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St Kitts Governor General retires early at prime minister’s request

A new Governor General was sworn in yesterday after the new administration admitted that Sir Edmund Lawrence’s retirement took effect two weeks early at Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris’ request.

Samuel Weymouth Tapley Seaton Q.C, who had acted as Sir Edmund’s deputy, is now Acting Governor General, replacing the official that government announced had retired on May 14 even though his May 31 retirement date had previously been approved.

Sir Edmund held the post for just over two years.

The Harris administration said in a statement issued yesterday: “Her Majesty The Queen had previously given her consent and approval since 13th March, 2015 to Sir Edmund’s request to retire effective 31st May, 2015. However, as of today’s date 19th May, 2015 the Palace has now informed Sir Edmund that on a formal request from the Prime Minister, Dr. The Honourable Timothy Harris, the retirement date has been brought slightly forward to 14th May, 2015.”

Sir Edmund had initially refused to swear in Harris after Team Unity – a coalition of the Concerned Citizens’ Movement, the People’s Action Movement, and the People’s Labour Party – won the February 16, 2015 general elections. He said he could not do so until he had a hard copy of the election results from the supervisor of elections, Wingrove George. The swearing in subsequently took place.

Sir Edmund was also absent from the May 14 sitting of Parliament – the first following Team Unity’s election victory – because he had requested and was granted leave from May 12 to 17, the prime minister said.

Seaton attended in his place and delivered the Throne Speech.

The opposition St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) boycotted the opening, levelling several allegations against the government, including that Attorney General Vincent Byron had manipulated the circumstances that led to Sir Edmund’s absence from Parliament.

Caribbean 360