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MPs vote to approve Theresa May’s plans for snap general election

 

The United Kingdom will now go to the polls to elect a new government on June 8

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Theresa May to ‘give 16 and 17-year-olds election vote’

Theresa May has won the backing of Parliament for her plan to hold a snap general election on June 8.

The vote was required by law, but her motion to hold the election was carried with broad support from across the House of Commons.

Both Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and top Liberal Democrat Tim Farron backed the move, while Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP abstained.

Jeremy Corbyn throws down the gauntlet to Theresa May on TV debates

 

MPs backed the motion by 522 votes to 13. This comfortably gives the PM her two-thirds majority, which is required to call an election under the Fixed Term Parliament Act.

Opening the Commons debate on the election motion the Prime Minister told MPs it was time to “put our fate in the hands of the people and let the people decide” and that her party would provide “strong and stable leadership in the national interest”.

But Mr Corbyn said the Prime Minister’s U-turn showed she could not be trusted to run the country.

“The Prime Minister talks about a strong economy, but the truth is most people are worse off then they were when the Conservatives came to power seven years ago. The election gives the British people the chance to change direction,” he said.

“This election is about her Government’s failure to rebuild the economy and living standards for the majority.”

The few MPs who voted against a general election were mostly Labour rebels, including Clive Lewis, Liz McInnes, and Dennis Skinner. Two former SNP independents, Natalie McGarry and Michelle Thompson also voted against, as did SDLP MP Dr Alasdair McDonnell.

Aside from the main parties, those who voted in favour also included the eight Democratic Unionist Party MPs, three Plaid Cymru, two Ulster Unionist Party, Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas and independent former Labour MP Simon Danczuk, who represents Rochdale.

The Prime Minister told the Commons: “We are determined to bring stability to the United Kingdom for the long term and that’s what this election will be about – leadership and stability.

“The decision facing the country will be clear. I will be campaigning for strong and stable leadership in the national interest with me as Prime Minister and I will be asking for the public’s support to continue to deliver my plan for a stronger Britain, to lead the country for the next five years and to give the certainty and stability that we need.”

MPs appeared to take great pleasure in interrupting the Prime Minister during the debate. One Labour member, Paul Farrelly, intervented to ask Ms May to “explain why she has such a loose and complicated relationship with telling the truth”. He was slapped down by the Speaker John Bercow and asked to “reformulate” his question, after which he accused the PM of having “such a complicated and loose relationship with giving the country a clear indication of her intentions”.

Ms May said she had given a clear indication of her intentions “yesterday”.

Some MPs raised the question of the CPS and police investigation into Conservative election expenses. The SNP’s Stewart Malcolm McDonald said the PM had “some brass neck to call a general election when you are facing allegations of buying the last one”. Ms May replied that the question was “not worthy of the honourable gentleman”.

 

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Latest YouGov poll suggests Tories as most popular party

Theresa May asks MPs to back snap election

SKYMewshttp://news.sky.com/story/theresa-may-asks-mps-to-back-snap-election-10842088

12:49, UK, Tuesday 18 April 2017

 

Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement in Downing Street, London, announcing a snap general election on June 8. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday April 18, 2017. See PA story POLITICS May. Photo credit should read: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

 
Video: Theresa May moves to hold 8 June election
 By Nick Lester, News Producer

Theresa May is seeking to hold a General Election on 8 June arguing it is the only way to secure stability ahead of Brexit.

The shock move follows speculation the Prime Minister would call a poll to shore up her parliamentary position as Britain leaves the EU and given Labour’s dire position in the polls.

:: Live: PM calls for General Election in June

Mrs May informed the Queen of her decision by phone on Monday, according to Downing Street.

Under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, introduced under the last coalition government, the next election was not due until 2020.

However, a poll can be called before then if backed by two thirds of MPs or if there is a no confidence vote in the Government.

The PM is to table a motion in the House of Commons on Wednesday and has called on MPs to back an election.

Jeremy Corbyn has said he welcomes the poll move, but many of his MPs are likely to have private reservations, given the party’s poor performance.

