Opposition Leader Douglas files motion of no confidence

Opposition No Confidence Motion states PM Timothy Harris is a clear and present danger to democracy

By Dr. Denzil Douglas, Leader of the Opposition, St. Kitts & Nevis

Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 12, 2018 – Several issues ranging from the high level of corruption, nepotism, the erosion of democracy, control of the financial and judicial sectors and the cheapening of the citizenship by investment programme, are among the litany of transgressions outlined in a Motion of No Confidence levelled at St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris by the parliamentary opposition.

In the four-page document, the Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, attacks the poor leadership of Prime Minister Harris, which has resulted in a rapid erosion of the democratic and good governance standards that are enshrined in the Constitution, and the trampling of the rights, liberties and democratic interests of citizens using methods that are reminiscent of a full blown dictatorship.

It accuses Prime Minister Harris, who has been in office for nearly four years constantly and willfully disregarding the Constitution and laws of the Country and of sanctioning and justifying rampant corruption, nepotism and victimisation in the public administrative system, the justice system and the financial system.

Dr. Harris is also being accused of consistently failing to uphold the principles of accountability, fairness, openness, transparency, inclusivity or respect for the rule of law which has led to the maladministration of public services and the mismanagement of the economic and fiscal affairs of St. Kitts and Nevis.

The Prime Minister is also being sanctioned for constantly trying to influence the work of the Electoral Office and its ranking officers in contravention of the electoral laws of the Federation and which has led to the disenfranchisement of numerous voters without due process.

Dr. Harris, the Minister with responsibility for the Public Service is also being accused of frequently interfering in the processes for hiring, firing and promoting within the civil service and decides, unilaterally, who should be targeted for termination or rewarded with a job opportunity or promotion without any basis in competence or merit.

The rest of the Motion of No Confidence reads: AND WHEREAS the Prime Minister has ensured that his family and friends are disproportionately represented in all of the most senior positions across the civil service, in government statutory bodies, the Executive Boards of financial institutions and the judiciary;

AND WHEREAS the Prime Minister has demonstrated utter contempt for the principle of ‘separation of powers” between the executive and the judiciary with the appointment of two of his sisters to top positions within the judiciary, namely the Magistracy and the Registry of the High Court, which has allowed him to wield complete control of the justice system;

AND WHEREAS the Prime Minister continues to wield inappropriate influence over his sisters and has induced them to use the justice system to sign and carry out warrants of arrest of innocent, law-abiding citizens in keeping with his personal vendetta against these citizens;

AND WHEREAS the Prime Minister, as Minister of National Security has failed to implement a national strategy on crime thus resulting in a dangerously high level of crime and criminality across the Federation;

AND WHEREAS the Prime Minister as the Minister for National Security has politicized the police force to carry out his self-serving political agenda instead of focusing on developing a national strategy on crime;

AND WHEREAS the Prime Minister has corrupted and cheapened the Citizenship by Investment Programme and created a “race to the bottom” where sales agents are being allowed to sell the sacred citizenship and patrimony of St. Kitts and Nevis for extremely reduced prices against our laws;

AND WHEREAS the Prime Minister has established the Hurricane Relief Fund (HRF) as an alternative to the Sugar Industry Diversification Fund (SIDF), which is run entirely from the Office of the Prime Minister without any basis in the Foundations Act, and which receives money which constitutionally belongs to the government without any mechanism from Parliamentary or audit scrutiny or oversight, and is being used as the Prime Minister’s Slush Fund;

AND WHEREAS the Prime Minister has administered the Hurricane Relief Fund, now closed, in a way that has not fulfilled its objective which was “to enable the country and its people to recover more quickly and to ensure that the country’s infrastructure and people’s homes are fit and habitable where they have been damaged by hurricanes”;

AND WHEREAS the Prime Minister has implemented a single disaster recovery Roof Repair programme, using funds from the HRF, the administration of which has been characterized by gross mismanagement, politically motivated discrimination and corruption;

AND WHEREAS the Prime Minister overseen the passage of a new Public Accounts Act which has rendered the Public Accounts Committee completely toothless, such that the Prime Minister is now able to use the public accounts as his own personal bank account;

AND WHEREAS the Prime Minister has failed to abide by the laws and regulations set out in the Procurement and Contract (Administration) Act and has ensured that contracts that were once approved by the Ministry of Public Works are now being approved by the Office of the Prime Minister,

AND WHEREAS the Prime Minister as Minister of Finance has refused to consent to the publication of the IMF country surveillance Report, thereby denying the citizens of the country their right to information contained therein;

AND WHEREAS the Prime Minister has failed to produce and make public the audited financial statements of key financial institutions such as Social Security and the St. Kitts and Nevis Development Bank;

AND WHEREAS the Prime Minister has made his brother the Chief Executive Officer of the Development Bank, when that brother was on suspension for questionable activities and was asked by the Financial Services Regulatory Commission to answer certain questions which today remain unanswered;

AND WHEREAS the Prime Minister insists on moving ahead with plans to construct a new Basseterre High School on The Royal Basseterre Valley Aquifer without due process, including failure to consult the people of the country, failure to ensure the conduct of an independent environmental impact assessment and failure to properly treat with professional advice from reputable international organisations such as NIOSH;

AND WHEREAS the Prime Minister’s actions described above all represent acts of corruption under the definition outlined in the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption to which the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is a signatory;

AND WHEREAS the Prime Minister’s acts of corruption have undermined public trust and confidence in his leadership and threatens market integrity, distorts competition, and endangers the economic development of St. Kitts and Nevis and its citizens;

AND WHEREAS the Prime Minister has refused to explain to this Honourable House the circumstances that led to the Office of the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis being implicated in the judgement handed down by the High Court of England and Wales in the matter of Hardip Singh aka Peter Virdee and Dieter Trutschschler v The National Crime Agency Case Nos. CO/4157/2017&CO/5692/2017 which involved allegations of corruption and bribery;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that this Honourable House express grave concern that the Prime Minister represents a clear and present danger to democracy in this country and his activities have belittled and denigrated the esteemed Office of the Prime Minister and has tarnished the good name and standing of this Country both regionally and internationally;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Honourable House no longer has any confidence in the Prime Minister and calls for the immediate resignation of the Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris as Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis.