Basseterre, St.Kitts (July 15th 2010):- St.Kitts-Nevis Senior MP and opposition party Peoples Action Movement Deputy Leader the Hon. Shawn .K Richards has called on the ruling Labour Party Administration to expeditiously enact and implement an Integrity in Public Life and Prevention of Corruption legislation to protect the people and the country from corrupt politicians. This statement came in light of the Denzil-Douglas led St.Kitts-Nevis labour administration’s continued silence on the scathing revelation made by US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Gates said that he was concerned that drug trafficking routes will migrate to the Caribbean, which could become an easier target than Mexico or Central America .According to the Associated Press, Gates further stated that St.Kitts and St.Vincent were seen by the US government as particularly vulnerable to this migration because of very high levels of government corruption.
Gates was at the time attending a meeting with Caribbean leaders in Barbados in a bid to re-energize U.S. partnerships in the region. The U.S. is spending $45 million this year to help Caribbean nations improve security and establish social programs aimed at discouraging the drug trade.
The St.Kitts-Nevis Labour administration has remained silent on the charges levelled by the US Government’s Head of Defense.
“This a very serious charge laid against our government by the Defense Secretary of the most powerful country in the world,” said St.Kitts-Nevis Senior Opposition MP Hon. Shawn K. Richards.
“When the US levels that sort of accusation against you it must be taken seriously as I am not of the view that Mr. Gates or the US government would make statements of that nature without facts to support,” the Opposition People’s Action Movement Deputy Political Leader charged.
This is the not the first time that serious charges of corruption have been levelled against Dr. Denzil Douglas and his ruling Labour Party administration. Last year stunning revelations were made linking Prime Minister Douglas with a company known as Lex Consulting LLC. Lex consulting has Ms. Kate Woodley listed as one of it’s owners. Kate Woodley a Ministry of Foreign Affairs employee at the St. Kitts and Nevis Consulate in Manhattan, New York is the mother of the children of Prime Minister Douglas. The company which is classified as a “consulting business” received funds from the Saint Kitts- Nevis Labour Party. Money donated to the St. Kitts – Nevis Labour Party by voters and businesses ended up in the bank accounts of a consulting business of family members of Prime Minister Denzil Douglas. The alledged corruption does not seem to end there as during the recent election campaign copies of documents that appeared to show large sums of money passing through Lex’s accounts totaling as much as $76 million over the last decade. Significant among the documents were cheques including one for US$95,000 dated December 30th made out to Dr. Denzil Douglas and a transfer of US$250,000 from a Kuwaiti Bank to the account of Lex Consulting
“Charges of corruption will continue to be leveled against our government because of the lack of Integrity in Public Life legislation which Denzil Douglas continues to avoid,’ said People’s Action Movement Senior MP Hon. Shawn. K. Richards
Richards concluded by saying “If governments like the current one in St. Kitts & Nevis cannot police themselves, then the appropriate legislation must be enacted urgently to protect the people from politicians who after serving for too many years, begin to feel that the country is their private club.”
The 2004 Labour Manifesto states: “Complete the process of Integrity in Public Life legislation, and other relevant regulations.” (See p.46, 2004 St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party Manifesto). We are in 2010 and the country still awaits the completion of this process.