PRESS RELEASE ON THE POSITION OF THE ST.KITTS-NEVIS LABOUR PARTY ON THE TENURE OF OFFICE OF PRIME MINISTER BILL AND THE MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE BILL.

House of Parliament

September 17, 2019

 

PRESS RELEASE ON THE POSITION OF THE ST. KITTS-NEVIS LABOUR PARTY

ON

THE TENURE OF OFFICE OF PRIME MINISTER BILL

AND

THE MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE BILL

 

 

Today, Tuesday, September 17th, 2019, Parliament convenes to debate among other things The Tenure of Office of Prime Minister Bill and The Motion of No Confidence Bill. The Tenure of Office of Prime Minister Bill seeks to amend the Constitution of St. Christopher and Nevis in Section 52 and therein limiting any Elected Representative to serving a maximum of two terms in the Office of Prime Minister.  The Motion of No Confidence Bill is intended to stipulate a period of twenty-one days within which a Motion of No Confidence in the Government is to be held once filed.

The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, including its eight candidates for the impending General Election, has given due consideration to the two above-mentioned bills currently before the Parliament and has agreed the following.

 

THE TENURE OF OFFICE OF PRIME MINISTER BILL

  • The Tenure of Office of Prime Minister Bill requires the approval of no less than two-thirds of ALL Elected Representatives. Given the balance of power in the current Parliament, the Bill has no prospect of being passed without support from the Opposition.
  • This Bill, given its high constitutional significance and it being an attempt to make the very first amendment to our 1983 Constitution, would receive the support of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party as is ONLY if it is subjected to a referendum.
  • Given that the concept of fixed-length terms does not exist under our Constitution, it is more appropriate to limit the tenure of the Prime Minister on the basis of the number of years served, say eight (8) years, rather than on the basis of the number of terms served.
  • The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party is fully committed upon taking Office after the next General Election to subjecting the 1983 Constitution to a comprehensive review via referendum to, inter alia, limit the tenure of the Prime Minister.
  • The Leader of the Opposition and of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party has been clear, in both public and private settings, on his commitment and intention to lead the Party into government and to then pursue succession of leadership to one of the Next Gen SKN Leaders to be chosen by the National Conference of the Party.

THE MOTION OF NO CONfIDENCE BILL

  • The Courts of our land have recently spoken in clear terms on this subject matter and have provided ample guidance thereon, to which the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party subscribes.
  • Having regard for the precedent set by other Commonwealth countries including some within our Region, the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party is of the view that any duration within the vicinity of one month is reasonable time within which a Motion of No Confidence should be heard.
  • The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party is disappointed that a bill of this nature has not come up for debate until now, after four and a half years of reprehensible governance, unprecedented corruption and rank nepotism under the present Prime Minister.
  • Given that this bill is only now, on the eve of the next election, being set down for debate, the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour is concerned that this bill is intended to be more about politics than about earnestly addressing the subject matter of governance. Our country is ill-served by such politics of self-interest.
  • The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party is inclined to support a Motion of No Confidence Bill on the condition that, in relation to a Motion of No Confidence, the Bill disapplies Section 46 and other provisions of the Standing Orders of The National Assembly dealing with ‘Closure of Debate’. These provisions have been abused by the current administration to prevent freedom of debate in the Parliament. We consider debates on Motions of No Confidence to have a higher significance in our democratic system of government. The government should not have the liberty to close out the debate on a Motion of No Confidence until All Members have had an opportunity to debate it.

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