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NGOs Write to Commonwealth on Motion of No Confidence

The letter has been copied to the Heads of other Regional and International Organizations.


As a public service we publish, without further comment, the text of the letter.

We write to inform you of the situation in The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis arising from the tabling by the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly (our unicameral Parliament) of a Motion of no confidence in the Government of the Federation headed by Prime Minister the Rt. Honourable Dr. Denzil L. Douglas.


The facts and provisions of the Constitution are:The Motion of no confidence was lodged with the National Assembly11th December 2012. 

1.The Motion of no confidence was lodged with the National Assembly11th December 2012.

2.The Constitution of the Federation allows such Motion and requires that if it is successful the Prime Minister must within three days resign or advise the Governor General to dissolve the National Assembly.

3.The Constitution requires that an election must be held within 90 days of the dissolution of the National Assembly.

4.The Constitution does not provide for the time by which a Motion of no confidence must be debated nor is there any such provision in the legislation governing the sittings of the National Assembly.

5.We are advised that in keeping with the convention prevailing in Commonwealth countries, which share the Westminster system of governance, a Motion of no confidence should be debated at an early date.

6.Three months have passed without the Motion being brought to the National Assembly for debate although the Assembly has met twice since 11thDecember 2012.

7.The budget session of the National Assembly was scheduled for 11thDecember 2012. That session was suddenly cancelled.

8.In addressing the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce on 18thDecember 2012 the Prime Minister said that the budget session should take precedence over the Motion of no confidence on the agenda of the Assembly.

9.The tradition has been for the budget session to be held in December. It has not to date been held although, on the Prime Minister’s own admission, the budget report was prepared in time for presentation at the aborted sitting on 11thDecember 2012.

10.The Constitution requires that the estimates for 2013 be laid before the Assembly by 1stMarch 2013. That has not been done.

11.In a radio broadcast on 5thFebruary 2013 the Prime Minister said that scheduling of the Motion of no confidence lies in the hands of the Speaker of the Assembly.

12.We wrote to the Speaker on 12thFebruary 2013 calling on him to bring the Motion of no confidence before the Assembly as a matter of extreme urgency.

13.We are aware, from the publication of the letter that the St. Kitts and Nevis Bar Association wrote to the Speaker on 11thFebruary 2013 calling on him to bring the Motion before the Assembly without further delay and pointing out that such delay will undermine the democratic principles on which our Federation is founded.

14.The Speaker replied to the Bar Association on 14thFebruary 2013 thanking the Association for the contents of its letter and assuring it that the “matter is under consideration and will be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and the National Assembly Standing Orders.”

15.After the filing of the Motion of no confidence the Deputy Prime Minister resigned from the Cabinet and the Prime Minister relieved the Senior Minister of his Ministerial portfolios and CabinetBoth have indicated that they no longer support the Prime Minister.  Both voted in the Assembly at its meeting on 28th January 2013 against legislation which the Prime Minister introduced to increase the number of appointed Senators and thereby to bolster his support in the Assembly where the Senators sit with the elected Representatives and vote on all matters except a Motion of no confidence.

16.That legislation has since been struck down by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.

17.The Assembly comprises 11 elected Representatives 6 of whom have publicly stated that they oppose the PrimeThere is therefore a serious issue to be determined by the Motion of no confidence.

18.There have been no circumstances of emergency or Act of God which should have delayed the debate and vote on the Motion of no confidence nor has any reason been stated by the Speaker.

19.Quite understandably political tensions have risen by virtue of the above circumstances.

20.Further delay will in our opinion threaten the rule of law and undermine our democracy.

21.  The Prime Minister has said repeatedly in the past month that he has his legislative agenda to pursue suggesting complete disregard for the Motion of no confidence.

Given the close relations between our country and your organization we respectfully bring the above to your attention



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