On Jul 6, 2020
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, July 06, 2020 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, has affirmed his commitment to serving just two terms as prime minister of the Federation, and that he looks forward to the time when he can proudly pass the mantle of leadership.
Prime Minister Harris reiterated this when he addressed the People’s Action Movement’s (PAM’s) Service of Praise and Thanksgiving at the Calvary Baptist Tabernacle at Romney Ground, Sandy Point on Sunday, July 05.
Dr. Harris has long maintained his commitment to serving just two terms as the third Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, and in November 2019, his Team Unity-led administration went as far as to table The Constitution of Saint Christopher and Nevis (Tenure of Office of Prime Minister) (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the National Assembly, as part of its commitment to deliver on its good governance agenda.
“I have said that I am committed to two terms in the Office of the Prime Minister and I will be very ready to support the Honourable Shawn Richards, the leader of the People’s Action Movement, when that time has come, and to bring all of my experience and all of my knowledge to give him the strongest support so that he can continue to deliver the stronger and safer future,” said Prime Minister Harris.
For his part, the Honourable Shawn Richards, who has been the elected representative for Constituency Five for more than 15 years, said he has learnt and accomplished much for the people of his constituency over that time.
He noted however that, “I have one more political goal to deliver on…and that is to be not the next prime minister but the first prime minister that Sandy Point has produced.”
Prime Minister Harris has argued that establishing fixed leadership terms for the holder of the office of Prime Minister would promote democracy by furthering succession planning and ensuring that the head of government serves the will of the people rather than only the interests of a few.
The Constitution of Saint Christopher and Nevis (Tenure of Office of Prime Minister) (Amendment) Bill, 2019 sought to insert two new subsections, stating in 52 (2) A that, “Notwithstanding subsection 52 (2), a Representative shall not hold office as Prime Minister for more than two terms, whether or not served consecutively” and stating in 52 (2) (B) that, “In this section, a ‘term’ refers to the period provided for in section 31 of the Constitution.” Section 31 is concerned with the Tenure of Office of Representatives and Senators.
That Constitutional amendment did not receive the two-thirds majority required for passage, as the elected Members of Parliament on the Opposition benches at that time did not support the bill, which would have further aligned St. Kitts and Nevis with international best practices.