Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis Dr Timothy Harris has announced that general elections will take place on Friday, June 5.
Harris, in a special address to the nation on Monday, May 18, further stated that nomination day for candidates is expected to get underway nine days prior on Wednesday, May 27.
Seeking his second term in office, Harris outlined a list of major achievements, among them, the national response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
“In response to the global pandemic, our early proactive actions – which restricted travel, enforced quarantine and closed our borders – have undoubtedly saved lives. These actions have kept us safe. You only have to look at the United Kingdom or the United States of America to see how bad things could have been without careful management,” he explained.
“Because of the tough decisions we took, St. Kitts and Nevis is best placed in the Caribbean to recover. At this time, we have had no deaths, no one hospitalized, and 14 out of 15 positive cases have nicely recovered,” Harris continued.
Having dissolved the Kittitian Parliament last week, Harris told citizens that he plans to accomplish much more in a second term, for the benefit of all in the twin-island federation.
“My fellow citizens and residents, over the last five short years, your Team Unity Government has been working on building a stronger and safer future for St. Kitts and Nevis – a future of more homes, new jobs, safer streets and real opportunities for our young people,” he began.
Harris, convinced the country is making progress, said the elections are needed at this time, even in the face of the coronavirus-induced state of emergency.
“Elections are required at this time, even in a time of a State of Emergency. There are Emergency Regulations, which we are advised are reasonably justified in a democratic society and in the context of the corona pandemic. The experts have advised that COVID-19 will continue for an indefinite period,” he contended.
In some respects, he argued, the 2020 election will be different, because of the rules in place to combat the virus. The general elections were constitutionally due by August 2020.
Acting on the advice of public health officials, the nightly curfew and weekend lockdown will remain in place to reduce the incidence of large social gatherings that are fertile ground for the transmission COVID-19.
“As candidates and political parties campaign and bring their views to voters, therefore, some traditional means of communicating will inevitably have to be modified. Virtual public meetings will be one new and innovative way in which candidates will bring their messages to their supporters,” Harris indicated.
The Harris-led and incumbent Team Unity party will square off against the St Kitts and Nevis Labour Party, headed by former prime minister Denzil Douglas.