Budget must be debated before no confidence motion, says St Kitts-Nevis PM
BASSETERRE, St Kitts – The government of St Kitts and Nevis is again reiterating that the 2013 Budget must come to the National Assembly before any other business, including a pending motion of no confidence.
During his weekly radio programme “Ask the Prime Minister” on Tuesday, Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas said his government must ensure it has the legitimacy to continue to administer the affairs on the country.
“My government must have the legitimacy in collecting the taxes and spending money that it collects and it comes from the budget. I have to make sure that the doctors and nurses in our hospitals are being paid. I have to make sure that our sanitation workers -- those who clean the streets and drains -- are paid their wages; I have to make sure that our teachers are being paid to teach our children; I have to make sure that those who are working in the civil service generally, that they are allowed the opportunity to be paid their salaries at the end of the month,” said Douglas.
He also told listeners that his government has to “ensure that the Federation’s pensioners who have worked so hard over the years in the public service and who are now living only on their pension. I have to make sure that they are paid their pensions on time.”
“I cannot fool around with ensuring that these peoples are paid as public servants and those who serve in the public service; I cannot fool around with them getting their salaries and wages. And that is why I say that I personally do not support the motion coming before the budget is passed in our Assembly,” said Douglas.
He reiterated that the budget session of the National Assembly was already announced long before the motion of no confidence came to the clerk.
“In fact they had to make three different attempts to bring the motion because the motion when it was first sent was not properly placed before the Clerk of the House for consideration. Then there was a second attempt. It was on the third attempt that it was eventually corrected and placed before the clerk in order for it to get into the Parliament,” said Douglas.
“There were other things already on the agenda, on the calendar of the Parliament and although I consider this matter (the motion) to be very important, there are other important things and it is not more important I want to emphasize, than making sure that people salaries and wages are being paid and that is why we have taken the position with the full cabinet supporting the position, that the budget must come before the motion of no confidence,” said Douglas.
Douglas again reiterated that the motion will come.
“The motion will come; I am not the one to bring so nobody ask me to bring it either. But I am a responsible prime minister; I lead a responsible government and so I will do whatever is necessary to lend support to the system which has its procedures and processes to ensure that the matter it is brought to our Parliament,” said Douglas.
Douglas recalled that he made it very clear when he spoke to the Chamber of Industry and Commerce at their Christmas Luncheon in December.
“I said that this is a matter that we treat with greatest respect and urgency and it would be heard most likely, I said after the budget. Let me make it clear that the prime minister of the country and the government in particular, does facilitate Parliament and its functions. The Parliament however, has its rules, procedures and regulations which govern how its conducts its business and this is rooted in law and some of which are rooted in our constitution as well,” said Douglas told listeners.