St Kitts-Nevis opposition leader and representatives of the United States discuss issues, concerns ahead of 2020 poll
By : Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St Kitts, February 13, 2020 – Officials of the Barbados-based Embassy of the United States held discussions with St Kitts and Nevis’ Leader of the Opposition and National Political Leader of the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP), The Rt Hon Dr Denzil L. Douglas.
Political and Economic Officer, Mr Mike Pennel, who was accompanied by Political Specialist, Mrs Amelia Swift, were informed of the challenges and concerns ahead of the upcoming general elections.
Dr Douglas highlighted the late attempt by Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris to change the electoral boundaries on the eve of the next general elections.
He pointed to the date of the last general elections which was held on February 16, 2015 and opposition challenges to the attempts by his then St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) adminstrations to change the boundaries following consultations prior to the 2010 and 2015 elections.
Dr Douglas expressed his objection to the plans by Dr Harris to gerrymander the boundaries weeks before the date for the upcoming 2020 poll.
Widespread nepotism in which prime minister Harris has placed his siblings and relatives in high government positions in both the public service and government controlled institutions and victimisation was also raised.
Also raised was the uncontrolled enrichment from various government contracts including the second cruise pier as well as the Citizenship by Investment Programme.
The failure of Prime Minister Harris to allow the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) to publish the 2018 Article IV Consultation on the economy of St Kitts and Nevis and withholding the invitation from the IMF to mount its annual mission in 2019 were also highlighted.
Dr Douglas also mentioned the Harris government’s watering down of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which has rendered the Standing Committee of the St Kitts and Nevis National Assembly toothless and powerless to investigate allegations of corruption in government as well as the expenditure of public funds.
The future relationship between the United States and St Kitts and Nevis under the incoming Labour Administration was also discussed.
The plans and programmes of a St Kitts-Nevis NextGen Labour Government was also a talking point at which Dr Douglas used the opportunity to present copies of the NextGen SKN Policy Map to the US officials.