By Devonne Cornelius
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Twenty five days are left on the calendar for the announcement of the National Assembly Elections in St. Kitts and Nevis. The deadline is Monday, August 08, 2022.
To date, there has been no announcement by Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris but he says “the election date will be called at the right time.”
Callers to WINN’s ‘Voices’ talk show on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, weighed in on the conversation of the Prime Minister announcing the election date.
One caller said, “I don’t think that the 90 day period in the Constitution took this kind of environment into account…the election should have been called immediately after the debacle with his colleagues. As soon as they decided they no longer had confidence in him, and it was clear, this should have been over with as quickly as possible…not have this drawn out because it is not good for the stability of the country.”
Another caller said, “We don’t want to see any unwanted bam bam [tragedy or calamity] from this election. If the situation continues, it won’t be pretty.”
A general election of members of the National Assembly shall be held at such time within ninety days after any dissolution of Parliament as the Governor General may appoint. This is according to section 48 of the Constitution of St. Kitts and Nevis and can also be found in section 25 of the National Assembly Elections Act.
Mark Brantley, former Foreign Affairs Minister in the Team Unity Cabinet, took Prime Minister Harris to task on the matter.
He said: “It is beyond a shadow of a doubt that we must have an election within that 90 day period, not the announcement of an election to happen sometime after that 90 days and so whoever is advising Timothy Harris of this foolishness, I would hope that he knows better.”
On Tuesday, May 10, 2022, Prime Minister Harris announced via TV and radio that he had asked the Governor General to dissolve the country’s parliament paving the way for fresh general elections within a 90 day period.
“No one other than the Prime Minister of the country can determine when the general elections will be held. All law-abiding citizens will await until such an announcement will be made. What we are hearing are gimmicks, political antics and basically much about nothing because constitutionally, we know when the election must be held, and there’s an outer date in August by which the elections will be held. We will conduct ourselves in accordance with the constitutional ambit and the mandate granted to the Prime Minister in our Westminster democracy. We are a solid and practised democracy; our citizens and residents have nothing to fear. We will contest a clean election and issues bases questions free of all the childishness that we see coming from the leaders opposite… at the right time, we will announce the election date not at the whim and fancy of others but in accordance with the constitutional mandate given to us by the people of St. Kitts and Nevis and in accordance with the Constitution,” said Prime Minister Harris in a video posted on the Peoples Labour Party’s (PLP) Facebook page.
For the purpose of every general election of members of the National Assembly, the Governor-General shall issue writs to the Returning Officers and shall specify the day and place of nomination of candidates, the day on which, if necessary, the poll shall be taken, being not less than seven days after the day of such nomination.
On receiving such writ, every Returning Officer shall publish in the Gazette and in one or more newspapers the day and place fixed for the nomination of candidates. Such notice shall be published at least seven clear days before the day fixed for such nomination.
Sundays are included but Christmas Day, Good Friday and any bank holiday shall be excluded. Where anything required by this Act [National Assembly Elections Act] to be done on any day falls to be done on Sunday or on any such excluded day, that thing may be done on the next day, not being one of such excluded days.