However, it will be a debate that will go down in history as the first one in independent St. Kitts & Nevis that has been boycotted by the parliamentarians on the opposition benches.
When members of the public, including those from the private sector, civic organizations and government attended the opening session of the debate this morning, (Tuesday), they met a National Assembly with all the seats on the opposition benches, empty, as non government members took action to boycott the proceedings, as part of their protest action, over the government’s moves, to prevent the introduction of certain pieces of legislation.
Leader of the opposition Mark Brantley in a release Tuesday morning stated “the members of the Opposition are deeply concerned that some 28 years after St. Kitts and Nevis became an independent country, the necessary statutory mechanisms to prevent Government corruption are still wholly absent.”
Mr. Brantley continued, “Our country has no Integrity in Public Life legislation, no Freedom of Information legislation and no provisions which could provide a check on governmental corruption. This situation is not in keeping with modern democratic traditions and St. Kitts and Nevis lags badly behind most of its Caribbean neighbours in this regard.”
“It was therefore with grave concern and considerable suspicion that we discovered that the Integrity in Public Life Bill would not be tabled at all in Parliament due to parliamentary manoeuvrings by the sitting Government led by Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas,” Brantley added.
The Public in integrity Life bill was sent to the Speaker’s office for tabling but the bill was never placed on the order paper for debate in the national parliament.
Meanwhile, citizens of the country have been bracing for news about possible higher taxes that they fear might be introduced as new budgetary measures, designed to reduce the high National Debt of the country.