Prime minister refutes bribery claim is about his administration

By Loshaun Dixon

The Office of the Prime Minister in St. Kitts and Nevis is refuting media claims in the United Kingdom that indicate that some Caribbean officials may have been involved with a scandal with a UK businessman.

The statement read in part that “the Office of the Prime Minister has been made aware of a recent media article reporting on a judgment of the English High Court, which concerns allegations that Peter Virdee and Dieter Trutschler engaged in bribery involving Caribbean officials.”

Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris in the statement added that the government had held the highest level of integrity since taking office.

“Given the seriousness of the innuendo in the article that officials from St. Kitts and Nevis had any involvement in this matter, … Harris states emphatically and unequivocally that since Team Unity was elected, the integrity of the Office of the Prime Minister has at all times been maintained to the highest standards to which the citizens and residents of the federation are entitled to and must hold their government. The judgment references a period of time beginning in 2014. Prime Minister Harris cannot speak to what may have occurred prior to his assumption of office of the prime minister on Feb. 18, 2015. Prime Minister Harris confirms that the Team Unity government has not entered into any agreements with the parties referenced in the article.”

Harris also stated reaffirmed his commitment to protecting the reputation of St. Kitts and Nevis. “Prime Minister Harris and Team Unity are committed to upholding the rule of law and protecting the reputation of the federation at the local, regional and international levels. Protecting and serving the interests of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis is the foundation of how Team Unity governs this nation.”

The prime minister has consulted with senior legal counsel in an effort to determine the next steps.

The transcript of a conversation records Virdee as telling his colleague that “the Prime Minister of St. Kitts was visiting, and he was ‘taking him and his entourage for dinner this evening, so be ready for a big bill.'” The transcript had Virdee continuning with “he said he would like a nice watch, I said, ‘OK. I don’t want to be spending more than like £2,000 on a watch.’ And, then he called in the morning and said, ‘have you got my watch?’ I said, ‘I have to go pick your watch up.’”