Passing of Motion of No Confidence Legislation Helps to Strengthen Democracy in St. Kitts and Nevis
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, September 20, 2019 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – With the passing of the Motion of No Confidence Bill, 2019, in the National Assembly, the Team Unity-led Government of St. Kitts and Nevis took a major step in strengthening the parliamentary democratic life in the twin island Federation.
The historic bill was passed today, Friday, September 20, after three days of debate and presentations led by mover of the bill, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris.
Prime Minister Harris indicated that such a legislation was only made necessary after the former Denzil Douglas administration refused to table a Motion of No Confidence filed against it by then Leader of the Opposition, the Honourable Mark Brantley on December 11, 2012. That motion went undebated for 26 months.
The prime minister stated that the situation in St. Kitts and Nevis then, created by the failure to table the Motion of No Confidence, had reached to the point where figures, regional and elsewhere, saw the need to speak out.
Dr. Harris said, “We had former Chief Justice Brian Alleyne who publicly condemned the dictatorial behaviour of the Douglas regime. We had the former prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda Mr. Lester Bird, who on November 17, 2013 opined that the democratic process in St. Kitts and Nevis is being undermined. And no amount of protest in St. Kitts, no amount of audiences sought for and had by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce in St. Kitts and Nevis, by the Evangelical Association, by the Christian Council could convince Dr. Denzil Douglas administration that they ought to do the right thing…that which was proper to do, that which the Constitution mandated them to do.”
The prime minister added, “Had the Constitution contemplated a Douglas it perhaps would have put in an exact time [for the tabling of a Motion of No Confidence] rather than leaving it to the judgment of men.”
The Motion of No Confidence legislation provides for the period within which a question of no confidence must be addressed by the National Assembly and for related matters. It states that where a question of no confidence in the Government is brought before the National Assembly, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and the National Assembly Elections Act, the question of no confidence shall be determined by Resolution of the National Assembly within a period not exceeding twenty one days.