BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — The National Assembly, which convened today, Dec. 24, saw the Motion of No-Confidence (MONC) in the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis brought by the Leader of the Opposition, the Right Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas, defeated. The failure of the MONC comes on the heels of the 2019 Budget, which was overwhelmingly passed on Dec. 18 as a Vote of Confidence in the Government.
Confidence motions are a means of testing the support of the government (executive) in a legislative body, and for the legislature to remove the government from office.
The Harris-Led Team Unity Administration went into the debate with buoyancy, knowing that the Motion would not stand, especially after launching the historic Poverty Alleviation Programme a few hours earlier.
Prime Minister Harris, in a statement issued before the 2019 Budget Address said, “his Cabinet is fully supportive of the Speaker’s decision to schedule the Motion of No Confidence for Monday, December 24, 2018, thereby treating it with urgency.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Premier of Nevis, the Honourable Mark Brantley, speaking in rebuttal of the Motion said that the Motion has no substance because there is overwhelming evidence to show that the country is doing well. He added that the current Government is one that adheres to the rules of the National Assembly and operates above board.
“Today I believe is a historic day because we have demonstrated that we are a Government that adheres to the principles of democracy. We are now, Mr. Speaker, a properly constituted Parliament with proper regards for parliamentary rules,” said Minister Brantley.
He added that at the end of the 2019 Budget Debate, the Budget was passed with the overwhelming support of the honourable House.
“This is a distraction. It is an effort to come and grandstand at Christmas time. Just today, many persons received the first installment from the Poverty Alleviation Programme, something that many said could not be done but this is a Government that is into doing,” he added.
The Team Unity Administration over the past three years in office has fulfilled a number of promises made in its 2015 Manifesto. Some of the projects include the start of the construction of the second cruise pier; the roll out of Island Main Road Project; the soon to be constructed brand new Basseterre High School; the removal of VAT from the cost of food, medical and funeral expenses; the construction of the Mental Health Day Treatment Centre; and the renovation of the Mary Charles Hospital in Molineux.
Minister Brantley said that Dr. Douglas had wasted almost three hours of the House’s time and that his presentation was nothing but a “charade.” The Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Douglas, is currently before the courts because he holds a diplomatic passport of the Commonwealth of Dominica.
After months of denial, Dr. Douglas finally admitted in a sworn affidavit filed in the High Court Registry on Feb. 21 that he filled out an application form and was issued with a diplomatic passport (0000462) of the Commonwealth of Dominica, which he has used to travel.
Dr. Douglas’ legitimacy as a Member of Parliament is in question, as the Attorney General in the Dr. Harris-led Team Unity Administration has taken him to court to answer the charge that he’s in breach of the St. Kitts and Nevis Constitution.
Section 28 (1) of the Constitution of St. Christopher and Nevis and Section Six (6) of the National Assemblies Act both provide that “a person shall not be qualified to be elected or appointed as a member if he is by virtue of his own act under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state,” said the Attorney General.