“There is no rule or law whatsoever in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis which prevents or prohibits any elected Minister or Prime Minister from conducting private business while in office. It matters not that a foreign state is involved. Nor would it matter if Integrity in Public Office legislation was enacted into law.” Says Attorney Astaphan then Legal Counsel of Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas in 2008 Statement
The above was a statement issued on behalf of then Prime Mnister Douglas when it was revealed that he had rented property to the government of the Republic of China on Taiwan.
The now St.Kitts-Nevis Opposition Leader Dr. Denzil Douglas is coming under fire once again over the same business transaction that took place whilst Prime Minister of the Federation of St.Kitts-Nevis. In 2008 then PM Douglas came under fire when it was revealed that he had entered into a rental/lease agreement with the Republic of China on Taiwan for a property in which Douglas has beneficial interest , at an area in Basseterre known as Five Ways. The property was leased/rented to the Taiwanese for an undisclosed amount but which many speculate is in the region of $10,000 per month.
In addressing the matter when it was revealed, Dr. Douglas issued an official statement through his then Legal Counsel Anthony Astaphan via the Communications Unit and then Press Secretary Erasmus Williams in which he stated “There was and is no corruption, misfeasance or illegality in the rental of private property by a Prime Minister to a foreign Embassy or Government. There is no rule or law whatsoever in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis which prevents or prohibits any elected Minister or Prime Minister from conducting private business while in office. It matters not that a foreign state is involved. Nor would it matter if Integrity in Public Office legislation was enacted into law.”
SC Astaphan further stated that Dr. Douglas after becoming Prime Minister continued, like any other citizen of the Federation, to acquire properties from private individuals. One lot was acquired from the Frigate Bay Development Corporation in the normal course of business and at the going market price. He said Dr. Douglas had acquired shares in a number of companies and businesses as well as properties by means of loans and mortgages. Astaphan stated that all of the properties acquired by Dr. Douglas as Prime Minister after 1995 were purchased by means of loans and mortgages secured by titles, and, most if not all he said, were being repaid by rent gathered from a number of properties under business plans. He said the monthly rental payable to Dr. Douglas exceeded his monthly obligations to the banks.
Some 8 years later a hefty rental is still being paid for the property which is still currently used as the Official Residence of the Taiwanese Ambassador.