St. Kitts opposition leader challenges current Prime Minister on constituency boundaries issue

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – St. Kitts Prime Minister Denzil Douglas has been challenged to state his government’s intention as it relates to changing the Constituency boundaries ahead of the upcoming elections.

The challenge came from Political Leader of the People’s Action Movement (PAM) Lindsay Grant.

Grant says his party has been made aware of plans by the ruling Labour Administration to shift the constituency boundary lines in at least three constituencies in a desperate attempt to win crucial seats in the elections constitutionally due later this year.

He has called on Prime Minister Dr. Douglas to publicly deny those claims.

“We challenge the Denzil Douglas regime to make a definitive statement that they do not plan to change the boundaries of the various constituencies. We know that they can’t do that with a straight face.”

PAM’s leader has also called on civil society to monitor the situation adding that his party would stand up with the public to ensure that the right thing is done.

“In the New Year we urge you to be vigilant and to ensure that our democracy is neither short changed nor undermined…. We are prepared to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you to ensure that at this crossroads in our history, we take the right road.”

The Constitution of St. Kitts/ Nevis states that to change constituency boundaries, a number of conditions have to be in place – namely, a vast difference in the number of inhabitants in one Constituency over the next.

“All Constituencies shall contain as nearly equal numbers of inhabitants as appears to the Constituency Boundaries Commission to be reasonably practicable….” (The Constitution of the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis; Section 50 (1) Schedule 2 (2))

However Grant maintains that the newly formed Commission cannot proceed with the proposed change of boundaries based on that clause as there is no recent population census to inform the change.

He added that the Constituency Boundaries Commission, which was established in the year just completed, would be acting unconstitutionally, should it submit a recommendation for change of boundaries now.

Quoting from the Constitution again Grant, a lawyer by profession said, “Reports under subsection (1) shall be submitted by the Commission at intervals of not less than two nor more than five years.” (The Constitution of the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis; Section 50 (2))

It is alleged that the three Constituencies that would be affected should the proposed change take place are those of PAM’s political Leader Lindsay Grant, who is coming up against Labour’s Glen Phillip, PAM’s lone representative in Parliament Shawn Richards and Junie Hodge, who is contesting the seat of Prime Minister Denzil Douglas.

Related Articles

Back to top button