Caribbean News Now!

About Us Contact Us


Jump to your country or territory of interest

Advertise with us

Reach our daily visitors from around the Caribbean and throughout the world. Click here for rates and placements.


Submit news and opinion for publication


Click here to receive our daily regional news headlines by email.


Click here to browse our extensive archives going back to 2004

Also, for the convenience of our readers and the online community generally, we have reproduced the complete Caribbean Net News archives from 2004 to 2010 here.

Climate Change Watch

The Caribbean is especially vulnerable to rising sea levels brought about by global warming. Read the latest news and information here...

Follow Caribbean News Now on Twitter
Connect with Caribbean News Now on Linkedin

News from the Caribbean:

Back To Today's News

St Kitts-Nevis no confidence motion verdict to be announced 'as soon as possible'
Published on December 17, 2013 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Ken Richards

BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) -- High Court Judge Darshan Ramdhani began hearing arguments from both sides on Monday, on whether the court has jurisdiction to intervene to have the St Kitts and Nevis parliament debate the motion of no confidence in the government of Prime Minister Denzil Douglas brought by opposition leader Mark Brantley in December 2012.

The speaker and the attorney general insist that, given the separation of powers between the executive, the parliament and the judiciary, the court cannot order the speaker to have the motion heard. Elected opposition MPs who took the matter to court in an attempt to have the motion heard in a timely manner, argue that their democratic rights have been infringed.

One of the lawyers representing the respondents, Dr Henry Browne, told Justice Ramdhani on Monday that the case was not a difficult one, and that while the claimants – the elected opposition MPs -- want the court to mandate the speaker to do certain things, “Your Lordship does not have the authority to do so”.

He argued as well that, while the claimants were banking on an implied right that would allow the court to favour their arguments, one could not imply a right into the constitution unless provision is made for this by the constitution.

Browne suggested that the court cannot interfere in the internal management of the parliament.

“What they want is for you to tell the speaker to put the motion before parliament, and you can’t do that,” the attorney told the judge.

Simone Bullen-Thompson, the attorney representing the attorney general, urged the court against trespassing on the rights of parliament.

She insisted that there was no breach of any constitutional rights in relation to the status of the motion of no confidence. Responding to questions from the judge, however, she conceded that if he rules that there is an implied right, then it would mean that there is a case to be heard.

Justice Ramdhani had earlier said that the case being made by Browne in particular suggested that the court should go ahead and hear the substantive motion of no confidence case.

However, the government side made it clear it was not keen on this, preferring that the court first rule on whether or not it feels it has the right to intervene to have parliament debate the motion.

By lunchtime, the lead attorney for the opposition MPs, Douglas Mendes, began to make his clients’ case, explaining at length how government is instituted by the governor general following a general election, and the role that a motion of no confidence plays in the parliamentary lifespan.

He cited what he described as examples of implied rights, also making the case that the other side was ignoring the questions of rights and how existing rules should cater for those rights.

“All that has happened with the motion of no confidence is that the speaker has refused to put it on the order paper,” Mendes told the court.

He pointed out that back in December 2012 the speaker had acknowledged that the motion should be heard in a timely manner, after other matters including the then budget were dealt with.

And in the latest update on the case, Justice Ramdhani has indicated that he will announce his verdict as soon as possible. The hearing wrapped up on Monday afternoon with Browne arguing strongly that no provision of the constitution had been breached because of an applied right.

According to the attorney, the section of the constitution pertaining to that could not be used by the court to intervene in the matter. Calling it constitutional heresy, he queried whether the court was satisfied that a provision of the constitution has been breached by the delaying in the tabling and hearing of the motion of no confidence.

That’s after Mendes reminded the court that there was a constitutional right to bring a resolution of no confidence and have it be heard in a reasonable time. Mendes argued that the court can address the matter under section 96 of the constitution, and that the High Court has jurisdiction to grant relief – relief Mendes suggested could include invasive relief to force the speaker to table the motion. He also defended the motion as a proper resolution of no confidence, countering claims to the contrary by the respondents.

Republished with permission of West Indies News Network
Reads: 2374

Click here to receive daily news headlines from Caribbean News Now!



No comments on this topic yet. Be the first one to submit a comment.


Send us your comments!  

Send us your comments on this article. All fields are required.

For your contribution to reach us, you must (a) provide a valid e-mail address and (b) click on the validation link that will be sent to the e-mail address you provide.  If the address is not valid or you don't click on the validation link, we will never see it!

Your Name:

Your Email:

(Validation required)

Enter Code

User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment author and are not representative of Caribbean News Now or its staff. Caribbean News Now accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Caribbean News Now reserves the right to remove, edit or censor any comments. Any content that is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will not be approved.
Before posting, please refer to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

2014 Mind Your Eye

Other Headlines:

Regional Sports: