With two weeks to go before the St Kitts & Nevis general election on June 5, that country’s Ambassador to the United Nations Sam Condor has resigned from that posting. He is set to make an official statement tomorrow on his future.
Condor previously served as the twin-island federation’s Foreign Minister in then Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas’ St Kitts and Nevis Labour Party government. He was Deputy Prime Minister between 1995 and 2013 before quitting the party and joining the Team Unity Alliance. Condor played a key role in Team Unity Alliance winning the 2015 general election under current Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris.
Tonight, speaking to Barbados TODAY as to the reasons for his resignation, Condor said he would be holding a press conference tomorrow to discuss that but added he did not believe the Timothy Harris administration had done enough during its tenure to introduce and implement its good governance agenda on which the 2015 general election was fought. He explained that this would be a major issue again in the upcoming general election. Condor suggested that the Labour Party lost the last general election despite having a number of good programmes.
“I believe the main issue will be the new government’s agenda. I could say the election is not about programmes. The Labour Party had tremendous programmes, they had a number of projects going on, the economy was going well and they were paying back the IMF debt they had borrowed. In fact, they were ahead [of] schedule in repaying the debt, the SIDF [Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation]. So it was not a question of programmes and policies, and so on, not even the health of the economy, it was a question of the good governance agenda. The functional deficits, those were not addressed,” he said.
He noted that five years ago the election boundaries were an issue and these was only decided a couple days before the election, where the matter went before the People’s Council. He said five years had now passed and the incumbent Government still had not addressed the boundaries situation. “As a matter of fact, people are wondering which boundaries they are going to go to now, five years later. So those are some issues that are going to [be highlighted] in the election campaign,” he said.
Condor stated some of the governance issues which he expected to be raised in the general election would include transparency and corruption. “Transparency, accountability, freedom of information, public accounts committee, the whole works, the whole gamut, the whole range of good governance issues. Election campaign funding, you name it, nepotism, corruption,” he remarked.
Condor explained that in the last election there were people who thought it was the time for a new dispensation and they voted accordingly. He said there was a sense of the same thing now ahead of next month’s general election. “They wanted to have things done differently [five years ago], they are looking for a new way [in 2020]. I think what has happened is that they have seen their hopes and aspirations dashed. And again some people have become very cynical that ‘boy look, they are the same’. So I think we have some of that happening,” he said.
Condor, however, gave the Harris administration credit for the manner it had handled the COVID-19 pandemic so far.
“I think the government has done fairly well with the pandemic but I think they have missed an opportunity to get the whole country on board. But that being said, I think they really tried. People feel that the curfew has been excessive because we had 15 cases and all recovered. We don’t have any now and we didn’t have any deaths.
“Our borders are still closed. There is a general view that there have been a little excessive. Some church people are questioning whether they should be allowed some limited worship . . . but there would always be some people who would want to do things differently,” he said.
Condor said the general election would be a very close contest but he believed the Labour Party could recapture the government.
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