Hamilton’s letter to Richards

Minister of Community and Social Development, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton.
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April 19, 2022

My dear Brother and Political Leader Shawn

On Sunday you raised among other things two critical issues for me to contemplate. A third issue emerged from later conversation among the persons present

I will characterize the issues as follows:-

  1. Whether I would accept the position as Prime Minister as an interim measure
  2. Whether I would join my six other elected colleagues in signing an instrument to the GG apprising him that we support another to serve as PM in the place of Tim Harris in whom we have lost confidence
  3. The issue that evolved is “Whether I would join all of six elected members in signing a resignation from Cabinet”

The question outlined in the first issue assumes that the GG could replace the PM based on letters written to him by sitting parliamentarians. I am not familiar with any supporting legislation that provides that option to the GG.

If the question assumes that the PM would resign without seeking the dissolution of parliament, I don’t believe that he would ever do so and I don’t believe that you have advanced a case for him to do so.

Your question would only be relevant if he were to resign without the dissolution of parliament. Therefore, given my previous statement this matter should not even be contemplated under the circumstances

The second question is negatived by my belief that the GG does not have that option available to him. Any such letter may only serve as pressure but our history has shown that it could bring no result without a MONC

On the question of whether or not the GG can unseat the PM based on a simple extra-Parliamentary approach from anyone, such a development can be described as a palace coup.

Indeed, there is a well-respected convention that Her Majesty does not INTERFERE, INTERVENE, nor INTERCEDE in political wrangling and machinations at the level of those vying for power outside of any parliamentary platform.

She responds only to the wishes of the electorate at the level of the body politic via the process of democratic elections and at the level of the representatives of the body politic via the inner workings of the Parliament.  Hence, the principal time when the GG “has occasion to appoint” is following an election and secondarily following a successful motion of no confidence.

The third question of resigning from Cabinet is one which I will not contemplate based on the information available to me and advanced by you so far. It does nothing to preserve the livelihood of those who will be exposed by adverse outcomes. I speak about all of the PAM dominated Boards where some derive their only income like Dorita; I speak about those hundreds if not thousands who are employed and are in vulnerable disposition and can be easily removed; I speak about those who have financial commitment and could have their life disrupted; and the list goes on and on

Regarding the letter written to the PM giving a deadline

Firstly, while I have listened to the letter read to me for the first time on Sunday, as having been sent to the PM, which purports to bring dissolution if no resolution by issuing a deadline, I am not convinced that the public would agree that we have done enough in the past and even now, to properly address the issues which confront PAM. True we should not have had to confront some of these at all but we have to deal with reality as they are

There is also the question of whether some of the issues are really for the PM to address rather than PAM addressing those questions

Secondly, I see no clear path for a return of the PAM elected representatives to parliament if Parliament is dissolved now as a consequence of our resignations. However, I can see a path if we are strategic in our conduct of affairs even at this late hour and I have previously given you some suggestions which includes your role on the Boundaries Commission

My view is that our resignation is like inflicting a death sentence on PAM. A proverbial mortal wounding of PAM by its elected representatives if we resign at this point without making some important strategic moves

I shudder to think that by my signature I would have inflicted a mortal wound on the party to which I have given more than fifty years of unfettered service and in the process suffering greatly without a murmur

I have survived being terminated by Labour twice in my life; the last termination costing me in excess of half a million dollars just to stabilize my life; denied my constitutional right to pursue my own business despite capitalizing the company with three times the statutory capital required; suffered a fractured jaw as a result of missiles thrown at a PAM public meeting; suffered unmerited humiliation by Bloom Cooper and his commission of inquiry; and believe me Shawn I am just getting started

At a recent meeting you and I listened to Linsday and Jonel clearly expressing trepidation about winning their seats while still appearing gung ho about dissolution. If they are uncertain, it is very likely that on the ground it is worse than they think because I would expect them to be the most optimistic about their constituencies than others, except it is that they don’t really know their constituencies

I have not hidden my fears. I have told you and others where I stand and I am saying here again for the record that an election at this time is a loss of const 8 by any PAM candidate

If you are satisfied given what both Lindsay and Jonel have said, then you are prepared to accept PAM just having one seat which is your seat.  I do not understand your plan and I would be unwise to accept without more. I would have been happy to be there tonight to get a better understanding to allay my fears

To me, the possibility of being reduced to one seat would be tantamount to driving a harpoon through the heart of PAM which I have given my life to.

