Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 24, 2018 – Leader of the Opposition in St. Kitts and Nevis, The Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, has called on the non-governmental agencies in the twin-island Federation to rein in the Team Unity Government of Prime Minister Harris in its deliberate attempt to stifle the voice of the opposition in the lawmaking body.
In a statement during Wednesday’s popular “Issues” programme on Freedom 106.5 FM, Dr. Douglas said that failure to do so could lead to “confusion and social discord” in the country.
“I appeal to the voices of balance, fairplay, objectivity, and those who are part of the NGO’s – the churches, the business community and our service organisations – to come to terms with the fact that there is a definite effort on the part of the government, assisted by the Speaker Michael Perkins, to stifle democracy and freedom of speech in the Parliament.
This is going to lead to confusion in the country generally, if the government continues on its path to try to remove from the Parliament of our country, one who has been elected to serve based on frivolous charges, that the government itself knows do not really exist,” said Dr. Douglas, the National Political Leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP), the largest single party in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Dr. Douglas continued: “It is not just to know that the Court will throw out the matter at the end of the day, but it is the unnecessary tension and confusion that will arise from here onwards, until the Court would have made its decision that could bring serious disruption in our beloved country.”
The former prime minister again appealed to the non-governmental organisations to “come to terms with the fact that if the government continues on this path of attempting to silence the voice of the opposition in our Parliament, that it will not be good for any and all of us.”
Dr. Douglas said Speaker Michael Perkins “has been uncompromisingly biased in his rulings in the House.”
“He is definitely behaving as if he is a puppet for the Harris Government and playing politics in the House. Nobody elected him as a representative of the people to the Parliament. He was identified by the Government to come to the Parliament first as a senator and deputy speaker and then he became the Speaker,” said Dr. Douglas, a seventh-term parliamentarian.
Dr. Douglas, who represents St. Christopher 6 (Newton Ground to Harris’) wining at each election with over 90 percent of the votes cast, said Speaker Perkins “has failed in his duties in the House.”
“This is a serious signal to the death of democracy here in St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Dr. Douglas as he passionately appealed to the NGO’s “to speak out against these matters, otherwise they will lead to unnecessary confusion and social discord here in St. Kitts and Nevis.”
As Deputy Speaker and then Speaker, Perkins has shut down the opposition parliamentarians, most times, on rulings which are not a part of the Standing Orders.
In December 2016, he denied the opposition their right to respond to the Budget and when a Motion of No-Confidence was brought against him in January 2017, he rejected it and then responded to each allegation after the opposition had walked out. He expelled an opposition member, who he claimed laughed in the lawmaking body and another for attempting to seek clarification on his rulings.
Photo 1 – the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas
Photo 2 – Speaker Michael Perkins
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