Opposition legislators file motion in court to force debate on no confidence motion

Opposition legislators, who have been calling for a debate on a motion of no confidence in the Denzil Douglas government, have filed a motion in the High Court seeking to block the government from conducting any business in the National Assembly other than the national budget.

Opposition Senator Vincent Byron confirmed that the motion was filed under Section 52(6) of the Constitution on Wednesday and scheduled to be heard on Friday at 2.00 pm (local time).

“ ..It’s on the basis of that No Confidence Motion that was filed on the 11th December 2012 that has been pending and pending… today its some 114 days since it has been filed and the government of St Kitts of Nevis and the Speaker, the Hon. Speaker, the Cabinet has neglected, refused, been unable today to bring the matter to the parliament.”

Byron said that Section 52 (6) of the Constitution states that if a vote of no confidence is debated and successfully passed the Prime Minister shall resign within three days or dissolve parliament.

He said the motion was filed with supporting document and affidavits on behalf of the claimant as well as the certificate of urgency and also a notice of application an injunction was also filed at the same time.

“This matter …was to apply to the court in terms of the injunction for an interim order restraining the defendants whether by themselves or their servants or agents or by the Clerk of the Assembly from scheduling any business of the assembly other than the budget, to be dealt with by the Assembly before the debate of the said Motion of No Confidence.”

The claimants are Opposition Leader Mark Brantley, Leader of the main opposition Peoples Action Movement (PAM) Shawn Richards, Deputy PAM leader Eugene Hamilton, Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) leader Vance Amory as well as former deputy prime minister Sam Condor, and former senior minister Timothy Harris.

The six legislators had earlier this year written to Governor General Sir Edmund Lawrence declaring that they had lost confidence in Prime Minister Douglas and his government.

The injunction has named Speaker Curtis Martin, Prime Minister Douglas, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Earl Asim Martin, the Leader of Government Business Patrice Nisbett of the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) and government ministers Marcella Liburd, Glen Phillip, Richard Skerritt, Nigel Carty and Jason Hamilton who was appointed Attorney General.

In the motion, Byron argues that the government’s assurances that it considered the Motion of No Confidence an urgent major is not supported by the lengthy delay in hearing the matter.

He also hinted that the Opposition was moving to block any attempt by the government to go back to Parliament after the Budget, to pass legislation to change the constituency boundaries before the Motion is debated.

The budget will be presented on Tuesday next week after a three month delay.