St. Kitts – Nevis’ PM – Dr. Denzil Douglas
Photo By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
March 09, 2010 (CUOPM)
Wednesday’s Opening of a new session of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly following the recent general election signals the readiness of the twin-island Federation “to continue the challenging, important, and sacred work that is needed to protect the country in this complex and demanding global environment.
“As our listeners know, under the terms of our Constitution, the first session of Parliament could have been held as late as ninety days after our last election ““ that is, during the last week of April. However, my Government has a vision, the voters have given us a mandate, and we want to get started,” said Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas during his weekly radio programme “Ask the Prime Minister” on Tuesday.
He said the Opening of the National Assembly is a very important occasion and although there s a ceremonial aspect, it underscores the seriousness and the traditional significance of the moment.
Referring to the section of the Constitution that states that “˜Parliament may make laws for the peace, order, and good government of St. Christopher and Nevis,’ Prime Minister Douglas said those “simple words carry within them the vast complexity of possibilities that the Representatives and Senators in the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly have an obligation to strive to transform into reality, on behalf of the people of this country.
“The delivery of peace, order, and good government has required, and will continue to require, sound judgment and cogent analysis in the process of policy formulation. This is true whether the issue at hand is health policy or public works, agriculture policy or education, tourism policy or justice, foreign policy or culture, national security or telecommunications, finance policy or sports. And the crafting of visionary, impactful legislation that would redound to the benefit of this country, and its people, is what the next five years of legislative activity will be about,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
He promised to focus on the constructive potential within the society, pointing out that as the Labour Party leads the Government of St. Kitts & Nevis into a historic fourth Parliamentary session, it will “strive, within the executive and legislative branches of Government, to keep St. Kitts and Nevis stable and strong.”
“We all have both rights as well as responsibilities. If we want a safe society, if we want a law abiding society, if we want a society in which we all feel interconnected as human beings, we will have to demonstrate far greater respect for each other,” said Dr. Douglas.
The St. Kitts and Nevis leader said the Constitution lists, and his Government has always upheld, the rights and freedoms of Kittitians and Nevisians – the right to life, the right to personal liberty, the right to freedom from slavery and forced labour. Protection from inhuman treatment, and protection against the deprivation of property, and from arbitrary search and entry.
“We have protection of law, freedom of conscience, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, freedom of movement, freedom from racial discrimination. These rights keep democracy strong,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who added that rights come with responsibilities.
“Even while we exercise these freedoms, as a mature and responsible society, it is essential that we be ever mindful that none of us has the right to impair the rights and freedoms of others”¦..none of us has the right to impair the public interest ““ the Constitution reminds us of this,” said Dr. Douglas.
Prime Minister Douglas said that at the level of the individual, this heightened sense of social responsibility toward each other must be made evident in all interactions, across the board, because it is the failure to respect others – their right to life, their right to property, their freedom of expression, that has often been at the base of societal breakdown throughout much of the world.
He said that being mindful of this, “my Government is dedicated, during this term, to reinforcing our nation’s strengths and to correcting its weaknesses, by placing special focus on the development of our nation’s human potential in all its manifestations ““ moral, physical, material, educational. And this heightened respect for ourselves, and for each other, we call upon the entire nation to find ways to demonstrate and instill.”