Legal Technicality Foils Election Petition Cases: Harris Regime Hides from Facing Allegations of Bribery and Electoral Fraud
July 31, 2020
Democracy for the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis has suffered a crushing blow based on a legal technicality identified by Dr. Timothy Harris and other defendants in the Unity coalition regime that willfully ignores compelling evidence of fraud. The six election petitions filed by the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) provided substantive evidence, based on eye-witness accounts and reports from its electoral agents, that uncovered widespread irregularities in the voting process. It also identified numerous allegations of bribery and massive corruption and electoral fraud that made a mockery of the June 5th General Election.
The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party finds it extremely appalling and regrettable that before one shred of evidence could be laid before the court, the democratic voices of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis have been stifled. The June 5th General Election was neither free, fair or free from fear. It was not conducted on a level playing field. The UNITY incumbent candidates used and abused the cover of the COVID-19 pandemic and the State of Emergency to gain an unfair advantage. No international observers were allowed to independently monitor the electoral and voting processes.
A New York Times article entitled “Latin America is Facing a Decline in Democracy under the Pandemic” published on July 29, 2020, cited the 24-hour lockdown as one of the main impediments hampering opposition efforts to connect with voters while candidates on the government side were allowed to do so.
The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party will not rest until the will of the people prevails in our blessed land which is the only source of authority of our nation’s leaders. We wish to express our thanks to all of our supporters, not just our Labour supporters, but all who have stood up and spoken out in defense of Truth and Justice. Thank you for standing on the side of principles, integrity in public office, good governance and justice. The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party shares in the disappointment of the overwhelming majority of right-thinking citizens who have seen their hopes and dreams hijacked by the fraudulent election. We are resolute in rejecting any notion that the election return results reflected the genuine will of the people. Many legal experts, having looked at the substantive matters in this case, came to the conclusion that all petitions were likely to succeed.
The demand to rescue democracy is a national imperative that cannot be ignored. Victory will be created out of our relentless commitment to beating back the anti-democratic forces that threaten to normalize the unprecedented low to which the political process in our country has descended. The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party will continue to hold the national standard high and will not rest until the will of the majority of the people is recognized.
The SKNLP Executive Extends Condolences on Passing of former Prime Minister of Barbados, Professor Owen Arthur
July 27, 2020
The Executive of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party extends heartfelt condolences to the government and people of Barbados on the untimely passing of former Prime Minister Owen Seymour Arthur.
Mr. Arthur was a jovial and charismatic leader who served in the highest office in Barbados for three consecutive terms between 1994 and 2008. He was a brilliant economist and staunch Integrationist who always emphasized the importance of strengthening the functional cooperation dimensions of the regional integration movement and the need for a self-sufficient Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy.
Since retiring from political office he has continued these pursuits both through academia, as a Professor of Practice, teaching the Economics of Development at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, as well as through his service as the Chairman of the Board of LIAT the Caribbean Airline.
Our deepest sympathies are also extended to Mr. Arthur’s wife, Julie and daughters, Sabrina and Leah and other loved ones, friends, colleagues and associates. May the Peace of Christ comfort and strengthen them as they mourn this terrible loss.
May Owen’s Soul rest in eternal peace.
July 25, 2020
Chairman of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) has taken to the airwaves to decry the recent action taken by the new Harris administration to reduce the pay scale on the public service payroll system for degreed nurses from K34, amounting to about EC $5,000 per month back to K32, a reduction of about EC $600.
The change in salary scale was the result of intense negotiations that took place in May 2020 after nurses threatened to take strike action for the poor treatment and working conditions which they were facing, especially those working at the Joseph N. France General Hospital.
Dr. Terrance Drew, commenting during a news item on Freedom 106.5 FM, stated that the nurses, who had been risking their lives and working hard on double shifts, did not deserve such treatment. “I have had a number of calls from nurses and I have also had visits from nurses with respect to the present situation. Just before the election, they [(the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis)] had increased their pay scale. They had increased it to K34 and their salaries to $5,000. This was done with the consent of the Permanent Secretary of Health and former Ministers of Health, both the Hon. Wendy Phipps and the Hon. Eugene Hamilton, as well as the Prime Minister. The scale was adjusted and the nurses got their increase. However, less than two months after the [June 5th] election, the nurses have been written to and they have been told that their pay scale will be brought back down to K32, which is a reduction of about $600,” stated Dr. Drew, a medical doctor.
