Astaphan, who served Constituency No. Two for a number of years, was a member of the St. Kitts Nevis Labour Party-led administration in 1996 when this legislation was first tabled in Parliament by the government. To date however, it has not been passed into law and as was explained by political leader of St. Kitts Nevis, Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, that piece of legislation does not constitute part of his administration’s legislative agenda.
The People’s Action Movement (PAM) announced on Sunday, 3rd April, 2011, that its representatives in Parliament would be tabling the bill either during the next sitting of parliament or the one which follows, in an effort to promote transparency and accountability.
Astaphan, in an exclusive interview with MiyVue.com, said he predicts that efforts will be made to frustrate the tabling of the bill.
“It would make for very interesting moment won’t it? If it is given a chance for debate – and my suspicion is that efforts will be made to stifle it – then I think it is a very good move by the Opposition parties…I fully agree with them in doing so. Anybody who seeks to resist will just be demonstrating his or her unwillingness for Integrity in Public Life Legislation to be in place and to be operational in this country. And no excuses will satisfy the people, but I think we can already anticipate that there will be efforts to frustrate that…”
Astaphan explained, however, that he is in agreement with the move which the opposition has decided to take.
“We need transparency, we need credibility, we need integrity in public life and we are not going to tolerate a situation in which we are told that if we don’t pay our vat, we will be prosecuted, if we don’t pay our electricity, it will be cut, if we don’t pay for the houses, we will be thrown out of the houses; but those in the political leadership of the country have absolutely no appetite for integrity in public life and transparency. That cannot work and if we don’t stand up…we cannot expect those who push us down to raise us up. That’s not going to happen,” he expressed.