PM Douglas Accuses Opposition Of Attempting To Prevent “Smooth Process” Of Polls

St. Kitts - Nevis PM - Denzil Douglas

St. Kitts – Nevis PM – Denzil Douglas
Photo By Erasmus Williams

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
July 12, 2009 (CUOPM)

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas has accused the opposition People’s Action Movement (PAM) of engaging in strategies to prevent the holding of general elections in the twin-island federation and warned of the possibility that the Head of State could be imprisoned as a result of their manoeuvres.

Dr. Douglas at a news conference said that the opposition party, which has one seat in the 11-member lawmaking body, had filed a second court injunction late on Thursday in a bid to thwart the efforts of the government in dealing with the Boundaries Commission Report, part of the process of Electoral Reform that began in August 2006.

The Prime Minister said the new injunction filed against the Governor General, His Excellency Dr. Sir Cuthbert Sebastian and Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Dr. the Hon. Dennis Merchant and other key officials was designed to prevent a “smooth process” for the polls that are likely to be held soon.

“There is a serious attempt by some persons to prevent the smooth process of general elections,” he said, making reference to the attempts to stop the Commission report on changes to the constituency boundaries being laid in Parliament and also to prevent the Governor General from acting on the recommendations from Parliament arising from the report. The Report was presented to the Prime Minister and the Governor General hours before the injunction. The Proclamation passed by the National Assembly on Friday was also asented to bythe Governor General and Gazetted before the latest injunction was filed in the Court.

“Someone is seeking to stop these elections from being called. It is a “˜pappy show’ business,” Douglas said, adding that the “business of the people that must not be frustrated in this way”.

He told reporters that one of the claimants to the new injunction is the PAM leader, Lindsay Grant.

“This is a veil threat of imprisonment of his Excellency the Governor General, who is now subjected to the terms of the injunction and (who) could be found to be in contempt of court,” Douglas said, adding “this is a very grave development, surely because some people are not ready for general elections.”

Attorney General Dr. Dennis Merchant made some observations of the second injunction, saying the court documents served on him lacked the official seal and number.

The Prime Minister reiterated an earlier position outlined in the Parliament on Thursday that he has been advised that a High Court injunction, in which he was not named, does not prevent him from complying with his obligations under the St. Kitts and Nevis Constitution.

“I’m also advised that the injunction does not prevent Parliament from proceeding with its business. Were I advised that the injunction had so impeded me or Parliament with its work, I would not have proceeded to do so or advised Parliament of the need for a sitting to proceed with the people’s business,” he told legislators.

The Prime Minister told reporters he suspected that the opposition was unable to get its house in order to contest the polls and suggested that some of PAM candidates may not qualify because of the new laws regarding dual citizenship.

He said he had been informed that two PAM candidates need to obtain certificates of renunciation from the United States and that process could take up to three months.

“It is a strategy they are employing and in the process threats are being made against people like myself and the Governor General. It is a charade, it is a show,” Dr. Douglas said, insisting that the ruling St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) was certain of being victorious at the polls.

“We will win the elections with or without boundary changes,” he said, insisting however that the changes were crucial for the conduct of the election.

“It is part and parcel of the entire reform process,” he added.

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