Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 10, 2022 — St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr. The Hon. Timothy Harris has reshuffled cabinet portfolios, fired several government ministers and announced the dissolution of cabinet in one fell swoop.
The move is the latest in a war of words between the Prime Minister and elected representatives of the People’s Action Movement and the Concerned Citizens Movement. They, along with Dr. Harris’ People’s Labour Party make up the ruling Team Unity Coalition.
However, over the past few months, there has been increasing tension between the parties with the PAM and CCM claiming that the Prime Minister has strayed from the core principles of Team Unity and is seeking more power for himself. This has led to the filing of a Motion of No Confidence and a protest action where for several weeks 6 ministers from PAM and CCM have refused to attend cabinet meetings.
During a national address aired on Tuesday afternoon, the Prime Minister described the PAM and CCM members’ absences from cabinet meetings as “a flagrant disregard for their sworn duty to Cabinet and by extension, our people and country”.
This, he said led him to advise the Governor-General to remove Hon. Shawn Richards as Deputy Prime Minister.
He said “Yesterday, I asked His Excellency the Governor-General, Sir S. W. Tapley Seaton, to remove the Hon Shawn Richards from the Office of Deputy Prime Minister. In his stead, I have advised His Excellency to appoint the Hon Eugene Hamilton to the Office of Deputy Prime Minister. Hon Hamilton has been steadfast and responsible in discharging his duties as Minister of the portfolios assigned to him.”
He continued “I have also advised His Excellency to revoke the appointment of Hon Richards as a Minister of Government and to reassign his portfolios to the Hon Eugene Hamilton. Deputy Prime Minister Hamilton will now have conduct of the Departments and Subjects under the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Posts and Urban Development that had been previously assigned to the Hon Richards.”
The Prime Minister said 5 other ministers have been stripped of their portfolios as well.
“I am also to advise that I have asked His Excellency to revoke the appointments of the other Ministers who have thought fit to disrespect the sacred trust that the people of St. Kitts and Nevis placed in the Government following our very successful General Election Campaign in 2020. As a result, the following individuals, namely the Hon Mark Brantley, the Hon Lindsay Grant, the Hon Jonel Powell, the Hon Alexis Jeffers and the Hon Eric Evelyn have been stripped of their appointments as Ministers of Government,” he said.
The Prime Minister wrapped up his address by announcing the dissolution of parliament ahead of general elections.
“The time for decision making is at hand. Accordingly, I have asked the Governor-General to dissolve the Parliament of St. Kitts and Nevis effective today May 10, 2022. I will advise you when General Elections will be held. In the meantime, the Government continues to function and it will do so in an orderly, efficient and effective manner.”
The Prime Minister’s address was almost immediately followed by a response from Nevis Premier, the Hon. Mark Brantley, who is also the leader of the CCM.
In a post on his Facebook page, Mr. Brantley said “It must be a travesty that a man who has lost legitimacy as Prime Minister having lost the support of 73% of the elected members of Parliament will now purport to fire elected members for whom the people voted overwhelmingly.”
General elections are due to be held within 90 days.