BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, May 25, 2023 (SKNIS) – In lending his support to the debate during today’s (Thursday, May 25) sitting of the National Assembly, Member of Parliament for St. Christopher Three, the Honourable Konris Maynard said that the Nevis Island Administration (Civil Proceedings) Bill, 2023, simply seeks to clarify a section of the Constitution of St. Christopher and Nevis as it relates to the capacity of the Nevis Island Administration.
The Nevis Island Administration (Civil Proceedings) Bill, 2023 was passed in the National Assembly at today’s sitting. The legislation provides for the Nevis Island Administration to sue and be sued in its capacity as an organ of the Crown and for related matters.
In his presentation on the Bill, Minister Maynard clarified some misgivings of the legislation alluded to by Members of the Opposition. One such misgiving is that the Government was attempting to make changes to the Constitution.
“We are not amending the Constitution. I want to make that absolutely clear. What we are doing is using the powers given to us in the Constitution to make a simple thing not guest work but rather putting it in writing so that it is very clear,” Minister Maynard said.
He added, “It says on the Bill, ‘Whereas under Section 106(4) of the Constitution, it is provided that nothing in Section 106(1) shall be construed as precluding the legislature from conferring other responsibilities on the Administration’. And so, what this part of the Constitution allows us to do, without having to amend the Constitution, is to say just so that we are clear when you have a responsibility given to you in this regard you can be sued and not sued. The Constitution gives us the ability to do that.”
The minister noted further that the Members who opposed the legislation had no objection to any of the content with respect to the Nevis Island Administration (Civil Proceedings) Bill, 2023.
“So, in effect, there is no controversial aspect of the Bill and what it is purporting to do,” Minister Maynard said. “All we are doing here is saying that after all that has happened…let’s just write it down so it’s absolutely clear and use the powers given to this Parliament by the Constitution to make that correction. And so, one very important thing is to say we are not amending the Constitution.”
The Bill was successfully moved through the National Assembly by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, the Honourable Garth Wilkin.