Speaker of the St. Kitts-Nevis National Assembly, the Honourable A. Michael Perkins

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, December 12, 2018 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Speaker of the St. Kitts-Nevis National Assembly, the Honourable A. Michael Perkins, has pledged to give priority to the Motion of No Confidence filed against the Team Unity Government of Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris by the Leader of the Opposition.

Under the section, “Announcements by the Speaker” on the Order Paper for the Sitting of the National Assembly today, Wednesday, December 12, 2018, Speaker Perkins noted that he received notice of the Motion upon arrival at his office prior to the start of Parliament. The Motion, according to the Speaker of the House, was filed late Tuesday (December 11, 2018) with the Clerk of the National Assembly.

The Speaker told the Federal Parliament, “In accordance with Section 27 of the Standing Orders of the National Assembly, as Speaker, I am now mandated to, and I will immediately begin to assess the Motion of No Confidence as submitted. I would begin an analysis of the Motion as submitted to determine whether or not it has been properly brought before this National Assembly or alternatively, I would have the authority to amend the Motion as I see fit and set it down for a subsequent sitting.”

However, Speaker Perkins stressed that the Standing Orders state that Parliament must be given three clear days notice prior to the sitting on which the Motion of No Confidence is to be heard, “and so having received it only yesterday, clearly it is not proper for it to even be entertained for a debate today.”

The decision by Speaker Perkins to treat the Opposition Leader’s motion with such priority and importance is in stark contrast to what transpired in December 2012, when then-leader of the Opposition, the Honourable Mark Brantley, filed with the clerk of the National Assembly a Motion of No Confidence in the Dr. Denzil Douglas-led Administration.

The Opposition MPs then requested that the Motion of No Confidence be placed on the Order Paper as a matter of urgency be debated in the Parliament. Those requests were ignored by then-Speaker of the House, Curtis Martin.

For more than two years, that Motion lay in abeyance, depriving the House of the opportunity to debate and vote on it. This resulted in the claimants taking the matter to the High Court for relief.

Speaker Perkins said he will undertake an assessment of the Motion of No Confidence speedily and efficiently, noting however, that he will be constrained over the next few days as a result of the ongoing 2019 Budget Address and subsequent debate.

The next Sitting of the Federal Parliament is scheduled for Wednesday, December 19, 2018, at which time the Speaker of the House will give an update on the status of the Motion of No Confidence.