BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Friday 28th February 2020) –Opposition member of the new Constituency Boundaries Commission (CBC) Konris Maynard is accusing the present government of trying to rush the work of the committee within months of the upcoming election in contrast to  the three-year approach for such carried out by the then Labour Party government.

“There is now a clear rush to get the Constituency Boundaries Commission fully functional as the government is apparently now intent on attempting to change the boundaries at this very, very late stage. We of the CBC are presently meeting after the five year anniversary of the last election purportedly trying to review the existing boundaries. Well, there are some still unanswered questions because there is no determination as to exactly what are the existing boundaries.”

Maynard made the observation while speaking at the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party’s monthly press conference on Wednesday 26th February 2020 at the party’s campaign headquarters located on the corner of Cayon and Church streets.

“In 2012-three years before the next election was due- the Labour Party administration initiated the Constituency Boundaries Commission. The commission did their work and produced a first report in 2013. The opposition of the day took the matter to court. The court found nothing substantially wrong with the commission’s work say for not fully completing a round of consultation. The commissioner went back to work over months to create another final report in January of 2015. That was immediately taken to Parliament although the commissioners were well aware of all the work that was done prior to the final report. The then opposition cried foul and said the then Labour Government was rushing to change the boundaries. This is after a three-year process culminating in a final report.”

He added: “Fast forward to now. As a member of the new Constituency Boundaries Commission, I am disheartened and dismayed that our first meeting in the now expired term of the Timothy Harris government came in December of 2019, that is, two months before the five-year anniversary of the last election. The first meeting of the new constituency boundaries commission happened in December of 2019 just two months before the expiring date of this government.”

The SKNLP official who is also the Parliamentary Representative for Constituency Three questioned: “Given the tremendous amount of noise and agitation that followed the last CBC final report which started in 2012 …and ended in 2015, what then now is to be said or done for a process that started only two months before the fifth anniversary of the last election?”

He went on to say: “We’re saying in the St.Kitts-Nevis Labour Party that it is clear that something is not right here and we’re asking where are the voices of discontent that shouted so loudly before the last general election?”

Maynard  has disclosed that “As a member of the Constituency Boundaries Commission, I will endeavour my best to uphold my constitutional responsibility to ensure as best as we can that this government does not take us for a ride in that commission in an attempt to gerrymander the boundaries at this late stage.”

The former SKNLP government’s reasoning for reviewing the boundaries is geared towards bringing fairness to the population size of the constituencies in keeping with the constitution of St.Kitts and Nevis.

In the question and answer segment of the press conference, Maynard outlined that the 1989 boundaries “have long passed their usefulness because our constitution requires that the boundaries are as near equal as practically possible, and that is why the St.Kitts-Nevis Labour Party in 2012 ventured to correct this anomaly which we now have with the 1989 boundaries because indeed they are unfair.”

He exampled that Constituency Eight has well in excess of 6000 constituents while Constituency Five has just over 2000 constituents.

“That is too wide a spread to maintain the one man,, one vote principle and so yes, the boundaries are unfair but the process went through already in 2015 and there are boundaries that correct those anomalies, a this government has had five years to do whatever they wanted whether to challenge , whether to accept and they have done nothing…but now in the last shower of rain after five years in government after they have been expired we’re now meeting as a boundaries commission to then hurriedly come up with new boundaries. Something has to be fundamentally wrong with that…,” he told.