BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS – Leader of the Opposition in St. Kitts and Nevis, the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas is giving a failing grade to the Team Unity Government of Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris.
Dr. Douglas said much has been revealed as the PLP/CCM/PAM coalition celebrates its second year in government this month and slammed the coalition’s record on alleged corruption, lack of good governance and verbal attacks on journalists.
“The people of St. Kitts and Nevis have given a failing grade to this administration. They are convinced that the country is being taken in the wrong direction. They are convinced that the prime ministership of Timothy Harris has been a failure to date,” said Dr. Douglas during his weekly radio programme “Ask the Leader” on Kyss 102.5 FM.
“This is because there is an analysis of the policies that it has pursued which is not geared to addressing the ever pressing issues of crime, especially gun crimes, murders, house break-ins, rapes, the high cost of living, the high unemployment especially among the youth, or the serious challenges in the health sector both at the community and institutional-based levels and other policies that do not address these issues,” said Dr. Douglas, the National Political Leader of the 85-year-old St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP).
“The Unity Government has over the past two years pursued policies to deceive, mislead, and open lying to our people as they enrich themselves through a well organised network of nepotism and cronyism,” said Dr. Douglas.
Dr. Douglas expressed concern over the treatment being meted out to targeted journalists in the local media.
“We must always remember that the fundamental freedoms our ancestors clamored for and which they made the ultimate sacrifice for with their own lives in the Buckley’s Uprising in 1935. These fundamentals of freedom of speech, freedom to assemble and freedom to organize and negotiate for better working conditions, are not being respected by this administration,” he pointed out.
Dr. Douglas further pointed out that the role of the Press is not only to bring credible and truthful information to the people and to the public, but also to hold the governments accountable at all times.
“Instead of delivering on its promise of a free press and to pass Freedom of Information legislation in the first 100 days of taking office, the Timothy Harris Administration has shown utter regard, total disregard and disrespect to the Press and has targeted persons in the traditional media either through the social media using characters like Mable Richards, Mar Williams and Andre Liburd,” said Dr. Douglas.
He accused Prime Minister Harris of using his Press conferences or Parliament under the cloak of statements by Ministers, “to carry out a vicious, vile and degrading attack on members of the media simply because they exercise their rights to ask questions of accountability and transprancy in the government’s own agenda of good governance simply because members of the media speak of the frequent trips abroad of Cabinet Ministers, their constant absences from the federation thus pushing back the people’s agenda.”
The media had also questioned the Prime Minister’s recent travel to New York to attend a luncheon when he was not invited or to the Philippines to receive an award from a Pilipino who has been described as a fraud by the Philippines Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“The media is also questioning the two ministers from Nevis who are getting two salaries each month from the Federal government and another from the Nevis Island Administration. Like the corruption in the government in the Cabinet stoutly defended the Minister of Public Infrastructure and Works, who started a company in his own name and to be operated by him to import cement and building material anticipating government’s housing development programme that will use EC$60 million of our Social Security money,” said Dr. Douglas, who pointed to the anticipated construction of the second cruise pier at Port Zante which in itself is steeped in corruption and in the process competing unfairly with the private sector which is not privy to the internal decisions of the Cabinet where the minister sits in the awarding of contracts for the procurement of government goods and services.”
He also questioned the delay in operationalising of the Integrity in Public Life Act in the first 100 days as promised.
“We have assessed their stewardship and how much it has achieved and the government has failed to do so,” said Dr. Douglas.