By LR Liburd
The St. Kitts-Nevis Observer
Opposition Leader and Leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas has thrown out a challenge to Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris to produce evidence that he is guilty of irregularities while his party was in government.
This challenge comes in the face of accusations made by PM Harris while responding to questions from the media at his last monthly press conference held last Thursday (Apr. 21) in the Parliamentary Lounge at Government Headquarters.
Dr. Harris had accused the former Douglas-led administration of indulging in a number of improprieties including sidebar deals.
“We have to be responsible, we have to find solutions to crisis rather than to bring the citizens, as it were, headlong into crisis. That is how this government has been acting. And in the fullness of time when we come to you with situations after situations, you will be amazed at how much this government has vested to stabilise this country.
“Almost every major project in which Douglas administration was involved has been a problem child and we have been attempting to correct it. The last administration made sidebar deals, not just in relation to the Conaree playfield. The last administration got with investors and promised private investors that they were going to nationalise private property in St. Kitts and Nevis for the benefit of a private investor.”
The Prime Minister stressed that those are the kinds of arrangements with which the three-party coalition is battling.
Dr. Douglas however rubbished the allegations, called for evidence and also pointed accusing fingers in Dr. Harris’ direction.
Speaking with a local media house, the former Prime Minister said, “This is really ridiculous! The Prime Minister has been in office with a unity concoction for the last 14 months. After all of his talk, why doesn’t he produce evidence? We are produced credible evidence in challenging him. We said to him, and he cannot deny it, that he used one million dollars of taxpayers’ money, a highly irregular activity, and put that onto his own house in Tabernacle. Let him point out any irregularity that has been seen in the administration that I left.
“There was a Public Accounts Committee. He was a member of the Public Accounts Committee until it was dissolved when the elections took place in February of 2015. I challenge him to bring any matter that was subject of any irregularity by my government to the public, to any Public Account Committee or any inquiry that he may wish to have.”
Douglas reminded that shortly after winning the 2010 General Elections his government had instituted a Public Accounts Committee which was headed by the Hon. Mark Brantley.
He claimed that while in opposition the Team Unity Government had promised to have him jailed, but that could not be done because there is nothing to implicate him in any illegal activity.
“They have said, one, the government has changed and Douglas would have to run away, Douglas would have to be in jail, et cetera…I am here walking freely.”
The Opposition Leader also claimed after the February 2015 Elections he had left a number of personal documents in the Prime Minister’s office and only recently was in receipt of them, adding that they were scrutinised but nothing was within to implicate him in misgivings.
“ I want to emphasise it was just two weeks ago, or maybe three weeks ago, when I was away that my former secretary was called to collect all of the items I left in the office of the Prime Minister, which included all of my private documents and papers which I did not remove.
“He had gone through them for 14 months, brought in forensic people to look at every piece of document that was left there. And three weeks ago he returned them to my home in Frigate Bay.”
Dr. Douglas reiterated his challenge to PM Harris, stating: “I challenge you, bring evidence of any irregularity that was performed under my administration. The time for talking has ended.”