(SKNIS Photo 1: Seating specially arranged for invited guests to view a monitor inside Government Headquarters)
Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 15, 2015 (SKNIS): Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris has made public his desire that the Federal Parliament of St. Kitts and Nevis be housed in it’s own building.
That need became even more evident upon witnessing the scene at last Thursday’s (May 14) opening session of parliament.
(SKNIS Photo 2: Additional seating specially arranged for invited guests to view a monitor on a second floor balcony of Government Headquarters)
“I believe Sir, Mr. Speaker that as the leader of the government side indicated to me as we came here and we noted the overcrowding of the precincts of the parliament on this occasion, he said to me “Mr. Prime Minister, we should move one day to have a house of the parliament separate and distinct from the Government Headquarters’,” the Prime Minister revealed during his presentation at the inaugural parliament under the government of national unity. “I thought that it was a suggestion that had good value and I immediately have adopted it as a policy for this government going forward.”
(SKNIS Photo 3: Spectators in the street, viewed a monitor of the proceeding in the parliament)
Prime Minister Harris expounded that the three arms of government – the executive, the judiciary and the legislative – are separate.
“Each of them deserves their space so that they can function properly, and we are committed to ensure that the National Assembly is treated no less,” he said.
It was noted that Trinidad and Tobago has a separate building for parliamentary procedures and the St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister, while on official business there recently had taken the opportunity to hold discussions on their parliamentary system and to seek advice about the inaugural sitting of parliament back home. He had discussions with Jacqueline Sampson-Jacent, Clerk of the House of Representatives and another high official in that parliament. She was acknowledged as she sat in the gallery on Thursday.
“They have been helping us to ensure that today, would proceed – as it already has proceeded, with decorum and efficiency,” Prime Minister Harris said. “I want to thank them. We want to get to that level of development in our parliamentary democracy, where the institution is treated in an ennobling way so that our lives can be enriched as a result of that participation. We therefore would want to ensure that our new parliament will have expanded chamber space and it will have expanded room in the gallery to house all of the people who are willing to come. We expect that our parliament would be robust and dynamic, and a result of that we would want to put a library at the disposal of the National Assembly. We would want to enhance the standing of the Clerk of the National Assembly who in many jurisdictions is a well noted lawyer and professional paid as such and in full time service to the national assembly.”
The Prime Minister further revealed that Trinidad and Tobago has its own parliamentary counsel that is different from the parliamentary support provided by the government.
“So their [Trinidad and Tobago] parliament takes on its own independent or interdependent life – and we would want, to the extent that resources are available in St. Kitts and Nevis, to go there and to move there [develop a similar parliamentary model,]” he said. “We would want to ensure that moving forward, we can have regular minutes of the activities of the parliament …and we could have real-time, the recordings of what transpires in our parliament. And so we will learn from others and we will adopt best practices in relation to that particular matter.”