Making the dramatic announcement, following the weekly Cabinet meeting, Mrs May said she had come to the decision “reluctantly”, but argued other political parties opposed Brexit.

Speaking in Downing Street she said: “At this moment of enormous national significance, there should be unity in Westminster, but instead there is division.

“In recent weeks Labour have threatened to vote against the final agreement we reached with the European Union.

 
 
Video: Corbyn reacts to May’s election call

“The Liberal Democrats have said they want to grind the business of government to a standstill.

“The Scottish National Party say they will vote against the legislation that formerly repeals Britain’s membership of the European Union and unelected members of the House of Lords have vowed to fight us every step of the way.”

:: Why is Theresa May going to the polls now?

She added: “They underestimate our determination to get the job done And I am not prepared to let them endanger the security of millions of working people across the country.

“Because what they are doing jeopardises the work we must do to prepare for Brexit at home.

“And it weakens the Government’s negotiating position in Europe.

“If we do not hold a General Election now, their political gameplaying will continue.

“And the negotiations with the European Union will reach their most difficult stage in the run-up to the next scheduled election.

“So we need a general election and we need it now.”

 
 
Video: IDS: PM right to call for election

In a stark message to political opponents, Mrs May said: “You have criticised the Government’s vision for Brexit, you have challenged our objectives, you have threatened to block the legislation we put before Parliament.

“This is your moment to show you mean it, to show you are not opposing the Government for the sake of it, to show that you do not treat politics as a game.

“So tomorrow vote for an election, let us put forward our plans for Brexit and our alternative programmes for government and then let the people decide.”

The PM said the decision facing the country would be about leadership.

She said: “It will be a choice between strong and stable leadership in the national interest, with me as your Prime Minister, or weak and unstable coalition government led by Jeremy Corbyn, propped up by the Liberal Democrats, who want to reopen the divisions of the referendum, and Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP.”

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Joanne-640x375-640x375

Ousted opposition legislator to launch new political party

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Apr. 14, CMC – A new political party will be launched next week by former member of the opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) Joanne Massiah who was ousted two months.

Joanne-640x375-640x375Massiah, who is the legislator for the constituency of All Saints East and St Luke, has not disclosed the name of the party that will be launched on Tuesday.

With the launch, she will become the first woman in the country’s history to lead a political party.

Massiah was booted following a row, which started almost two years ago when she accused her UPP colleagues of lying about her refusal to cooperate during the dispute over the leadership race and after.
According to a report in the Antigua Observer, Massiah said based on how things unfolded during that period, she was constructively dismissed from the UPP the moment she was not named as a candidate in the next general elections.

In February, the UPP said that, Massiah, who was being touted as the first woman to attempt to lead the party, was expelled after a meeting of the party’s Disciplinary Council.

In January 2016, Massiah said she had entered the race to succeed former prime minister Baldwin Spencer at the “urgings of the party faithful, after much prayer, broad-based consultation and sober reflection as well as through a process of objective assessment of the legacy of the UPP and the overwhelming sense of duty to introduce the country to a different type of politics.”

Former finance minister Harold Lovell is now leading the opposition party.

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Allen Chastanet

PM defends position on Citizenship by Investment Programme

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Apr 11, CMC – Prime Minister Allen Chastanet says he was “uncomfortable” with the wording of an opposition motion to debate an opposition motion regarding the controversial Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP).

The opposition legislators last week stormed out of the Parliament after the decision of the Speaker, Leonne Theodore-John, not to allow for the debate explaining that the motion would be deferred for a subsequent sitting of the Parliament.

Allen Chastanet
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet

But she told legislators that that she had written to the Member of Parliament for the Castries South constituency, Dr. Ernest Hilaire on the issue.

But an infuriated Hilaire complained that he only learnt of the change ‎when he arrived at the Parliament building last Tuesday and it was improper for a motion which was circulated to members to be altered at short notice.

Speaking at a news conference here on Monday, Prime Minister Chastanet told reporters with regards to the incident in the House last week, the “Speaker was very clear.

“At the right time the motion will come back before the House for debate, but from my perspective I don’t know how you debate a motion which is based on something that is not factual.

