Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 14, 2018 – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Leader of the Opposition, the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas has called on the people of the twin-island federation, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, other non-governmental and international organisations, “to wake up and recognize how swiftly the democratic situation in St. Kitts and Nevis is being eroded.”
During his weekly radio call-in programme on Kyss 102.5 FM, on Tuesday night, the former prime minister again called for the release of the Staff Report following the IMF Article 4 Consultation.
“The report has been finalised since September 14 and the people of St. Kitts and Nevis are even more concerned and alarmed that yet another week has gone by and our demands continue to be ignored by Dr. Harris and the Ministry of Finance,” said Dr. Douglas.
“Dr. Harris seems to believe that he can do whatever he pleases in this country without any regard for our national laws and the tenets of democracy that we uphold. Freedom of information, transparency and accountability are at the core of our democratic system and Dr. Harris is tearing down all that our nation has traditionally stood for brick by brick by brick,” he said.
Dr. Douglas also accused Prime Minster Harris of hiding several other key documents that should have already been published and in the e public domain.
“Where is the Social Security Board Annual Accounts report? These reports are already about two years behind, with the last one issued in October 2017, covered the Accounts up to 2015. Where is the 2018 report that would cover 2016? The people of St. Kitts and Nevis want to know how their Social Security monies are being managed since Team Unity has been in office,” said Dr. Douglas.
He said the public should not go into another year and perhaps a general election without knowing anything at all about what is happening in Social Security during their entire term, adding: “This is totally unacceptable.”
Dr. Douglas also demanded that Dr. Harris, also the Minister of Finance, publishes the audited financial reports for the Sugar Industry Development Foundation (SIDF), now known as the Sustainable Growth Fund.
“The last report that has been made public is from 2013. Where are the reports for 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018?How can Dr. Harris and his Team Unity ministers talk about good governance, transprancey and accountability in St. Kitts and Nevis when they are keeping such important financial information from being scrutinised by the public? Without this information how can the government and the private sector make sound policy decisions?” he asked.
He called for all documents to be placed first in the public domain for people to see and ascertain for themselves that the information he might quote in the 2019 Budget Address next month is true and correct.
Dr. Douglas said the nation needs to know about the state of the economy that would form the basis for his new budget.
“Where in any modern democracy is such negligence allowed to happen? This type of behaviour creates corruption, because it means that Dr. Harris can engage in whatever creative accounting he feels like and pull figures out of a hat without any means for the public to verify for themselves from an independent auditor that his figures are accurate,” he said.