BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, April 18, 2020 (PLP PR Media Inc.) — After moving the Resolution to extend the State of Emergency and to extend the Regulations made under the Emergency Powers Act in order to continue the fight against COVID-19 at an emergency sitting of the National Assembly on Friday April 17, Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris received massive support from the members on the Government side.
“What the Administration is doing is the right thing, and this Government is standing by and with the people – at a time of an emergency we couldn’t do less,” advised Dr Harris during the debate on the Resolution. His Government, he added, is focussed in keeping St. Kitts and Nevis safe and secure.
The Team Unity Government understands that St. Kitts and Nevis like the rest of the world is in a war for its survival, and COVID-19 represents a veritable war against humanity, “and we must fight it with every sinew in our body and we must bring every resource at our disposal to ensure that we left nothing undone to defeat this pandemic and defeat it, we will in St. Kitts and Nevis.”
However, as they debated the Resolution, the three members present on the Opposition benches said in part that the proposed period of twelve months for the extension of the State of Emergency was too long citing among others the pending general elections.
They were given the assurance by the Prime Minister that the moving of the Resolution had nothing to do with the elections, stressing that elections will come as they must at the right time. The time now is to fight COVID-19 and the country needs all hands on deck and when they would have delivered it to safety then the country could move to the next level of engagement in democratic life.
“The Emergency Powers Act has been a powerful resource available to us to stem the tide of the virus – We need the Emergency Powers Act as has every country everywhere,” said Prime Minister Harris had said in Parliament.
Based on the recommendations of the Attorney General, the Hon Vincent Byron Jr. during his presentation on the Resolution, Prime Minister Harris agreed that the period of the State of Emergency be reduced from the proposed twelve months to six months.
“We are prepared to amend the Resolution for a six-month window Mr Speaker, so that the House on this historic moment could be on one accord in taking decisive action to protect every boy and girl, every man and every woman, every citizen and every resident in St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Prime Minister Harris. “I commend the Resolution with the amendment proposed by the Attorney General, for a period of time of not more than six months for consideration by the Honourable House and we will seek a division with respect to that.”
However, when the division was sought, all the ten members on the Government benches said ‘yes’ while the remaining two members on the Opposition benches said ‘no’.
“Mr Speaker I wish to report to the House that there are ten ‘ayes’ and two ‘noes’,” stated Clerk to the National Assembly, Mrs Sonia Boddie-Thompson.
Speaker the Hon Michael Perkins announced: “Honourable Members, ten members voted the Resolution. 10 of 15 is exactly two-thirds and so I hereby declare that the Resolution to extend the State of Emergency for up to six months is hereby passed by this National Assembly.”