St Kitts – Nevis prime minister to reap the whirlwind

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Prime Minister, Dr. Timothy Harris (left), pictured with Resident High Court Judge, Justice Trevor Ward, QC, at Government House, as he takes the oath of office, for his second term, June 7, 2020.

By Caribbean News Global contributor

BASSETERRE, St Kitts – Following the June 2020 return of Dr Timothy Harris as prime minister and leader of Team Unity coalition, comprised of the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) in Nevis; the People’s Action Movement (PAM) and the People’s Labour Party (PLP) – winning nine out of the country’s 11 constituencies, a majority (7/9) of his ministers on Thursday, April 21, 2022, informed the governor-general that they no longer support Dr Harris as prime minister.

A source in St Kitts and Nevis familiar with the situation informed Caribbean News Global (CNG), that:

“Although they have not officially resigned from Cabinet, their action, in my mind, effectively removes them from Cabinet.”

The attorney at law continued:

“After all, how can they be in Cabinet when they do not support its chair, who is also the person who decides whether they are members of Cabinet. They (majority ministers 7/9) are hoping that the governor-general has the constitutional power to remove Dr Harris and replace him with Shawn Richards, the deputy prime minister, without a Motion of No Confidence and general elections,” adding “I do not think they will be successful, and I believe that they are ‘trying a ting’ in the hope that they would not have to face the financial and, especially in the case of PAM ( the St Kitts party on the coalition which has taken the led in this action potential political cost of general elections.)”

Upon return to office in June 2020, Dr Harris, said:

“We shall create the modern history in St Kitts and Nevis, by making the example of the best-managed small island state. That is my pledge and that is my commitment.”

Then and now, the overconfident prime minister continued:

“Our performance really lived up to and, indeed, some will say, surpassed the promise we had made. [Friday], we, the people of St Kitts and Nevis, made history again, as the first coalition government in the federation to return, after an election, with an increased majority.”

Next step

“I think that the next step will require them (the majority ministers 7/9) to cross the floor, submit a Motion of No Confidence ( which will succeed easily), and we will have elections. The Motion will have to be debated, by law, within 21 days of the receipt of notice by the Clerk of Parliament, if it succeeds, prime minister Harris has three days to resign ( if he does not, the governor-general will replace him without the need for general election). In turn, the prime minister can advise the governor-general to dissolve parliament in which case, general elections must be held within 90 days.”

Dr Harris letter – “deep-seated differences”

“I am puzzled that these “deep-seated differences” are now being put forward following the December 2021 annual debate on the Appropriations Bill 2022, the Budget Debate, in which ALL members on the Government Benches spoke in glowing terms of (i) the outstanding performance of our Team Unity Administration during 2021 and (ii) the plans and programmes that our Government put forward for this year and beyond. ALL our members voted without reservation for this critical piece of legislation.”

Below is the full text of the letter dated April 20, 2022, addressed to deputy prime minister Shawn Richards and Mark Brantley minister of foreign affairs and premier of Nevis, leader of Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM), acknowledging receipt of a joint letter dated 16 April 2022.

PM’s Letter to DPM Richards and Minister Brantley

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