By L.K. Hewlett
St. Kitts Reporter
The Prime Minister of the federation Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas was asked to explain his reputed wealth at a public gathering on Tuesday.
Ministers of government along with ministers of State and the attorney general held an open forum discussion at the Basseterre Senior High School auditorium with members of the general public.
The audience, which was described as ‘mainly Labour party supporters’, raised several issues including housing, electoral reform, crime and land distribution.
One citizen took to the microphone and insisted on asking fifty questions but was only allowed to ask four, chief of which was the demand for P.M. Douglas to speak about his personal wealth.
After the man finished his barrage of questions and veiled accusations, Honourable Denzil Douglas responded by saying that he could not answer the gentleman as he had not really been asked a question.
The Observer spoke to someone who had been in the audience who said that he felt the whole purpose of the discussion was lost as persons who had genuine concerns to raise refrained from doing so.
“People came here to get answers to certain things but there were people inside who were clearly Labour party supporters wouldn’t give people a chance to talk. Whenever anyone said anything they felt was against their party, they started to taunt and ridicule. I think that intimidated some people and they decided to keep quiet,” the person said, commenting on the obvious heckling that went one when persons addressed the head table.
While others agreed that the forum was not fruitful, some said it was a testimony to the Labour administration’s policy of transparency and accountability.
“Whether you support Labour or PAM, you have to give this government credit for appearing live and in person to be asked questions from anybody. We never had this kind of access to government ministers before,” a lady said after the gathering.
During his address to the audience, the prime minister said that his administration recognized the importance of accountability.
“It is in keeping with our commitment to good governance and it is in keeping with our recognition of the importance of accountability to you – the people we have been elected to serve. As a government we thank you sincerely for the confidence you have placed in us over the years to lead this country we are blessed to be able to call ours.
“We look forward to your continued support as we work to complete the task of transforming St Kitts and Nevis into a modern and competitive society,” said Dr. Douglas.