The move by the opposition party is unprecedented and historic, because never before in the history of the federation and perhaps most parts of the Caribbean, has a party other than that making up the Government, taken the initiative to introduce Bills for the parliament’s debate and consideration.
It was at last week’s 46th Annual Convention of the People’s Action Movement, PAM, that Political Leader Mr. Lindsay Grant announced that his party and other opposition Parliamentarians will be tabling two bills at an upcoming sitting of the Assembly.
The Bills that are expected to be introduced are the the Integrity in Public Life Act, which was first tabled by the St. Kitts Nevis Labour Party-led administration in 1996, and the Freedom of Information Act.
A recent media statement from PAM indicated that despite many calls from all sectors in society, for the government to introduce the Integrity in Public Life Bill to be made law, Prime Minister, Dr. Denzil Douglas indicated that currently the bill does not form part of the Labour Party’s administration’s legislative agenda.
On one of his weekly programmes, “Ask the PM”, Prime Minister Douglas stated, “At the moment it is not, as far as I am concerned, part of the legislative agenda of this administration at this particular time. When it becomes part of the legislative agenda, the people of St. Kitts and Nevis will be engaged on the matter.”
However, opposition MP Eugene Hamilton of the People’s Action Movement, in a recent response, indicated that the country should be concerned about the Prime Minister’s attitude towards the introduction of the Integrity and Freedom of Information Act bills.
Said Hamilton, “We all as taxpaying citizens and residents of this country should be very concerned about how the Prime Minister seems to be reluctant in passing Integrity in Public life and Freedom of Information bills. His reluctance can easily suggest that he and his government may have much to hide and as a result are not very interested in shining light on the operations of government and ministers,” said MP Hamilton
The action by PAM has caught many nationals by surprise because most Kittitians and Nevisians were not aware that parliamentarians, who sit on the opposition benches, can in fact introduce their own bills for the Assembly’s debate.
“It is a very rare activity in parliaments around the region because of the tremendous cost associated with its preparation. However our party feels that these bills are sufficiently important to the people of this federation, to warrant the time, effort and great expense that is needed to table such bills,” said Opposition MP Hamilton.