“All this is showing that this, [(the June increase in salary)] was just an election gimmick. A way to deceive the nurses to win their support and their vote in order for the Unity arrangement to get back into power. This is a very hurtful situation and I empathize with the nurses. They would have put their trust in the government and politicians. I want to take the opportunity to extend my support to the nurses. These are professional people who have been hoodwinked and fooled and deceived by this government and it is really sad. I call on the government to reinstate the pay of the nurses … The SKNLP believes that all public servants including nurses should be paid for their degrees without exception. However, this has not been the approach of the Unity administration. The [salary of nurses] was adjusted only around the time of the election with the purpose of winning votes, it was not a significant change in policy. It was just done as part of the deception in order to win the election.”
The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party lends its voice in solidarity with our nation’s hardworking, caring and compassionate nurses and midwives. The year 2020 has been declared the “International Year of the Nurse and Midwife” by the World Health Organization (WHO) in recognition of their heroism during this global pandemic. Nursing is a prestigious and valuable profession and our nurses and health-workers generally, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and they should be duly compensated for noble service and their sacrifice.
For the last four years, our nurses have been crying out and agitating regarding the poor working conditions, long hours of work and inadequate remuneration that they face. The very tense situation between our nurses and health officials has caused a lot of resentment and discontent to build up among the ranks of our nurses that led several to take to social media to vent their frustration and threaten industrial action. It was as a result of these valiant and determined efforts by the nurses that the Health officials were forced to sit down with the nurses in May 2020.
For the negotiated position to be abruptly reversed barely two months after the June 5th election, without the proper procedures being followed or an opportunity for redress provided is unacceptable and disgraceful. It also exposes, once again, the deceptive, ruthless and heartless nature the Harris cabinet in relation to our nurses specifically and workers generally.
July 15, 2020
Supervisor of Elections, Mr. Elvin Bailey captures the title of “Mr. Willfully Blind.” Lately he has been breaking a sweat to earn his sugar-cake as an apologist for the coalition regime. Yesterday, his interview on the talk radio programme “Issues” aired on Freedom 106.5 FM was no exception. He tried his crafty best to make the case that the June 5th General Election was free and fair. He would make a great witness for the prosecution because he instead admitted that as the Supervisor of Elections, he is “biased” and hence, could not provide his opinion or give his assessment of the election. It is therefore no small wonder that he would go on to make excuses for the wanton, flagrant constitutional violations that took place and his repeated failure to safeguard our electoral process.
When asked what he thought about the Governor General’s rejection of all eight of the Returning Officers whom he trained and recommended, he insisted that his were only recommendations and that “the Governor General may or may not accept the recommendations of the Supervisor”. Bailey danced around the fact that none of the Poll Clerks and Presiding Officers were trained in 2020 and several of them had not even taken the oath or had their letters of authorization on Polling Day. The trained Returning Officers who were rejected were replaced by persons who appeared to be hand-picked by Dr. Timothy Harris himself. These questions were raised when the Prime Minister’s own brother-in-law, Jermaine “Sacky” Lake was among the new appointees. It is no wonder then that the Returning Officer for Constituency #4, who was also interviewed, refused to answer a caller who asked how many training sessions and on what dates was he trained.
Which elections did Bailey supervise? Is he alright?
On the issue of whether or not the ballot boxes met the constitutional requirements, Bailey declared that “the legislation says, the ballot boxes must be made of sturdy material with one padlock…they were sturdy, they had a padlock…they were not wooden, but they were see through, you could see your vote drop to the bottom.”
Every single voter saw for themselves that plastic zip ties were used to keep the plastic ballot boxes closed. Bailey has never seen a lock in his life? Part IV, Section 67 (ii) of the St. Christopher and Nevis National Assembly Elections Act (2009) which makes it mandatory that “…Every ballot box shall be made of some durable material with one lock and key…” No locks and no keys were used to secure the ballot boxes in any of the 129 polling sites across the Federation. Furthermore the use of “see-through” plastic bins further compromised the rights of voters to a secret ballot.
Which elections did Bailey supervise? Is he alright?
Bailey’s interview amounted to a gas-bag of nonsensical excuses and insulting untruths. He said that he made up for the two-hour delay in the opening of the Bird Rock polling site by allowing all persons who were in the line by 6 pm to cast their vote. He said that additional time was allotted and the additional time was at 6 pm. How can closing a polling site at precisely the same time it is due to be closed had it opened on time be considered “additional time”? There have been numerous reports that persons were prevented from voting when they arrived before 6 pm expecting the polling hours to be extended.
Which elections did Bailey really supervise? Is he alright?
