St. Kitts-Nevis’s speaker: I have been verbally attacked by former supervisor of elections and former press secretary
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Speaker of the St. Kitts-Nevis National Assembly, the Honourable Michael Anthony Perkins, has read into the minutes of the House that he has on several occasions been verbally attacked while walking the streets of Basseterre by former senior public officials of the former Dr. Denzil Douglas-led administration.
Speaking at the opening of the term of the National Assembly for 2018 Jan. 23, Speaker Perkins said that he has been verbally accosted and publicly harassed by Erasmus Williams, former press secretary to former Prime Minister the Right Hon. Denzil Douglas, and by Wingrove George, former supervisor of elections. George was formally arrested, charged and cautioned on two warrants in the first instance for the offence of Misconduct in Public Office on Dec. 15, 2017. George was granted bail by his Honour Reynold Benjamin in the sum of $25,000 on each charge with two sureties.
“It pains me to report that sometime during the course of last year, while on my way from Parliament to take the ferry back to Nevis, as I walked along the bay front, I realized that as I approached a group of persons, someone in the group was pointing to me and then I realized what they were saying was directed to me,” said Perkins. “I recognize[d] that person as a Wingrove George, former supervisor of elections, and among the things he said to me at the time is that ‘I only have one eye; I can only see one side of the House; I do not like Labour. I consider that to be totally disrespectful and unbecoming of someone who held a former senior position in our public service.”
In addition, the speaker said that he was verbally hounded on two separate occasions following that of George, this time by Erasmus Williams.
“On the first occasion, while walking from the ferry to Parliament one morning on the waterfront in the earshot of people who were around, he said to me ‘Why don’t I stop making myself a jackass for Timothy Harris.’ I looked at him and he repeated it: ‘Boy, why don’t you stop making yourself a jackass for Timothy Harris,'” Speaker Perkins said.
“A couple months later, while walking in the streets of Basseterre, a car pulled up next to me and then again I realized the driver [was] Erasmus Williams and again he shouted to me ‘Boy, stop stifling democracy, stop stifling democracy,'” Speaker Perkins said. “These are two persons who held senior government positions and who have verbally attacked me on the streets of Basseterre,” he added.
Speaker Perkins said that he was attacked by someone else he does not know. “One occasion while travelling somewhere in the countryside, I was verbally accosted by someone on the side of the street with expletives and more. I do not know the person. If I am to see the person again, I may recognize [him,] but that’s just someone in the general public. I don’t know their background. I don’t know anything about them,” he said.
Perkins said that Parliament should set an example for the general public and that members of Parliament should refrain from personal attacks on one another and himself as speaker as this sends a wrong message.
“It is my plea to honourable members of this House, it is one thing I think we need to put to rest is that level of personal attacks being thrown at members during the course of our proceedings,” Perkins said. “It is clearly in violation of our Standing Orders that we desist from using such personal attacks.”