On one hand Gonsalves says that he will not intervene in the eight month stalemate concerning a motion of no confidence filed by the opposition against the Denzil Douglas administration which has not seen the light of day in Parliament. But, on the other hand, a press release from the Communications Unit of the Office of the St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister states that Gonsalves “takes on the opposition’s argument on the legitimacy of the Government and did not mince words as he suggested that the disgruntled MP’s (Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris and Hon. Sam Condor) are not approaching this issue with clean hands.”
The press release also has Gonsalves saying “People may reasonably ask why the two representatives don’t go and have bi-elections in the way that Jack Warner did? Win their bi-elections and say look this is what the people want and this is what people think of what you are doing?” mimicking the very words that his Caricom colleague, Dr. Douglas, has used.
The press release further states that “But to ponder on this issue. Two of you were elected on the ticket of the (Labour Party) government. You now want to bring down the government. Is there not a matter of public morality to attest to in relation to that action?” asked the Vincentian Prime Minister.
Is there some collusion taking place here? It would appear to me that the very thing, not meddling in the internal politics of a sovereign Caricom state, that Gonsalves said he will not do, he has done, lamentably so. His words to both Sam Condor and Timothy Harris in his letter made public seem personal and his questions about both parliamentarians resigning their seats like Jack Warner and having a bi-election appear cliché like what we have been hearing from the St. Kitts-Nevis prime minister.
The Constitution does not require that both Condor or Harris resign; and the Jack Warner case used as an example is a false analogy because of the circumstances under which he resigned. Jack Warner won his seat handsomely in the bi-election, which was highly expected.
Gonsalves, a lawyer by profession, agrees in a letter to the Leader of the Opposition in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Arnhim Eustace about concerns over the no confidence motion imbroglio in St. Kitts that “it is usual and expected that when a motion of no confidence properly-drafted, is duly filed against a government, such a motion ought to be deliberately considered and determined by the legislature in the shortest time practicable, having regard to all pressing or other extraordinary exigencies of State. This is an established constitutional convention in parliamentary democracy.”
Baldwin Spencer, Prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, corroborates what Gonsalves has said by stating that “I mean clearly, it’s an issue that requires attention, but really and truly it has to be addressed more directly and more frontally at the local level. Not that we are unmindful of the issues involved, but we have to very careful how we tread there,” said the Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister.
The St. Kitts Christian Council, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the St. Kitts Evangelical Association, the Hotel and Tourism Association and prominent lawyers, politicians and judges have lamented the situation of the delay in the hearing of the motion of no confidence in St. Kitts. Public marches, rallies, prayer services, opposition boycott of Parliament and a crowd stand-off with riot-gear police at police headquarters have brought about no time-frame for the hearing of the motion.
The Opposition withdrew the legal case over the delay in the motion of no confidence to expedite its hearing. However, the Speaker of the House, Curtis Martin, filed an application with the court to delay the matter further. The Speaker says that he wants the same matter that the opposition took to court heard after he said in Parliament that the court can have no jurisdiction over his conduct of Parliament.
Gonsalves has said that there is no civil unrest in St. Kitts and Nevis and that “there is no proper basis for either the OECS or CARICOM to intervene formally in the current political situation”.
Will they wait until when and if that happens? What will be our faith in them then, as shaky as it already is?