The people of St. Kitts and Nevis cannot accept a stolen election. Bailey utterly failed to fulfill his role as Supervisor and to manage the process without fear or favour. As a result, the so-called results of the election cannot in good conscience be considered to be an accurate reflection of the people’s will. The failures Bailey hinted towards during his interview were absolutely appalling and highly unacceptable. The fact that he is bold-facedly defending multiple electoral irregularities is deeply disturbing. It reflects a willful and wanton disregard and disrespect for the democratic rights of our people. If someone in his position has such a mindset, where are we headed as a nation and as a people?
Photo 1: Voters Line Up on Polling Day
Photo 2. Plastic Bins Used at Ballot Boxes on Polling Day
Photo 3. Mr. Germaine Lake, Presiding Officer Delivering Chairs to Bird Rock Polling Station at 9 am.
June 10, 2020
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, where thousands of young people are jobless and cannot take care of their families, Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis is engaging in a frivolous legal exercise. The regime claims that “Cabinet determined that it will be seeking legal advice to determine whether Dr. Denzil Douglas should reimburse monies paid to him while he sat in Parliament …”
This is political buffoonery of the highest order and a total waste of state resources, especially at a time when the economy of our country is falling apart and the government has no workable solution to get it back on track. This course of action that Harris has undertaken is especially worrisome when children are going to bed hungry, hotel workers cannot make ends meet and businesses are going under.
“I’ve served as the Leader of the Opposition and the duly-elected member of Constituency Number Six (6|). I have diligently and vigorously represented the interest of my constituents, citizens and residents and Party over the last five years. Harris and the Attorney-General brought a case against me that I won in the first instance and lost on Appeal. However, up to the point leading to the Court ruling in February 2020, all monies paid to me were lawful based on the services rendered. This is why it is beyond my comprehension and puzzling to right-thinking citizens that Harris would want to vengefully give retroactive application to the Court ruling by paying back monies that I have earned in execution of my Office. This is a clear attempt to poison the political culture of our country and to harass and attack me,” said the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas, political leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party.
“His quest for legal advice will amount to nothing, and Harris knows this. His ranting and raving, packaged as official statements, are intended to mislead, deceive and create confusion in the minds of the people. This is nothing but political distraction from Harris’ inability to stimulate the economy, put our young people back to work and put food in the mouths of children and elderly pensioners. It is also an act of political fury, by Harris and other members of the regime, against being forced by the SKNLP to face up to the Election Petitions we have filed with the Court. These petitions have exposed the scandalous and shocking electoral fraud and land-for-vote corruption that polluted the last General Election. This kind of propaganda is fake and vicious news at its best, and our people know it. Using the same logic, Harris should vacate the Office of the Prime Minister and refuse his salary until the Court rules on the six Election Petitions that were filed against his illegitimate regime,” Dr. Douglas concluded.
June 10, 2020
In an effort to avoid the court proceedings brought on by allegations of widespread electoral fraud and corruption, Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, as well as other members of his regime have deliberately refused to accept the Election Petitions that were served upon them by the Court Bailiff.
“If Harris and Powell have nothing to hide then why are they engaging in kangaroo tactics to avoid facing the music in the courts? Come hell or high water, Harris, Powell and others will have to answer the petitions. The long arm of Justice will hold them to account regardless of how much they resist,” said the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas, political leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP).
Six petitions were filed in the High Court by the SKNLP candidates – Marcella Liburd, St Christopher 2 (Central Basseterre); Konris Maynard, St Christopher 3 (West Basseterre); Steve Wrensford, (St Christopher 4); Kenneth Douglas (St Christopher 5); Leon Natta-Nelson (St Christopher 7) and Dr. Terrance Drew (St Christopher 8). Court action was taken following a thorough investigation based on reports submitted by polling agents of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party as well as independent eye-witness accounts which exposed massive corruption, illegalities, irregularities and stunning allegations of bribery.
Taken together, the SKNLP is of the conviction that the results of the June 5th General Elections do not reflect the will of the people and therefore must be challenged.
The hearing in the Civil Court, which was expected to discuss the procedures and the case management of the petitions, was set to go before His Lordship Mr. Justice Trevor Ward, QC, today, June 10, 2020.
Most regrettably, the preliminary proceeding in relation to the hearing of the six Election Petitions has been rescheduled for Friday, July 17, 2020.
What will the Harris regime do next to delay matters further?
July 8, 2020
As people of conscience, the leadership of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party has taken the decision not to attend the official Opening of the National Assembly that is set to take place at 10:00 am on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. This decision was taken after thoughtful and careful deliberation based on the assessment of the massive malpractices that tarnished the political environment of the June 5, 2020 General Election, which in our view, was neither free, fair nor just. However, the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party remains unswervingly committed to representing the people’s concerns, desires and aspirations throughout the Federation.
