STATEMENT BY DR. TERRANCE DREW, POLITICAL LEADER OF THE ST. KITTS-NEVIS LABOUR PARTY ON RECENT POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS IN ST. KITTS
April 22, 2022
My fellow citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis,
As leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, my team and I have been monitoring recent political developments with increasing concern and dismay. The longstanding political wrangling between the warring factions of the Team Unity construct has been exposed, laid bare and put on display for all to see. The present tensions in the political sphere has spilt over into the public square and has led to heightened anxiety, anger and uncertainty that has brought out great Federation to a tipping point that if not arrested soon will completely destabilize our country. Political instability leads to economic instability, a scenario that cannot be countenanced as already our small-island nation is reeling from the impact of a global pandemic, and the fallout of war in Europe and trade and supply-chain disruptions. Our people are frustrated, confused and on-edge.
It is clear from the communications that have been made by the PAM, CCM and PLP that they are at an impasse with no clear expression of a decision to dissolve or resolve. Rather, they have chosen to prolong the stalemate by initiating a process that they are all qualified enough to be aware will lead nowhere.
The Honorable Shawn Richards and the Honorable Mark Brantley have spoken of a letter that has been given to the Governor General but have made no public statement on a decision of any disaffected member of the Cabinet to resign.
The letter claims that the six elected members of PAM and CCM, i.e. Honorable Ministers Shawn Richards, Lindsay Grant, Jonel Powell, Mark Brantley, Eric Evelyn, and Alexis Jeffers no longer support nor do they have confidence in Dr. Timothy Harris as Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis. The members are supporting the Honourable Shawn K. Richards as Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis.
In what appears to be a letter in response from H.E. Tapley Seaton, the Governor General has indicated that he has taken the matter under legal advisement.
It is curious that such a consultation is considered necessary since the Governor General is not only a lawyer by profession but is one of the framers of the very Constitution of St. Christopher and Nevis. This is particularly perplexing to us in the Labour Party and to reasonable observers across the nation.
The process governing how the Prime Minister is appointed and when and under what circumstances he/she can be removed are clearly outlined in Section 52 of the Constitution. These actions are solely within the special and reserve powers of the Governor General, who is the Head of State.
The mere suggestion that the process for the removal of the Prime Minister can be triggered simply by a letter from the majority of elected members stating that they do not or no longer support the Prime Minister, is spurious at best and at worst utterly mischievous and intentionally misleading.
The closest scenario to the present situation that is entertained in the Constitution is laid out in Subsection 7 of Section 52 which allows for the removal of the Prime Minister, if and only if, it happens before the first sitting of Parliament after the appointment arising from a General elections.
It has been almost two years since the last General Elections in St. Kitts and Nevis were held on June 5, 2020. The opportunity for such action to be taken has been long past.
After this option, there is only one legal instrument that can trigger the removal of the Prime Minister. This is laid out in Subsection 6 of Section 52 of the Constitution that dictates that there must first be the passage of a Resolution of No Confidence in the Government passed by the National Assembly. But even after such a resolution the constitution states that the Governor General can only remove the Prime Minister if he fails to either resign within 3 days or advise the Governor General to disslove parliament.
Therefore there is only one avenue through which the dissident factions within the Unity coalition can resolve the present situation. Too much damage has already been done since all Ministers, including the Prime Minister have openly spoken of the lack of equity and purpose in Team Unity and have hurled accusations and counter-accusations at each other of gross incompetence, corruption and greed. There is no turning back from here. The only way to resolve the present situation is to have fresh elections.
The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party is calling for swift action in this direction in order to return our country to a state of stability under new leadership that will truly represent the interests of our people.
For too long, the entire country has been drawn into this unsavory and embarrassing debacle while, for all intents and purposes, our government Ministries and subsidiaries and the entire machinery of the State have been left without leadership, forced to run on auto-pilot with pertinent matters of state left undone or in abbeyance.
This cannot and must not continue.
The people are suffering from years of neglect and maladministration by an amateurish, uncaring, corrupt and incompetent Team Unity administration led by Dr. Timothy Harris. These are now not just the words of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, these are now their own words. By their own admission, they are ALL unfit to lead.
Enough is enough, it is time for the question on who is best fit to lead our great Federation to be settled by taking it back to the people.
The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party stands ready to serve; ready to rebuild; ready to deliver real representation that the people deserve.
We will offer a united, stable government that will bring good governance back to our Federation by upholding the highest standards of transparency, integrity, accountability, innovativeness and openness.
We have the team, the vision and plans to take our country to the next level and to open new opportunities for every man, woman and child to pursue their dreams and aspirations and to achieve a higher standard of living, quality of life and well-being.
Hope springs eternal with the Labour Party. We are the best and only option. Let’s move forward together with the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party.