By Erasmus Williams
BASSETERRE, St Kitts – With the fifth anniversary of the last general election on February 16, 2020, leader of the opposition, and the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP), Dr Denzil L Douglas said that the federation is in a dilemma as to which boundaries to use in the upcoming general elections.
“The mere idea that the ordinary citizens of this country does not know which boundaries the next elections will be called is a manifestation of the deception and a deliberate attempt by this Team Unity administration to fool people. Something as fundamental as this, having gone through what we went through five years ago, should have been quite clear to the ordinary citizen of this country as to what boundaries would be used for the next election,” said Dr Douglas in response to a caller from the United States Virgin Islands (USVI).
Dr Douglas noted that for the Team Unity government to establish a new constituency boundaries commission with a new chairman less than six months away from a new election date, to change boundaries “is a joke, when in fact the Harris-led Team Unity government sat on this matter for five years and did absolutely nothing about it so that we are deliberately being mislead.”
“We are deliberately kept in the dark because the government continues to behave as if a matter as fundamental as this, is some international global secret that only the government members must know about which is ridiculous,” Dr Douglas said, meantime called on the newly-appointed chairman of the constituency boundaries commission, Denzil V Crooke “to do what is right.”
On October 31, 2019, Governor-General Sir Tapley Seaton announced the appointment of Denzil V Crooke as chairman of the constituency boundaries commission to replace Calvin Pemberton who had been appointed as chairman from November 15, 2018.
“Get down to business very quickly and let the people, as well as those who will be participating in the elections, know upfront, what boundaries the 2020 elections are going to be called on,” urged Dr Douglas.
“How can anybody at this last minute, before the elections are to be announced, still don’t know what boundaries are to be used. Your guess is just as good as mine because as leader of the opposition, I do not know because the government has deliberately tried to confuse the issue as to what boundaries are to be used in the next elections,” said Dr Douglas.
“We have heard that they do not even know what are the existing boundaries, yet they are attempting to change the boundaries which they themselves, it would appear, do not know what are the legal boundaries we are operating with at this present time. The whole issue has become a joke, a State Joke,” Dr Douglas reiterated.
He made the observation from the Order handed down by the London-based Privy Council in 2015 that once St Kitts and Nevis National Assembly is dissolved, and it is hoped that it will be dissolved very early in February – “once the House is dissolved, then the 2015 constituency boundaries would be the boundaries to be used. But we still understand the Team Unity government is saying ‘no, – the 1989 boundaries will be used’ and if there is a problem that is created then, of course, they would try to increase the number of constituencies from 11 to 15, thus creating more confusion in the next elections that are to be called in a matter of weeks.”