BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, CMC – The St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce Friday called on Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas to ensure that an opposition inspired motion of no confidence in his administration is “brought before the National Assembly without further delay”.
In a statement, the private sector group reminded Prime Minister Douglas that in his address to them last month he had indicated that several matters before the parliament including the motion of no confidence could erode investor confidence in the country.
It said that Prime Minister Douglas had pledged to do all within his power to avoid damage to the investment climate and the economy and that the motion of no confidence “should be heard expeditiously”.
Prime Minister Douglas in his address to the private sector last year, said that “the motion (of no confidence) will have to wait in line with what is the calendar of the House that is before the Speaker”.
But last month, Opposition Leader Mark Brantley said the motion should take precedence, adding “it is obvious under established practice and procedure in the House the motion of no confidence should take precedent over something like a Senators bill.
“I don’t see the urgency I don’t see the importance of an increase in Senators bill in light of the motion that is outstanding,” he said then.
Parliament earlier this week passed the Senators Bill by a slim 8-7 margin.
The Chamber said its members have expressed “great concern that the delay in the consideration by the National Assembly of the motion of no confidence for the full month of January has already affected the investment climate and that further delay could cause lasting damage”.
Chamber president David Lake said that the board of directors “unanimously supports that view” urging Prime Minister Douglas “to do all within your power to ensure that the motion of no confidence in your government is brought before the National Assembly without further delay”.
Earlier this week, dismissed senior government minister Dr. Timothy Harris said he was daring Prime Minister Dr. Douglas to allow parliament to debate the motion no confidence in his administration.
Harris, who was fired over the weekend for failing to adhere to government policies and programmes, said that Dr. Douglas does not command the support of a majority of legislators in the parliament “and should now do the honourable thing and resign, or call a general election.
“Put it to the people. He does not command a majority of Members of Parliament at this particular moment in time and so if he want to talk about procedures and support let him put that to the test, ,” Timothy said on a local radio station here.
Harris and another senior government legislator Sam Condor have openly disagreed with a number of government measures including the national budget and the decision to increase the number of senators in the legislative chamber.
On Thursday, Condor, the deputy prime minister, resigned from the Cabinet with immediate effect.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Douglas told parliament that Harris had asked him to resign as head of the government last December and accused the former minister of being part of a “conspiracy to bring the government to an end” and establish a unity government in St. Kitts-Nevis.
Dr. Douglas said he had been bombarded with calls from regional colleagues and diplomats about the situation within his administration, telling legislators this was affecting foreign investment into the twin island Federation.
“This is not right, this can’t be right, this can’t be right in the sight of God,” he said, accusing them of wanting to create “instability in a stable government”.
Dr. Douglas accused some within his party of believing that “they were born with prime minister on the forehead” and again said that there was unity among the government regarding the motion of no confidence against it.
On Thursday, members of the Cabinet held a news conference expressing their support for Dr. Douglas.