Wednesday, April 24, 2024

St Kitts: Pressure mounts on Douglas

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BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Feb 4, CMC – Pressure continued to mount on the Denzil Douglas administration to debate in parliament the opposition inspired motion of no confidence in his administration.
The St. Kitts Christian Council and the St. Kitts Evangelical Association Monday joined the island’s private sector in calling on the prime minister to ensure that the motion, which has been filed nearly two months ago, is debated as soon as possible.
In an open letter to Prime Minister Douglas and released to the media, the churches said it wanted the debate “without further delay and before any other business is brought to the Parliament.
“This we believe to be in the best interest of our nation at this very trying time.  Mr. Prime Minister, we solicit your immediate attention and action to this matter as we consider it of highest priority and urgency,” the religious groups added.
Last week, the St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce also called for the motion to be debated without any further delay.
In a statement, the private sector group reminded Prime Minister Douglas that in his address to them last month he had indicated that several matters before the parliament including the motion of no confidence could erode investor confidence in the country.
It said that Prime Minister Douglas had pledged to do all within his power to avoid damage to the investment climate and the economy and that the motion of no confidence “should be heard expeditiously”.
Prime Minister Douglas in his address to the private sector last year, said that “the motion (of no confidence) will have to wait in line with what is the calendar of the House that is before the Speaker”.
But last month, Opposition Leader Mark Brantley said the motion should take precedence, adding “it is obvious under established practice and procedure in the House the motion of no confidence should take precedent over something like a Senators bill.
“I don’t see the urgency I don’t see the importance of an increase in Senators bill in light of the motion that is outstanding,” he said then.
Parliament last week passed the Senators Bill by a slim 8-7 margin and is likely to deal with the national budget at the next sitting.
Last week, dismissed senior government minister Dr. Timothy Harris said he was daring Prime Minister Dr. Douglas to allow parliament to debate the motion.
Harris, who was fired for failing to adhere to government policies and programmes, said that Dr. Douglas does not command the support of a majority of legislators in the parliament “and should now do the honourable thing and resign, or call a general election.
“Put it to the people.  He does not command a majority of Members of Parliament at this particular moment in time and so if he want to talk about procedures and support let him put that to the test, ,” Timothy said on a local radio station here.
Harris and another senior government legislator Sam Condor have openly disagreed with a number of government measures including the national budget and the decision to increase the number of senators in the legislative chamber.
Last Thursday, Condor, the deputy prime minister, resigned from the Cabinet with immediate effect.
Prime Minister Douglas told parliament that Harris had asked him to resign as head of the government last December and accused the former minister of being part of a “conspiracy to bring the government to an end” and establish a unity government in St. Kitts-Nevis.
In their statement, the religious groups said they had met with the Prime Minister as well as Harris and Condor in separate meetings, adding that the dismissal and resignation of the two senior ministers “has further heightened this political tension in our nation, (and) we are of the firm view that we are facing a serious political crisis.”
 

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