Appeal Court to clarify interpretation of Constitution in relation to appointment of senators


Photo: St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas during Tuesday’s weekly radio programme "Ask the Prime Minister" at the Von Rebop Southwell Studio at ZIZ Broadcasting. (photo by Erasmus Williams)

The Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal will be asked to interpret a section of the St. Kitts and Nevis Constitution in relation to the appointment of an Attorney General, who is not firstly appointed a senator in the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly.


"The Government has been advised to appeal the matter, firstly, on the question as to whether the interpretation that has been given by the Learned Judge, whether that is the only interpretation that exists. We will appeal it on that matter because as I said in my own Broadcast last week Friday, that twice before we had used the very same procedure in appointing the fourth senator to the Parliament of St. Kitts and Nevis," said Prime Minister Douglas in response to a question during his weekly radio programme "Ask the Prime Minister."

"As I recall, the Law and the Constitution, specifically states that where there are three senators and one of those three is in fact the Attorney General, then the number of senators increases by one and so in our opinion, we had interpreted that to mean exactly as it says. When there are three senators already sitting and one of those senators is the Attorney General, then we simple appoint another senator. We felt that in a situation where there were in fact 3 senators and at the end of the day, one of those eventually would be the Attorney General, then we had the constitutional support in making that kind of appointment," Prime Minister Douglas explained.

"We had done that back in 2006 and even before 2006, I think it was 2002, when the sitting Attorney General had become a senator. At that time we did have 4 senators in our Parliament. Then in 2006 the sitting Attorney General and senator had resigned and Dr. Dennis Merchant became a senator and Attorney General. We used the very same thing. We didn’t have to have one senator first resigning and then appointing the senator as the Attorney General and then bringing back another senator after that," Dr. Douglas said.

"And that is what the Court from our interpretation said on Friday that we should do. That where we had 2 senators sitting on the Government side and we need to appoint a senator as the Attorney General. We have to ask one of those 2 sitting senators to resign, appoint the Attorney General as the Senator and then of course becoming Attorney General, and then re-appoint the person who would have resigned to another senatorial position," said Dr. Douglas, adding:

"It sounds quite ridiculous to us. We believe that the procedure is not specifically outlined in the Constitution. What is outlined in the Constitution is that we are able to have 4 senators and that is exactly what we were seeking to do."