Commonwealth Secretary General Urges St. Kitts & Nevis to Resolve its Own Issues Connected with Motion of No Confidence

He did not however outline any specific work that this will entail.

Sharma told the media during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, (14th May, 2013), that his organization has committed to work more closely with St. Kitts and Nevis, in years ahead, on issues related to democracy.

The Commonwealth official reminded that there have been recommendations made in the past by members of the Commonwealth Observer Missions that have observed elections in the country. He said that though work needs to continue on this front, there has been significant progress made in the implementation of some of the recommendations. Sharma said they have been happy to be supportive of this very important and crucial sector in deepening democracy in the two islands.

The Secretary General was asked for his reaction to a letter that was written to him by six elected members of parliament earlier this year, as part of their effort to force the government and Speaker of the National Assembly to schedule a meeting to debate and vote on a Motion of No Confidence.

Sharma diplomatically stated that “It’s a constitutional and parliamentary process which every state has to work through themselves and find a resolution in the national interest. It is not for the Secretary General to be advising member states on their own domestic political situations which are better attended to by themselves through these processes.”

He was however challenged on the opinions he expressed in a recent article on the topic of advancing democracy as a shared goal and asked if he did not see those ideas consistent with any tangible effort by the Commonwealth to intervene.

However the Secretary General indicated that the shared goals of which he spoke in the article are reflected in a series of statements of values and principles which the Commonwealth has made ever since the Singapore Declaration of 1971. He added that they are now consolidated in an affirmation of our values which was done during the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting that was hosted in Trinidad a few years ago and he said that the Charter that followed was signed a couple of months ago by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth of Britain, who is head of the Commonwealth.

At the heart of the Commonwealth’s work on deepening democracy, said Sharma, is that of working with members of the Commonwealth states, particularly through institution building.

“So whenever I travel I always make it a point to visit those institutions which are at the heart of the culture of democracy. These are the Electoral Commission, the Human Rights Commission, Judicial Services Commission, the parliaments…”

While in St. Kitts and Nevis Sharma said he also met with the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Mark Brantley and the Premier of Nevis Mr. Vance Amory. He described those meetings as being very informative though he did not go into any details of what exactly was discussed.

He stated that they try to work with member states in consolidating the values of democracy through the institutions that give sustainability, resilience, depth and meaning to democracy as the means which we use the most. “But there are also specific proposals which are made to us by member states from time to time, depending on what their priorities are and we are very happy to try and respond to these as well,” stated Mr. Sharma.




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