The elected Representatives of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party refuse to be complicit in sanctioning a system of apparent election-rigging and voter suppression that has been established, promoted and protected by the illegitimate Harris-led coalition regime. In the face of the rampant corruption, massive fraud, widespread irregularities and allegations of bribery, the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party intends to send a strong message that “Democracy Matters” and we will not stand by and allow such practices to become the norm in our voting and election processes here in St. Kitts and Nevis. We have filed a lawsuit based on six petitions that have been put forward challenging the return results of Constituency Numbers 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 with a clear view to trigger fresh elections so that the true will of the people can be determined.
We insist that the conduct of the June 5th General Election represented a miscarriage of justice and democracy. It denied the participation of properly constituted international observer missions to independently monitor the voting process. These and other practices gravely compromised due process and distorted the electoral results.
Furthermore, the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party Leader, following an audience with His Excellency, the Governor General is still awaiting the settling of certain outstanding matters relating to the effective operations of the Office of the Leader of the Opposition. These matters were not resolved during the last Parliamentary Session and must be addressed and corrected if the Office of the Leader of the Opposition is to function effectively. The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, as a single Party, with a clear vision, still commands the majority of votes vis-à-vis other political parties and, as such, must ensure that the people’s representation is not compromised. In order to adequately and successfully represent the interests of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Parliamentary Opposition must be furnished with a well-financed and functional Office of the Leader of the Opposition.
The leadership of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party therefore will not attend this ceremony that will mark the beginning of the reign of an oppressive and illegitimate regime. The SKNLP will not rest until the will of the people prevails and democracy is restored to our blessed Federation.
We guarantee this!
July 7, 2020
In another twist in the Grant and Powel “Misappropriation of Client’s Funds” saga, the Chief Justice of the OECS Supreme Court of Appeal, the Honourable Dame Janice Pereira denied the application by the Hon. Lindsay Grant and the Hon. Jonel Powell on July 6, 2020.
Grant and Powell asked for “an extension of time within which to seek leave to appeal and set aside the default judgement” of Justice J. Ventose that was handed down on October 28, 2019.
In this landmark ruling, the Chief Justice strongly condemns the application by Grant and Powell as negligent, reckless, futile and a complete waste of the Court’s time when she stated, on page 2 paragraph  of the ruling that “we refused the application to extend time for applying for leave to appeal, which in effect rendered the rolled-up applications for leave to appeal and a stay, otiose.”
With such a decisive ruling, Grant and Powell, have used their final lifeline to set aside the damning ruling of Justice J. Ventose. He found them to be liable of “Breach of Trust”, “Breach of their Fiduciary Duty” and for “Misappropriation of Monies belonging to the Claimant”, Mr. Tanzania Tobin Tanzil, in the amount of “US$460,000.00” or EC$1.2 million.
Given the gravity of the decision, all Courts across the Commonwealth Caribbean have already condemned these actions. In a sense, this ruling should provide a compelling reason for both guilty men to resign from public office.
Grant and Powell however, continue to disrespect the people of St. Kitts and Nevis. They defy national and regional norms demanding integrity in public office by continuing to parade themselves shamelessly in public office as Parliamentarians.
The July 6, 2020 ruling casts a dark cloud over the opening of the National Assembly of St. Kitts and Nevis. This is due to take place tomorrow, Wednesday, July 8, 2020. During the first sitting of Parliament Grant and Powell are due to take the Oath/Affirmation of Allegiance of Members.
By The Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas,
Political Leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party and former Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis (1995-2015)
July 1, 2020
My heart is heavy and spirit dampened after learning of the passing of Sir Everton Weekes. He lived an illustrious, highly regaled, cricket record-making life filled with dignity, regional honor and global sports impact.
On behalf of the members and leadership of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP), I express heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies to his family, friends, supporters and fans.
Beyond tears and sorrow, we celebrate an iconic legend known fondly for being one of the ‘Three Ws’: Walcott, Worrell and Weekes. He was part of the team that delivered a groundbreaking Test victory in 1950.
An exemplary grandfather, father, mentor, commentator, first class batsman and man of integrity is gone but his legacy will live on in our hearts for generations to come.
He scored far more off the cricket field in grace, guts and generosity than the 4, 445 runs, in 48 Tests with an average of 56.61 that he made for West Indies Cricket.
I celebrate this great Bajan brother and outstanding Caribbean superstar!
May his soul rest in eternal peace.
