BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, AUGUST 21ST 2014 – Monday’s sitting of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly highlighted the continued ability of the Denzil L. Douglas Labour Party Administration to use its majority in the law making body to defeat attempts by the opposition to derail the introduction of several bills.
The defeat of the opposition by the government side to also highlighted disunity and confusion in the Parliamentary Opposition led by the Hon. Mark Brantley, who was absent, with some voting “no” while others indicated they were “not participating.”
Government Minister, Sen. the Hon. Richard “Ricky” Skerritt was also absent from Monday’s sitting.
During the presentation of the first bill, “The Provisional Collection of Revenue Bill, 2014,” the opposition failed to prevent its introduction and first reading by calling for a division late.
The second attempt failed to defeat “The Hotel Accommodation and Restaurant Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2014, after opposition parliamentarian and Member for St. Christopher 8, the Hon. Eugene Hamilton called for a division, only to have the Clerk of the House reporting that there were seven votes for the government and 6 for the opposition.
The confusion, disunity and uncertainty in the opposition ranks were further highlighted in the full glare of the television cameras, when the Hon. Eugene Hamilton stated “I” instead of “No” when the Speaker, the Hon. Curtis Hamilton, was asked to vote on the “Income Tax Amendment Bill, 2014.”
While most of the opposition parliamentarians voted “No,” the Hon. Eugene Hamilton, who had called for the division, instead of voting “No” informed the Speaker and the House that “I am not participating.” A similar statement also came from opposition senator from opposition senator, the Hon. Vincent Byron.
The Clerk of the House, Mr. Jose Lloyd reported to the Speaker that he recorded seven “I’s, four “No’s” and two “abstentions.”
On the “Unincorporated Business Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2014,” the Parliamentary Opposition failed in another attempt to prevent the Bill from being introduced and read a First time, when Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas used his parliamentary majority in the House of Assembly to defeat the opposition.
At the end of the vote, the Clerk, Jose Lloyd reported to the Speaker as follows: “seven I’s and six abstentions.
The Hon. Eugene Hamilton then led the walk-out of the opposition members.