St Kitts: Astaphan says 6-month State of Emergency is “political;” government lacks confidence going into general elections

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St Kitts: Astaphan says 6-month State of Emergency is “political;” government lacks confidence going into general elections
Dwyer Astaphan
Dwyer Astaphan

(PRESS RELEASE) – Operations Rescue founder Dwyer Astaphan is of the view that “politics” played a key role in the decision of the Timothy Harris-led Team Unity Government to impose a six-month State of Emergency in the twin-island federation ahead of general elections which must be held by the middle of August 2020.

The former government minister in questioning the justification and rational for the length of time said it also highlights that the Team Unity Government is not very confident of its re-election.

“Why six months when the Parliament is to be dissolved next month. Six months is somewhat outlandish in my opinion and I don’t know what they would have wanted to do that for in terms of public health management and of course this is an economic issue and a social issue. I will say this now, and not flippantly or frivolously, but the thought of twelve months and even six months off the bat, seems to be coming from a government that is not very confident in my opinion or perhaps a government which believes that it could get away without challenge by bypassing the election deadline which is due in August, it comes up around the 11th. So they went from twelve to six and I still don’t know why six.

Parliament is to be dissolved the middle of next month and the election date is due in August. Why twelve months? Why six months? In my view, politics has something to do with it, not an assault, not an accusation just an assessment on my part,” Astaphan told listeners to his weekly programme “The Operation Room.”

Astaphan, a co-founder of Harris’ Peoples Labour Party (PLP) and now a severe critic.

Astaphan also noted that the government has not denied charges by the opposition St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) parliamentarians that the wording in the S R & O, published by the Government, does not accurately reflect the final wording of the resolution approved by lawmakers.

“It raises some questions as to the validity of the resolution and that it has not been properly published,” said Astaphan, who pointed out that publication has to be physical.

“When was this resolution physically published? On the lockdown dates and published to whom? We have two potential problems with regard to the resolution. First, the opposition argues that it is not the same resolution that was debated and passed on Friday in the Parliament. Secondly, some people are arguing that it has not been properly published. If either argument is correct, then it means that the resolution’s validity is questionable and all the moreso if both arguments and the resolution’s validity is questionable, and it is challenged successfully, it means we are not in a State of Emergency. That in itself will have some serious implications that can end up in the Court for resolution,” said Astaphan, an attorney at law.

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