“The wording of the motion in my mind was uncomfortable, it didn’t feel going into the debate. Now those are things they want to bring up in the debate, they are free to bring it up in the debate but they cant be written in a motion. The motion says whereas which suggests it is the fact.

“There is no fact that suggests because we lower the price that the programme has jeopardised the reputation or undermined the security of this country,” Chastanet said.

Chastanet told reporters that he would like to hear the positions of former prime ministers Dr. Kenny Anthony and Professor Vaughan Lewis as to whether or not they support the position adopted by the opposition party on the CIP.

Chastant said that he was surprised at the position adopted by the opposition St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) on the CIP when the programme was started under its administration.

“The Labour Party is attempting to suggest that because we lowered the prices that somehow this is going to make the country less secure. None of the regulations as it pertains to background checks has been changed.

“In fact if anything they have been strengthened by new relationships we have gained through the regional security forces. So I want to assure everybody that’s the case. So I don’t understand the arguments they are making,” he told reporters.

Last week, following the walkout Opposition Leader Phillip J. Pierre told reporters that “we believe that the government simply does not wish any debate on the Citizenship by Investment Programme and has refused to provide any information on the CIP as required by law.

“The SLP believes that this latest move by the government is testimony to the vindictiveness and undemocratic nature of the UWP (United Workers Party) government and its desire to stifle free speech,” Pierre said.

“We intend to continue to show the people of St. Lucia that this government is vindictive, is dictatorial, it abuses power. If it can do that after less than one year in office, we can imagine what can happen when they are in power for a longer period,” Pierre said.

St. Lucia is among several Caribbean countries that have introduced a CIP aimed at luring foreign investors to the region. Under the programme, the foreign investor is granted citizenship if he or she makes a substantial investment to the socio-economic development of the island.

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ball

ELECTIONS-PM announces date for general election

NASSAU, Bahamas, Apr 11, CMC – Bahamians go to the p9olls on May 10 to elect a new government in a general election that Prime Minister Perry Christie said he is confident would be “free, fair and peaceful”.

In a broadcast soon after Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade read proclamations from Governor General Marguerite Pindling, dissolving Parliament, Prime Minister Christie said voters will now have the opportunity of deciding on which political party will conduct the affairs of this Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country for the next five years.

The new Parliament will be convened on May 24.

ball“It is now left to you, the citizenry of our beloved nation to decide who will fill those seats in the next House of assembly,” said Christie, who led the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) to victory in the 2012 general election defeating the then ruling Free National Movement (FNM) for control of the 41 seat Parliament.

The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) also contested the poll, but failed to win a seat.

Christie, who did not in his broadcast, give a date for Nomination Day, said that in voting, the population will “make that momentous decision in what I am confident will be free and fair elections following a spirited but peaceful campaign

“Let us contest the forth coming elections with all the vigour at our command. Let us do so however, with respect for the human dignity of our opponents and with respect for the traditions that we all hold dear.

We are one of the oldest democracies in the hemisphere. Our Parliament traces its history back hundreds of years.

“Let us by our conduct in the general election campaign continue to prove ourselves worthy of the great democratic traditions of free, fair and peaceful elections that have made our country the marvel of nations around the world. I have confidence that we shall,” he added.

On Monday, the Parliamentary Registration Department extended by a few hours, the period for registration for the election.

In the 2012 poll, 172,130 persons were eligible to vote.

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Astaphan tony

High Court reserves judgment in motion of no confidence case

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Apr 11, CMC – The High Court has reserved judgment, pending the submission of written statements within 28 days, on the motion of no confidence that dates back to the last administration of then prime minister Dr. Denzil Douglas.

Opposition efforts to have the motions tabled in parliament were rebuffed for more than two years with the then government arguing that the Constitution did not offer a fixed time for a motion of no confidence to be heard.

The Speaker of the National Assembly Curtis Martin had also instituted legal proceedings when the Opposition sought to withdraw the motions on the grounds that he wanted the High Court to pronounce on its jurisdiction over the Speaker of the National Assembly.

