However, after three months of speculation, a clear indication was given on Tuesday 5th March, confirming that six of the eleven elected Representatives of the parliament in St. Kitts and Nevis, will in fact vote in favour of a Motion of No Confidence that was filed against the government in Basseterre, during the first week of December, 2012. If this is followed through, it would mean that the Labour Government of 17 years would fall.
Despite this definitive affirmation by Members of Parliament Shawn Richards, Eugene Hamilton, Mark Brantley, Vance Amory, Dr. Timothy Harris and Sam Condor, Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas said on Wednesday that he is confident that once he sets out the achievements of his Administration, in defense of his record, it would be astounding if the motion succeeds.
He said that he will use the debate on the issue as a very important opportunity to respond to a number of the preamble of charges that have been outlined in the motion itself.
Speaking to the national media at his monthly press conference on Wednesday, 6th march, 2013, the four- term Head of Government, assured journalists and the public, that he intends to use the opportunity, during the debate of such a motion, to demonstrate how the government has been able to lead the country through a very difficult period, ensuring that we would have been able to keep our country afloat beyond expectations, and even doing much better than other countries who have been less challenged than our own.
“We would use the opportunity to impress upon the parliament and our nation, what we have achieved especially in our social development; health care education, community development (and) tackling the very difficult issue of crime and violence. We would be able to of course show that we would have overcome some of the most difficult challenges that we face economically, (such as) the debt situation…”
He promised that part of his presentation will also try to show “how we would have been able to reduce our high unsustainable debt position, to where it has now become almost half. I believe that with this kind of presentation from the government’s side, (I would assume of course that if those who are in parliament and listening to the government’s strong position of defense of its activities over the last three years since we have been in parliament) , would vote in support, not of the motion, but of the government’s performance, and I would be surprise if that motion is in fact accepted by the parliament to the point where I would have to make any decision at all.”
Douglas who has been leading the country since 1995 said he expects that the motion would come and his Cabinet has already begun to prepare (for) what exactly it would do in defense of its position, against the charges in the motion.
But the Prime Minister was also challenged on the 3 month delay, which many in the opposition have criticized as deliberate delay tactics being employed to give more time for the government to prepare for a general election.
He was reminded that usually these matters are disposed of within weeks, and it has been months since being filed with the Clerk and as such the people are wondering how much longer they have to wait to have the motion debated and resolved.
“Well as far as I am aware there is no law that says when a motion of no confidence would come before the parliament. I think all of the authorities will indicate that a motion of no confidence is a very serious motion that has to be brought to the parliament for debate…there is no question about that, and my government treats it in that way but in terms of when it will come, I don’t believe that there is any particular qualified law that states when it must come,” argued Douglas.
“We have said here and in other countries that it must be treated with priority, but the government’s business is also of highest priority. One of the things for example that we will not do, or I would hate to see done, is to deprive our citizens and our own public servants who have served the interest of our government in the past…I would hate to see them deprived of their support systems through passage of a budget…”
He said that is why he and his government have been very consistent in saying that the budget should come before. However opposition parliamentarians have been reminding him that a date was set since in December last year for the budget, but with less than 24-hours to go, the Prime Minister announced that the sitting was not going to take place. They have also suggested that the government preferred to convene a meeting of parliament to debate another Bill rather than bringing the budget, thus it is difficult to agree that there was not enough time to meet to discuss both the motion and also the budget, within the last three months.
Since the filing of the motion almost 100 days ago, there has only been one response from the Speaker of the House, who told the Leader of the opposition Mark Brantley then, that the motion will be heard, but he did not commit to a timeframe and has not provided any further information since then.
Given the serious nature of the matter and with the opposition referring to the political climate as one in crisis, all of the major non-government organizations have written to the Prime Minister while others to the Speaker, urging speedy resolution, but again, to no avail.
Prime Minister Douglas has tried to distance himself from the delay saying that it is not his responsibility.
“It is not my intention to table what I don’t have. Remember that the motion was brought to the Clerk of the House to be presented to the House, with the intervention of the Speaker, so it is not for me to table anything at all to the House,” stated Douglas.