Opposition coalition divided on Speaker’s ruling, PAM representatives walk out
PAM Senator, the Hon. Vincent Byron leaving the National Assembly (photos by Erasmus Williams)
BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, APRIL 27TH 2011 (CUOPM) – The Concerned Citizens Movement/People’s Action Movement (CCM/PAM) opposition coalition in the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly appears divided over a ruling by Speaker of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly, the Hon. Curtis Martin on an opposition-sponsored Bill, The Integrity in Public Life Bill, 2011.
Following a ruling Tuesday morning by the Speaker that the draft Bill does not comply with the provisions of the 1983 Constitution and the Standing Orders of the National Assembly Elections, the Hon. Eugene Hamilton and Sen. the Hon. Vincent Byron, two members of the opposition representing the People’s Action Movement (PAM) attempted to challenge the Speaker’s ruling.
After been told to sit, Sen. Byron rose from his seat and walked out. He was followed by Mr. Hamilton and the Hon. Shawn Richards, another opposition parliamentarian, also from the PAM.
Leader of the Opposition and Deputy Political Leader of the CCM, Hon. Mark Brantley and the other CCM parliamentarian, the Hon. Vance Amory seemed to be in agreement with the ruling and remained seated although Mr. Brantley left the Chamber shortly after and returned later and participated in the proceedings.
CCM Representatives Hon. Vance Amory (left) and Leader of the Opposition Hon. Mark Brantley (extreme left) seated following the walk out of their PAM coalition partners
The Speaker said he will invite the Leader of the Opposition to meet soonest with the Leader of Government Business and the Attorney General to discuss and clarify issues relating to the existing short comings of the draft submission of the Integrity in Public Life Bill, 2011.
“By so doing, it can be duly introduced, read and passed at the next best convenient sitting,” said Mr. Martin, who added:
“The Chair is also mindful that this may be seen as an obstruction to the introduction and eventual passage of this piece of hallmark legislation. However, the Chair wishes to make it pellucidly clear that it has an obligation to make decisions base on the rules and standing orders of the National Assembly. Once, all requirements are met as expressed by the standing orders then the Chair will be duty bound to proceed on this Bill.”