Minister Skerritt says opposition parliamentarian can still accept Deputy Speakership

Hon. Vincent Byron

ST. KITTS, MARCH 30, 2010 (CUOPM) – Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Sen. the Hon. Richard “Ricky” Skerritt reiterated Thursday that the absence of a Deputy Speaker from the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly does not render sittings of the lawmaking body “out of order.”

Speaking during debate on the 2010 Budget, Minister Skerritt urged opposition-coalition PAM/CCM parliamentarian, Sen. the Hon. Vincent “Juicy” Byron to change his mind and accept the position of Deputy Speaker which he had earlier refused. Minister Skerritt recalled the position of the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Curtis Martin making it clear to the opposition that the vacancy of the deputy speaker position did not render this sitting of parliament out of order.

“Those who understand our constitution know that my resignation as Minster on March 10th and then reappointment 30 hours later, was merely a Constitutional maneuver to temporarily fill the deputy speaker position and to plug a gap in our flawed constitution so as to circumvent efforts by the opposition to sabotage the opening process of parliament and embarrass our Governor General, our government and our country,” said Minister Skerritt.

He said it was most unfortunate that the CCM/PAM opposition parliamentarians “sought to return to that relatively trivial issue of the vacancy of a deputy speaker as grounds for disrupting this budget debate, when this important Federal Budget was already before them.”

“If the position of deputy speaker was so important to the Senator Opposite (Hon. Vincent Liburd), then he should have accepted the nomination which was offered to him two weeks ago. If he now regrets his ill advised action to decline the nomination, then all he has to do is let us know that he has changed his mind,” said Sen. Skerritt, pointing out “the Senator amused us yesterday by taking back a statement that he never made. Perhaps he can amuse us further by taking back a refusal that he never wanted to make himself, but was forced ‘against his conscience’ to do so by his party leader.”

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