BASSETERRE, St Kitts – St Kitts and Nevis National Assembly proposed legislation to limit persons from serving more than two terms as prime minister is said to be a part of the continued vendetta by prime minister Dr Timothy Harris against the former holder of the post-Dr Denzil L Douglas.
The bill has been classified as “the Denzil Douglas Bill,” similar to the “Fitzroy Bryant Clause” inserted In the 1983 Constitution by the People’s Action Movement (PAM) administration of Dr Kennedy Simmonds, which prohibits persons who live all their lives in St Kitts and Nevis from being elected to the St Kitts and Nevis National Assembly if one parent or grandparent was not born in St Kitts and Nevis.
“Most observers are convinced that the constitutional amendment is designed to bar opposition leader Dr Denzil Douglas from becoming prime minister again. He served four consecutive terms, July 1995 – February 2015,” said local businessman, A U Browne.
“I believe the voices of the majority should have had a say in this sweeping, but spiteful decision via consultation and a referendum. The latter could have been done simultaneously with the general elections slated for next year. However, the government is moving ahead with this to please a handful of supporters that want term limits, and careless for the opinions of the rest of the population,” said Browne in a FaceBook posting.
“I’m also of the view that a small state like ours should not be trying to follow America with this. America has different branches of government at the federal level for checks and balances. The world’s most powerful nation also directly elects a president and more than 20 prospects have declared their candidacy to unseat president Donald Trump in November 2020,” said Browne, who further pointed out that voters in St Kitts and Nevis have no such privilege.
“We elect constituency representatives and the elected majority select a prime minister,” said Browne, adding: “So the argument that this will make us more democratic like the USA, is nothing more than a pretext for the Team Unity government’s political agenda.”
Noting that he usually resists making predictions, Browne said there’s always an exception and this is one. “I am going to predict that the term limits bill, if passed, will be repealed by the next government and it would be the right thing to do.”
He is further of the view that one indisputable fact is that much larger, richer and more advanced countries “don’t subscribe to this short-sighted, personal and political maneuvering of Dr Harris and the Team Unity government.”
Browne also advised that “Instead of wasting time with this bill, parliamentarians should be tackling more important and badly needed constitutional reforms to St Kitts and Nevis’ 36-year-old constitution. They also could be repealing some of the useless archaic laws on our law books.”
Meanwhile, the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) said it is fully committed upon taking office after the next general election to subjecting the 1983 constitution to a comprehensive review via referendum, added, the constitutional amendment “requires the approval of no less than two-thirds of all elected representatives and given the balance of power in the current parliament, the Bill has no prospect of being passed without support from the opposition.”