As a mater of reflection regarding the overall spectacle of current developments, it is important to factor in the relevant consideration of what all this means in terms of public perception which will have some effect on public response in an election.

As politicians we must be mindful that our behaviours and actions are viewed by a mixed audience. There is therefore the question of what strategies are being employed and what will be the fallout of such strategies when analyzed by the total audience.

 

While it is easy to get carried away by the raucous support of the core of rabid supporters to whom we are the greatest thing since sliced bread, we should always consider the silent majority who is taking in our performance as well as the performance of our opponents. They are the ones who will very rationally analyze our performance and at the end of the day make a big difference one way or the other; depending on how they interpret our performance.

 

For reflection, See below the section of the Constitution that speaks to removal et al

  1. Ministers.

(1) There shall be a Prime Minister of Saint Christopher and Nevis who shall be appointed by the Governor-General.

(2) Whenever the Governor-General has occasion to appoint a Prime Minister he or she shall appoint a Representative who appears to him or her likely to command the support of the majority of the Representatives.

(3) There shall be, in addition to the office of Prime Minister, an office of Deputy Prime Minister and such other offices of Minister of the Government as may be established by Parliament, or, subject to the provisions of any law enacted by Parliament, by the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister.

(4) Appointments to the office of Minister, other than the office of Prime Minister, shall be made by the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, from among the members of the National Assembly.

(5) If occasion arises for making an appointment to the office of Prime Minister or any other Minister while Parliament is dissolved, then, notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (2) and (4), a person who was a Representative immediately before the dissolution may be appointed as Prime Minister and a person who was a Representative or a Senator immediately before the dissolution may be appointed as any Minister other than Prime Minister.

(6) The Governor-General shall remove the Prime Minister from office if a resolution of no confidence in the Government is passed by the National Assembly and the Prime Minister does not within three days either resign from his or her office or advise the Governor-General to dissolve Parliament.

(7) If, at any time between the holding of a general election of Representatives and the first meeting of the National Assembly there-after, the Governor-General considers that in consequence of changes in the membership of the Assembly resulting from that election the Prime Minister will not be able to command the support of the majority of the Representatives, the Governor-General may remove the Prime Minister from office.

(8) The office of any Minister shall become vacant (a) if the holder of the office ceases to be a member of the National Assembly otherwise than by reason of the dissolution of Parliament; (b) in the case of the Prime Minister, if, when the Assembly first meets after any dissolution of Parliament, he or she is not then a Representative; (c) in the case of any other Minister, if, when the Assembly first meets after any dissolution of Parliament, he or she is not then a Representative or a Senator; or(d) if, by virtue of section 31(4), he or she is required to cease to perform his or her functions as a member of the Assembly.

(9) The office of a Minister other than the Prime Minister shall become vacant (a) if the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, so directs; (b) if the Prime Minister resigns from office within three days after a resolution of no confidence in the Government has been passed by the National Assembly or is removed from office under subsection (6) or (7); or(c) on the appointment of any person to the office of Prime Minister.

(10) In the exercise of the powers conferred upon him or her by subsections (2) and (7) the Governor General shall act in his or her own deliberate judgment.

Finally my brother Shawn, don’t make this about my pension (even though that is a truism that me and my dependents could suffer from that loss) but take the broad view and see this as your moment to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

In the scheme of things my loss or potential loss despite all that I have given to PAM dwarfs in comparison to the loss that would engulf the people that we pledge to serve

This is your utilitarian moment

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