BASSETERRE, St Kitts — The levels of corruption, conflicts of interest, victimisation, nepotism and cronyism have become the hallmarks of the near four-year-old Team Unity coalition headed by St Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris, former prime minister and current leader of the opposition, Dr Denzil Douglas, said on Wednesday.
“The Team Unity coalition ran on a campaign that promised to bring change, but the only change they have really brought is a change for the worse since their election to office in 2015. They promised to strengthen democracy and good governance. Fast forward to four years later, they have brought the worst onslaught on democracy that this country has ever seen,” Douglas said at a ceremony at which he and six other St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party candidates publicly signed a code of ethical conduct.
“Just look at what is going on around us today! Look at how Dr Harris has turned the Hurricane Relief Fund into his personal slush fund. The Fund was opened and has now been closed with no oversight whatsoever and only this week we have heard one of his ministers in the cabinet say that the fund has been closed because to the prime minister, there is corruption in the administration of the fund,” Douglas said in remarks before the signing.
He said there has been no audited accounting of the hundreds of millions of US dollars that were earned and it is now estimated to be close to EC$1 billion.
“Look at how Dr Timothy Harris has cheapened the citizenship by investment programme and is selling our sacred citizenship like sugar cakes from the vendor’s tray on the international market.
“Look at how this government is hiding the International Monetary Fund Country Report and the audited financial statements from the St Christopher and Nevis Social Security and the Development Bank of St Kitts and Nevis so that the people of this country have no clue as to what is really happening in our economy or our own critical financial institutions,” he continued.
“Dr Harris has brought in his own auditor and accountant into Social Security. He has made his brother, the chief executive officer of the Development Bank, when his brother was on suspension for questionable activities and was asked by the Financial Services Regulatory Commission to answer certain questions, which today remain unanswered,” Douglas said.
Highlighting the high level of nepotism and cronyism in the Team Unity administration, the opposition leader pointed out that Harris’s two sisters, one who serves as a magistrate and the other as registrar/additional magistrate “running our High Court as if they own it and are using the justice system to carry out his personal vendetta against the people where innocent people have been arrested on trivial matters that normally would not result is an arrest being made”.
“Our country has started off down a slippery slope towards genuine dictatorship and the steady erosion of democracy is a threat to the freedom of every citizen of this country,” Douglas said.