By Ken Richards
BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) -- Grenadian Prime Minister Keith Mitchell has said that he hopes the situation in St Kitts and Nevis can be resolved very soon. Mitchell recalled being in opposition prior to the last election in Grenada and not being able to access parliament for several months because of the actions of the then Tillman Thomas administration.
Prime Minister Keith Mitchell
Mitchell, in an interview with Vincentian journalist Jerry George, said protecting democracy in the region is an important undertaking.
“It is well known the position that I took with respect to the former government in Grenada headed by Prime Minister Tillman Thomas when they closed the parliament of the country,” Mitchell said, while on his way out of St Vincent where he attended the CARICOM heads of government inter-sessional conference.
“I am against the whole concept of the closure of parliament as a fundamental principle and I would express that to all my friends,” the Grenadian leader said.
Unlike the Grenadian case where the bicameral parliament was shut down by the Tillman Thomas administration for six months, the St Kitts and Nevis parliament continues to meet and conduct regular business because, although the Douglas government no longer has the support of the majority of elected MPs, the unicameral nature of the parliament in Basseterre allows for both MPs and senators to conduct parliamentary business under one roof.
“So certainly we hope that the situation in St Kitts can be resolved very quickly, and that there could, there should be a resolution of the matter either by the allowance of the vote of no confidence in the parliament, urgently so, or the calling of a general election,” Mitchell said.
He considered that the general view of most of the persons who support and adhere to the principle of parliamentary democratic systems. Mitchell admitted having given St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas some friendly advice in relation to the situation.
Meanwhile, there is some sympathy for CARICOM in relation to the difficulty the grouping is facing on how to navigate the St Kitts and Nevis situation.
Barbadian pollster and political analyst Peter Wickham says he doesn’t blame the opposition in Basseterre for trying to get CARICOM to intervene. However he is suggesting that it isn’t easy for the grouping to take a definitive stand on the matter.
“The criticism is justified if one believes that there is a particular form that CARICOM should take,” Wickham told WINN FM.
He cited the reluctance of European countries to criticize each other, and said it was not surprising that the less sophisticated CARICOM too, would have a similar problem.
“I think it’s a bit of a stretch to expect that CARICOM leaders are going to be able to engage on sensitive political issues in each others’ countries,” Wickham said.
The pollster said he understands why CARICOM can comment on Venezuela and Ukraine but not on St Kitts.
He said, in Venezuela’s case, countries benefiting from the PetroCaribe oil arrangement would like to see the status quo maintained in Venezuela. According to Wickham, the heads would find it hard in the case of St Kitts to chastise a CARICOM colleague, one senior to the majority of the leaders in terms of how long he has served as a head of government.
Republished with permission of West Indies News Network