BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, CMC – Former deputy prime minister Sam Condor has rubbished attempts by a section of the ruling St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) to have him resign from Parliament even as Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas announced a minor re-shuffle of his Cabinet on Tuesday night.
Condor, who last week resigned from the Cabinet in the ongoing spat with Prime Minister Douglas, described the move by the SKNLP West Basseterre Branch, which he represents in Parliament as “interesting”.
“I believe any scientific poll that is to be done in West Basseterre would indicate that I still have the support of the vast majority of the people in West Basseterre…It just goes to show the confusion that is taking place in this country at this time,” he added.
In a statement, the Branch said that it has taken a decision to replace Condor as the candidate to contest the next general election as a representative of the Labour Party whenever that election is called.
It said that it has already started the process of finding the new candidate.
But Condor told reporters “out of this current situation, I hope the country will benefit. Nothing in that letter makes any sense really”.
He said he wondered whether those who penned the statement understood the implications if he were to resign as the parliamentary representative.
“That is the last thing that anybody would want to happen now…to resign as a member of the Cabinet is one thing, but to resign as the parliamentary representative, it means that you would want…a by-election right now to fill the vacancy. In addition to that there’s a Vote of No Confidence. Should we have a by-election or should we have a Vote of No Confidence?”
In its statement, the Branch said it had taken note of Condor’s recent resignation and accused him of having embarked upon a “course of conduct whereby his actions were designed to destabilize and undermine the Government.”
It said his views were never the views of the general Constituency Branch and were undertaken as a “personal narrative” expressed without general consultations with the majority of the members who elected him to serve as their representative.
The statement said by his own actions, the former deputy prime minister has abandoned his constituency, and according to the SKNLP is now indicating that he is an independent legislator.
The statement calls for his immediate resignation from the party and also as the elected representative of Constituency Three since he no longer represents the views and opinions of the vast majority of constituents that gave him the mandate to serve.
Condor and sacked senior government minister Dr. Timothy Harris have publicly contradicted statements made by Prime Minister Douglas and has challenged his account of why the national budget was postponed in December.
The two legislators have also spoken out against the Land for Debt swap involving the exchange of 1,200 acres of state-owned land for debt owed to the St Kitts Nevis Anguilla National Bank and last week voted against the Increase in Senators Bill that only passed after government increased its numbers by adding a new senator in Attorney General Jason Hamilton. That Bill passed 8-7.
Condor resigned from Cabinet soon afterwards citing issues pertaining to good governance and constitutional integrity as his reasons for doing so and then teamed up with the leader of the main opposition People’s Action Movement (PAM), Shawn Richards, to jointly filed an injunction to restrain the Attorney General from performing as a senator in the National Assembly and blocking the performance of the Increase in Senators Act.
Meantime, Prime Minister Dr. Douglas Tuesday night announced a minor re-shuffle of his Cabinet by naming his most senior Cabinet colleague, Dr. Earl Asim Martin as his Deputy Prime Minister.
Dr. Martin, a Cuban trained physician was first elected to the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly in July 1995.
In a nationwide broadcast, Dr. Douglas said he would now assume responsibility for the Social Security Board, while Patrice Nisbett will be responsible for the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, and Labour, previously held by Condor.
Tourism Minister Richard Skerritt will assume the added Ministries of International Trade, Industry, Commerce, and Consumer Affairs.
“I therefore once again thank Mr. Condor for his many years of service, and hereby make official my acceptance of his resignation,” Dr. Douglas said, informing listeners he had been unable in the past to privately thank the former minister.
In his address, Dr. Douglas said that the twin-island Federation is on a solid social, economic, and political path.
“Crime has been reduced to levels we could never have anticipated a few short years ago. The dramatic reduction of our debt has freed up millions of dollars, formerly used for debt servicing that can now be used to meet the needs of Kittitians and Nevisians. The IMF (International Monetary Fund) consistently declares our performance targets as having been met,” said the Prime Minister.
He told listeners that despite the sometimes frenzied political propaganda, his democratically elected Government has always been guided by the dictates of the Constitution, “and this we shall continue to do.
“There is a great deal of work to be done. There is our Constitution that must be upheld. And to both, you can be assured, this Government – your government – is completely committed. Thank you, and may God bless and protect St. Kitts and Nevis,” he added.