BASSETERRE, St Kitts (CMC) – Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas Wednesday insisted that his administration would not be rushed into debating a motion of no confidence against him and that the presentation of the national budget is a priority matter to be dealt with.
Dr. Douglas told a news conference that “the motion of no confidence has its place (and) the government has an agenda for which it is responsible”.
Earlier this week, Opposition Leader Mark Brantley said he has written Governor General Sir Edmund Lawrence indicating that six of the 11 legislators in Parliament no longer supported Dr. Douglas and called for the debate on the motion to be held without further delay.
The move by the opposition leader, which also has the support of two former government ministers – former deputy prime minister Sam Condor and senior government minister Dr. Timothy Harris – is the latest strategy being employed to force the National Assembly to debate the motion of no confidence that the opposition said had been “duly submitted to the Clerk of the National Assembly since the 11th December 2012”.
Brantley said he was calling “on civil society to be vigilant and to continue to apply pressure to ensure that the democratic traditions we all hold sacrosanct are respected and restored”.
The St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the churches have already called on Prime Minister Dr. Douglas to ensure that the opposition inspired motion is debated soon.
But Prime Minister Douglas told reporters “the budget is of extreme importance, just as important as the motion of no confidence and the budget is urgent just as the motion of no confidence.
“If for any reason the Speaker would want to forget that I would remind him that the motion of no confidence is urgent and I would remind him to make sure that it is not forgotten, but I think at the moment we are all of one mind…that the budget is urgent.
“The budget is urgent and we would be very irresponsible if we allowed a motion of no confidence to come and the government for whatever reason is no more and there is no money legally authorised to even conduct an election which is what some people seem to want,” he said, adding “I can’t be that irresponsible so I have to do what is the responsible thing”.
Prime Minister Douglas said as leader of the country he could not “think in a very irresponsible and myopic way” reminding journalists “I have to be broad in my thinking, I have to plan ahead because that is the role and responsibility that I have.
“I want to make clear here that the motion of no confidence has its place, the government has an agenda for which it is responsible.
The budget was due to have been presented last December but was postponed after the government said that two senior government leaders had not participated in its prepration.
Regarding the move by his two former Cabinet colleagues to sign the letter sent to the head of state, Prime Minister Douglas said that had they resigned from the Cabinet, he would have been placed in an uneasy situation “because we would have to go to by-elections”.
He said he is still not certain what position the two men have adopted indicating earlier that despite indicating he was an independent legislator, Harris was maintaining a close relationship with the ruling St. Kitts Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) in order to “remain relevant to the ;politics of St. Kitts”.
He said the same way the two men “changed their minds yesterday and said they would vote (in support of the opposition) so too they can change their mind and do anything. They are still alive. I don’t know what motivated them to be on the other side. Suppose I can de-motivate them..or I can increase my motivation beyond what they got”.
Asked by the journalists if this was something he was prepared to try, Prime Minister Douglas replied “I am prepared to do anything for stability in our country”.