The full slate of eight candidates for the opposition St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) to contest the next general elections expected within months, is expected to appear together at the Labour Party’s monthly press conference this Wednesday afternoon.
Leon Natta-Nelson, the newest candidate, who has not been officially announced, is also expected to appear on the Labour Party’s rostrum on Thursday night, March 28 at a political meeting in his home village of Molineux.
The completion of the slate follows Monday’s landmark ruling by High Court Judge His Lordship Mr Justice Eddy Ventose that public officers had the constitutional right to seek elective office and participate in political activity.
“This decision by Justice Ventose is vindication not solely because the government through the office of the Prime Minister thought it best because of my presumptuous candidacy in No. 7, whether or not he’s trying to run unopposed, but the importance of it is that the justice system works, and the civil servants now have the opportunity to express themselves responsibly and respectively in and about the political arenas of St Kitts and Nevis and that by far is the biggest achievement when it comes to civil service in this country.”
“I, Leon Natta-Nelson, will accept the challenges that lay ahead in accepting the candidacy for Constituency #7. as the Labour Party representative,” he said after the court ruling on Monday.
Natta-Nelson, a senior customs officer/accountant at Her Majesty’s Customs & Excise was informed by letter dated October 10th 2018 from the Human Resource Management Department in the Office of Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris that it had received “an adverse report of his involvement in political activity” thus contravening the Public Service (Conduct and Ethics of Officers) Code.
The letter alleged “that on or about the end of June 2018, Leon Natta-Nelson, did introduce yourself to a resident of Christ Church Village, Christ Church, St. Kitts, as a candidate of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party running against the Hon. Dr Timothy Harris for the next general election and also “on or about the end of June 2018 did seek to solicit and or canvass support for your political campaign from a resident of Christ Church, St. Kitts.”
In the 2015 General Election, the Labour Party lost two St. Kitts seats it held – St. Christopher 1 by 4 votes and St. Christopher 4 by 26 votes.
The SKNLP is the largest single party in St. Kitts and Nevis, gaining 11,897 votes to the Peoples Action Movement (PAM), 8,452 votes; the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) 3,951 votes; the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP), 3,276 votes and Timothy Harris’ People’s Labour Party (PLP), 2,723 votes.
Seatwise in the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly, the PAM holds 4 seats, the SKNLP, 3 seats, the CCM, two seats; the NRP and the PLP, 1 seat each.
Harris’ three-party coalition is made up of the PLP, CCM and PAM.