Powell served termination letter while on air
By: Staff Reporter, SKNVibes
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - AS Tuesday’s announcement continues to be the talk on the streets in St. Kitts and Nevis, the decision is now sinking in for some of those who were directly affected by the position taken by Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris. In a surprise National Address on Tuesday (May 10) afternoon, Dr. Harris announced, among other things, that he had relieved six of his Cabinet members of their positions and dissolved the Parliament, with an election date to be followed soon. But some of the members only heard of the decision while the Prime Minister was delivering the address and many of them were caught off guard. Not all of those affected had received their letter of termination on the day when it was announced. The first to indicate that he received the official word from the Governor-General shortly after the announcement was Premier and former Foreign Affairs Minister, Mark Brantley. His colleague and former Minister of Sport, Jonel Powell was served with his letter live on air during his appearance on the WINN FM morning programme on Wednesday. Powell, during the early segments of the programme, stated that he did not receive any letter indicating that his position was rescinded. However, later on he was seen with an envelope, where he disclosed that “I am happy that it happened live”. “I am live on the internet so that people could see on video and you all and the world are my witness...I am going to assume that somebody just came in here and gave you this to give me. A letter was just dropped off to WINN FM; it said confidential to Honourable Jonel Powell,” noted Powell. According to the incumbent Representative for Constituency Two, he found out about the decision when the Prime Minister addressed the nation. Powell pointed out that he was not surprised by the position taken by Dr. Harris to dissolve the Parliament, since Tuesday was the final day for the order paper to be sent out for the sitting of the National Assembly to hear the Motion of No Confidence. “We expected that the Prime Minister would dissolve the Parliament yesterday, bearing in mind that under our rules and orders for the National Assembly, today (May 11) would have been the last day. According to the rules, normally, you give five days’ notice for sitting in the House of Assembly…and so we expected that the Prime Minister would dissolve the Parliament,” lamented Powell. Political Leader of the People’s Action Movement and former Deputy Prime Minister, Shawn Richards was off island when the decision was taken and it is likely that he was not in receipt of his letter. He told reporters Tuesday afternoon at the airport that he was not surprised by the move, noting that he was not formally contacted but was made aware of the decision prior to the prime Minister’s announcement. “...I was told that he would give a statement. After a statement was given, a number of people called and told me what was said,” Richards indicated. All of this occurred after Dr. Harris reported to the nation that the decision was taken after six of his Cabinet members, who wrote a letter to the Governor-General outlining that he does not command the majority of the Cabinet, failed to turn up for Cabinet. Dr. Harris described their absence as a “dereliction of duty”. “...since the submission of the undated letter to his Excellency the Governor-General, which he received on April 21st, none of the CCM Representatives and one of the PAM Representatives have attended any meeting of the Cabinet,” Harris told the nation. The six members fired from Cabinet are three Representatives from the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM), Mark Brantley, Eric Evelyn and Alexis Jeffers, along with Shawn Richards, Lindsay Grant and Jonel Powell from the People’s Action Movement.