PM Douglas Urges Withdrawal of Statement

St. Kitts - Nevis PM - Dr. Denzil Douglas

St. Kitts – Nevis PM – Dr. Denzil Douglas
Photo By Erasmus Williams

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
November 12, 2009 (CUOPM)

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas has called on the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the St. Kitts Christian Council and the St. Kitts Evangelical Association to withdraw a statement which he regards as “irresponsible.”

In a response to the statement issued from the offices of the Chamber on Tuesday, Prime Minister Douglas noted that he met on Friday, 6th November 2009, he met with the heads of the St. Kitts Evangelical Association, the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce, and the St. Kitts Christian Council. 

“We discussed the proposed Code, and I expressed my willingness to sign once a few modifications had been made.  All present agreed that these changes were indeed in order, and that said modifications would be made,” said Dr. Douglas.

The Prime Minister said he was asked in that meeting to intervene so as to ensure that there would be no changes to the constituency boundaries.

“I explained that the Constituency Boundaries Commission was an independent constitutionally mandated entity, and that the Constitution not only required that I, in my capacity as Prime Minister, submit the Commission’s recommendations to parliament, but that I do so as soon as possible upon receipt of same.  I explained that the Constitution prohibits the interference of either the Prime Minister or anyone else in the work and recommendations of the Commission,” said the Prime Minister in the statement.

He disclosed that the organisations were grateful for this information since they later explained that they had not been aware of this, had checked with their lawyers, and had been assured that, as Prime Minister, “I am legally bound, first, to not interfere with the work of the Commission, and then to submit the Commission’s recommendations to parliament without delay.”

Dr. Douglas said that the meeting ended on a positive and respectful note.

He further pointed out that news reports that the Chamber of Industry and Commerce et al  have issued a statement predicting “instability” were he as Prime Minister assume his constitutionally- mandated responsibility  and present the Commission’s recommendations to parliament, then it “completely contradicts their clear statement to me that they fully understand that (1) the Commission is independent and must meet its responsibilities regarding boundary changes as it sees fit, and (2) in my capacity as Prime Minister, it is my duty to present these recommendations to the parliament.”

Dr. Douglas noted he has since learnt that the St. Kitts Christian Council expressed outrage over its organisation’s name having been associated with this statement, and has completely distanced itself from it.

Prime Minister Douglas noted that on October 19, 2009, the Courts made it clear that his Government has acted honourably and responsibly with reference to electoral reform, in general, and boundary changes in particular.

“Should the Commission decide to change any boundaries in any way, I shall continue to meet my responsibilities under the Constitution by presenting them to Parliament,” said Dr. Douglas.

He said there is nothing either extreme or destabilizing about this, and so, on behalf of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, “I urge the signatories to the November 10, 2009 to share with the rest of the nation, without delay, any special intelligence, insights, or knowledge that they may have regarding the “instability” that awaits us all.  In the event that they miss-spoke, a withdrawal of this irresponsible statement would be very much in order.”

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