NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (November 22, 2023)- The Integrity in Public Life (Amendment) Bill 2023 successfully passed in the Nevis Island Assembly on Tuesday, November 21, 2023. 

The amended legislation empowers the Deputy Governor General to appoint a second member of the Integrity Commission “on the advice of the Premier after consultation with the Members of the Opposition if any” if the Opposition Member or Members fail to agree on a nominee. 

Mover of the Bill, Premier of Nevis the Honourable Mark Brantley said the amendment had become necessary in order to remedy a situation created by what he called “a failure of leadership” on the part of the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) which comprises the parliamentary Opposition. 

He stated that the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM)-led Administration had already put forward the name of the government’s nominee to the three-member Commission. The Deputy Governor General has indicated her nominee for Chairperson.

Premier Brantley explained that the establishment of the Integrity Commission has been impeded because of dissention among the two elected members of the Opposition and their inability to agree on an Opposition nominee.

Premier of Nevis the Honourable Mark Brantley leading the debate on the Integrity in Public Life (Amendment) Bill 2023 in the Nevis Island Assembly on November 21, 2023

“We are here to try to fix it and give the Opposition yet another opportunity to appoint somebody to the Integrity Commission…the Integrity Commission could have, tomorrow, a member appointed by the Opposition if there can be consensus among them. And I am here to say, if they can’t get their house in order I will make the necessary recommendation to the Deputy Governor General so that the Commission can do its work.

“Nevis cannot be held hostage by a dysfunctional Opposition. The days for that are over. We’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting. We have come now to create a mechanism to allow us to move forward. I believe that the case has been made as to why we’re here and why we need the amendments in order to allow the Commission to function.”  

Members on the Government benches who serve in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) Cabinet all spoke in support of the amendment.

Premier Brantley highlighted that the Integrity in Public Life Ordinance was passed in the Assembly in September 2013 under a CCM-led administration.