Chairman of the National Advisory Electoral Reform and Boundaries Committee, Mr. Raphael Archibald (left) presents the Report to the Chairman of the Parliamentary Constitutional and Electoral Reform and Boundaries Commitee, the Hon. Sam Condor
BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JULY 9TH 2007 (CUOPM)– Chairman of the Parliamentary Constitutional and Electoral Reform and Boundaries Committee, Hon. Sam Condor says all pertinent documents related to the on-going electoral reform process will be made available to the general public.
Minister Condor said now that the National Advisory Electoral Reform and Boundaries Committee has submitted its Report to the Parliamentary Constitutional & Electoral Reform and Boundaries Committee, the Report of the Electoral Reform Consultative Committee, which was chaired by Mr. Elvis Newton will be made public.
"In due course, all pertinent documents will become available to the General Public, inclusive of the Bill, following its first reading, as is the practice in Parliamentary transparency, and accountability by this Government," said Condor, Deputy Prime Minister, and also Leader of Government Business in the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly.
Mr. Condor noted that the idea of circulating Bills after the First Reading is a practice that was established since 1995, when the Labour Government returned to office. He informed that he has been a Member of Parliament since 1989 and the practice in Parliament from 1989 to 1995 before the Labour Party took Government was there was normally two sessions of Parliament per year.
"In fact between 1989 and 1995 (during the People’s Action Movement Government of Kennedy Simmonds), I attended an average of two Parliaments per year; one in February and the Budget Session in December and all Bills were taken through the three readings at every sitting," said Minister Condor. ~~Adz:Right~~
He reiterated that the practice of allowing Bills to go out for public discussion after the First Reading has been established by this St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Government will continue in an effort to improve transparency, accountability and improve the level of good governance. "This Government cannot be faulted on those accounts," said Mr. Condor, adding that the process will ensure availability of all documents to the public.
He noted that the Chamber of Industry and Commerce has been calling for the report and it would have been improper to make that (Electoral Reform Consultative Committee) Report available to the general public before it was considered (by his Committee) and debated on by the National Advisory Electoral Reform and Boundaries Committee.
"Let me announce that the report having been presented today, will become available to the public. We thought that it would have been improper to make it available to the public before it has been considered by the appropriate committee and passed on to the Parliamentary Committee," said Minister Condor.
Mr. Condor however noted: "while the Chamber of Industry was calling for the publication of the Report, that after the very first meeting of the Committee when the Report was circulated to members of that committee, the weekend issue of The Democrat had began to serialize the report. After the very first meeting of the committee where the Report was first circulated to members of the committee only, The Democrat on the weekend, had began to serialize the Report even before the Committee… and so again you wonder the motives and the agenda of certain organizations and certain people; whether it is in the interest of the development of this country or otherwise," said Minister Condor.
The National Advisory Electoral Reform and Boundaries Committee comprised representatives of the St. Kitts Christian Council, the St. Kitts and Nevis Evangelical Association, the St. Kitts-Nevis Trades and Labour Union, the St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the St. Kitts Teachers Union, the St. Kitts-Nevis Bar Association, the Youth Deparetment, the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM), the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) and the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP). The People's Action Movement (PAM) refused to appoint a representative to the Committee.