Anticipation over the appointment of a Leader of the Opposition in the House of Assembly continues to proliferate as members of both the Concerned Citizens’ Movement and People’s Action Movement parties remain tight-lipped on the issue. In the January 25th federal elections, CCM retained two of the three federal seats contested in Nevis, Mark Brantley winning in Constituency #9 and Vance Amory being successful in #10. PAM won two seats against the incumbent St. Kitts Nevis Labour Party’s six – Eugene Hamilton winning Constituency #8 and Shawn Richards holding onto his Constituency #5 seat. With both parties being equally successful at the polls, a decision would have to be arrived at as to who would lead the opposition in Parliament. In the previous government, PAM held only one opposition seat while CCM held two and Mark Brantley had been appointed Leader of the Federal Opposition. A new Labour administration Cabinet was unveiled on Sunday and Nevisian Patrice Nisbett, the only successful Nevis Reformation Party candidate for the most recent general elections, was named Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs. The new Cabinet held its first official meeting on Wednesday however no word has been forthcoming as to the reconvening of Parliament, which was dissolved on December 15th, 2009. The Observer questioned parliamentarian-elect Mark Brantley as to whether a decision had been made regarding the appointment of Opposition Leader. Brantley, who was off island at the time, would only say, “Nothing official as yet.” Neither camp has responded to whether there had been negations or discussions on the matter since winning their respective seats, however both Brantley and fellow Parliamentarian-elect Shawn Richards had previously said there had been none. Brantley also declined to comment on whether he would accept the position if nominated. Uncorroborated reports indicate that Brantley would most likely be named to the post in light of his previous performance as Opposition Leader in the Federal House. Brantley was never reticent on certain national issues including crime, boundary changes and Prime Minister’s Dr. Denzil Douglas’ delay in calling the general elections. One political pundit informed The Observer that one of the PAM candidates was more deserving of the position as their party won the majority of votes in the elections – PAM a total of 3145 votes to CCM’s 2414. Opposition parliamentarians-elect are traditionally sworn in during the first sitting of Parliament following a general election, however Richards told The Observer that his party had received no word on when that would be. In the event that both parties fail to agree on an Opposition Leader, the Constitution of the federation gives the Governor General power to appoint one from amongst the qualified candidates.
- Advertisement -