New PAM candidate Natasha Grey (left) seen with party leader Shawn Richards (official event Facebook photo-cropped)

BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Friday 22nd October 2021)- Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the People’s Action Movement (PAM) Shawn Richards has spoken about the party, which is the biggest unit of  the three-party Team Unity government, contesting the next general elections on its own as he alluded to a coalition breakaway “if absolutely necessary.”

He was at the time responding to a question during the question and answer segment at the launch of a new candidate- lawyer Natasha Grey for East Basseterre (Constituency One)-during a ceremony held on Monday 18th October 2021 at Royal St.Kitts Hotel in Frigate Bay.

“Thus far, you would recognize that we have moved to name a new candidate in East Basseterre. It signals that at a minimum that we do intend to contest another five seats here in St.Kitts, [and] if necessary then we contest all eight seats.”

In the opening of his response to the reporter, Richards commented: “In my remarks here this morning, I made it abundantly clear that the People’s Action Movement is committed to unity; we stand behind of that. I also, however, said that the People’s Action Movement is moving to strengthen its internal organs and to strengthen the party at the constituency level.”

“At this particular point in time, yes we are in government as part of a coalition Team Unity. If any one of the other parties desire to contest the next election on its own, of course that is the choice of that particular political entity. Likewise, it is also an option that the People’s Action Movement is free to exercise at any point in time. I’ve said, and I repeat we are strengthening the People’s Action Movement,” he added.

Richards said the party “is aware of all of the political realities, and in being aware of all the political realities also means being willing and able to contest an election on its own if absolutely necessary.”

He highlighted that 1980, PAM contested an election not necessarily as a coalition but at the end of it, the party formed the government as part of a coalition as he went on to talk about other elections  which followed when being part of a coalition was not necessary.

“In 1984 and 1989, it wasn’t necessary for the People’s Action Movement to be part of a coalition government, however, restored on principle, we recognized the importance of uniting the people of St.Kitts and Nevis and we worked as part of a coalition to bring unprecedented growth and development to the people of St.Kitts and Nevis.”

Richards continued: “I therefore say that the People’s Action Movement has a strong record on which to stand, a strong record on which it can go before the people of St.Kitts and Nevis in any constituency. Last election, we contested five of the eight seats here in St.Kitts. Thus far, you would recognise that we have moved to name a new candidate in East Basseterre. It signals that at a minimum that we do intend to contest another five seats here in St.Kitts, [and] if necessary then we contest all eight seats.”

Dr. Geoffrey Hanley of the St.Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) is the elected Parliamentary Representative for Constituency One.

Dr. Geoffrey Hanley