Disgruntled members of the coalition Team Unity government Tuesday confirmed that they had filed a motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris, even as they left the “door ajar” for some form of reconciliation to end the rift that has split the six-year-old government.
Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the People’s Action Movement (PAM) said in a broadcast that the motion had been filed on Monday and they were also leaving the “door ajar, but only for a short while.
“Let us see if anyone would ring the doorbell or knock on the door of opportunity. However, because of the distrust we have experienced over the years we, PAM and CCM (Concerned Citizens Movement) were forced to act in the best interest of St. Kitts-Nevis.
“Good men cannot continue to stand by and see our nation hurting and not take action. Therefore on Monday 25th April, 2022, the majority of the members of the Team Unity government formally lodged with the Clerk of Parliament, a motion of no confidence in the leadership of the Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris,” Richards said.
Last week, seven legislators linked to the government wrote to Governor General, Sir Samuel Weymouth Tapley Seaton, indicating that the prime minister does not command the support of the majority of elected members in the National Assembly.
But the Head of State has responded indicating that he is awaiting “formal advice” on the situation and would “revert to you at the earliest”.
Harris has himself called on the population to be aware of “certain misgivings in the public domain with respect to the issues raised by the Team Unity partners.
“I wish to assure you, as your Prime Minister that the country remains stable and every effort will be made to maintain the peace and tranquillity of our beloved Federation,” he added.
The coalition government comprises Harris’ People’s Labour Party (PLP) PAM and the CCM. The PLP controls two of the nine seats in the coalition government with the two other seats in the National Assembly belonging to the opposition St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) which has already called for fresh general elections to end the crisis in the government.
Richards said he expects that in keeping with the rules of Parliament, the motion will be placed on the Order Paper “ for an urgent sitting and that a sitting of Parliament to hear the motion will be scheduled at the earliest.
“Indeed we have been advised that this should be done within 21 days,” he said, noting that some people were sceptical of the schedule being kept “because of recent memory” a reference to the political situation in 2015 against the then Denzil Douglas administration that dragged out for many months.
“We do not expect history to repeat itself. St. Kitts-Nevis has matured as a democracy since then with the coming into office of this very Team Unity government on the mantra of good governance and accountability.
“This new phase in our political history demands accountability now more than ever,” Richards said, adding “we expect the motion will be duly debated and passed as we are confident that it will get the majority support of the Parliament”
He said while there will be debate about this “political landmark” the rest of the coalition believes “it will provide an opportunity to refresh our confidence in the democratic ideals…where constitutionality and accountability reign side by side”.
Richards said that while the motion is against Prime Minister Harris, he was also hopeful that the coalition would remain the three parties, but failing this, both the CCM and PAM have already agreed to fashion a new unity going forward.
“We assure that tomorrow will be looking better,” he said, adding “Team Unity will continue with the two that continue to work together.
“In other words, there is still Team Unity but without Timothy,” he said.