This would be the year under review that would speak to the long stalemate over a Motion of No Confidence, boundary changes, High Court challenges, the unprecedented formation of a political coalition between three parties and possibly an election that is already being predicted to become one of the most divisive.
Most central in the analysis however will be the history-making delay to hear the Motion of No Confidence, which this week, marked over 300 days since it was filed with the Clerk of the National Assembly, by the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Mark Brantley. Since then a second motion was also filed by the leader of the People’s Action Movement, in early July, 2013.
Though there have been numerous public protestations, letters written to the Head of State and Government and meetings between Government and the leading Non-Governmental Organizations, there seems to be no hope for the matter ever reaching the halls of the National Assembly for debate and vote; if one is to be guided by the actions and words of the incumbent administration.
The opposition however, appears determined to continue its battle to force the hand of the Speaker of the Assembly whom they accuse of being manipulated by the Prime Minister.
To provide new impetus, members of the opposition, who have now moved further to establish themselves as a united team to fight the election, will again be heading to the roads in a planned protest march on Friday 11th October, 2013, starting at 4:30pm, from Greenlands Park in Central Basseterre and moving through the streets of the capital, ending with a rally.
Leader of the People’s Labour Party, (PLP), and Team Unity, Dr. Timothy Harris, said however that the opposition on Monday had to meet with the Commissioner of Police, CG Walwyn, to help resolve some issues that were related to the march. Harris, who said he was urgently called away from a radio interview on Monday (8th October), to attend the meeting, indicated that they and the police found resolution to the issues and the march has indeed been confirmed.
He therefore urged residents of St. Kitts to support the protest on Friday as part of the continued efforts to help restore democracy, good governance and development in the country. He said the march will be peaceful and is opened to all citizens.
“I believe the delay in the hearing of the Motion of No Confidence reflects what has gone wrong with our democracy (and) that our democracy itself is under trial and that the sooner we change the government that is impeding the democratic progress of the country the better it will be for the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, residents and those interested in advancing the country, “said Dr. Harris while on radio Tuesday, (9th October).
Harris said that the reasons advanced by the government and the Speaker for not hearing the Motion of No Confidence are not acceptable. He said those who are putting forward such arguments are doing so for “bad governance rather than good governance”.
During the past couple weeks Team Unity has been using the interim period to take its message directly to the people and voters in particular. Some focus has been placed on fellow CARICOM nationals who are residing in St. Kitts and Nevis. It was on Sunday 6th October, 2013, that Harris and other Unity Team members, including PAM’s leader and Deputy Leader, Shawn Richards and Eugene Hamilton, respectively, met with members of the Guyanese community, at the St. Peters Community Centre.
At the meeting, the PAM Leader and Deputy Leader of Team Unity, used the occasion to dispel, what he categorized as rumours and misrepresentations, fuelled by his opponents, regarding comments he made on the People Empowerment Program, (PEP). His colleague Harris also used the meeting to discuss various policy proposals of the prospective government of National Unity regarding the obligations of St. Kitts and Nevis under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy including the removal of work permit fees.
A report from the opposition said Harris’ message was one of basic fairness to people who have chosen to make these islands their home both because of the treaty obligations and the fact that tens of thousands of Kittitians and Nevisians make their homes abroad and we all have experience of migration.
The release said that he meeting was well received by the crowd that came out to meet with and listen to the Unity team.
Team Unity has also charged that some of the attendees did so despite “efforts to discourage them from attending.”
The release added the claim that “This attempt at intimidation continued even during the meeting when a group of DLP supporters gathered in the yard of the community centre in a display of intimidatory behaviour; verbally abusing participants and taking photos of those who stood to ask questions. Despite these unfortunate efforts the meeting was not disrupted and participants were unafraid to ask questions.”
The reference to “DLP” in the release is a political term that is used by the opposition to define the ruling St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, SKNLP, led by Dr. Denzil Douglas.