Published 8 December 2022
Buckie Got It., St Kitts Nevis News Source
IF THERE IS A TIME FOR THE PEOPLE OF ST THOMASES TO SHOW GRATITUDE, IT IS NOW.
If there is a season when the citizens and residents of St Thomases to remember the kindness of someone, the opportunity has presented itself, on a platter, in this 2022 elections season.
Cleone Stapleton Simmonds, a candidate for Monday’s polls under the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) banner, has asked the people of St Thomases, symbolically, a haunting question Christ asked His disciples at the most critical moment of His life: “Could you not watch with me on hour?
The disciples failed.
They all slept.
Nevisians, and/or the people of St Thomases, cannot afford to fail.
Simmonds, in a speech at a campaign rally, Tuesday night, urged her listeners to indulge their memories.
“When you needed legal representation, I was there for you. When some of you got locked up, and you called my phone, I came when others could not be bothered to answer their phone,” she recalled for them
Her reminiscence, continued during her rally speech.
“During the pandemic, and just a mere two months after being elected in 2020, I ensured that I established a foundation which is called the Lowland Community Foundation. I did this for the people of St Thomases. I started the Lowland Community Foundation and the first thing we did in June 2020 was to prepare care packages and you saw me all throughout the constituency distributing them to people who were in need.”
Then the politically-loaded question to jolt their memories: “Where was the CCM (Concerned Citizens Movement) government then? Where were they?” she queried rhetorically
Stapleton-Simmonds wasn’t blowing her own metaphorical trumpet, nor indulged in self-praise but had to set the record straight for some, and inform others.
She reminded them that while the CCM received millions of tax-payers monies but ignored offering relief for them in their sufferings, she and the NRP used their combined ‘Widow’s Mite’ to help them.
“They were getting budgetary support EC$1.7M plus another EC$500M. Ask them how many of that was spent on the good people of St Thomases and Nevis. You all remembered the time when many workers were laid off from many hotels, Four Seasons, Nisbett shut down, many, many hotels. People needed their severance payments. You cannot afford to forget your hardships,” Stapleton-Simmonds reminded.
“You cannot forget the plight that CCM put on this country. Do not forget the stress that it caused you; and my friends, who was there for you? Many of you saw me, many of you came to me,” she recalled.
The Attorney-at-Law-turned-politician who is seeking re-election, stressed that shortly after she executed another project focusing on the sustainability and advancement of education.
“In July 2020 we decided that we had to do something more for the young people. We had to think about our young people and we have to empower them, encourage them through education. We also expanded the Lowland Community Foundation to have an education initiative,” she reminded.
“We introduced the Morella Webbe Scholarship Fund (Morella was murdered on April 17, 2017. Her friend Sonia Jeffery who was travelling in the same vehicle received gunshot injuries). Morella Webbe of Blessed Memory is from Cotton Ground. In her honour I was able to provide scholarships for primary and secondary school students. I provided for them. I was there for them. I donated to them. I ensured that every school year they had their supplies: school bags and school uniforms. I also ensured that they were never left behind when it came to their financial commitments. I did that and I was not in government. I have always been there for the people of St Thomases, they can’t say anything (negative) about me,” Stapleton-Simmonds challenged.
Service has been her mantra, learning from her grandmother who always looked out for community members.
She has been nurturing a culture of building-up people nourishing relationships.
“We are committed to strong and united families. Their (CCM) actions are only motivating and inspiring us to become even closer and united in this constituency,” she said.
“We have a lot of small businesses herein St Thomases. We also have a lot of young people who are working, but because of the system, because of the economy and the state of the economy due to the failure and incompetence of the CCM government, our people needed to work harder. Some of them had jobs, but they had to do a little ‘side hustle’ to make ends meet.”
“That is the state of our country and that failed government has made life harder for the people of Nevis, extremely hard, a whole decade of hardships and suffering” under the calloused, unconscionable Mark Brantley 10-year regime, Stapleton-Simmonds noted.