Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 12, 2018 – Since taking office three years ago, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris, is yet to address serious charges of nepotism.
“The Prime Minister during his press conference felt constrained to defend charges of nepotism levelled against him,” said a caller to a recent WINNFM “Inside the News” programme.
The caller referred listeners to sections 77 and 83 in the St. Kitts and Nevis Constitution.
Section 77.deals with the appointment of persons to the Public Service Commission and section 83, applies to the office of magistrate, registrant of the High Court and to any public office in the department of the Attorney-General (other than the public office of Attorney-General) or the department of the Director of Public Prosecutions (other than the office of Director) for appointment to which persons are required to hold one or other of the specified qualifications.
Since becoming prime minister, one of Dr. Harris’ sister, has been appointed as a magistrate. Another sister, who was Registrar of the High Court and Additional Magistrate returned to that position.
Although the caller never gave examples of nepotism and cronyism, a poll conducted by Jamaican pollster Bill Johnson, found that over 80 percent of Kittitians were concerned about the high levels of corruption in the Timothy Harris-led Team Unity Administration.
“70 percent were concerned about nepotism, 75.6 percent about crime, 51.8 percent on victimisation and 46.4 percent on the Citizenship by Investment Programme,” said the poll.
The SKNLP caretaker for St. Christopher 8, Dr. Terrance Drew has been pointing out that while Prime Minister Dr. Harris tries to divert attention by spewing out the words ‘good governance, accountability and democracy’ just like ‘fair share and fresh start,’ every time and everywhere he opens his mouth, he continues to ensure that his family members enjoy the cream of the financial gains and top positions while little or no monetary rewards go into the pockets of the ordinary man and woman of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Dr. Drew noted that the country has heard and seen the evidence of the Harris family involvement in several newly established businesses since Dr Harris was appointed Prime Minister.
Car rental companies have been established and conduct business with government institutions such as the Police Force. Another company rents chairs, tents and tables to government for public and private events. A family member is involved in ice making and sales. Another family company provides trucking and haulage services to government and private companies.
Family members are also involved in several other areas including the MRI machines at the Monkey Farm, the Catscan machine at the J. N. France General Hospital, the clearing of the land and construction of the National Heroes Park and the continued landscaping at a high monthly cost; tire repairs and importation of generators for sale and rental.
Douglas Wattley, the former Chairman of Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris’ People’s Labour Party (PLP), has also questioned the sale of the Brighton Estate house at a reduced price, to one of Dr. Harris’ sisters.
During the recent 2018 Budget Debate in December, it was disclosed that the contract to construct the new Tabernacle Clinic, was awarded to Mr. William Challenger, the next door neighbour of Prime Minister Harris.
Several contractors and other persons have indicated that Challenger is not much known in the construction and does not even have a track record in the industry.
It was a family member of the prime minister who also demolished the old Tabernacle Health Clinic and is said to be in main contractor for the project.
Harris family companies have been awarded contracts to resurface the Tabernacle Playing Field, clearing land for the new prison, replacing a section of the roof at the Primary School in Tabernacle, and placing protective boulders at Black Rocks in Belle Vue, all in St. Christopher 7, the constituency that Dr. Harris represents in the National Assembly.