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Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 21, 2020 (SKNIS): Attorney General and Chair of the Disaster Mitigation Council, the Honourable Vincent Byron, explained to citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis that the State of Emergency can be extended for a period not exceeding 12 months in the Constitution but that with extraordinary circumstances it can be extended even further by a Resolution of Parliament.

He highlighted this during his appearance at the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) COVID-19 Daily Briefing for April 20.

He said, “The Constitution provides that once the proclamation of the declaration made by his excellency Governor-General exceeds 21 days, for it to be extended it requires a Resolution of the parliament and that Resolution can be extended up to 12 months but it can also be shortened.”

“During the debate on Friday, there was some objection by some members in the Parliament and it was thought that although they had not made any recommendation as to the time frame that the extension should be, that in the first instance, the extension should be of six months duration or less,”Attorney General Byron said.

“It does mean that we can extend the current State of Emergency up to 12 months but even when it gets to 12 months, that State of Emergency can still be extended further by a Resolution of parliament.”

He said “I can also make the point that having established that this State of Emergency goes to six months that it can be revoked at any time so that if it is felt that by two weeks, the advice is that there is no longer any need for that, the State of Emergency can be brought to an end.”

“I would say though that the state of emergency in and of itself is not the only thing that matters. What really matters, as Dr. Laws and Dr. Wilkinson has been telling us is the restrictions to be able to fight COVID-19 for them to get control of it,” he added.

“And we have done so in a number of regulations that are done by the promulgation of statutory rules and orders … under the umbrella of the State of Emergency,” said Honourable Byron.

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