St. Kitts and Nevis’ absence from CARICOM’s 28th Inter-Sessional “might be a sign of trouble”

Caribbean leaders meeting in Guyana last week
Caribbean leaders meeting in Guyana last week (Photo by Charles Jong)

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS – The absence of the St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister or even a delegate from the Federation at last week’s 28th Inter-Sessional of Caribbean Heads of Government, may have led the regional leaders to conclude that Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris “might be in trouble” at home.

“I understand how they think. They believe that the government is in trouble in St. Kitts and Nevis, that there has to be something happening here to cause a prime minister, a minister of foreign affairs, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or even the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister or the accredited ambassador to CARICOM to be absent,” responded Prime Minister Douglas in an invited comment during his weekly radio programme “Ask the Leader” on Kyss 102.5 FM.

“None of them attended this particular meeting. I think that they (Caribbean leaders) would recognise that something is wrong. Even if the government ministers wanted to be here to celebrate the second anniversary, the civil servants are capable, although we have heard that the Prime Minster demanded that all the Permanent Secretaries attend all of the events,” Dr. Douglas told listeners.

“This is ridiculous, and again in my opinion, it is a real situation where the prime minster only thinks of himself,” he added.

“Somebody should have been sent to those meetings especially when you look at the broad and important issues that were being discussed,” said Dr. Douglas, who served as Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis from July 1995 to mid-February 2015.

Dr. Douglas pointed to the issue of U.S. President Donald Trumps’ immigration policy on the agenda and commented upon by Dr. Keith Mitchell, the Prime Minister of Grenada and the new CARICOM Chairman.

“That (policy) is going to affect all of us. And I really do not think that the government should have been absent at all from that meeting when critical matters like these are being discussed,” he said.

Dr. Douglas continued: “When one looks at what is happening, in Washington, DC in response to this unfolding situation, the St. Kitts and Nevis Ambassador to the United States Her Excellency Dr. Thelma Phillip-Browne is clueless as to how to proceed and naturally one understands that.”

In an opening statement on the absence of St. Kitts and Nevis from the Georgetown meeting, Dr. Douglas said the issues of crime, de-risking, ICT and tourism were all important matters that should be regarded as serious to St. Kitts and Nevis.

“Why not being present to discuss these matters? Why did the Team Unity Government not spare the time to send even one government official? What is happening to the once stable, liberal and progressive St. Kitts and Nevis – once a leader in economic growth, in global debt reduction strategies, a leader in the value of exports and services to the United States and a leader in tourism growth, especially in cruise passenger arrivals? Why could Prime Minister Harris not find the time to attend the CARICOM Meeting?” he asked.

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