This time around however, it could be very serious and that is why Dr. Timothy Harris, who once served in the Cabinet of Dr. Denzil Douglas, has taken the decision to sue his old boss for words that Harris claims have injured his character and good name.
Referring to Harris at a political meeting, Douglas said: “Comrades, I believe that we have assisted our people in the transition from the sugar industry. There are some coming around and telling you nonsense that the Labour Party Government has money for you. Timothy is one of those people saying it. Well he was the Minister of Agriculture. Ask him how much he put in he pocket and in the account in St. Maarten. Tell him I say so.”
Douglas also seemed to have suggested that Harris’ personal jeep was acquired through ill-begotten means.
“…an a while ago somebody was talking about he driving big jeep; I think it was Vance. Wa big jeep? A Rams jeep e be! A Rams jeep e be! Tell him Douglas say so. A Rams jeep e be! An ask him wa he do fi get it from Rams…bout people got money for sugar workers. We have made sure that all of the money that was due to sugar workers we have given it to them so if he know dey ain’t get all, ask him wa de hell he do wid it.”
In response to these allegations of financial impropriety, made against him by Douglas, Dr. Timothy Harris says that his hands are clean and have challenged the prime minister to provide the evidence to support the charges.
“As I’ve said on the political platform, before God and man, my hands are clean and I ask the prime minister to desist from that unbecoming behavior and if he has the evidence he really should bring the evidence rather than get on with this kind of scandalous and cavalier behavior which does no service to the political life of St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Harris in an exclusive interview with Miyvue.com.
“I would say the allegations are without basis; they are false; they are malicious and it shows the continuing vendetta which the prime minister has against me being exercised through the fabrication of lies,” says Harris, who was fired in January 2013 for not supporting two government bills, the Increase in Senators Bill and the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank Vesting in Certain Lands Bill.
Harris responded to the Prime Minister’s comments by saying: He’s contradicting himself because if on the one hand he says he paid all the money that was due to be paid then there couldn’t be any left for me to have dealt with…the prime minister is getting senile because he said I was the Minister of Agriculture…at the time when the sugar industry closed, Cedric Liburd was the Minister of Agriculture, and had responsibility for the sugar industry in terms of the closure and payment. It would have been Cedric Liburd and of course Dr. Denzil Douglas, who at the time was the Minister of Finance.”
Harris questioned the prime minister over what he alleged were 16 million dollars still owed to sugar workers since the closure of the sugar industry in 2005 at a People’s Labour Party (PLP) political meeting in Molineux on 31st July.
“As soon as you wink, Douglas tells a lie. He will say, for example, Timothy took the money to St. Maarten and when you ask him at a press conference, he says ‘me ain’t say dat’. A liar has no memory.”
“He promised the sugar workers 44 million dollars and with his big lie he came and he said ‘I will pay you under the 1961 agreement! That’s what he told the sugar workers. Under that agreement, he said you will get more. I’m not paying you under PAM law, he says. I don’t know that PAM has law and Labour has law for the law must be one for Toot, Moon and Sam…but when he wants to fool people, he comes up with all these things and at the end of it, they short-paid the sugar workers 16 million dollars,” Harris said. “Dr. Douglas should pay the people their money.”
As the drama unfolds, Harris has indicated that he has sought legal redress and has called into question the prime minister’s leadership.
“We must make the point in relation to it—that if in fact, assuming that there was impropriety, it speaks volumes about the irresponsible leadership of the prime minister because if there were in fact impropriety he ought to have corrected it as soon as it occurred or was brought to his attention and not as it were to be telling lies and tales about some made up event that happened long ago and about which he did nothing because it means he would have condoned wrong,” Harris said.
“So why is it we are going to give him the power again when he has not used the power justly and honourably to safeguard the best interest…so one of his advisers must tell him to stop talking the political hogwash because for sensible people it reflects that he allowed serious breaches to have occurred and he did nothing and that speaks to an irresponsible leader,” he said.
He also said that the allegations are “so outrageous” and that they are “intended to do me harm and to destroy my reputation.”
“I’ve decided to take legal action because they have crossed the line of acceptable decent behavior especially coming from the Office of the Prime Minister and therefore, I have sought advice from my lawyers and asked them to proceed appropriately in relation to that matter and my expectations are that very shortly the legal action will be pursued.
“I have been advised by my lawyers that they are working diligently with the matter and I will at a later date indicate what course of action my lawyers have advised. I must say that I have not only sought advice from within the Federation but from senior lawyers including two Q.C.’s (Queen’s Counsels) within the region and so I believe I have a very good case based on the initial conversations,” Harris said.
Harris claims that the things that are being propagated by Prime Minister Douglas are mere distractions from the real issues.
“What we are hearing from the prime minister are the characteristic efforts at distraction from the real issues and the real issues are the high cost of energy, the high level of unemployment in the country, the high level of crime—the fact that we have had 18 murders already for the year—we are in fact one of the highest on a per capita basis in Latin America, the Caribbean and the World…the fact that we have a burdensome debt and there is no chance of the prime minister rescuing himself from that,” said Harris.
“These are the real issues that a leader should be addressing—instead he wants to go on a game of character assassination,” he said.