, Mr Hobson abandoned it and joined the CCM, but at the 1992 elections a now seasoned Victor Jay Martin retained the St. Paul’s seat by winning with 311 votes. Hobson did slightly better by taking home 222 votes. A third candidate (a Mr C. Manners of the Island Advancement Party) managed only 5 votes.
Mr Hobson is a good lawyer and that is no doubt. If he were to stick to his legal duties, the Hon Vance Amory would have vibrant soldiers and would be a better general.
Back to the Inside the News programme, Hon Amory was challenged by the NRP representative Mr Alistair Yearwood about the disrespect his party had shown towards Nevis’ first Premier, the late Dr Simeon Daniel, and Amory went on the offensive.
“What about character assassination of Dr Daniel, Mr Amory?” asked Mr Yearwood.
“Nobody, not from our party,” said Amory. “Whatever happened on that day which you are talking about, and I do remember seeing that (black monkey), had nothing to do with us. That was an individual who had suffered and the person told me that the other day because it was raised with me.
“The person said ‘listen, I had suffered at the hands of Dr Douglas, I mean Dr Daniel and I am the one who went home and got a gorilla which he (sic) had for a child and brought it out’. It had nothing to do with the CCM Party, and I think we need to disavow people of that.
“I have never been disrespectful to Dr Daniel in my life, and nobody in my party has ever been disrespectful to him, because I have always said to them ‘you have to steer away from that kind of character assassination because it might land you in trouble’.”
Hon Amory said so on the Inside the News programme, but he did not explain why he has never said it openly before. It has taken him 20 years to say it and, as it were, his (Amory’s) silence could have meant approval of the person’s actions.
However the worst disrespect Hon Amory showed towards Nevis’ first premier was on Monday June 5, when he refused to sit inside the church during Dr Daniel’s funeral at the St. Thomas Anglican Church.
When he arrived for the service, Protocol Officer Ms Marva Pinney directed him to the seat that was reserved for him as a former premier of this great island Nevis, but he refused and chose to sit outside. The same seat was later offered to CCM’s representative for St. James, the Hon Alexis Jeffers, when he turned up for the funeral.
Members of the CCM party should take note that their leader refused to occupy the seat befitting the leader of their great party. Probably Hon Jeffers, who occupied it, is rightly qualified to lead this great party.
There was however foolish drama on the night of Tuesday June 5 on VON Radio’s Let’s Talk Programme, when one of the CCM apologists, Mr Elton Marcus Hull, threw a tantrum lamenting that his leader (Amory) had been disrespected at the funeral of Dr Daniel by not being allowed to sit inside the church.
When we were growing up we were taught to understand, and appreciate, that if you have nothing to say, then do not say it. We also learnt that it is better to keep ones mouth shut and let people think one is a fool, than to open it and remove all the doubt.
“The other thing that I really found distasteful today,” ranted Mr Hull on the Let’s Talk Programme. “I went to the funeral and you know, God forbid that anything happens to Mr Amory, but if something happens to Mr Amory tomorrow, they are gonna have a state funeral for Mr Amory and then you are going to have the same hypocrites there saying the same thing about, how great Mr Amory was.
“But today no one sees fit to say, have a special seat inside for the former premier of Nevis Mr Amory, who was the premier of Nevis here to pay his respect to the first premier of Nevis. No one sees fit to see that today. Notwithstanding that Mr Amory is the leader (sic) in the house in Nevis you know, notwithstanding that, and also he is in the Federal House.
“He was the premier of Nevis for fourteen years, and no one sees fit at a state funeral to say we have a special seat inside for Mr Amory. But God forbid, I am knocking on wood for Mr Amory right here tonight that he lives a long and happy life.
“Do you understand what I am saying to you, I find that extremely distasteful today Webbo. I find that distasteful, because I am saying Mr Amory as the former premier of Nevis should have a special seat inside there at the state funeral.”
Sometimes it is golden to have ones mouth shut.
The only thing Mr Hull succeeded in putting across was the knocking on wood for Hon Amory. I pray Mr Hull does not succeed as Nevis is not ready to have Hon Amory in a wooden casket any time soon. If that happens, let it be the will of the Almighty and not the wishes of Mr Elton Marcus Hull.
Back on the Saturday June 16’s edition of Inside the News, the former CCM representative for St. Paul’s parish Mr A. Michael Perkins called to the programme, and had very interesting information to share. Very interesting indeed.
This article will continue next week.