“We are hoping and expecting overwhelming support for this legislation. After all, who or which member of parliament would not wish to have Integrity in Public Life legislation? That is something that we would be very surprised to learn if members were to vote against it,” Brantley told MiyVue.com in an exclusive interview.
Weeks ago, the People’s Action Movement (PAM) during its convention, announced that the Opposition would be – shortly – tabling the Integrity in Public Life Act and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in parliament. Subsequent to that, a copy of the proposed bill was circulated to the media and the public and the media was informed that a copy had been forwarded to the Clerk of the House to be introduced during the Thursday, 28th April, 2011 sitting.
A similar act was first introduced in Parliament in 1996 shortly after the St. Kitts Nevis Labour Party was elected to hold the reins of power of the country and was subsequently re-introduced years later but was never passed.
In explaining the Opposition’s reasoning being introducing the bill, Brantley elucidated that it is because, “We think the country is at a low level in terms of public confidence in the government and its administration and we feel as if this legislation will give the legal framework within which to demand higher standards from those in public office.
“The government of day, the NRP-Labour administration – has refused to entertain such legislation and to bring such legislation of its own accord and we felt as Members of the Opposition, that we should take the lead on this issue and not just talk about it but actually take the lead and make a difference.”
The Opposition Leader expressed that Parliamentarians who may be in opposition to the bill may be open to public scrutiny.
“I can tell you that every single member of the opposition is in favour and we are of the hope that the members of the government side would also be in favour. In fact, the general public may very well wish to ask the question, ‘Why is it that they would not wish to create transparency in the governance of the country’s affairs?’ So, we are actually expect overwhelming support, I do not know if we will get 100 percent support but this is a matter where individuals would vote with their conscience rather than vote for their party.”