Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 16, 2018 – The Parliamentary Opposition in St. Kitts and Nevis has expressed grave concern to the Organisation of American States (OAS) that it has been excluded from the Fifth Round of Review consultations of the Committee of Experts of the Mechanism for Follow-up on the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption (MESICIC) now convened in the twin-island Federation.
In a letter to His Excellency Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the OAS, Leader of the Opposition, the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas said it has been brought to his attention that the review meetings with civil society, which begin today, 16th October 2018 and extends to October 18th 2018, are being convened to the exclusion of the Parliamentary Opposition.
“This is in direct contravention of the Methodology for Conducting On-Site Visits adopted by State Parties to the Organisation of American States whereby the Office of the Attorney General as the designated Lead Expert and country coordinator is required under Article III, Section 18 b) and c) to ensure that all the representatives of civil society institutions and organisations are invited and are given
“adequate advance notice” as to the specific objectives of the meetings, the agenda and topics for discussion to allow for their meaningfully participation in the review process,” said Dr. Douglas.
He pointed out to the OAS Chief that the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party represents the largest political organisation in the Federation which holds four of the eleven seats in the national legislature.
“As the Parliamentary Opposition, we take very seriously our role of ensuring transparency, fairness and openness in the democratic process through rigorous scrutiny of the policies and administration of the Government with a view to holding it accountable to the citizens of the Federation whom we represent. As the political party which commanded the popular vote in the previous general elections, this role obtains even greater significance and import,” adding: “Therefore, the failure of the Lead Expert to invite the Parliamentary Opposition to these timely and important consultations is a deliberate attempt by the government-side to suppress our voice and prevent our active contribution to the discussions on Corruption. Not only does this go against the democratic principles and ideals enshrined in our national Constitution, it also goes against the founding principles and ideals set forth in the Charter of the Organisation of American States and the American
Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man to which as a State Party, St. Kitts and Nevis is required to adhere,” he said.
Dr. Douglas further pointed out that the review consultations aim to discuss several topics that are vitally relevant to the Parliamentary Opposition at this time.
“Topics such as Systems of Government Hiring; Systems of Procurement of Goods and Services; Acts of Corruption and Systems for Protecting Public Servants and Private Citizens who in Good Faith Report Acts of Corruption are subjects to which the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party and the Parliamentary Opposition should have been afforded the opportunity to make meaningful presentations,” the Opposition Leader told the OAS Secretary General.
“The unfortunate reality that exists in the Federation since the Dr. Timothy Harris-led Administration acquired office in February of 2015 is one that is characterized by rampant victimization, corruption, nepotism and public malfeasance, which have directly impacted the country as a whole. The campaign of victimization that has been unleashed by this administration has deliberately targeted the members and affiliates of the Labour Party and has, as result, introduced unprecedented levels of discrimination in the systems of government hiring and has also led to the maladministration of essential government services,” Dr.