Prime Minister Denzil Douglas Wins Clear Parliamentary Victory on 2013 Budget
Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 11, 2013: Prime Minister Denzil Douglas scored a decisive victory in the St. Kitts-Nevis National Assembly on April 9, 2013 when, proving his detractors wrong, he demonstrated that he most assuredly has the parliamentary support needs to advance his legislative agenda.
Recent weeks has seen much political jousting in the twin-island Federation, with the Opposition claiming that Prime Minister Douglas had lost crucial Parliamentary support, and the Prime Minister insisting that that was simply Opposition propaganda that he would decisively dispel once the Budget – or any other legislative initiative – was actually brought to Parliament and the votes were actually counted.
Knowing that the Prime Minister was correct, and wishing to avoid the embarrassment of a crushing defeat, every single member of the Opposition, along with the two former Labour Ministers, stayed away from the April 9 Parliamentary debate on the Budget, and indeed avoided the legislative chamber completely. They offered not one suggestion, not one amendment, not one proposal or criticism during the entire day of detailed, in-depth discussion of the Government’s spending priorities. And they could not, since they were nowhere even close to Government Headquarters. But even if they had all shown up, all of their votes combined still would not have been enough to defeat the Budget.
The AWOL Opposition Members and the two former Labour Ministers knowingly sought the positions of Federal legislators, and they are now being paid to serve as Federal legislators. They are therefore required to assume the responsibilities of Federal legislators, and this means that they are expected to study, analyze, and discuss in Parliament a range of legislative initiatives – amongst the most important being the Budget. It is their duty to state to the public which aspects of which bills they deem worthy of support, and which they do not; and to engage and debate the proponents of this and any legislation with which they disagree, in order that the public good might best be served.
Here, as with the 2012 Budget and the debt reduction (land for debt) bill, this AWOL Opposition has once again failed the Nation – and themselves. Even as the Prime Minister, as he himself had predicted, moved forward and passed his 2013 Budget – and, significantly, with sufficient Parliamentary support to have won the day, even if every single Opposition member and every former Labour Minister had been present and resoundingly voting “Nay”.