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New Government Takes Reins In St. Kitts/Nevis

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Dr. Timothy Harris, r., takes the oath of office of prime minister of St. Christopher Nevis on Feb. 18, 2015. (ZIZ image)

By Felicia J. Persaud

News Americas, CHARLESTOWN, Nevis, Thurs. Feb. 19, 2015: The federation of St. Kitts/Nevis officially has a new government.

Head of the People’s Labor Party and the coalition, Team Unity, Dr. Timothy Harris, was finally administered the oath of office Tuesday afternoon, almost 48 hours after the Monday, Feb. 16th elections here.

High Court Judge Marlene Carter administered the oath in which Harris had to swear his allegiance to Queens Elizabeth II, the official head of state and to all her heirs, while the country’s current Governor General, Sir Edmund Wickham Lawrence, issued a proclamation giving him power to serve as the prime minister of the islands of St. Christopher & Nevis.

His swearing in came following a historic but controversial election in the Federation and amidst rumors Wednesday that the current supervisor of elections, Wingrove George, had hindered Harris’ swearing in by delaying to sign off on the official results of the elections.

Also taking the oath of office with Dr. Harris was the country’s new attorney general, Vincent F. Byron, Jr.

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Team Unity members and supporters witness the swearing-in.

Byron, of the law office of Byron & Byron in St. Kitts, has appeared in several recent cases for the opposition, including the recent landmark cases of Shawn Richards and Others v St. Kitts and Nevis Constituency Boundaries Commission. He is also a well-known music and sports personality on the island and was a federal member of parliament for the PAM.

Byron is a graduate of the University of the West Indies, the New York Institute of Technology  and  the University of Wolverhampton. He was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2006. He then gained the Legal Education Certificate from the Norman Manley Law School in 2007. In August 2007, he was called to the Bar of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Team Unity – a coalition of the PLP, the Peoples Action Movement (PAM) and the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM), the ruling party in Nevis, won 7 out of the total 11 votes in Monday’s election, results reported first by NAN but officially released late Tuesday show. Other members of the cabinet are expected to be announced shortly, sources say.

The swearing-in and Team Unity victory was celebrated in Nevis by the ruling CCM Party Wednesday afternoon with a motorcade around the island. The victory lap was greeted by hundreds who lined the street to wave their patriotic blue party colors and memorabilia or record the moment on smart phones, I-pads or video cameras.

But the celebration by CCM was also greeted by a celebration of their own by some supporters of the opposition Nevis Reformation Party, which had entered into a contract of unity before the election with the Denzil Douglas-led St. Kitts Labor Party.

They flaunted promotional green and red party flags as the passers-by in the motorcade blew their horns. One woman even held up posters of Patrice Nisbett, the only NRP candidate and former minister in the Douglas administration from Nevis to win back his parliamentary seat while another man loudly aired a speech from Dr. Douglas while waving a red labor party flag.