Former AG Delano Bart Named In Alleged SIDF Corruption LK Hewlett Story Updated: April 29th 2015 at 3:38 pm
Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris has pointed an accusatory finger at former Attorney General and Ambassador Delano Bart QC as one of the persons making millions off the SIDF. PM Harris revealed Tuesday (Apr 28) at a press conference that while functioning as an Ambassador of the Federation to the UN, Bart was being paid millions from the SIDF for legal work and also collecting hundreds of thousands from the government for representing Ex-PM Dr. Denzil Douglas in a court case against two members of the then Opposition. Before being asked to resign by the new administration, Bart was a Permanent Representative in the Permanent Mission of St . Kitts and Nevis in New York. According to Dr. Harris, on February 9 th , 2015, Bart wrote to the former PM requesting payment of US$134,550 [EC $363, 285] for legal work in that particular court matter. “He was claiming from the purse, US$134,550. Did he take a leave of absence with respect to his Ambassadorial duties? So while his own private interest was being enhanced through the provision of legal fees, what was happening to those important duties at the UN?” PM Harris charged. In relation to the Sugar Industry Diversification Fund, the Prime Minister said based on information provided from the Fund’s CEO Terrence Crossman, on Sept 12, 2013 Bart got a cheque for $1,779,000 from the SIDF. Dr. Harris went on to list other large payments the Fund made to the QC over the past two years. “On 16 th July 2013, recipient of funds, Delano Bart and Company, purpose- legal services rendered re sale and purchase of Nevis Airport $126, 389.25. For the year 2014 Delano Bart and Company received $2, 201, 635.80…Delano Bart and Company traveled to South Carolina, legal services re sale by SIDF of its shares, $1.6 million.” There was also a $351,000 payment to Bart for legal services for a loan agreement between the SIDF and National Housing Corporation (NHC); and one of $315, 900 for legal services for a loan between SIDF and TDC. Dr. Harris described the payments as a failure of public policy when a functionary of the government in receipt of public funds could also offer private services to entities over which the government had control and ownership. “While serving as an ambassador to this country, Delano Bart and his Company and/or associates were able to do legal work. So imagine you put a man all the way in New York, put him in an expensive house or condo, giving him free car, free driver, free phone, free drinks and wine, and giving him a big salary, and yet while in public service that same individual could then still be making money at the expense of the taxpayers,” said Dr. Harris. While in Opposition Dr. Harris was one calling for the accounts of the SIDF to be made public. The Fund provided audited financial statements for public consumption only once, in 2011. He said now the public could understand why the accounts of the SIDF were not allowed to be scrutinized by public auditors.