Number 958 • Friday, March 8, 2013

PM Douglas Vows to Put Motion of No Confidence to a Vote
Opposition expresses serious doubt
By LK Hewlett
Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas
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Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas says he intends have the Opposition’s Motion of No Confidence tabled and voted on in parliament but members of the Opposition say it “will never happen”.

On Wednesday The Observer asked PM Douglas if he planned to table the motion, resign or call an election. He said the Motion would be debated and at that time he would make a determination if he needed to take any specific action.

“The motion will be debated in our parliament. I believe that the government will treat this motion, in parliament, as a very important opportunity to respond to a number of pre-amble charges that have been outlined in the motion.

“It is not for me to table anything at all but I expect that the motion would come and my Cabinet has already begun to prepare what exactly it would do in defense of its position are the charges that are pre-ambled charges in the motion itself,” he responded.

Dr. Douglas said his Cabinet will use the debate on the motion as an opportunity to demonstrate how the government has been able to “lead this country through a very difficult period”.

He said he expects all parliamentarians to vote against the motion, despite the fact that the four Opposition MPS and two former government MPS have indicated they do not support the Prime Minister and would vote in favor of the motion. The Federal Cabinet now has five elected members.

“Those who are in parliament and listening to the government’s strong position of defense of its activities over the last three years would vote in support, not of the motion, but of the government’s performance and I would be surprised if that motion is accepted by the parliament to the point where I would have to make any decision at all.”

Leader of the Opposition PAM party, Hon. Shawn Richards told The Observer he was not inclined to believe anything Dr. Douglas said, especially as it relates to the motion of No Confidence.

“I do not for a second believe that the Prime Minister has any intentions of seeing a motion that he will not win tabled in parliament. In any event, it is not for him to table but instead it is the duty of the Speaker of the House. His statement begs the question as to who is really in charge of parliament,” he said.

Hon. Sam Condor, the Prime Minister’s second-in-command until January 31, uttered similar sentiment with regards PM Douglas’ tabling of the motion. He said Dr. Douglas was “buying time” and would not likely let the motion come to a vote “knowing he would lose”.

“It is unprecedented, nowhere in the English-speaking Commonwealth, in fact nowhere in the world, we’ve seen a motion of no confidence take over eighty days. Almost three months now the motion has been before the Speaker and nothing has been done,” said the former Minister.

The Prime said Wednesday that there is “no law” giving a time frame in which the motion had to be tabled and there were other more pressing issues that needed to go before parliament including the Budget. He maintained that the motion was important and should be dealt with expeditiously.

Hon. Richards says the Prime Minister could pirogue parliament or call an election if he is “afraid” to have the motion voted on. He said maybe it was time for the citizens to send PM Douglas a clear message that they want the matter resolved.

“Perhaps it might be up to the people to send Dr. Douglas a strong message that they have had enough of him not only in terms of delaying the motion in parliament, but in terms of him being the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis. They will have to send a message to him that his time has expired and no longer will we continue to allow him to flaunt the rules and laws and do as he pleases,” he said.

MP Richards said the Opposition may have to seek a declaration from the Court outlining that the matter be debated as urgently as possible.