This time, the issue is the government’s plan to increase the number of un-elected senators in the National Assembly of St. Kitts & Nevis. At present there are only three senators; two on the government side and one on the opposition benches.
The government has tried to justify the action as one needed to appoint a Deputy Speaker, allow for more female representation in the Assembly and thirdly to assist in the management process of government.
However all these have been solidly rejected by the opposition parties, both PAM and CCM, whose parliamentary representatives appear to be convinced that all the Prime Minister, Dr. Denzil Douglas is attempting to do is strengthen his influence and support amongst the parliamentarians on the government side. No longer, can he count on at least two of his colleagues to support certain measures, claims the opposition.
Following a protest march on Thursday 22nd November, 2012, that saw hundreds on the streets directly in the march and hundreds more giving support from the sidelines, PAM’s leader, Mr. Shawn Richards, announced that his party will stage another protest action on Thursday 6th December, if by then the government has not repealed the legislation for the land swap deal and if the course continues to add more senators.
However, parliament is scheduled to meet on 7th December, when the second and third readings of the bill to increase the number of senators, is widely expected to be attempted. There is some doubt however, if the Prime Minister has enough votes to carry the measure to a successful conclusion. The thinking is that two government MPs may not vote for The Senators (Increasing of Number), Bill, 2012.
In a press statement issued by PAM on Friday, it stated that “Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Patrice Nisbett introduced the bill on November 21st and was rejected by 3 of the 4 political parties in the National Assembly. The Prime Minister’s last minute attempt to make a deal with Leader of the Opposition Hon. Mark Brantley and members of his own Cabinet failed. With an imminent defeat staring him in his face the Prime Minister was forced to have just the first reading and postponed the 2nd and 2rd to December 7th.”
“On December 6th we demonstrate once again not only to save our lands but to save our country and stop Denzil Douglas’ attempt to entrench his dictatorial rule with the introduction of a senators bill to increase the number of senators in the federal parliament. The country is not satisfied with this proposed bill and we will express our dissatisfaction with Douglas’ attempt to further foist himself on a people struggling under the weight of his arrogance and incompetence.”