Region turned its back on St Kitts unlike Guyana over no confidence impasse – says opposition leader

Guyana’s Head of State, Donald Ramotar (3rd from right) and other Caricom Heads at the 35th Caricom Heads of Government Meeting in Antigua and Barbuda
Opposition Leader Mark Brantley
Opposition Leader Mark Brantley

[] –  St Kitts and Nevis has been abandoned by the rest of the Caribbean as tensions rise over the long delayed tabling of the parliamentary motion of no confidence, contends opposition leader Mark Brantley.

Brantley said, in stark contrast to St Kitts and Nevis, is how regional and international bodies have thrown their support behind the opposition in Guyana, whose attempt to have a motion of no confidence debated was thwarted when the president, using a constitutional manoeuvre prorogued the parliament.

“It gives me no pleasure to say that, but I think the region [has] abandoned St Kitts and Nevis. What we have… especially at the OECS level, is an Old Boy’s Club,” he told WINN FM this past week.

“When I heard… Ralph Gonsalves… say that there was no crisis in St Kitts and Nevis because people were not on the streets, and in effect there is no bloodshed, and I thought to myself, ‘What a statement.’ It appears therefore, if that statement is properly construed that it only when the people here resort to looting and burning and rioting.. .only then that the OECS will have a crisis,” he said.

Brantley is appalled at the lack of support for a situation he says has implications for all OECS countries in particular, which have similar constitutions.

“The question now must be asked in St Vincent and the Grenadines, if a motion of confidence is raised in the parliament there and Dr Gonsalves feels that it might succeed, does he do what Prime Minister Douglas did and simply ignore it for three, four years? What happens in Barbados, what happens in Antigua?” he asked.

“…Because somebody at some point is going to say, ‘Let us use the precedent of St Kitts and Nevis,’ and that is a very bad precedent. And that is why I’m very clear that we the people of St Kitts and Nevis must rely on ourselves. We have written, we have implored, we have asked the OECS and the CARICOM region to intervene. They for their part have done absolutely nothing… we must rely on ourselves to effect the change in our own country that we want to see,” Brantley said.

A motion of no confidence filed by the St Kitts and Nevis opposition nearly two years ago has not been tabled. Court challenges to the delay resulted in counter challenges. The speaker claims that with related matters before the court, it would be improper to table the motion, this despite the fact that a high court judge has ruled otherwise. Three subsequent motions have been filed, but the speaker is resolute in his decision that until the court rules on the first, he will not put any motion of no confidence before the House.

A date has finally been set for the matter to be heard in January.

“They have run, they have hidden, they have taken every technical point, every delay, but the case is now going to happen… some may say, well the prime minister was able to delay and got his five years, but the principles that this case will necessarily speak to are still critical going forward,” the opposition leader said.

“I feel that the country is better off having the case heard and ventilated and the people getting an understanding of who is right and who is wrong. Who is standing up for democracy and who is seeking to destroy it,” he concluded. [Extracted and modified from] 




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