By Loshaun Dixon
Basseterre, St. Kitts-Minister of Public Infrastructure, Urban Development and Transport the Hon. Ian ‘Patches’ Liburd has denied rumors that he set up a cement and building materials company, but admitted to having registered a business process and management firm.
In December rumors began circulating that the Government Minister had created a company to import and sell cement in the Federation and be in position to win Government construction contracts.
Speaking with members of the media, Mr. Liburd slammed such rumors as untrue.
“Well I hope that you haven’t in the media come like those people who believe in their own propaganda,” he said. “What is a cement company? Whether I establish one is so far from the truth.”
The Representative for Constituency One said as a citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis, he has right to register a company and admitted to doing so.
“I have been in the business process management industry for almost 20 years. There are no licenses procured from the Inland Revenue department and to really peddle the nonsense that has been peddle on the other side by those who have no moral authority to do so,” he said.
He saidt he registered a business process and management company and stated if he feels to take the next step to apply for a business license he has a right to do so.
“So to peddle nonsense about cement, that Government imports cement? There are major importers of cement from timely memorial. TDC, SL Horsfords import cement from Trinidad Cement LTD. That is not a lucrative business. That is nonsense,” he declared.
Liburd said if he was to take the next step, he does not consider it to be a conflict of interest unless he uses the advantage of his office for business gain.
“There is nothing that precludes me as a citizen from engaging in business, any business. As long as I do not use my office to bolster that business, then I have no problem,” Liburd said. “As I said there is no business license procured, so to say your entering the cement business is rubbish.”
He also condemned the Opposition that had insisted it was corrupt for him to set up a business while holding his current office.
“Let them present to you the evidence of what I have done. They talking about corruption! Corruption as they are talking about as I know it is the use of your public office for private gain. And if those on the other side, including the former rejected leader, want to speak about corruption, let us have a discussion about it,” he said.
Liburd accused the former Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis Dr. Denzil Douglas of nepotism during his time in office.
“ He appointed his common law wife or mother of his children to the consulate in Dubai as the first and only consular officer where they distributed passports of St. Kitts and Nevis. If that isn’t nepotism and that isn’t corruption then what is?,” he said.