Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 28, 2015 (SKNIS): Evidence suggests that the St. Kitts Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) Administration, led by the Leader of the Opposition, Dr Denzil Douglas, engaged in corrupt practices in an effort to hold on to power, according to Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris.
During his budget rebuttal on Monday (December 21), Dr. Harris told the nation that a number of the SKNLP’s campaign schemes were funded by the government, instead of the party.
Prime Minister Harris said that shortly after taking office in February 2015, the Government of National Unity found it necessary to fix such atrocities.
“We rejected the notion that state resources should be so callously and shamelessly used to fund partisan political activities,” he said, indicating that in keeping with the good governance agenda that provides a government that is accountable to the people who entrusted them with leadership, it was imperative to make “changes to the parasitic oligarchy.”
Citing the example of the Constituency Empowerment Office, Prime Minister Harris said it was initiated under the guise of a “Government Programme”, but used to channel funds with the hope of gaining political mileage. Another case in point, he said, was a walk way area at Bourryeau Estate that was funded by the government, but not promoted as such.
Prime Minister Harris further revealed wanton waste and misuse of government funds in programmes such as the People’s Empowerment Programme (PEP) where “$163 million was spent to hire 4000 persons for training but only 130 were trained according to CDB (Caribbean Development Bank),” and the Small Enterprise Assistance Fund (SEAF) that was handled at SKIPA, which was used to distribute “$11 million without accountability.”
He said that this provides “clear evidence that the last administration corruptly used public resources to further their narrow partisan interests.”
Prime Minister Harris also exposed that in an effort to hold on to the gearstick of power, the Douglas-led Administration used “over $100,000 public funds to buy tickets for CPL cricket games,” further explaining that “the last administration tried to fill the park by giving away cricket tickets then asking the Treasury to pay.”
According to the prime minister such corruption and impropriety should never be the practice of any government.
He pledged the Government’s commitment to providing a fresh start for the citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis, explaining that after only 10 months in office his government had already made significant changes.
Referring to a recent poll conducted by renowned Pollster Don Anderson, Prime Minister Harris said that it is “no wonder 68 percent of people are satisfied with us,” stating further that, “the noise of a few election malcontents will not turn back the progress. We are moving on while they are looking back to a past to which with the Grace of God, we shall not return.”
“I pledge to the country that we will govern responsibly and our fiscal management shall be prudent,” he said.