Opposition Leader Dr Denzil Douglas is challenging Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris to come clean on his handling of the controversy involving a Chinese national wanted in connection with financial crimes.
Douglas has charged that Harris misled the country last week when he claimed that his Team Unity Government was left to clean up the mess created by the former St Kitts/Nevis Labour Party administration that had granted citizenship to Ren Biao.
Ren is wanted by Interpol and his homeland for allegedly defrauding Chinese state companies of US$100 million.
Harris charged that Douglas was adequately informed by the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) of the Chinese national’s pending arrival in the country and this gave the former Prime Minister ample notice to take the necessary action.
But Douglas categorically denied the claim, insisting that Interpol did not communicate with his Government, pointing out that it was the custom of the organization to only communicate with police.
“There would be no need whatsoever for the Office of the Prime Minister to be engaged in any kind of dialogue with Interpol. In each country at the national level, there is a designated senior police officer who has been trained and who interacts with Interpol whenever there is a case,” said Douglas.
He identified the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Merclyn Hughes, as the Interpol Liasion Officer who was therefore the person who was contacted by Interpol through the appropriate and proper correspondence in 2014.
Douglas further argued that Prime Minister Harris was given a full report on Biao in April of 2015, less than six weeks after taking office.
“This is a fact that Dr Harris is trying to hide from the public of St Kitts and Nevis with regard to this particular matter,” he charged.
Douglas cited a public statement by Attorney General Vincent Byron, who reported that an examination of the application file of Ren revealed no red flags at the time his application for citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis was received.
Douglas was adamant that Prime Minister Harris was trying “to lie his way out of the predicament that he has found himself in when he has been accused by the Chinese Government of corruption and not cooperating with regard to the request made to Dr Harris by the Chinese Government”.
Media reports indicate that the Chinese national’s St Kitts and Nevis passport has been deactivated.