St Kitts-Nevis opposition warns against boundary changes
Constituency boundary change fears have prompted the six elected opposition MPs in St Kitts and Nevis to instruct their lawyers to write to the chairman of the Constituency Boundaries Commission and Prime Minister Denzil Douglas about the matter.
Team Unity leader Timothy Harris said the opposition is concerned that what he calls desperate efforts might be made to change the boundaries just ahead of the coming election expected very soon.
“One of the fears that we have expressed to our attorneys is that the government was going to move post haste to have the boundary changes implemented,” Harris told WINN FM.
He said the lawyers decided to “write and to warn that by and large we were concerned with the gerrymandering of the electoral boundaries in St Kitts, we intend to fight that battle of course in the court,” the Team Unity leader said.
Harris said the opposition alliance remains concerned that last minute efforts to change the boundaries could be attempted.
He said Team Unity would want its day in court on the matter.
Harris dismissed arguments that it’s the boundaries commission that changes boundaries and not the government.
He contended that the process involves the executive, the governor general and the parliament.
Meanwhile, appearing on his weekly radio call in programme on Tuesday, Prime Minister Douglas said that regional and international election observers have over the past general elections made recommendations for the boundaries to be realigned to make them more equal.
“CARICOM has spoken out on this. And the Organization of American States has spoken out. Opposition politicians always want CARICOM, the OAS and the Commonwealth of Nations to speak out. Well, they have spoken out, and they have said that with reference to elections, St Kitts and Nevis needs to equalise our constituencies and adjust our boundaries. Most importantly our constitution says that this is what we have to do,” Douglas said.
He added that no clear thinking person would say that 2,000 plus people in one constituency, and 7,000 plus in another constituency, would carry the same political weight.
Douglas stressed that haphazard constituency sizes are not good for democracy as it was too important a matter to play with any more.