Basseterre, St Kitts, April 1, 2019 – Twenty-seven years after Michael Oliver Powell was sacked as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism from the Cabinet of Prime Minister the Right Hon Dr. Kennedy Alphonse Simmonds, the people of St Kitts and Nevis are still waiting for a reason for his dismissal.
It was on April 1, 1992 that word spread throughout St Kitts and Nevis that Dr Simmonds had sacked Powell as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, but as it was All Fool’s Day, many felt it was just an All Fool’s Day joke.
However, it soon became clear that Dr Simmonds had in fact sacked Powell when he was seen removing his personal effects from his Government Headquarters office on Church Street.
To this day, 27 years after, Dr Simmonds, who served as prime minister until 1995, has never given the people of St Kitts and Nevis, a reason for sacking Michael Oliver Powell.
Dr Simmonds, now the only living National Hero, remains silent on the matter.
“Deputy Prime Minister of St. Kitts, Michael Powell, has been dismissed following a cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Kennedy Simmonds. Ted Hobson, member of the Concerned Citizens Movement and President of the St. Kitts Bar Association discusses the implications for the Simmonds administration in an interview,” is the only regional reference on this guarded secret found in the archives of the University of the West Indies from Debbie Ransome in a BBC Caribbean Report dated April 2, 1992.
In March 1993, nearly a full year after his sacking, Powell told a public meeting in New Town:
“I was brutally, callously and viciously kicked out of Government Headquarters. I an being treated worst than a dog.”
He continued: “The way that I am being treated, the action that Simmonds took against me gives the impression that him and the rest of them are sinless and that I am a sinner. Do you believe that Simmonds and the rest of the gang are sinless? Do you believe that Simmonds and the rest of the gang are without sin? They behave as though they are holy and that I am unholy. The way I have been treated, they are giving the impression that I am bad and they are good.”
Powell also accused Simmonds of treating the citizens of St Kitts and Nevis, especially the residents of his East Basseterre constituency with contempt.
“You elected a representative, putting him in the Cabinet to represent you; a man decides to take your representative and throw him in the street and after a year, he has not come to you to tell you why he throw out your representative,” said Powell, in the address, a segment of which is posted on YouTube.
Powell is one of three government ministers known to have been sacked from a cabinet since Statehood and Independence,
The first was Ivan deGrasse from the Labour Cabinet of Robert Bradshaw in 1972; the second, Michael Powell from the PAM Cabinet of Dr Kennedy Simmonds and the third, Dr Timothy Harris from the Labour Cabinet of Dr Denzil Douglas in 2013.