Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 29, 2016 (SKNIS): Senator, the Honourable Michael Perkins, has resigned as Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly effective June 29, 2016, said Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris at his monthly press conference today.
Senator Perkins will be nominated as Speaker at tomorrow’s (June 30) sitting of the National Assembly by the Government of National Unity, Prime Minister Harris said.
He was elected Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly on 14th May, 2015 at the start of the new term pursuant to the Constitution of St. Christopher and Nevis.
Section 32 (1) of the Constitution states that “When the National Assembly first meets after any general election and before it proceeds to the dispatch of any other business, it shall elect a person to be Speaker of the Assembly; and if the Office of the Speaker falls vacant at any time before the next dissolution of Parliament the Assembly shall, as soon as practicable, elect another person to that office.”
Section 32 (2) of the Constitution states “The Speaker may be elected from among the members of the National Assembly who are not members of the Cabinet or Parliamentary Secretaries or from among persons who are not members of the Assembly but who are qualified for election as a Representative or appointment as a Senator.”
Prime Minister Harris said that the new vacancy left by the former Deputy Speaker will be addressed at a subsequent sitting of Parliament. In order for the Parliament to be properly constituted it must have a Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
Section 32 (3) states that “When the National Assembly first meets after any general election and before it proceeds to the dispatch of any other business except the election of the Speaker the Assembly shall elect a member of the Assembly who is not a member of the Cabinet or a Parliamentary Secretary to be Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, and if the office of Deputy Speaker falls vacant at any time before the next dissolution of Parliament, the Assembly shall, as soon as convenient, elect another such member to that office.”
Section 32 (4) states “No business shall be transacted in the National Assembly (other than the election of a Speaker) at any time when the office of Speaker is vacant.”
In May of this year, it was announced that the Honourable Franklin R.O. Brand, Speaker of the National Assembly, resigned his post due to health reasons. It was noted by a Cabinet spokesperson that Mr. Brand had been facing health challenges for some time, which resulted in the proceedings of the National Assembly being chaired by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Senator Michael Perkins.
Commenting on the departure of Speaker Brand, Prime Minister Dr. the Hon Timothy Harris indicated that the Speaker’s loss will be impactful.
“History will record that it was the Hon. Franklin Brand who brought decorum, order, dignity and democracy back to our Parliament,” Prime Minister Harris said.
It was noted then by Cabinet that the election of a new Speaker will take place at the next sitting of the National Assembly.