Dr. Denzil Douglas: “Tourism Minister Lindsay Grant is too Distracted to Prepare for the Impacts of the COVID-19 Crisis on the Tourism Industry
“While the threat of the Coronavirus COVID-19 looms large, this government is being distracted by so many problems and scandals I cannot be certain that their priorities are in the right place,” said the Leader of the Opposition of St. Kitts and Nevis during his Tuesday radio call-in programme, “Ask the Leader”.
NextGen Labour Administration will Assist Workers Displaced by Impending Closure of Api Harowe Servo St. Kitts Ltd. Production Lines
Political Leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L Douglas said Tuesday that efforts will be made by the under his new administration when elected to reverse the closure of a production line at Api Harowe Servo St. Kitts Ltd. in Sandy Point and save the jobs of scores of workers. This would be treated as a matter of high priority.
Dr. Douglas was informed of the impending closure by some of the present employees who are worried about losing their jobs.
Dr. Douglas said that Api Harowe Servo has been playing a dominant role in the lives and welfare of hundreds of households in the capital and country-side of St. Kitts. At its establishment it employed 214 people.
“We are hoping that as a Labour government emerging from the (upcoming) general elections, that we would be able to hold high-level discussions with the owners and stop the closure or even if it happens to get busy immediately and hold discussions with other potential manufacturers who will be able at least to use the vacant factory shell and start up new operations for the benefit of our people,” said Dr. Douglas.
Barring any possible restrictions on travelling at the time with the coronavirus pandemic now spreading around the world, he will on his first visit out, if the elections are not yet called, “seek one of the many potential investors who he knows to do something positive in using the factory shell in Sandy Point.”
Dr. Douglas gave a commitment to the employees that the NextGen Labour Government will “try our very best to avert the closure or downsizing of the Api Harowe Servo manufacturing plant. If it has to happen as plans may be too advanced by the time the new Labour Government takes office, I give a commitment to all of these young ladies and men who work there that we will do our best to have them employed very quickly.”
It is with shock and dismay that I have observed in recent days the public threats against the life of Honourable Justice Eddy Ventose by certain individuals on social media. Over the last few days, even after appeals to cease such offensive and irresponsible behaviour by the St. Kitts and Nevis Bar Association, the life threats have continued and have become even more vulgar and explicit.
In my capacity as the Leader of the Opposition of St. Kitts and Nevis, I strongly condemn such bullying and disrespect of a distinguished member of our judiciary. It is indeed an act of pure cowardice when persons in our society hide behind pseudonyms and fake profiles to injure the reputation and make threats to the life and security of others. Such attacks should never be tolerated. They are further evidence of the new and unprecedented low to which the political discourse of our society has sunk. I have spoken out on numerous occasions in the past about the prevalence of cyberbullying that has been targeted against myself, the former Police Commissioner and many others who have spoken out fearlessly in defence of Democracy and the Rule of Law and who are considered offensive to the current Harris-led Administration.
I reiterate my call on the Attorney General and Minister of National of Security to denounce such acts and to investigate the identities behind these fake profiles as a matter of grave urgency.
The Parliamentary Opposition continues to be extremely concerned and alarmed by the legal developments involving Minister Lindsay Grant and Ambassador Jonel Powell in relation to the civil case that was brought against them. Justice Eddy J. Ventose, resident High Court Judge found them liable for misappropriation of over one million EC dollars in client’s funds.
In the latest of three rulings handed down in this instance by Justice Ventose on February 27, 2020, the High Court judge exercised his powers of referral and ordered Grant and Powell to appear before a Disciplinary Tribunal of two High Court judges. The objective is to determine whether they should be suspended for a specified period or be struck off the Court Roll of St. Christopher and Nevis.
This latest legal development represents a very damning indictment on the character of these two public servants. It speaks to the conviction of the High Court judge that Grant and Powell’s professional misconduct merits some form of disciplinary action. The ruling affirms what the Parliamentary Opposition and citizens of our Federation have been insisting for some time that Grant and Powell should be subjected to disciplinary action and called upon to resign as high ranking government officials.
