MiyVue.com understands that the bills which the PAM Parliamentarians are expecting to table are the Integrity in Public Life Act, which was first tabled by the St. Kitts Nevis Labour Party-led administration in 1996, and FOIA, the Freedom of Information Act.
Recently, however, when questioned about the whether or not the bill would be considered or passed into law, Prime Minister of the Federation, Dr. Denzil L. Douglas indicated that that bill is not currently a part of his administration’s legislative agenda.
In an exclusive interview with MiyVue.com, Deputy Leader of the People’s Action Movement and Parliamentary Representative for Constituency No. Eight, Eugene Hamilton, explained that the Integrity in Public Life Act should be tabled no later than the next or following sitting of Parliament.
Hamilton explained that the process which the PAM has committed itself is an expensive one but it worth it, if it will assist in encouraging good governance.
“The Integrity in Public Life Act would be introduced most likely during the next sitting of Parliament or at least not more than two Parliaments away. The Opposition Members in Parliament can introduce bills to Parliament. It probably has not been done in these parts, because, quite frankly, it is an expensive exercise because of the drafting and the sourcing and so on is at the expense of the Opposition members who do not have the luxury of secretarial support and home offices as the government does. For example, as you know, the office of the Leader of the Opposition has not been established when an attendant secretary appointed and paid by the government to carry out duties of the duties of the Leader of the Opposition.
“So anything we are doing now is at our own personal expense and it is quite an expensive exercise. Had it not been more out of the interest of St. Kitts and Nevis, we would certainly not be encouraged to do anything because of what its going to cost us personally. But it is a sacrifice we have to make so we will make it in order to help good governance in the country. Good governance comes from the way you conduct and apply yourself as a leader, as a minister, as a permanent secretary… So we are going to encourage the rules to be in place, conduct that would make people declare their assets and liabilities so that we can examine whether they are becoming unnecessarily wealthy at the expense of the state.
Asked if the Integrity in Public Life Bill which the PAM will table will resemble that which was first tabled in 1996, Hamilton explained that it will, however, the PAM has done its home work and would be adopting portions of similar bills which have been implemented across the Caribbean.
“Substantial portions of it will reflect that which was tabled in 1996, of course. There will be differences, obviously, because we would have looked at several other legislation of similar nature that have been implemented in other territories in the Caribbean. And where possible, we would adopt what works best in our situation.”