Term limits for MPs open for debate, says attorney general

Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 07, 2015 (SKNIS)—Term limits for members of parliament and not just the prime minister is something that is open for debate, said Attorney General, Honourable Vincent Byron Jr., on last Wednesday’s edition of the Government’s radio programme “Working For You.”

The Team Unity Government, in line with its election promise, has introduced for its first reading the Tenure of Office of Prime Minister Bill 2015. A caller to the radio programme challenged Minister Byron to take the matter to another level and introduce term limits for not just prime ministers but members of parliament as well.

“Why can’t we go further and allow the prime minister to sit for two terms and that’s it, so that he or she does not come back to parliament again?” the caller asked. The attorney general in reply explained that term limits being proposed in the new bill only affects the prime minister and not representatives in parliament. But, he said he has received suggestions for members of parliament to be limited to four terms in office. He suggested that this matter is open for debate.

The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has received kudos from regional figures including respected political pollster Peter Wickham for introducing term limits as this is well needed in the Caribbean.

“The new Team Unity Government proposes to limit the number of terms a prime minister can serve to two. The extent to which I am enamoured by term limits is presumably well-known and it is equally well known that it has not been a popular initiative across this region where leaders often believe that their greatness is reflected in the number of elections they can win. The reasons term limits are now so critical to our political development are numerous,” he said in a commentary in the Barbados Nation Newspaper.

Leader of the Opposition United Workers Party (UWP) Lennox Linton also praised the government for introducing the Bill. Speaking at a press conference recently, Mr. Linton said the move is laudable and will also be set in Dominica when the UWP becomes government.

“The opposition’s view on it is that we applaud it,” Linton said.

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