Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 17, 2018 – Former St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister The Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas has accused Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris of ensuring that the notion of separation of powers between the executive, legislature and judiciary has been completely eroded and he is able to intervene at all levels without any checks and balances to his power.
Dr. Douglas said Tuesday, the absence of the Parliamentary Opposition parties 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 which began in St. Kitts on Tuesday and is part of a larger pattern of corruption and anti-democratic behaviour that is being exhibited by the Timothy Harris-led Team Unity Administration and highlights the dictatorial traits of the prime minister.
“Victimization and nepotism have become part and parcel of his authoritarian style. We see that the two go hand in hand and are mutually reinforcing. Individuals who are perceived not to be politically aligned to the present government are targeted for marginalization and even termination from their positions in the civil service and other statutory bodies including our law enforcement institutions,” said Dr. Douglas during his weekly radio call-in programme on Kyss 102.5 FM.
Dr. Douglas said individuals who are either family members of the Prime Minister or are political activists within the Team Unity coalition, are given preferential treatment in the government hiring, firing and promotion system without any regard for competence and merit.
“At least five of the Prime Minister’s siblings occupy the most senior positions in our administrative, financial and judicial institutions and boldly carry out the directives of the Prime Minister with impunity and without due regard for justice, equality and fairness. This has been demonstrated time and again,” he told listeners.
The six-term parliamentarian placed on record the arrest and charge of a Customs Office, tipped to be the Labour Party’s candidate to challenge Dr. Harris for the St. Christopher 7 (Ottley’s to Harris) seat in the next general elections.
“The senior officer of the Customs Department was taken into police custody based on trumped up charges relating to being late with licensing his firearm, although said license had been issued by the competent authority and the firearm was at the time of arrest licensed,” said Dr. Douglas.
He pointed out that it was Dr. Harris’s sister, Ms. Donna Harris, who is the magistrate at the local courts, who signed the arrest warrant for the officer.
Dr. Douglas also pointed to the recent statement by the Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Dame Janice Pereira who complained that the bulk of pending appeals from the High Court of St. Kitts and Nevis to the Court of Appeal are not progressing speedily enough for lack of transcripts.
“It was later found out by investigative journalists that although this was impacting the ability of ordinary citizens to access justice in a timely fashion, this however did not include Dr. Timothy Harris who has had all of the cases to which he is a party fast tracked by another of Dr. Harris’ sister, Ms. Janine Harris, who is the Registrar of the Court,” Dr. Douglas said.
“It is corruption of the highest order for the Prime Minister to be able to wield power and influence in this way,” said Dr. Douglas, the National Political Leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP