St. Kitts gov’t in peril

The legitimacy of the Denzil Douglas Administration in St. Kitts & Nevis is in major doubt tonight.

This follows an eventful day in which a majority of elected parliamentarians — six out of 11 including two disaffected members — informed the twin-island state’s Governor General Sir Edmund Lawrence that they did not support Prime Minister Douglas.

With the two former government ministers and four opposition MPs also notifying Sir Edmund that they would vote in favour of an Opposition-led no confidence motion in the government, a motion filed since December but not yet heard in the National Assembly, it means that the country’s longstanding leader effectively no longer commands the parliamentary majority.

It’s the latest twist to several months of political controversy and contention in St. Kitts during which former Senior Minister Dr. Timothy Harris was sacked and former Deputy Prime Minister Sam Condor resigned.

News reports out of St. Kitts this evening pointed out that while Harris and Condor had previously both criticised the prime minister’s leadership, objected to two key pieces of government legislation and challenged his explanation for the postponement of the Budget last December, today’s events are significant because they showed for the first time the two would vote against their former boss.

Harris, who spoke St. Kitts radio station WINN FM, said he and Condor wanted to end any uncertainty about how they would vote on the motion.

“We have sought to address public concerns to clarify our position in the interest of the country so that people know and have a certainty and a certitude in order to make the wise decision affecting the country,” he said. In a statement, Leader of the Opposition Mark Brantley said, acting on his behalf and with the support of five other MPs, he wrote the governor general and told him all of the signatories of the correspondence intended to vote in favour of the no-confidence motion.

“By this action today, we have made it absolutely clear that without the confidence, and without the prospect of commanding the support of a majority of elected representatives of the National Assembly, Prime Minister Douglas cannot now possess either a political or a moral mandate to lead the government of this federation,” Brantley said.

“This necessarily negates any mandate for him to seek to introduce any legislation of whatever nature into the National Assembly ahead of the said motion of no confidence. (SC)

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