Justice Ventose confirmed that “misappropriation of funds of an Attorney-at-Law of client funds is a serious matter”. He instructed the Registrar of the High Court to establish the Disciplinary Tribunal within sixty (60) days of his February 27, 2020 ruling, in consultation with the Judicial and Legal Services Commission. A hearing of the assessment of damages has also been set for May 19, 2020 at 1:00 pm.
The February 27, 2020 ruling therefore was a very serious and damning indictment on the character of Grant and Powel who will be either suspended or debarred for misappropriating a client’s funds. We in the Parliamentary Opposition again join our citizens in demanding that they resign immediately as a result of the High Court ruling, which has proven that they are unfit to hold public office.
The Parliamentary Opposition is very concerned that St. Kitts and Nevis was not named among Caribbean countries that have the capacity to detect, contain and manage cases of the coronavirus – COVID-19, were the virus to reach our shores. This unfortunate fact was confirmed Sunday during a press conference held after an emergency meeting between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government and Ministers of Health in Barbados to agree on a regional protocol establishing minimum standards for dealing with the COVID-19 virus.
For the last few weeks we in the Parliamentary Opposition have indicated our willingness to be part of national consultations on this issue and have appealed to the Timothy Harris administration to take a bi-partisan approach. We have also made the recommendation that the government of St. Kitts and Nevis seeks the assistance of Cuba as a source of medical specialists with expertise in acute respiratory diseases.
In St. Kitts and Nevis we cannot wait until the virus reaches our shores to begin to take action. I urge the Government of our Federation to act urgently and pre-emptively to minimize the risk of the spread of the virus among our people and of the endangerment of our nationals and residents. Specifically, I urge the Government to move expeditiously to develop and publish a contingency plan, with provisions for the immediate establishment of quarantine facilities, arrangements for the speedy testing of suspected cases, the immediate commencement of a public information and education programme and all other activities deemed necessary to prevent or contain the spread of the virus in our Federation.
Recent media reports have confirmed that cases of COVID-19 coronavirus have been confirmed in the Latin American and Caribbean countries of the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Ecuador and St. Barth’s.
I beg that we do not treat this matter as a political issue. The risk to our nation is far too great to allow politics to undermine our efforts to contain the spread of the virus. As Leader of the Opposition of St. Kitts and Nevis and as a medical doctor I stand read to assist in any way possible and to make available to the Government the resources of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party if called upon to do so.
Drew Urges Government to Seek Help from Cuba to Send Specialist to Deal with Early Detection of the COVID-19 Coronavirus
Medical internist Dr. Terrance Drew has appealed to the Timothy Harris administration to immediately request help from the Government of Cuba to send a specialist to Basseterre in the event someone becomes infected with the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Dr. Drew, the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) candidate for St Christopher 8, who also holds the health portfolio in the shadow cabinet, made the appeal during the monthly press conference of the SKNLP on Wednesday.
Pointing out that the twin-island federation lacks a specialist in infectious diseases, Dr. Drew as he did on Tuesday’s “Ask the Leader,” called on the Timothy Harris-led government “to reach out to Cuba and ask Cuba to send the necessary specialist in the case that we might be hit with someone with the coronavirus.”
“This is a very serious matter and I appeal to the Government. I am willing to speak to those who will listen at the leadership of the health sector that we need better preparation and to have the necessary specialists on the ground who would put in place the infrastructure to deal with any cases of the coronavirus.”
The pathogen has now invaded at least 50 nations, with California and Germany recording the first cases with no obvious source of transmission.
Sweden, Brazil and Russia have become the latest countries to record cases of the killer coronavirus that is rapidly sweeping the world.
Almost 10,000 people across the world have been infected, while the death toll outside China has risen to 213 as the crisis continues to escalate.
Corrupting the electoral machinery ahead of still to be announced general elections continues to be a major concern of the opposition St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP).
With five years past the general elections of February 16, 2015, the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) has expressed concern about continuing irregularities inside the Electoral Office.