The “Team Unity” government of Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris said that matter was being pursued in the court because of its great public and questioned whether the rights of parliamentarians had been infringed and the constitution breached.

Astaphan tony
Anthony Astaphan

Oral arguments were heard last week Thursday with Trinidadian Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes appearing on behalf of the government, while Dominican Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan appeared on behalf of Martin.

 “The then opposition, Mark Brantley I think it was and then Mr. Timothy Harris presented motions of no confidence to the House for debate and they were not put forward promptly or as they would have required and litigation started.

“Once litigation started the then Speaker of the House said it’s a matter of public interest for the court to have a ruling and for the parliament be guided by a ruling of the court on the status of a motion of no confidence, on the right to bring a motion of no confidence and on the status and content of the Standing Orders,” Astaphan said on WINNFM radio here.

He said as a result, “it took quite a bit of time to get there because as you know there were several skirmishes taking place.

“The long and short of it is, is whether as a matter of constitutional law that once a motion of no confidence is presented to the House, subject of course to ensuring that it is in order, it must be debated and presented as a matter of urgency or priority given regard to the exigencies of the government’s business or whether or not the standing orders need to be amended to give full effect or to make fully effective, the right to bring a motion of no confidence.

“It is strikingly odd in all of these standing orders that a Motion of Privilege must be heard urgently, the motion presented by a Speaker must be heard and presented for debate once it is seconded by a somebody in the House, but a motion of no confidence which could lead to a change of government has no presence, no specific expressed presence in the standing orders to give effect to that constitutional obligation and consequence,” he said.

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Linton L

Opposition Leader prevented from entering Parliament building

ROSEAU, Dominica, Apr 11, CMC – Opposition Leader Lennox Linton Tuesday said he had been prevented from entering the compound of the Parliament building and called for the removal of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit from office.

In a posting on his Facebook site, Linton, the leader of the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) was seen at first to be in a verbal confrontation with police officers dressed in military fatigue.

Linton L
Lennox Linton (File Photo)

“That is what we are being reduced to today in Dominica…You understand why Skerrit must go. Skerrit must absolutely go because of this nonsensical behaviour in a democracy.

“You have people standing up in the Parliament building, in the compound telling the Leader of the Opposition he has no right in the compound of the Parliament, he must leave.” An agitated Linton said.

He said he had gone to the compound in an attempt to enter the building to retrieve documents he needed for a meeting with the Electoral Commission consultants from the Commonwealth Secretariat who are visiting Dominica.

“They are denying me access to my office. I cannot go to my office in the Parliament building. They tell me to get off the compound” he said

Linton said the action by the police was as a result of a “few patriots” – the words used to describe opposition supporters – had gathered near the state-owned DBS radio, which is a stone throw from the Parliament building.

“Police have taken over the Parliament, police have taken over DBS radio, what a country, all because a few patriots have come together and they are here with placards,” Linton said, showing pictures of a few supporters armed with placards outside the radio station.

Linton has been leading the opposition efforts to get Skerrit out of office claiming that the government has been engaged in corrupt activities linked to the controversial Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) through which foreign nationals are provided with citizenship of the island in return for making a substantial investment in the country.

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OECS flagss

OECS leaders to meet in St. Vincent on Wednesday

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Apr 11, CMC – Leaders from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) will meet here on Wednesday.

The meeting will be chaired by St. Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris and the leaders from the sub-region are to conclude discussions on health insurance; strategic options for diplomatic representation; greater participation of non-independent member states in the grouping, such as Montserrat whose Premier Donaldson Romeo left the Island today enroute to the meeting.

OECS flagssThe summit here is the continuation of the 64th Meeting of the OECS Authority that began on St. Kitts on March 3 and the leaders are expected to further discuss agriculture and support services; the so-called Blue Economy; climate change and sustainable land management.

Meanwhile, Harris will also attend a Consultative and Legislative Drafting Workshop that will address proposed amendments to the Banking Act 2015 in the sub-region.

The workshop, hosted by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), seeks to forge agreement on the proposed amendments to the Banking Act 2015; conduct a technical review and finalize the drafting of the amendments; and develop a targeted approach to the efficient enactment of the amendments.

