Legislative approval sought to increase number of senators in National Assembly

Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Hon. Patrice Nisbett

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, NOVEMBER 19TH 2012 (CUOPM) – The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis goes to the National Assembly on Wednesday seeking legislative approval to increase the number of senators in the lawmaking body from three to six.

Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, the Hon. Patrice Nisbett will introduce The Senators (Increasing of Number), Bill, 2012. There are presently three senators – two appointed by the Government and one by the Opposition. If approved the Government will appoint two more and the Opposition one more.

“The Bill seeks to give effect to the provisions of section 26. (2) of the Constitution which provides that the number of Senators shall be three or such greater number (not exceeding two-thirds of the number of representatives) as may be prescribed by Parliament: Provided that at any time when a person who is a Senator holds the office of Attorney-General the number of Senators shall be increased by one,” said the Attorney General in stating the objects and reasons of the draft law.

“The reasons for increasing the number of Senators are basically three. It has been found necessary to facilitate the election of a Deputy Speaker it in order to ensure the smooth running of the affairs of the National Assembly. Secondly, modern Government business has become more complex than ever, and hence the complexity of running Government business inevitably requires additional human resources. Thirdly, it is necessary to improve on the complexion of Parliament by introducing in new people while taking into account gender balance. This is to ensure that the contributions made in Parliament benefit generally from the views of the entire community,” said the Nevisian-born Attorney General.

The Bill states:

“WHEREAS section 26. (2) of the Constitution (West Indies Act – including the Constitution and Courts Orders, Cap. 1.01) provides that the number of Senators shall be three or such greater number (not exceeding two-thirds of the of the number of representatives) as may be prescribed by Parliament:

Provided that at any time when a person who is a Senator holds the office of Attorney-General the number of Senators shall be increased by one:

AND WHEREAS the number of Senators has been the same as provided for by the Constitution since its coming into effect: AND WHEREAS Parliament now decides that a law be enacted in accordance with the provisions of section 26.(2) of the Constitution so as to increase the number of Senators from three (3) to six (6):

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen’s Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the National Assembly of Saint Christopher and Nevis, and by the authority of the same as follows: 1.Short title. This Act may be cited as the Senators (Increase of Number) Act, 2012.

Increase of number of Senators. In accordance with the provisions of section 26. (2) of the Constitution, the number of Senators is hereby increased from three (3) to six (6) as from the date of the coming into force of this Act.

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