They have however written to the awardees and issued a public statement to explain the reasons for their planned “no show”, saying that it comes as part of their ongoing “principled” position to continue to boycott the parliament, in protest of the government’s actions, along with the Speaker, to prevent the debate and vote on a Motion of No Confidence that was filed some 150 days ago (today 25th November), by the Leader of the Opposition, Mark Brantley.
“In the context of the foregoing, I must advise you that we will be absent from Wednesday’s sitting of Parliament. Our absence is not directed at you the awardees, neither at your parents, well-wishers nor the organizers and benefactors of the 25 Most Remarkable Youths. It is the continuation of our principled stand of defiance of an illegitimate and unconstitutional regime”, stated the Opposition Leader in his correspondence to each awardee.
In his letter, Brantley told the awardees that the Members of the Opposition in Parliament have joined him in extending congratulations to them on their “nomination as one of the 25 Most Remarkable Teens. Congratulations, we are extremely proud of you.”
Brantley told them that this important national award should motivate them to continue to be a standard bearer of excellence to their peers and country.
“One of the core ingredients of a prosperous society is promoting excellence in our young people. In addition it is the responsibility of your government to ensure that your hard work, perseverance and integrity are not in vain”, added the Opposition Leader.
He gave them the assurance that “We in Team Unity not only honour you in our words but in our action. We want to ensure that you live in a St. Kitts and Nevis that you can be proud of. We want to build a strong St. Kitts and Nevis economy where you can get a quality education, go to college and university and return to your homeland to raise your family, contribute to national growth and development and prosper.”
Regrettably, however, said Brantley, “at this time of political and economic upheaval all is not well in the state of St. Kitts and Nevis. A Motion of No Confidence has been filed since 11 December 2012 and is yet to be debated. This violates every tenet and constitutional norm known to the Commonwealth Caribbean and has reduced our once proud Parliament to the laughing stock of the region.”
This is an aberration of the all modern Westminster Parliamentary democratic models, said Brantley, and he continued by making the point that what they do today has a direct impact on how the youths will live tomorrow. “We must either stand up for what is right as a Nation or forever fall victim to what is wrong.”
“You deserve to live in a country that abides by the highest standards of democracy and the rule of law. A country where our leaders abide by the constitution. A country which is progressive socially, economically and politically and our patrimony is protected for generations to come. We, the Elected Majority, pledge to you the young people of our Nation that we will work tirelessly to bring prosperity for you and your families and ensure that we once again live in a Nation where the respect for democracy and the rule of law are paramount.”
It was his conclusion therefore that based on the above, “the members on the Opposition Benches have to date on principle, embarked on a programme of non-participation in the affairs of the dysfunctional Parliament. We will not lend credibility to the subversion of Parliamentary principles and conventions. Neither, will we lend legitimacy to an unconstitutional regime.”