PM Douglas: No Moral Obligation to Bring Motion of No Confidence

“People are saying it is a moral obligation that we have to bring this Motion of No Confidence, which I don’t subscribe to and i’m saying in the same breath, it’s a moral obligation for those two former ministers who have crossed the floor—it’s a moral obligation for them to resign,” Douglas said at his monthly press conference on July24, shifting the argument from the MONC to Dr. Timothy Harris, who he fired from his Cabinet, and Sam Condor, who resigned over what he termed a lack of “good governance and constitutional integrity.”

Both Harris and Condor have formed their own party, the People’s Labour Party (PLP), have crossed the floor and have openly declared in a letter to the Governor-General, Sir Edmund Lawrence, that they, along with the Opposition MP’s in the House will support the vote of no confidence against the Douglas-led administration. The prime minister now does not command a majority of elected representatives in the house and has branded his former ministerial colleagues as ungrateful hogs, who have committed treachery.

Despite calls by all and sundry to table the Motion of No Confidence in Parliament, Douglas has remained defiant and has said that there is no set date in the Constitution for its hearing.

In answer to a reporter’s question: “Do you have any intentions at all to facilitate the MONC coming to the Parliament?” Douglas said that he “usually gives support to the leader of government business and to the Speaker and so whenever it is necessary I shall provide that support or facilitation.”

When asked when he shall provide that support or facilitation for the MONC to come to the Parliament for debate, he said “when the motion is ready to come.”

“It’s not for me to determine that as you are aware—it’s a process,” he added.

Shortly after that he added: “If I were to be the person entirely in charge of the process, I would not have it brought unless they (Harris and Condor) would have resigned.”

The prime minister said that he’s not following the conventions of the Commonwealth with respect to the expeditious hearing of a MONC but that he is guided by the precedence set by the former administration, the People’s Action Movement (PAM).

“The Simmonds Government had two Motions of No Confidence brought before it which it was determined not to hear and for that reason it deliberately did not include a time frame when Motions of No Confidence should be heard,” Douglas said.

However, the leader of the PAM, Shawn Richards, said that the prime minister is not telling the truth.

Richards said that both Motions of No Confidence under the PAM administration were brought to the Parliament for debate but withdrawn by the then opposition.

Respected Kittitian lawyer, Emile Ferdinand, in an article on entitled “Constitutional Conventions and Political Controversies” dated 26th July, said that “in any parliamentary democracy Government cannot be expected to conduct “business as usual” in circumstances where the majority of the elected members of parliament are openly opposed to the Prime Minister’s leadership of the country. Where it is considered uncertain whether there is such elected majority in opposition to the Government, the proper constitutional mechanism to test such support, or the lack of it, would be an early vote in parliament on a motion of no confidence in the Government.”

Prime Minister Douglas said it is the job of the prime minister to facilitate the workings of Parliament as much as possible.

However, the MONC seems to be the expedient exception.

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