BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JULY 30TH 2013 (CUOPM) – The opposition People’s Action Movement (PAM) which is represented on the five-member Constituency Boundaries Commission (CBC) since August 2012 has not submitted any proposals during the several meetings held.
This has been disclosed by the Hon. Marcella Liburd, the lone female member on the Commission.
Then Governor General Sir Cuthbert Sebastian appointed Mr. Peter Jenkins, Chairman following consultation with Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas.
The Hon. Marcella Liburd and the Hon. Dr. Earl Asim Martin were appointed on the recommendation of the Prime Minister and the Hon. Vance Amory (Premier of Nevis and Political Leader of the Concerned Citizens Movement – CCM) and Senator the Hon. Vincent Byron Jr. of the People’s Action Movement – PAM) were appointed on the recommendation of the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Mark Brantley, Deputy Political Leader of the CCM and Deputy Premier of Nevis),
Over the past several months, the Boundaries Commission has held several meetings but the People’s Action Movement (PAM) although represented has not submitted any proposal.
“We asked them to put in their proposals. CCM put in their proposals. NRP put in their proposals. Even NIP (National Integrity Party) put in their proposals, but PAM didn’t put in any. So we are going ahead without PAM, because they had an opportunity to put in proposals and they did not put in any,” Miss Liburd, told a massive Labour Party rally on Bank Street in Basseterre on Friday.
“When we already had our last meeting, they are now saying this and that, when they had an opportunity to put proposals before the Commission and they refused. They say they are not doing any because the government is illegal and the government is unconstitutional and the Motion of No Confidence and all kinds of different reasons they gave,” she stated.
Ms. Liburd, the Minister of Health, Social and Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs, dismissed allegations that the boundaries are being gerrymandered.
“We are changing the boundaries according to the Constitution. We are going according to the Constitution and the Constitution says that the boundaries must be reviewed every 2 to 5 years. The Constitution says that every constituency must have equal or near equal inhabitants, not electors and so we are going on the Census and we are making sure that all the constituencies have equal or near equal inhabitants. You know why that is so? Because you cannot have one representative getting paid to represent 2,500 people and another representative getting the same pay to represent 6,000 people,” she explained, further pointing out:
“That can’t be fair. That is undemocratic. That is not good governance and so because of that, you have to make sure that each representative is representing the same amount of people.”
She said any changes in the boundaries will affect all candidates.
“It is going to affect PAM candidates and it is going to affect Labour candidates along with the CCM candidates and the NRP candidates as well. When PAM changed boundaries in 1983, it affected candidates. When PAM changed boundaries in 1988, it affected candidates. So what else is new? Anytime you have boundary changes, it will affect candidates, but we are here to go out and get the support of the people and if the people are on your side, boundary change or not, you will get what belongs to you,” said Ms. Liburd, a former senator and Speaker of the National Assembly.
She recalled the attempt in 2009 to change the boundaries.
“They took us to court and there was some technical difficulty and they said we could not win on the old boundaries and guess what? We had to fight the 2010 elections on the old boundaries and didn’t we win? With 60% of the votes on the old boundaries we win on the old boundaries. We are carrying out our constitutional duty and we are asking you to have full confidence in the government and in moving forward with the boundaries change. You must have full confidence in the boundaries change because we are doing it according to the constitution and when you hear them bawling, I don’t know what they bawling for,” said Ms. Liburd.