PM Dr. Denzil Douglas – St. Kitts – Nevis
Photo By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
November 12, 2009 (CUOPM)
St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas on Friday commended the St. Kitts Christian Council for distancing itself from the purported joint statement issued Tuesday from the offices of the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
“I welcome the statement by the Chairman of the St. Kitts Christian Council, Rev. Fr. Isaiah Phillip,” said Prime Minister Douglas briefly as he arrived for Thursday’s sitting of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly.
He said there is need to clarify the source of the controversial information.
In a statement on Thursday, Prime Minister Douglas called the press release purportedly issued by the Chamber, the Christian Council and the Evangelical Association as “irresponsible.”
In that statement Dr. Douglas said he met last Friday, 6th November 2009 with the heads of the St. Kitts Evangelical Association, the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce, and the St. Kitts Christian Council.
“We discussed the proposed Code, and I expressed my willingness to sign once a few modifications had been made. All present agreed that these changes were indeed in order, and that said modifications would be made,” said Dr. Douglas.
The Prime Minister said he was asked in that meeting to intervene so as to ensure that there would be no changes to the constituency boundaries.
“I explained that the Constituency Boundaries Commission was an independent constitutionally mandated entity, and that the Constitution not only required that I, in my capacity as Prime Minister, submit the Commission’s recommendations to parliament, but that I do so as soon as possible upon receipt of same. I explained that the Constitution prohibits the interference of either the Prime Minister or anyone else in the work and recommendations of the Commission,” said the Prime Minister in the statement.
He disclosed that the organisations were grateful for this information since they later explained that they had not been aware of this, had checked with their lawyers, and had been assured that, as Prime Minister, “I am legally bound, first, to not interfere with the work of the Commission, and then to submit the Commission’s recommendations to parliament without delay.”
Dr. Douglas said that the meeting ended on a positive and respectful note.
He said the information issued from the offices of the Chamber “completely contradicts their clear statement to me that they fully understand that (1) the Commission is independent and must meet its responsibilities regarding boundary changes as it sees fit, and (2) in my capacity as Prime Minister, it is my duty to present these recommendations to the parliament.”
Chairman of the St. Kitts Christian Council, Rev. Fr. Isaiah Phillip said he was “flabbergasted and annoyed” by the release of a statement that purportedly was also sanctioned by the Christian Council.
Fr. Isaiah Phillip said that the three organisations named in the press release had arrived at no agreement on any statement.
“I can confirm that our three organisations are always in discussions on matters of national interest and importance, and we have been discussing issues to do with electoral reform and boundaries. We have not agreed on any statement. There are draft statements that were prepared, but we have not agreed on anything,” said the St. Kitts Christian Council Chairman.
Rev. Phillip said he was informed via e-mail that a draft that had been prepared for discussion was released to someone.
“I don’t know the details of it. I have heard that it was read, but I want to reiterate that we have no agreement and no statement to release,” he added.