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St Kitts-Nevis opposition leader takes a swipe at CARICOM
Published on March 13, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Ken Richards

BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) -- More criticism is being heaped on the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) because the regional grouping has refused to make the motion of no confidence stalemate in St Kitts and Nevis one of its priorities. The leader of the federal opposition in Basseterre, Mark Brantley, says the reluctance of CARICOM to get involved is extremely disappointing.

Mark Brantley
“And we find it disappointing when the body, the heads of government who direct CARICOM and the fortunes of CARICOM will not see that undemocratic traditions in any of their member states is a problem,” Brantley said.

“How do they feel sitting with Prime Minister Douglas, when Prime Minister Douglas is the only member amongst them who does not command a majority in parliament, and who has been evading a motion of confidence now for 15 long months,” the opposition leader told WINN FM.

“These are the things I believe that give us pause when we think about CARICOM and the effectiveness and relevance of CARICOM to our modern Caribbean,” Brantley said.

Regional commentator and TV talk show host, Vincentian Jerry George is also criticizing CARICOM leaders for officially ignoring the St Kitts and Nevis situation. The host of the TV programme “Time to Face the Facts” said CARICOM’s non-position on the matter is wrong.

He accused the regional grouping of acting cowardly, by keeping their distance on the St Kitts situation.

“Even if they had brought it on the agenda, discussed it and come back out and said listen our position has not changed, they would have looked much better than trying to side-step the issue by saying it’s an internal matter while at the same time speaking to issues in the Ukraine and in Venezuela. I think that is wrong,” George told WINN FM.

Brantley said meanwhile that CARICOM’s lack of action is lending credibility to the allegation that the regional integration grouping is becoming irrelevant.

Fifteen months later, and in the face of a recent court decision that said it should be tabled, debated and voted on, the motion of no confidence in the Douglas administration appears no closer to being heard than when it was filed on December 11, 2012, by Brantley.

The tabling of the motion would be a significant development in a parliament where there are six elected opposition MPs to the governing party’s five, with only elected members allowed to vote on such a motion. Former deputy prime minister Sam Condor, who supports the motion, said on Tuesday he finds it difficult to understand the delay in putting the motion before the parliament.

Sam Condor
“The region now and the world really look on in amazement that such a thing could be happening in what is supposed to be a constitutional democracy, a parliamentary democracy where the rule of law should take place. And so we are really disappointed,” Condor told WINN FM.

The opposition coalition Team Unity official said the prime minister trying to hide behind claims that the whole thing is mischief-making on the part of Team Unity leader Dr Timothy Harris suggests that the prime minister is living in his own little world.

“Dr Douglas says he has a majority of people in parliament, elected and non-elected. It has nothing to do with any non-elected, the constitution speaks about elected members – that is how a government is formed, it is the majority of elected members forming the government,” the former deputy prime minister and former Douglas colleague said.

He was also critical of CARICOM. According to Condor, the organization is shirking away from addressing what could be regarded as a crisis situation in one of its member-states.

“That is the travesty …that people who know what is right are not prepared to stand up and say that what is happening is wrong and should be corrected,” he said.

Republished with permission of West Indies News Network
Reads: 4668

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Paco Smith:

Wow! I concur, wholeheartedly, with the sentiment expressed in this article.

This is very instructive. CARICOM, what sayeth thou?

You are prepared to comment on issues occurring outside our region, but have remained mum on the constitutional matter in St. Kitts & Nevis.

This, undoubtedly, is not good. I am hoping there is an "update" since the posting of this article, in which CARICOM takes a position. If not, it speaks volumes in relation to the effectiveness of our regional grouping.

At the very least, some explanation of the underlying rationale as to CARICOM's muted stance would prove more palatable than what appears to be the outright ignoring of a crisis situation, at home!

If such is the case, I can see why many question the effectiveness of CARICOM. I am a self-avowed regional integrationist, but one must call a spade, a spade.


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