Glen Bart, MyVueNews.com
Basseterre, St. Kitts, 14th May, 2018 (MyVueNews.com) – Former Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party is calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris, as a result of bribery allegations coming out of a Court case involving UK business tycoon Peter Singh Virdee.
At the heart of the matter are transcripts of legally tapped telephone conversations between 44-year-old Virdee and his business partner, done as part of an investigation by authorities in Germany who are seeking to have Virdee extradited from the UK to Germany to face tax fraud charges.
Virdee also has been accused of bribing high-ranking Caribbean politicians after secretly recorded telephone calls emerged in a London High Court judgment issued last Friday, 11th May. The recordings are said to have occurred at different times in 2016.
Dr. Douglas, who is also the Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition in the National Assembly of St. Kitts and Nevis, is calling for the Prime Minister’s resignation based on sections of the transcripts released in the London High Court.
One such section refers to a telephone conversation between Virdee and his business partner referencing the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis.
According to the UK Daily Mail, portions of the transcript states that the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis was visiting and that Virdee would take him and his entourage for dinner, so his business partner should be ready for a big bill.
The transcript quotes Virdee as saying, “He said he (Prime Minister Harris) would like a nice watch. I said ok. I don’t want to be spending more than like 2,000 pounds sterling on a watch.”
The UK Daily Mail reports, “Lord Justice Holroyde and Mr Justice Dingemans said the NCA (UK’s National Crime Agency) believed ‘the claimants were ready and willing to pay bribes, and had given at least one gift to a Caribbean politician’.”
The Daily Mail article reports that the high court judgment said: “Mr Virdee was arrested because the NCA believed ‘offences under the Bribery Act 2010 had been committed’.”
Germany authorities had turned the recordings over to the NCA for further investigations.
Meanwhile, Dr. Douglas said, in a video statement posted to the Facebook page of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, “Sadly, Dr. Timothy Harris is mentioned in the transcripts, both by office and by name.”
The Labour Party Leader also said, “What we already know about this matter has disqualified Dr. Timothy Harris from holding the position of Prime Minister, yet there is more to come. We have seen only the tip of the iceberg, we are told. Even more of the truth will be revealed, as the criminal trial proceeds in London.”
On Sunday, 13th May, the Prime Minister’s Press Secretary issued a statement in response to the Daily Mail article concerning Virdee, his business partner and allegations of the bribery of Caribbean politicians.
The statement reads in part, “Given the seriousness of the innuendo in the article that officials from St. Kitts and Nevis had any involvement in this matter, Dr. The Honourable Timothy Harris states emphatically and unequivocally that since Team Unity was elected, the integrity of the Office of the Prime Minister has at all times been maintained to the highest standards to which the citizens and residents of the Federation are entitled to and must hold their Government.”
It continued, “The judgment references a period of time beginning in 2014. Prime Minister Harris cannot speak to what may have occurred prior to his assumption of Office of the Prime Minister on February 18th, 2015. Prime Minister Harris confirms that the Team Unity Government has not entered into any agreements with the parties referenced in the article.”
The statement ends by informing that the Prime Minister “has consulted with senior legal counsel in an effort to determine the next steps”.