St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The opposition St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party is claiming that the Team Unity Administration is only now moving to establish the Public Accounts Committee because a high profile meeting of parliamentarians is planned for St Kitts and Nevis in a matter of weeks.
At Tuesday's sitting of the National Assembly Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris informed that he had written to the Leader of the Opposition, requesting two nominees for the five-member Public Accounts Committee. He said once Cabinet receives the nominations he would bring the appropriate resolution to the National Assembly for the approval to have the Committee constituted.
Senator Nigel Carty, the Deputy Chairman of the Labour Party, spoke to WINN Wednesday (May 25).
“The persons who are now in government said on the campaign trail, that their first order of business would be to deal with matters dealing with governance and transparency. They have outlined in their manifesto particularly, and in the throne speech, that they would make the establishment of the Public Accounts Committee the first order of business. Two years and three months after, we are now hearing some rumblings after much pushing and discussion and to and fro.”
Mr. Carty recalled that the SKNLP administration had established a Public Accounts Committee in 2010.
“When the committee was put together, Mr Brantley, Member for Nevis 9, was appointed the Chairperson of the Committee, he was the leader of the opposition and so in the tradition of how these things are done he was appointed the Chairperson. The other members were Shawn Richards for the opposition and for the government there was Patrice Nisbett, Timothy Harris at the time and myself. We met, we began to look at what we needed to do to get our work done. I remember being called upon to use my technical skills to put together a letterhead for the committee and I remember corresponding via email and via telephone with the Chairman, inquiring on a number of occasions when the next meeting would be and whether he was satisfied with the letterhead I had created for the committee, I never got any response.”
He said opposition parliamentarians will raise several complaints against the Speaker at the meeting of the Commonwealth Parliamentarians in St Kitts and Nevis.
“We would want to raise the issue of the conduct of parliament, we believe that the Speaker of parliament is a rogue Speaker. We believe that he is more of a political activist than an impartial judge. We would want to raise the issue that the opposition after cataloging a series of offences of poor judgement, of partiality as we saw it, having put a motion of no confidence together and sent it off to the Speaker, that the Speaker sat in the chair and determined that there was no case against him and he was going to dismiss the motion of no confidence. We also have the issue to do with the Public Accounts Committee, those are issues that are very germane to the continued securing of our democracy of St Kitts and Nevis and one of the biggest issues that we have as well to take before the conference itself is the fact that the local committee in St Kitts and Nevis which has been working to make preparations for the conference, does not involve, has not asked for the participation of members of the opposition. This is a parliamentary association meeting it’s not a government meeting.”