By Caribbean News Now contributor
BASSETERRE, St Kitts – With widespread allegations of corruption in St Kitts and Nevis, social activist Dwyer Astaphan of Operation Rescue and former national security minister reiterated his call for anti-corruption measures be put in place, combined with greater emphasis on a good governance agenda.
Astaphan enunciates that after 35 years of Independence, it is lamentable that such legislation is not in place to safeguard against those inclined to get involved in corrupt practices, said:
“If corruption exists everywhere, the question is, do we the people of St Kitts and Nevis want mechanisms and practices to be put in place to control the corruption in the country; or do we not want those mechanisms? Because, it exists, and if a problem exists and is not attended to and not arrested, then it gets worse. It’s like a cancer and corruption has serious economic and social consequences,” Astaphan continued.
“And those who suffer the most severe of those consequences are always the poorer people, always. Do you want systems in place in St Kitts and Nevis that will apply to Peter when he is in office the same way to Paul when he is in office, or not?
“And at all times to all public servants, we’re not just talking about elected officials, you want one set of standards, because if you want one set of standards then that covers everybody; if you want A for Peter but Z for Paul then we’re not going to have anti-corruption legislation, regulations and practices and mechanisms in place, and today we do not have those mechanisms in place,” Astaphan said.
In a published article on Caribbean News Now, August 25, 2017, the former Cabinet minister, Astaphan, likewise called for an end to corrupt practices in St Kitts and Nevis.
“We have a lot of instances of corruption in this little county of ours. Not a today thing, an ongoing thing and it needs to be met face to face, full frontal and it needs to be stopped. Public sector, private sector, social organizations, it needs to be stopped,” he said.
In a WINNFM newscast recently, Astaphan, who is also an attorney, made another case for the Team Unity administration led by prime minister Dr Timothy Harris to place greater emphasis on its good governance agenda, outlined the following.
“In the Team Unity manifesto, great emphasis is placed on good governance. The passing of the Freedom of Information Act has been passed but not activated. The Integrity in Public Life Act has been passed but that too is not activated.
“The Organisation of American States (OAS) was in St Kitts and Nevis in October of last year and reported in March of this year; pointed out a host of deficiencies in the Public Service Act, the Procurement and Contract Administration Act, including the Organised Crime Act.
“There are serial deficiencies in those acts and in order to say with confidence and accuracy that the mechanisms are in place, the legislation must be in place. The regulations must be in place and the institutions must be up and running; and without interference from any powerful and influential persons,” Astaphan said.