Members of the opposition parties, the People’s Action Movement, (PAM) and the Concerned Citizens Movement, (CCM), are scheduled to introduce at least two Bills for the consideration of parliamentarians.
This would be the first time in the 28 years of an independent St. Kitts & Nevis that members of the opposition have taken the initiative, to bring their own proposed legislation for debate and hopeful passage in the highest law-making body in the land.
The Bills that are expected to be introduced are the Integrity in Public Life Act, which was first tabled by the St. Kitts Nevis Labour Party-led administration in 1996, and the Freedom of Information Act.
The decision to introduce the Bills was announced at the 46th Annual Convention of the People’s Action Movement, PAM, on Sunday 3rd April, by Political Leader, Mr. Lindsay Grant, who told delegates that the party and other opposition Parliamentarians, have decided to table the two Bills, at an upcoming sitting of the Assembly.
A recent media statement from PAM indicated that despite many calls from all sectors in society, for the government to introduce the Integrity in Public Life Bill to be made law, Prime Minister, Dr. Denzil Douglas indicated that currently the Bill does not form part of the Labour Party’s administration’s legislative agenda.
On one of his weekly programmes, “Ask the PM”, Prime Minister Douglas stated, “At the moment it is not, as far as I am concerned, part of the legislative agenda of this administration at this particular time. When it becomes part of the legislative agenda, the people of St. Kitts and Nevis will be engaged on the matter.”
However, opposition MP Eugene Hamilton of the People’s Action Movement, in a recent response, indicated that the country should be concerned about the Prime Minister’s attitude towards the introduction of the Integrity and Freedom of Information Act Bills.
Public support also seems to be growing for the introduction of the new legislation, to safeguard against Government corruption and to ensure that there is integrity in public office.
Both the Prime Minister, who is also the Political Leader of the ruling Labour party, and the Chairman of Labour, Dr. Timothy Harris, have said that they prefer to await the details of the Bills, to better understand their intentions, before deciding if they would support them in parliament.
A notice from the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr. Jose Lloyd, confirmed that the meeting has been scheduled for Thursday 28th April, at 10:00am, at the Assembly Chambers, Government Headquarters, Church Street, Basseterre.
Mr. Lloyd said the Order Paper and other Papers will be sent to Members at a later date.