BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas has taken the St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce to task over the manner in which they have been communicating concerns to his administration as well as claims that failure to debate a motion of no confidence in his administration “has already damaged the investment climate” in the twin island federation.
Prime Minister Douglas in a letter addressed to the Chamber’s president David Lake, said he has taken note that their correspondence to him had been released to the public before it reached his office.
“There are many throughout the Federation who think, as I do, that this is the type of action that one would expect from a group of emotionally charged activities, and not a business-focussed organisation committed to the promotion of a vibrant economy, even as it exercises its right to express its views on the socio-economic and political issues of the day”.
Last week, the private sector group joined other political and Church groups in calling for the Parliament to debate the opposition inspired motion of no confidence in his administration.
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”.
But Dr. Douglas has said that the motion will be debated only in keeping with the present agenda of the Parliament.
In his letter, the prime minister said he was also not aware “of any evidence to support your claim that the motion of no confidence, not yet having been voted on by our National Assembly, “has already damaged the investment climate” in the federation.
“I invite the Chamber to share with my Office the empirical data on which this claim has been based,” Dr. Douglas wrote, reminding the business group that St. Kitts-Nevis has “become a legitimate and highly respected member of the world community of democratic nations.
“This has not happened by accident. Our Government exists as a result of the will of the people. And this Government acts, at all times, with utmost regard and respect for the supreme law of the land, our Constitution.
I, like the other members of my cabinet, wish to have the motion of no confidence, referred to in your letter, considered. And the Speaker, and the Leader of Government Business, to whom falls the responsibility for the Parliamentary schedule are no less aware than the Chamber that this motion must, indeed, be considered.”
Dr. Douglas told the private sector group that it his hope, that the Chamber “is similarly no less aware than the rest of the nation that the National Assembly readied itself to consider both the Senators Bill as well as the 2013 Budget prior to the Opposition announcing its intention to bring a motion of no confidence to the floor.
“The smooth functioning of the Government would dictate, therefore, that the Budget, so crucial to the functioning of our nation and its economy, and so long ago understood by all to be next on the Parliamentary schedule, would be considered indeed by the National Assembly,” he wrote.