St Kitts: Dismissed minister defends position on social media

Charlestown – Nevis Premier Mark Brantley charged late Tuesday that he and five other Cabinet ministers were fired for standing up for their country and for “what is right”.

In a series of posts on social media, including one in which he reported that “for the first time in my life I have been fired. I would laugh if this wasn’t so serious”, the sacked Foreign Affairs Minister was adamant that the six had done right by the people of St Kitts and Nevis by standing up to Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris.

“I have not been fired for lack of performance, because many locally and regionally have said that my performance as Foreign Minister has been exceptional. No, I and my colleagues have been fired because we decided that we will stand up for principle and for what is right,” Brantley wrote on his Facebook page.

Harris had earlier announced that he had advised Governor General Sir Samuel Tapley Seaton to revoke the appointments of Brantley; Deputy Prime Minister Shawn Richards; Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry, and Commerce Lindsay Grant; Minister of Education, Youth, Sport & Culture Jonel Powell; Minister of Agriculture Fisheries, and Marine Resources Alexis Jeffers; and Minister of Environment Eric Evelyn.

The six had filed a motion of no-confidence against Prime Minister Harris which was yet to be scheduled for debate, after the Governor General refused to remove Harris when the group of legislators wrote to him indicating that the Prime Minister no longer had the support of the majority in the nine-seat National Assembly.

Brantley’s Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) and Richards’ People’s Action Movement (PAM) are partners in the fractured Team Unity coalition government which also includes Harris’ People’s Labour Party (PLP).

“We have been fired because we decided we shall stand up for our country and for a better future for our people,” Brantley said.

“We decided that Team Unity was, is, and will always be more than just one man’s greed and insatiable appetite for power and self-aggrandizement.”

The CCM leader added: “It must be a travesty that a man who has lost legitimacy as Prime Minister having lost the support of 73 per cent of the elected members of Parliament will now purport to fire elected members for whom the people voted overwhelmingly. Now, all this because the elected representative for Number 7 Dr Timothy Harris was set to become the first ever PM in the history of St Kitts Nevis to lose a motion of no confidence. So instead of gracefully exiting the stage, he decided to engage in a further act of political suicide.”

The Nevis Premier said he was content that he and his colleagues “are standing on the right side of history”.

With Harris requesting that the Governor General dissolve Parliament to make way for elections, the date for which he said he would announce soon, Brantley urged supporters to prepare for the polls.

In announcing the sackings in an address to the nation on Tuesday, Harris had noted that with the submission of the letter to the Governor General seeking his dismissal on April 21, the now fired ministers had not attended Cabinet meetings.

Harris said he had to take the “difficult but necessary step to remove from their positions, those who have shown a disinterest in their duties”.

He reassigned the fired ministers’ portfolios to the remaining members of the Cabinet, a move which included appointing Eugene Hamilton as Deputy Prime Minister. (CMC)

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