Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 03, 2015 (SKNIS): Minister of Justice, Legal Affairs and Communications, Attorney General the Honourable Vincent Byron Jr. ,the featured guest on the Government’s radio and television programme “Working for You” on December 02, provided a comprehensive explanation of the Tenure of Office of Prime Minister Bill, 2015.
Attorney General Byron in explaining the rationale for the bill said, “This bill is one of a suite of legislative provisions that the Government of Team Unity had pledged to implement during the very long campaign. If you recall the campaign was solidly based on the issue of good governance. We had indicated that we would “restore democracy” and promote a prosperity agenda.”
According to Attorney General Byron, “The issue of restoring democracy was based on the concept of good governance.” He further explained, “Good governance became very critical as the previous administration, the Douglas-led administration, had been violating a lot of the constitutional provisions, a lot of legislative provisions and the whole spirit of adhering to the administration of justice, and so we promised through our manifesto to have this suite of good governance legislation.”
The bill, according to the attorney general, will seek to prevent the abuse of power by leaders who can become entrenched in their office for an extended period of time. Discussing it, he noted that “term limits basically is based on legislation that has found wide spread introduction around the world,” further explaining that the bill restricts the number of terms a leader of Government is allowed to hold that office. Attorney General Byron is of the view that “this is a good practice.”
The tabling of such legislation by the Government of National Unity has been seen as a progressive move. Renowned Caribbean Pollster and Political Analyst, Peter Wickham, has been quoted by local media saying, “I hope that this is a cancer that will spread.”
The tenure of Office of Prime Minister Bill, 2015, states that (1) A person who is appointed Prime Minister under the Constitution shall, subject to subsection (2) of this section, hold office for a term of five years and (2) A person shall not be appointed Prime Minister under the Constitution to hold office as Prime Minister for more than two terms as prescribed by this section. Section (3) states that the Office of Prime Minister shall become vacant (a) on the expiration of the period specified in this section; (b) if the incumbent dies or resigns.
The Attorney General contends that the Tenure of Office of Prime Minister Bill, 2015, is an example of the fresh and innovative initiatives offered to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis by the Government of National Unity.