October 24, 2020

Caribbean Pollster: Opposition Leader most affected if term limits imposed

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Peter-WickhamBy Toni Frederick From WINN FM
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Caribbean pollster and political analyst Peter Wickham is lauding the move by St. Kitts and Nevis to impose term limits on the Prime Ministership.
“I hope that this is a cancer that will spread,” Wickham told WINN FM in a telephone interview on Sunday.
“I doubt it will, because the realities of politics are such that it doesn’t appear attractive to many leaders, but I do hope it’s something that will spread. St. Kitts and Nevis is among the first countries to try it. It…has been imposed in Guyana and is currently under review. The Guyana Court is reviewing it for constitutionality…we all know that Kamla Persad Bissessar discussed it, and she indicated an interest in doing it, but the matters were never brought to Parliament for a vote. So pretty much, St. Kitts and Nevis is in a very primary position where that is concerned, and it’s up there with the United States of America that does have terms limits. But there’re not a lot of countries where that is in place,” Wickham said.
He describes the proposed constitutional amendment that was recently introduced in the St Kitts and Nevis National Assembly as ‘easily one of the most progressive initiatives introduced in a Caribbean Parliament in recent times.’
“Many of us understand the extent to which the Prime Minister, especially in a small place like St. Kitts, he is so powerful that it would be wise to limit his tenure to two terms, because you don’t allow a person to become so entrenched that it makes it difficult to leave,” he explained.
Wickham points out that the political reality in St. Kitts and Nevis is such that term limits would directly affect one person, the Leader of the Opposition and former four-term Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas.
“If this Bill is successful it would mean that he…could never take up the post again. Which would be an interesting political dynamic, and one could argue that that’s probably the reason why Prime Minister Harris is so excited to pursue it,” he opined.
Mr. Wickham said it would be interesting to see whether the Bill succeeded or not.
“If there is a referendum and the public doesn’t support it I think that that will…absolve the Prime Minister of the suggestion that he has not tried. I think that’s that the most important thing that he made a commitment and he’s trying to do it.”
The pollster acknowledges that term limits are likely more attractive to a coalition government, such as St. Kitts and Nevis Team Unity Administration.
“I don’t delude myself that politics is not often about altruism. Politicians do things because there is an interest in it for them and I think that St. Kitts and Nevis can benefit from the fact that it is in their interest now to pursue this, and it’s the same thing in Trinidad and Tobago. Kamala Persad Bissessar wanted something and as a result she said, “I’m willing to put term limits on the table.” So I think in many instances it’s a win-win, because yes, of course they want something and the fact is it’s something that can benefit St. Kitts and Nevis in the long term, and it’s the kind of political trade off that’s not unreasonable.”
IMAGE: Peter-Wickham Pollster and Political Analyst Peter Wickham
For more on this story and audio go to: http://www.winnfm.com/index.php/news/local/14909-caribbean-pollster-commends-st-kitts-and-nevis-move-to-impose-term-limits#sthash.yXUUMXaT.dpuf

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