Prime Minister Denzil Douglas
Photo By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
October 29, 2008 (CUOPM)
St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas has been comparing his administration’s current handling of electoral reform to that carried out by the previous People’s Action Movement (PAM) Administration.
“When they (PAM) had the opportunity to reform the electoral system in 1983, there was no consultation whatsoever, none whatsoever. There was no sharing of information in the way we are doing it today. The PAM electoral reform was done behind closed doors and then dropped like a bomb in Parliament within a few hours and the entire system was changed,” said Prime Minister Douglas, adding: “look at what we have done.”
The ruling St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Government consulted with the Washington-based Organisation of American States, the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat and the Georgetown-based CARICOM’s Secretariat.
“The Commonwealth of Nations was able to send an expert team here in 2004; there was a Commonwealth Assessment Team and the Commonwealth Mission that visited in 2005 after the October 2004 General Election.
“CARICOM Observers became engaged in the exercise and the people of St. Kitts and people with representation from all of the significant organisations represented on various committees,” said Dr, Douglas on the ZIZ Radio programme “Ask the PM” on Tuesday morning.
He pointed out that the electoral reform process started in August 2006.
“Over two years we have been carrying out this exercise in comparison to what the previous administration did in a matter of hours and the entire electoral; system was changed. Ours is now over two years and we still have not completed the exercise as yet. There is no question about consultation and information sharing,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who labeled the previous PAM Administration as “an exclusionary type of administration.”
“My administration is an inclusive and consultative type of administration. I believe in continuing to be in touch with the people and getting the benefit of their advice,” said Dr. Douglas, who pointed out that the elected Parliamentarians “do not have a monopoly on ideas. The ideas are out there with the people and that is why we have to consult and include.”
Prime Minister Douglas scoffed at the notion that the electoral reform exercise is aimed at winning the next election.
“It is about our country. It is about preserving a democratic country for future generations. It has to be done properly and people seem to forget the era that we have come from compared to where we are today,” said Dr. Douglas, who said: “As long as I am here and in charge of this administration, I reaffirm my commitment to do what is right on behalf of the people and after consulting with the people. This is a government of inclusion, not a government of exclusion.”