June 28, 2020
The battle to determine the will of the people is just beginning. War has been declared to save the democracy of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“Elections and the right to a free and fair voting process constitute, perhaps, the most important elements in the conception and practice of liberal democracy. We are not conceding.” These are the fighting words of Dr. Denzil Douglas, Political Leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, Ms. Marcella Liburd, Deputy Political Leader, Dr. Terrance Drew, Party Chairman, Mr. Konris Maynard, Steve Wrensford, Leon Natta-Nelson, Kenneth “Kenny” Douglas and the rest of the Labour Party membership, supporters and friends.
After careful and thorough examination of the election data, eyewitness accounts from residents and citizens as well as reports collected from Inside and Outside Agents which monitored the voting process, the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party is challenging the legitimacy of the People’s Labour Party’s (PLP) and People’s Action Movement’s (PAM) election and return results. Its investigation has uncovered shocking evidence alleging that the outcome of the June 5, 2020 election was greatly influenced by extensive corruption linked to a massive “land-for-votes” scheme in addition to substantial and significant electoral irregularities, breaches of the Electoral Office (without the intervention of the Electoral Commission) and bribery.
It was discovered, through eye-witness accounts, that in the weeks leading up to the General Election, the Ministry of Sustainable Development distributed over six hundred (600) parcels of land, with some persons receiving the same parcel or land, and with the expressed agreement that they must vote for the PAM’s/PLP’s candidates within specific constituencies. Very few individuals from the relevant government ministries were involved in this “land-for-vote” scheme. Applications and approvals were fraudulently derived as they did not go through the ordinary government process or administrative teams. In many cases, voters received their land approval letters either from the candidate themselves, or their campaign offices.
Some voters were given lands that were already owned by persons with houses on them, and others were given lands through developments that were created within two weeks of Election Day, without going through any procedure for establishment or approval.
Surveyors were seen surveying land lots even on Election Day. Hundreds of lots were given out in Sandy Point, where the Labour Party’s Ambassador Kenneth ‘Kenny’ Douglas contested the seat.
Of the appropriately 600 lots that were given out, at least 350 were distributed in the weeks and days leading up to the General Election across all the constituencies.
In the case of St. Christopher Three, a total of 113 persons appeared contrary to election laws. Many were added on the 2020 Voter’s Register in January and May of 2020.
Of that amount, the names of at least forty (40) persons were added to the list used for the General Election.
Also, at least 40 of these hidden additions were registrants originating from the Dominican Republic who live in Constituencies Number One and Two, but voted in Constituency Number Three. Some of these registrants obtained their citizenship in 2020, and some were not qualified to vote.
Even more chilling and egregious is the fact that Labour Party Candidate Konris Maynard had objected to those new registrants who appeared on the January 2020 list, but those objections were intentionally not given a hearing.
These alarming irregularities and activities undermine the political and democratic will of the people which is the sole authority that gives legitimacy to any government. It is not surprising that Mr. Maynard’s opponent won by 89 votes when the list was manipulated to illegally add 113 names of PLP’s supporters.
Election-rigging tactics were unleashed in a dramatic fashion. In Constituency Number Eight, which was contested by SKNLP candidate, Dr. Terrance Drew, over 50 names of Labour Party supporters were removed from the voter’s list in 2020 without due process.
Four (4) PAM voters were permitted to vote without their names being on the list. These too were objected to by Dr. Drew’s agent which was ignored and not recorded as required by law. They were allowed to vote against the law.
With the State of Emergency and lockdowns, the Labour Party was prohibited from uncovering these irregularities. However, when these dishonest tactics were exposed following Nomination Day, the Electoral Office was closed. This prevented persons from resolving their election issues and left with very little time to go to court to challenge the unlawful removal and transfer of names.
Individuals, who were not qualified or previously removed from the Poverty Alleviation Program (PAP), were added and given a lump sum retroactive payment in some cases dating from December 2019. These were only done after speaking to the candidates or the campaign team, where voters were told that their names would be added to the PAP list, only if they promised to vote for the PAM/PLP’s candidates.
As a result of that, it has been discovered that some voters now received three government’s grant payments: PAP, STEP and Pay-for-Peace.
A disgruntled and upset electorate began to reveal the claims made above when most discovered that they were sorely deceived and tricked into electing a corrupt and incompetent government.
Ultimately, alleged bribery, intentional electoral dishonesty and rigging strategies have distorted, watered down and influenced the true will of the people. While election fraud takes on a wide variety of forms, they cancel modern democracy, which was so valiantly and sacrificially fought for by our forebears, such as the Rt. Sir Robert L. Bradshaw and others.
The people of St. Kitts and Nevis deserve better. They deserve a fair and free democratic country. They deserve a new election where the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party can fairly compete on a level playing field.