The Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas has been extended an invitation by the Hon. Damian Collins MP (Member of the House of Commons, United Kingdom) to participate as a Member of Parliament in discussions being conducted by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee (DCMSSC) of the House of Commons, London. The Hon. Damian Collins is the Chairman of the DCMSSC which is conducting an inquiry into the subject matter of Fake News and Disinformation and how it affects the operation of democracy across the globe.
Dr. Douglas has expressed particular interest in the work of the Committee given its universal applicability and our own experience here in the St Kitts and Nevis. Dr. Douglas is of the view that the present government of St. Kitts and Nevis led by Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris, prior to and since coming to office, has adopted a policy of promulgating fake news and disinformation to deceive the citizenry of St. Kitts and Nevis, with frequent use of fake social media characters and obscure media outlets to create in the public’s mind a false sense of reality.
Given the high importance that Dr. Douglas attaches to the concept of good governance and democratic integrity, and given the extent to which St. Kitts and Nevis has moved towards dictatorship over the last four years, he is of the view that a global approach is required to rid supposedly democratic countries of emerging dictatorships and fascism which are being facilitated in large measure through the promulgation of fake news.
In communicating with officials from the DCMSSC a few weeks ago, Dr. Douglas made it clear that given the severe erosion of democracy in St. Kitts and Nevis, in his next term in office after the pending general elections, his government must move swiftly to implement a suite of legislation to bolster democracy and improve transparency. Such a Legislative Agenda will of necessity include:
- Implementing with immediacy a Freedom of Information and Public Transparency Act that will allow for full disclosure to the Parliament of findings from Enquiries into the Unethical Herpes Vaccine Trials, the Illegal Stem Cell Clinical Trials all conducted here in St Kitts and Nevis, and the Report of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) conducted for the Construction of a Secondary School (BHS) on the site of the Royal Basseterre Valley National Park that provides potable water to 90% of the residents of Basseterre, Frigate Bay and the South East Peninsula;
- Reinstating the provisions of the Public Accounts Committee Act that were guillotined by the Timothy Harris administration. The removal of those critical provisions prevents the Public Accounts Committee from investigating the shady and illegal government spending;
- Reviewing the Integrity in Public Life Act which it passed in 2014 with a view setting clear rules for the conduct of Ministers of Government and senior Public Servants to eliminate the unprecedented corruption that has emerged under the Timothy Harris-led administration;
- Enacting ‘Anti-Fake News’ legislation to outlaw the deliberate promulgation of ‘Fake News and Disinformation’ by the government and local news agencies; and
- Enacting ‘Anti-Nepotism’ legislation to outlaw Nepotism so that Ministers of Government could not appoint their siblings and closest friends to the highest positions in government nor award them government contracts at will;
If Dr Douglas participates in the Session of the 22 member Grand International Committee on Fake News and Disinformation on Tuesday 27th November at the House of Commons, these are the issues that Dr. Douglas will put on the table and discuss with the members of the Committee.
Dr. Douglas who served as Prime Minister from 1995 to 2015, was the longest serving Commonwealth Prime Minister and has received numerous awards including the Trumpet Award and membership of Her majesty’s Privy Council. In 2017, Dr. Douglas was appointed by PAHO/WHO as a member of a high-level commission on “Universal Health in the 21st century: 40 years of Alma-Ata.” Earlier this month, Dr. Douglas was invited to participate in a European Commission (EC)-sponsored research into the ‘Retention or Abolition of Capital Punishment’ which is being carried out by the London-based Death Penalty Project.
Dr. Douglas has dedicated his life to serving the great causes of the 21st Century and is always pleased to make himself available to the service of humanity.