BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - THE People’s Action Movement (PAM) is heavily criticising the Prime Minister for a decision that he could arbitrarily reduce the residency requirements for CARICOM nationals to seven years in order to become citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis.
As one of his campaign promises, Dr. Timothy Harris pledged to reduce the number from 14 to seven years for citizenship, but that will require an agreement in Parliament for the number to be brought down.
In a media statement, PAM lashed out at a purported perception being created by the Prime Minister that he could reduce the number of years without the support of elected Representatives of the National Assembly.
Ironically, since 2013, the then coalition Team Unity of which PAM was part, had promised CARICOM nationals residing in the Federation that it would have been a priority to reduce the number of years, but that has not been done. Now all three parties on St. Kitts - PAM, the People’s Labour Party, and the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party - are all pushing that as being part of their manifesto for the next elections.
In a media statement, the PAM said it remains committed to the longstanding policy to make it easier for Caribbean Nationals to obtain citizenship of St. Kitts and Nevis.
The party wrote that should it be re-elected, it would work immediately to provide immunity to “qualified CARICOM nationals who are living in the country”.
That immunity, the party noted, would be done through an Act of Parliament.
The party reminded that any changes to the Act would have to be done after the elections and when there is a majority of elected Representatives present in the Parliament.
Resultantly, the party believes that the Prime Minister is giving “false hope”, and he should refrain from doing such.
Over the last two months, the People’s Action Movement has been campaigning very hard, and its leaders believe that Dr. Harris would not be returned as Prime Minister. And in its statement, the party reiterated a similar position, expressing confidence that the PAM/CCM coalition would form the next government.
The various parties vying to form the government have, over the last several weeks, been meeting with various CARICOM nationals association to drum up support to win the elections.