Opposition legislators staged a walkout of the Parliament on Tuesday criticising Speaker Michael Perkins of attempting to stifle any criticism of the St. Kitts-Nevis government.
The walkout followed Perkins decision to have opposition legislator Konris Maynard, suspended for 10 days on the grounds of dishonourable conduct after being chastised for being in violation of the Standing Orders.
But Opposition Leader Dr. Denzil Douglas, speaking on a radio programme here, said that Maynard and another opposition legislator, Marcella Liburd, had given sterling presentations on The St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports (Amendment) Bill when the Speaker took the action.
“This appears to be a clear indication that there is a concerted effort on the part of the government not to allow us to speak on critical issues in our parliament. “The government is facilitated by the Honourable Speaker, Michael Perkins.
“We should not have to leave the Parliament of our country that we have been elected to serve and represent our people and come to a radio station, or go to the media, in order for the country to understand what issues we are having with that piece of legislation which seeks to amend the existing St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority Bill,” said Douglas.
“We feel very strongly that this is a deliberate effort on the part of the government not to have us heard in seriously criticising the government on matters that are fundamental, not only to the democracy of our country but also placing our country on a strong economic and financial path for our future,” he added.
Douglas, a former prime minister here, said that the fundamental questions raised by Liburd and Maynard in their t presentations in the debate “were whether the government was planning to sell the airport and the sea ports to private entities.
“Because we were robust in our questioning on those matters, we are now being thrown out of the Parliament and also not allowed to speak. This cannot continue and the people of St. Kitts and Nevis must understand that this will not continue. It is going to create confusion in our country here in St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Douglas.
He said the Speaker lacks the role and ability in facilitating democracy and allowing each side to participate freely in the debate to foster democratic values in the twin island Federation.