Speaking on the steps of Government Headquarters in downtown Basseterre to a jubilant crowd of supporters, Prime Minister Douglas made a short and important address.
“I hereby announce that I have advise His Excellency, the Governor-General, to dissolve the parliament, the National Assembly of St. Kitts and Nevis, effective today, the 16th day of January, to give effect to the proclamation, which has realigned the constituency boundaries of St. Christopher and Nevis,” said Prime Minister Douglas, as he indicated also that “the date for general elections would be announced later”.
These announcements came shortly after a highly contentious sitting of the National Assembly, where the prime minister laid the resolution to confirm the realignment of the boundaries, that were signed by the Commission, with objections from two opposition members, and submitted to the governor-general.
As opposition members rose frequently on ‘points of order’, during the emergency sitting of the house, they were met with resistance from Speaker Curtis Martin. When opposition member Eugene Hamilton attempted, on several occasions, to make his case regarding procedural breeches of the parliamentary sitting, the speaker ordered him to leave the parliament following heated exchanges.
Other members of the opposition were also restricted in their contributions, as the speaker exhibited little tolerance for their ‘points of order’ that normally would take precedence under parliamentary rules.
Further attempts by the opposition to debate the resolution were thwarted when the speaker called upon the Government side to raise a motion to end the debate, which was done by the prime minister and supported by his colleagues. The resolution was quickly voted upon, and parliament ended its emergency session.
As the emergency session ended, opposition members decried the house procedures as an injustice and an affront to democracy.