According to the ECCB, the Banking Act 2015, addresses the need for effective, risk focused supervision of financial institutions to ensure the safety and soundness of the sub-region’s financial system.

The OECS groups the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts-Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands.

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The Montserrat Budget!

The Montserrat Budget!

Another postponement for presentation of Montserrat budget – no date…

Following the report of the postponement of the Montserrat budget, which normally comes only after its approval by Her Majesty’s Government in the UK, a statement had said, “The postponement is occasioned by the change in UK Ministerial responsibility, which has caused a delay in the approval of Montserrat’s Financial Aid Business Case by the UK Minister.”

Premier Donaldson Romeo

 

The statement had said, supported by a short report by the Premier on radio, that the postponement of the budget presentation, usually due by  March 31 each year, would take place on April 13, 2017 and that Premier Donaldson Romeo, who is also of Finance will authorise funds through the Consolidated Fund “to allow government spending to continue until passage of the Appropriation Act in April.

This authorisation was effected through a Provisional General Warrant, addressed to the Accountant General by the Minister of Finance, approved by Cabinet on Thursday, March 23.

Two weeks later the Premier is forced to issue a new release informing further reasons. “I’m advised that there is a greater scrutiny over DfID itself in London and in turn over our budget and that has caused further delay.” He said.

A new release issued: “…confirm that Premier Romeo has signed the “Provisional General Warrant” allowing the government ministries to continue to spend funds from April 1, until the budget is approved.”

“We confirm that we have yet to receive any confirmation from DFID (Department for International Development) with regards to Montserrat’s Financial Aid Business Case as the Ministers of DFID have yet to complete their review.”

But, with the postponement date of April 13 only one week away the Premier did not give a new date when he expected to be in a position to present the budget as Minister of Finance. He however drew attention to the fact that Montserrat was not alone in having delayed budget approval by the UK, citing St. Helena who was able to implement a ‘roll over budget’ until their final budget is approved.

News out of St. Helena, confirmed, “A formal meeting of Legislative Council took place Thursday, March 30, 2017. The Order Paper for the meeting includes four Motions, three of which deals with two Bills and the Roll Over Budget, six Questions for oral reply and ten Sessional Papers.”

The report explained, “The Roll Over Budget is necessary as confirmation has not yet been received from DFID as to the financial settlement for the next financial year.”

Just as this report continues, as statement from the Minister of Finance’s office could have said: “…Consequently,… when the Appropriation Bill is presented it will be done at a future meeting of LegAss, details of when, will be published as soon as possible.

Prior to 2015, the previous government for consecutive years presented what we referred to as ‘sham budgets’ which were seem similar to the roll-over budget used in St. Helena. The Assembly on those occasions went through the motions, and it was not based on the final UK approved budget.

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Cheddi

Guyana clears the air on arrival of 150 Haitians

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Apr 3, CMC – The Guyana government Monday categorically dismissed reports that more than 100 Haitian nationals had arrived here late last month seeking refugee status in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.

CheddiMinister of Citizenship and Immigration, Winston Felix, told the on-line publication News Source, that the 150 Haitians who arrived here last Thursday are CARICOM citizens and should not be referred to as refugees.

“They came with all the required documents and they were admitted into Guyana as visitors and that’s it. I don’t know on what basis they can refer to them as refugees,” he told the on-line publication, adding that the Haitians were all granted legal stay in the country.

“In my view we do not have any refugees in Guyana or even arriving in Guyana,” he said of the Haitians who arrived here on a chartered flight.

Several CARICOM countries have imposed visa restrictions on Haiti even though the country is part of the 15-member regional integration movement that allows for the free movement of several categories of Caribbean people under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge told News Source that refugees are labelled by the United Nations.

“We can’t as representatives of the public or individuals decide that they are refugees. I am not aware that they are refugees,” he said, noting that even if the Haitians had arrived in Guyana without proper documentation, they still could not be classified as refugees.

“There is a process by which groups are designated refugees and an individual country cannot of its own volition just decide that they are refugees.”

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