Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 21, 2021 (SKNIS): During the December 20, 2021, Sitting of the National Assembly Budget 2022 debate, Attorney General Hon. Vincent Byron Jr addressed the long-standing matter of national interest surrounding the issue of constituency boundaries.
The Attorney General announced that the framework was already in place for a National Boundaries Commission, with nominations for members of the Commission already submitted to the Governor-General and approved.
“The question of constituency boundaries has been a protracted one, a vexing issue here in St. Kitts and Nevis. Since 2009, the Government of the day, the Douglas Labour Party Government attempted to change the boundaries, and on three (3) occasions the courts of the land found the process wanting. We would recall the 16th of January 2015 in this same House when the then Speaker and others ramrodded a boundaries report through this very Parliament…It is a matter of history that there was an injunction issued that very evening and the boundaries report that had been issued by the Commissioner of the day became impugned,” said Attorney General Byron Jr.
The court case regarding the well-known “Douglas Boundaries” was heard at the level of the Privy Council where it was voided. In March 2021, the substantive matter in relation to the “Douglas Boundaries” came to finality with a ruling by the High Court of St. Christopher and Nevis.
Attorney General Byron indicated that the Constituency Boundaries Commission still has significant work to do mandated by law. In both St. Kitts and Nevis, there could be significant changes to the constituency boundaries once the Commission duly recommends said changes and presents them to the Governor-General.
“Mr. James Buchanan has been appointed as the Chairman of the Constituency Boundaries Commission. The Governor-General has also appointed the Deputy Prime Minister the Hon. Shawn Richards and the Hon. Akilah Byron-Nisbett on the advice of the Prime Minister to the Commission, and the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas and the Hon. Jeffrey Hanley has been appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition. The Commission is mandated to review the number and boundaries of the constituencies to which St. Christopher and Nevis is divided and then submit a report to the Governor-General in no less than two (2) years and not more than five (5) years,” said Attorney General Byron Jr.
The Commission will have to state whether a change to the boundaries is needed and whether the number of constituencies should increase or remain the same. The Boundaries Commission shall meet and will review the existing boundaries for the eight (8) constituencies in St. Kitts and the three (3) in Nevis.