After three and a half years of constant outcries from the citizenry, including Civil Society and the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris has finally decided that he could not delay the installation of the Integrity in Public Life (IPL) Committee any further. The IPL Act was passed by the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party administration in mid 2013, and the hope was that after sufficient public consultation, the Act would be operationalised in short order.
However, as result of the stifling corruption in the Team Unity government led by Dr. Harris where Ministers of Government and their families members are abusing their authority and filling their pockets with taxpayers’ money on a daily basis, the government sought to delay for as long as possible the operationalisation of the IPL legislation. After a long three and a half years, the IPL commission was established today August 27, 2018.
However, nominee for the government side, Mr. Franklyn Maitland, fails to meet numerous criteria, each of which completely disqualifies him from being a member of the IPL commission. According to Section 12 of the IPL Act, Mr. Maitland is disqualified for each and all of the following reasons:
He is a member of the Board of Directors of the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank, which is a majority state-owned company
He has been an executive member of the People’s Labour Party
Mr. Maitland holds the foregoing positions, but even if he did not hold those positions any longer, he would have to have relinquished these positions more than 3 years ago in the case of his membership of the board of the National Bank, and more than 5 years ago in the case of his membership of the PLP.
But the corruption goes even deeper. Section 12 of the IPL Act also sets out that a member of the Commission must meet the same qualifications as any member of the National Assembly. Therefore, according to our Constitution at Section 27, Mr. Maitland is disqualified since neither he nor any of his parents was born in St. Kitts and Nevis. Yes, that’s the so-called Bryant Clause of our Constitution. Furthermore, section 28 of our Constitution disqualifies Mr. Maitland by reason that he continues to get paid by the government and government-controlled institutions.
But, as much corruption as that already is, it is really just the tip of the iceberg. What the public deserves to know is that Franklyn Maitland is the personal accountant and business partner of Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris and his brothers Len Harris and Dwight Harris. This kind of flagrant, dark and sickening corruption demonstrates how much our present government is devoid of integrity. This Commission is not intended to offer anything called integrity; it is just a charade and a political talking point.
What can we expect from an Integrity Commission with this level of internal corruption? Where and when will this corruption stop? Where are the limits of government corruption under Team Unity and Prime Minister Harris ?