St Kitts and Nevis now has an acting governor general, following approval from the head of state Queen Elizabeth II for the withdrawal of the appointment of Governor General Sir Edmund Lawrence.
A statement from Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris confirmed that Tapley Seaton QC has been officially appointed as acting governor general by the Queen. The prime minister said that he, along with Attorney General Vincent Byron, met with Lawrence on Monday to inform him of communication from Buckingham Palace, dated Monday, May 18, confirming both the withdrawal of his appointment and the appointment of Seaton as acting governor general.
According to the statement, the Queen’s formal approval of the request was given four days earlier on May 14, and is effective from that date. The prime minister said in his statement that at the meeting with Lawrence he was assured that all of the benefits to which he is entitled by law will be paid to him on Tuesday.
Harris’ statement ended by saying, “I wish to record our gratitude to Sir Edmund and Lady Lawrence for their service in the said office. At the same time I bid fond welcome to His Excellency, Samuel Weymouth Tapley Seaton and wish him a most successful tenure. I am certain that he would ennoble the Office by his conduct and behaviour.”
The decision to withdraw the appointment of the outgoing governor general comes as no surprise. He had been accused by the then Team Unity opposition of adopting a partisan approach to the motion of no confidence issue by ignoring their letter to him informing Lawrence that they had the elected majority in the federal parliament at the time – six of the eleven: two from the People’s Action Movement, two from the Concerned Citizens Movement and two from the then newly formed Peoples Labour Party.
Team Unity had expressed concern that their appeal to him to move the process forward had been completely ignored.
The Throne speech at last Thursday’s opening of the new parliament was read by Seaton, leading to accusations from the opposition St Kitts Nevis Labour Party that the new administration has been disrespectful to Lawrence, and that that turn of affairs amounted to political scheming on the part of the prime minister and the attorney general.