Opposition parliamentarians must do the people’s business, says PM Douglas

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, AUGUST 27TH 2013 (CUOPM) – Opposition parliamentarians need to shoulder their legislative responsibilities in the lawmaking body instead of fighting to attend events held for the recent State Visit by the President of the Republic of China (Taiwan).

“Parliamentarians are elected or nominated to show up in parliament, analyze and critique the measures being proposed and explain to the Nation their reasons for supporting or opposing said measures, I had always assumed that all Parliamentarians would deem their being present in Parliament – and participating – an utmost priority,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who noted that recent sittings of Parliament have established that there are those Parliamentarians who feel no such obligation, however.

“As a result, it has been the Government side, and the Government side alone, that has been doing all of the work, providing all of the analysis, outlining all of the justifications, and specifying all of the implications of the various legislative measures that have been brought to Parliament in order to address the Nation’s business. These Members were not meeting their Parliamentary responsibilities, I had been told, as a result of their refusal to be in any way associated with what they like to refer to as an ‘illegitimate Government’,” said Prime Minister Douglas during his weekly radio programme “Ask the Prime Minister.”

“Imagi.ne my horror, therefore, at the pouting and whining from Opposition Parliamentarians, because according to them, they had not been allowed to participate in President Ma’s visit. Was this visit not being arranged by the same Government they had claimed is illegitimate? Beyond that, however, the Leader of the Opposition had been invited by the Government to participate in events in honour of President Ma. And the Premier of Nevis was most present, not only as I received and greeted President Ma upon his arrival at the airport in my capacity as Prime Minister, but at the official luncheon, the state dinner, and so on as well,” Prime Minister Douglas disclosed.

“How telling that the most senior member of the Opposition, the Honourable Premier of Nevis, being present and participating fully during the visit was not enough for them – these great neglecters of the people’s businesses. They, who refuse to come to Parliament when our deliberations urgently need their involvement, groused that they wanted to be at the state visit instead. This, everyone should find quite disturbing,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

He said: “Because Parliamentarians whose boycott of a Government can be abandoned on the simple hope of attending a State Dinner are not ready for the serious and trying demands of leadership – because, let there be no doubt, their participation in the President of Taiwan’s State Visit, would have required precisely the type of involvement with the Government that they have supposedly been avoiding. Responsible governance demands calm conviction and a depth of character which these persons clearly lack. Too excited by pomp and ceremony, they need instead to develop a commitment to hard work. And lacking both social and political judgement, they cannot be trusted to either identify our Nation’s best interest – or to protect them.”

Leader of the Opposition Hon. Mark Brantley was invited but did not attend. It is said he was off island. Hon. Alexis Jeffers, Minister responsible for Housing and Lands in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), Hon, Hazel Brandy Junior Minister responsible for Youth and Social Development and Mr. Colin Tyrell, Adviser in the Nevis Island Administration attended the Prime Minister’s State Luncheon at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort.

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