Constituency Boundaries Commission has been appointed since 2012
Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 17th 2013 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas says there is nothing secret about government’s intention to change the constituency boundaries as the Constituency Boundaries Commission has been appointed since 2012 and both the opposition and government have named their representatives.
“I have noticed that in recent days those who would like to defeat the Labour Government have taken to saying that ‘they suspect’ that the Government will ‘be trying’ to change the boundaries…………that ‘sources have revealed’ that the Government will be attempting to ‘slip in’ boundary changes……..and so forth and so on. The suggestion being that the Government has some secret plan to change the boundaries but that – lo and behold – some brilliant sleuth has been able to unearth and expose our plans. What a ridiculous attempt at public manipulation. There is nothing secret about the Government’s intention to change the boundaries,” said Prime Minister Douglas during his radio programme “Ask the Prime Minister” on Tuesday.
He told listeners that the St. Kitts and Nevis Constitution requires that the boundaries are changed every 3 to 5 years and that international election observers have long demanded that the boundaries be changed.
“We now have a situation in the Federation, where one constituency has some 6,000 inhabitants, while another has about 2,500. We had announced even before the last election (January 2010) that we would be changing the boundaries. Indeed we had tried to change them in 2009, but then, as now, the opposition dreaded and fought boundary changes. At any rate, knowing that our next election would take place in 2015, the Government and the Opposition began working together on the Boundaries Commission, since 2012 well in advance of the 2015 election,” said Dr. Douglas.
The two members who would be appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister for the Government side are the Honorable Dr. Earl Asim Martin and the Honorable Marcella Althea Liburd.
The two persons that have been appointed by the Governor General on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition are the Honorable Vincent ‘Juicy’ Byron who is a senator on the Opposition’s side and the Honorable Vance Amory who is also a member on the Opposition Side and who is the Premier of Nevis.
The Chairman who has been appointed to head this commission since last year is Mr. Peter Jenkins. He is appointed after the Governor General would have consulted with both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.
“None of us could influence the Governor General; he would have appointed that Chairman in his own deliberate judgment after having consultations with both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition,” said the Prime Minister.
“Once these five persons have come together on the appointment of the Governor General to be the Commission, they then represent the Parliament and they represent the people of St. Kitts and Nevis. They are not necessarily to be there sitting as any members of Government or Opposition. Now they are a constitutional body called the Constituency Boundaries Commission, doing their work on behalf of the Government and the people of St. Kitts and Nevis and on behalf of the Parliament,” Prime Minister Douglas said.
He said work on the boundary changes began last year with the full involvement and cooperation of the opposition.
“That’s some three years before elections were due, but for some reason the opposition feeling that it cannot win the elections are trying to do all manner of things with regard to the boundary changes,” said the Prime Minister, describing the opposition’s attempts “to create some sense of drama and intrigue over the Government’s constitutional obligation to change constituency boundaries.”
“It is just a part of their ongoing confusion agenda in our country. Boundary changes are required, boundary changes will be made as a matter of constitutional responsibility, and there is nothing whatsoever that is secret about this,” said the Prime Minister.
Responding to statements by opposition parliamentarians that they will move to the Courts to prevent any change in the constituency boundaries, Prime Minister Douglas said:
“If they want to run to the court and try to stop it, that is their business, because I don’t need the boundaries to lead the Labour Party into victory. I have used the same boundaries on four different occasions and I have beaten the living daylight out of the Opposition. Four times we have done it; the boundaries are ours; we love them as they are but we have a constitutional obligation to do what we have to do. So they are running around like headless chickens just as the last time running to the courts the entire time saying ‘we gun stop him, we gun stop d boundaries,’ they don’t understand that the elections were already won.”