St Kitts prime minister says opposition statements are “mere propaganda”

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Wednesday Jun 26, 2013 – Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas Tuesday dismissed opposition claims that he was leading a minority government in St. Kitts-Nevis.

Appearing on his weekly radio programme “Ask the Prime Minister”, Douglas told listeners that his St. Kitts-Nevis labour Party (SKNLP) administration holds a majority in the National Assembly.

Six opposition legislators have already said they will support a vote of no confidence in the government and have even gone to the courts to get Parliament to debate the issue as a matter of urgency.

But Dr. Douglas, who has already said he is awaiting the court’s ruling on the application filed by the opposition, said that he had been challenged by a young man who resides in the United States to “speak more frequently about the legitimacy of your government”.

He told listeners that he accepted  the young man’s advice that “you cannot assume that the man and woman in the street, who are busily earning a living and taking care of their children, have the time to really follow these issues”.

He said the young man also indicated that “the opposition is hoping that if you just allow them to keep saying that your government is illegal, the people might believe them”.

Dr. Douglas said he was challenged to inform the population that his government is not illegal simply because it it were, the opposition led by a lawyer would have gone to the courts to challenge his administration’s constitutionality.

He said he also agreed with the young man that the government had been able to pass legislation and other measures in Parlimant even though former deputy prime minister Sam Condor and former senior minister Dr. Timothy Harris had sided with the four legislators from the People’s action Movement (PAM).

Dr. Douglas said he was sharing the young man’s discussion with him “in the interest of reminding the public of this very important truth” adding he is also dismissing the opposition’s charges as”mere propaganda”.

Dr. Douglas also told listeners that on Monday night he appeared ona  radio programme in Antigua and informed and had the opportunity of explaining the fact that his government had 10 members as against five for the opposition.

“Even if two of the 10 on the government’s side, were to side with the opposition’s five and vote that would leave seven against eight, with the government’s side still with the majority of eight and legislation therefore would have been passed.

“I dismiss the opposition charges on this point as mere propaganda, but the young man is right,” said Dr. Douglas, adding that it was important “every now and then” to set the record straight even on obvious points.

Earlier, PAM leader Shawn Richards called on Prime Minister Douglas to name a date for fresh general elections and promised to pursue all “legal and constitutional “means to get the motion of no confidence debated in Parliament.

Political activities have increased here in recent weeks amid reports that Prime Minister Douglas will call an early general election ahead of the 2015 constitutional deadline.

In the 2010 general election, the ruling St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) won six of the 11 seats contested in the 15-member Parliament. The three other seats are filled by appointed members and the ex-officio member in the person of the Attorney General. (CMC) Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)