ST.KITTS/NEVIS | No Confidence motion filed against PM Timothy Harris, May dissolve Parliament

ST.KITTS/NEVIS | No Confidence motion filed against PM Timothy Harris, May dissolve Parliament

BASSETERRE, St Kitts, Apr 26, – Following calls by members of the Team Unity Coalition for prime minister Dr. Timothy Harris to fix the problems affecting the coalition or dissolve parliament, A no confidence motion has been filed against Dr. Harris, whose coalition government is facing a challenge in keeping its majority in the Parliament.

The coalition government comprises Harris' People's Labour Party (PLP), the People's Action Movement (PAM), and the Concerned Citizen's Movement (CCM).

According to reports, the motion  that was filed on Monday follows a joint letter to Harris  by Nevis Premier Mark Brantley, and Deputy Prime Minister Shawn Richards, who gave him until Wednesday to come up with a solution, and insisted that the coalition would not be used for the personal ambition of any individual.

Last week, it's understood that seven legislators linked to the government wrote to Governor-General Sir Samuel Weymouth Tapley Seaton indicating that the prime minister does not command the support of the majority of elected members in the National Assembly.

Harris in a broadcast, called on citizens to be aware of “certain misgivings in the public domain with respect to the issues raised by the Team Unity partners.

“I wish to assure you, as your Prime Minister, that the country remains stable and every effort will be made to maintain the peace and tranquility of our beloved federation,” he added.

CCM leader and Nevis Premier, Mark Brantley, has maintained that Harris does not have the support of the majority of the members in Cabinet, adding that based on legal advice, the Governor-General “does, in fact, have the authority to act and therefore we have invited him to do so”.

Deputy Prime Minister Shawn Richards, who heads PAM, said the party will follow the “rule of law and the constitution”, adding “we will leave our fate in the hands of the people.

When a motion of no confidence is filed, the Speaker of the National Assembly is required to schedule a sitting of parliament within 21 days for the motion to be debated.

The labour party controls two of the nine seats in the coalition government with the two other seats in the National Assembly belonging to the Saint Kitts and Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP).

If the motion is passed, the Prime Minister may resign in three days or advise the Governor-General to dissolve the parliament.

If parliament is dissolved, the Prime Minister has the power to call an election in 90 days.

Last Thursday, following their latest round of discussions to save the coalition, prime minister Harris, in a televised broadcast, said he remained “fully committed” to bring to an end the rift within his coalition administration.

Harris insisted that the country “must have a Cabinet that is fully committed to addressing the pressing issues that confront our people.”

He said that issues confronting the government related to governance and transparency, a reassignment of ministerial duties, the external involvement of global financial institutions, and an increase in the operating budget of Nevis, were among the matters on the agenda.

He said at the Thursday meeting, he had proposed a framework “to address the issues raised,” which included the introduction of a code of conduct for the better functioning of the cabinet. Harris briefly addressed talk of a cabinet reshuffle and issues related to the powers wielded by the prime minister’s office within the Team Unity framework.

“I committed to undertake a review of the makeup of the Cabinet in due course, with a view to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the government as a whole. I made it clear that I could not allow the constitutional prerogative of the office of the prime minister to be diminished.”

But, Brantley added, “the principles of Team Unity, which allowed him the privilege of being our prime minister should also not be diminished”.

“We cannot and must not use the ladder of Team Unity to get to the top and kick it down as being a mere construct for personal advancement,” Brantley said.

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