Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace on Monday wrote to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves asking him to lobby his CARICOM colleagues into intervening to resolve the political situation in St. Kitts and Nevis.
The Dr. Denzil Douglas government in Basseterre has moved to present a boundaries commission report even as opposition lawmakers have failed to debate in Parliament a no confidence motion they tabled last December.
“This state of affairs is patently unacceptable,” Eustace said in his letter to Gonsalves.
Six of the 11 lawmakers in Basseterre who qualify to vote on the motion support it, but the government says the constitution does not set a timeframe for the debate of such motions.
The continuing impasse has seen opposition lawmakers filing a case against the government then withdrawing it after the speaker said the motion could not be debated because of the pending legal process.
But when opposition lawmakers applied to discontinue the case, the government objected, saying there are important matters to be ventilated in the court.
Gonsalves is among CARICOM leaders to whom the opposition in Basseterre has written, as they seek the help of the regional bloc to resolve the impasse.
He told reporters in Kingstown last week that he prefers not to intervene in “a contentious matter in St. Kitts and Nevis” and referred a local television station to those comments again on Monday.
But Eustace in his letter on Monday said Gonsalves is a beneficiary of such intervention by CARICOM.
He noted that in 2000, when Gonsalves was in opposition and there was political unrest in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, CARICOM brokered the deal that resulted in the March 2001 general elections, which Gonsalves won.
“Given your own experience in this regard, it is incumbent upon you and the other CARICOM heads of Government to intervene so as to broker a resolution to the Kittitian parliamentary deadlock,” Eustace said in his letter.
“I leave it to you as Prime Minister of a CARICOM member state that was the recipient of such regional intervention, to issue this call to regional heads,” he further said.
“I shall today call upon other CARICOM Opposition Leaders and regional NGOs to let their voices be heard on this matter,” Eustace said in the letter, which was copied to Prime Minister Douglas, CARICOM heads of government and opposition leaders, the CARICOM Secretary General, the OECS Secretary General, and the Commonwealth Secretariat.
Eustace said his feelings about “the unfolding political travesty in St. Kitts and Nevis” are made worse by “the deafening silence of Caribbean leaders in reply”.
“Are the Governments of our region unable to intervene collectively in this issue, fearful that any intervention will be construed as an interference in the internal affairs of another state?
“This I reject. We are a region — the CARICOM region. The unambiguous trajectory of our movement is not simply a single economic space but a single political space too. We are viewed by our people and internationally as a region, a democratic region with a strong parliamentary tradition. …
“Do we ignore the voices of a majority of elected Members of Parliament and therefore perhaps a majority of Kittitians they represent? Do we ignore too the Chamber of Commerce, and the other civil society stakeholders I am informed have demonstrated their grave concern about the parliamentary stand-off?” Eustace said.
He further said that while the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas — which established CARICOM — was celebrated with much fanfare and camaraderie in Trinidad and Tobago last month, “The white elephant in the resplendent hall was the St. Kitts and Nevis situation.”