Government lacks two-thirds for approval of “Tenure of Office of Prime Minister Bill

Two months after pulling the “Tenure of Office of Prime Minister (Amendment) Bill 2015 from the Order Paper at the September 20, 2019 sitting, the constitutional amendment is down for debate at a meeting of the lawmaking body on November 28, 2019.

But the opposition St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party is of the view that the constitutional amendment “requires the approval of no less than two-thirds of all Elected Representatives and given the balance of power in the current Parliament, the Bill has no prospect of being passed without support from the Opposition.”

“This Bill, given its high constitutional significance and it being an attempt to make the very first amendment to our 1983 Constitution, would receive the support of the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party as is only if it is subjected to a referendum,” CMC said in a report.

The SKNLP said it is fully committed upon taking office after the next general election to subjecting the 1983 Constitution to a comprehensive review via referendum.

“To limit the holder of the office of the prime minister to two terms is a constitutional question. To date we have had no major amendments to the (1983) Constitution. I cannot imagine that we will be going to Parliament to try to amend the Constitution without first getting the approval from the people – to hear what they have to say. I would in the first instance expect that something of this magnitude will be put to the people in the form of a referendum. That is a significant change in the structure of our constitution which varies greatly from the traditional Westminster model is,” said West Basseterre Labour Party Representative, Hon Konris Maynard in July.

The government side has seven elected representatives and the opposition, four.