SOME ARE GENUINE IN CALLING FOR INTEGRITY LEGISLATION, OTHERS ARE NOT, SAYS DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 17, 2017 (SKNIS): Deputy Prime Minister, the Honourable Shawn Richards, is adamant that the Team Unity Administration will fulfill its good governance legislative agenda, which was promised to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Speaking on the radio and television programme “Working For You” on Wednesday, February 15, the deputy prime minister was keen to note that the disappointment some may have in not seeing this legislative agenda being implemented as soon as they had hoped, may be due to general distrusts people may have of previous governments and politicians in general.

“You have some persons out there who genuinely want to see the government succeed and they want to ensure that the government would keep the promises made to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis and those persons of course, we respect and we say to those persons that we will keep our campaign promises and they will see those particularly pieces of legislation being introduced,” Minister Richards said.

The deputy prime minister, who is also the leader of the People’s Action Movement (PAM), one of the parties in the Team Unity Administration, noted that some persons who criticize the government for not moving to pass certain legislation as promised on the campaign trail are disingenuous.

“Some of the persons who have been calling for the government to put in place legislation to deal with Integrity in Public Life, Freedom of Information, had the opportunity to do so 20 years ago. It makes you wonder if when the very same persons were in government whether or not they knew the importance of such pieces of legislation. Those persons, I do not believe are being genuine,” Minister Richards declared. “As a matter of fact, (Hon. Mark Brantley) brought a private members bill for Integrity in Public Life (to parliament). It was rejected by the very former administration, some of the very same persons who you hear speaking about Integrity in Public Life,” Minister Richards said.

Meanwhile, Minister Richards pointed out that efforts have already been made to prepare the passage of these legislation.

“We have said we have a five year mandate and within that five years we intend to put these pieces of legislation in place. We will bring them to Parliament. We have a first reading already for the term limits,” the deputy prime minister said.

During the elections of February 2015 and since taking office, the Team Unity Administration promised to pass the Integrity in Public Life and Freedom of Information Bills as part of its good governance agenda. Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris announced on the said programme that an expert on the Integrity in Public Life legislation would be invited to St. Kitts and Nevis to conduct public education sessions to inform the general public on what Integrity in Public Life legislation entails.

Also, the Freedom of Information Bill has already been introduced and had its first reading in the Parliament. Public education on this bill will take place, so that people can know what freedom and its limitations are, according to Attorney General, Honourable Vincent Byron.

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