Maynard lashes NGOs statement on boundaries

The Former calypso king claimed that the document purportedly came from the largest block of the opposition coalition parties. 

“That statement that was released by the civil society organizations, without a signature and without anyone standing up and claiming responsibility for it, as far as I know, is really a PAM statement. It is really out of the guts of PAM. You read it and you will see that there is no partiality,” said Maynard, suggesting that the writers were being insincere.

“It is so hypocritical, because some of the persons who may have even written this were part of proceedings and advised on the constitution… Let us go back to what has happened with the Nigerians, quiet! Nothing at all, when people could lose their lives, but you are concerned about a procedure in parliament that is legal and within the ambit of the constitution,” he stressed.    

Maynard, in a recent interview, told ‘Good Morning St. Kitts-Nevis’ that he believes that the boundaries would remain the same even though the matter is being challenged in Court.

“…Because of the constitution I guess, that is the irony in it. The constitution goes on to say, written by the opposition of course to protect whatever they want to protect and once the governor general proclaims this into law it cannot be questioned by any court or anywhere at all. Except if you are in breach of a particular rule and that rule in the schedule states that you must have eight constituencies in St. Kitts and three in Nevis,” Maynard explained

The contentious boundary changes were signed off on Friday last by three of the five-member Boundaries Commission. Only the opposition representatives did not sign onto the changes. It was followed by an emergency sitting of parliament, where it was approved in a contentious parliamentary sitting, in which opposition members claimed their rights were infringed.

Lawyers for the opposition successful sought and were granted an injunction to stay the governor general from signing the document, but sources indicate that the proclamation had already been signed and gazetted.  These issues are to come up for hearing during a 22nd January sitting of the High Court to hear arguments from both sides.

The hasty passage of the boundary realignments did not sit well with four civil society groups, the St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the St. Kitts Christian Counsel, the St. Kitts Small Business Forum and the St. Kitts Evangelical Association, who in a joint statement described the emergency sitting of parliament as an “abuse of the National Assembly”.

In their statement, the NGOs claimed biasness, on the part of the speaker, toward opposition members of parliament during the debate.

Meantime Prime Minister Denzil Douglas has left the door opened for dialogue once the “document’ from the four Non-governmental organizations is signed. He made these comments on his regular radio programme ‘Ask the PM’, where he called for the unsigned documents to be ignored.

“Many of you may have seen a document currently circulating on the Internet, purporting to be from various civic organizations in response (to) last week’s parliamentary vote. The document has neither letterhead nor signatures, and so, I choose to ignore it – as should you,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

Further, he said, “If any of the organizations listed did, indeed, authorize this, however, I invite them to indicate this by circulating an official and signed statement, on letterhead, and I would be more than pleased to engage them in discussion on this very important and long-overdue action, first by our Electoral Boundaries Commission, and then by our country’s National Assembly.”


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