Brantley in 2018: Should we now disenfranchise thousands by the stroke of the legislative pen without consulting them?

Image of Mark Brantley

Charlestown, Nevis, October 7, 2019 – Premier of Nevis and Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs and Aviation, Hon Mark Brantley once questioned the decision of the Team Unity Cabinet to set up a Commission on Marijuana and not one on taking away their right to vote.
“We put together a whole Commission to consult on the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana. But on the issue of taking a right to vote away, we shouldn’t consult the people being affected? I am certain this was never the intention,” said Brantley in a social media posting in July 2018.
Brantley, the political leader of the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM), the second largest unity in the three-party coalition expressed the view that while a referendum is usually reserved for truly fundamental issues, the issue is big enough for widespread discussion.
“I have not called for a referendum. I have called for wide public consultation and debate just as we are doing now, so that we the Parliamentarians truly know what St Kitts and Nevis people feel about this important issue. This is too fundamental a question to treat in the ordinary way,” posted Brantley in that July 2018 conversation in social media.
Political pundits are of the view that Brantley’s known position on the issue was the main reason why he was at first left out of a panel to meet nationals in New York some two weeks ago.
“The right to vote goes to the very heart of our democracy. In Nevis, we made history by fighting against the arbitrary disenfranchisement of hundreds. Should we now disenfranchise thousands by the stroke of the legislative pen without even consulting them? Is there a groundswell of support for the disenfranchisement of our diaspora? If there is a perceived problem is disenfranchisement the only way to address the problem? Big issues like these demand widespread discussion,” said Brantley.
Surrogates of Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris recently launched a new round of attacks Premier Brantley as a result of his opposition to the disenfranchisement of nationals of St Kitts and Nevis who are on the current Voters’ Register and who reside overseas and the imposition of a six-month residency requirement for the upcoming general elections.
Leonardo Phillip, believed to be a fake FaceBook account, who expresses the policies and positions of Dr Harris said a “majority of members in cabinet support Dr Harris and residency requirements. We will not allow one man to deny the people their wish because of his selfish gains,” said Phillip.

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