“As more time passes the unpopular and unscrupulous Timothy Harris-led coalition government will devise ways and means to manipulate the electoral system to their political advantage,” said Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L Douglas, National Political Leader of the SKNLP.
A few months ago the SKNLP mounted a protest outside the Electoral Office in Basseterre against several irregularities. The Supervisor of Elections is Mr. Elvin Bailey, a cousin of the Hon. Vance Amory, Senior Minister and Minister of Labour and Social Security in the Timothy Harris coalition cabinet.
At Wednesday’s monthly press conference at the Labour Party’s Campaign Headquarters, Dr. Douglas noted the withdrawal by Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris, of a proposed amendment to the National Assembly Elections Act in September 2019 which would have introduced a six-month residency requirement for persons to be eligible to be registered as a voter after widespread protest.
Dr. Douglas and several of the NextGen SKN candidates of the SKNLP mounted a spirited campaign against the proposed amendment holding meetings in London and Birmingham, England; New York and Florida in the United States; Toronto, Canada; the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla and St Maarten, where hundreds of nationals reside.
On October 31, 2019, Mr. Denzil Crooke was appointed Chairman of the Electoral Boundaries Commission, just over three months before February 16, 2020, the fifth anniversary of the last general elections.
“Since a new Boundaries Commission was established, it was only in December of 2019 that they met for the first time. Since this time, the Boundaries Commission met four times trying to find a legal justification for further delaying the elections and for making void the revised boundaries of 2015,” said Dr. Douglas, who indicated that Prime Minister Harris was now focusing on the continued corruption in the Electoral Office, “over which he wields undue political influence, to carry out the same objective – to disenfranchise our overseas nationals.”
“Since the publication of the Register of Voters in January 2020, we have seen that hundreds of names of many of our nationals living overseas have been objected to from the Voters List across all constituencies,” said Dr. Douglas.
“This is spreading confusion and unrest among the electorate. People are very disturbed and outraged by these attempts to gerrymander the boundaries and the voter fraud taking place in the Electoral Office. We in the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party will not allow Prime Minister Harris to suppress the democratic will of the people,” he told reporters.
Opposition Leader Douglas says the SKNLP is “organised, energised and fully mobilised for elections”
Political Leader of the Opposition St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP), the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L Douglas said Wednesday that the SKNLP is “organised, energised and fully mobilised for the election campaign that lies ahead.”
Public meetings by the SKNLP and a recent public demonstration demanding that Prime Minister Harris dissolve the National Assembly and set the election date have attracted large crowds and Dr. Douglas told reporters and the nation that the people of St Kitts and Nevis are responding to the message of hope, opportunity and prosperity.
“They are very excited about our NextGen SKN plans and ideas, that will take our country through 2020 and beyond and in this new era,” Douglas, the former prime minister said.
With the three-party coalition already past the five-year mark since the February 16, 2015 general election, Dr. Douglas said the Timothy Harris-led government “has not produced anything by way of plans and ideas that would enhance the quality of life of our people, stimulate our economy and build on the multiple gains left behind by my former Labour administration.”
“Now at this proverbial 12th hour, when the clock has already struck midnight, and when the government has now expired, they are frantically rushing to see which of our ideas that we have publicly announced at the well-attended Reveal event at the Royal St Kitts Hotel, that they can quickly implement,” Dr. Douglas said.
He is of the view that the people of St Kitts and Nevis are not impressed. “The people of St Kitts and Nevis have had over five years to assess this government and to judge them based on their dismal performance in delivering on their 2015 manifesto and platform promises,” said Dr. Douglas, who pointed out that what the nation is seeing now “is a growing sense of frustration and discontent among our people, who are deeply dissatisfied and disappointed with this administration.”
“They recognise that the rampant corruption, nepotism and victimisation that is so blatant today is a direct expression of the personality and nature of the present Prime Minister who has set a bad example and has had a corrupting influence on those associated with him,” said Dr. Douglas.
He said with the expiration of the Timothy Harris administration on February 16, 2020, the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, its supporters and well-wishers will continue to agitate and demonstrate in order to send a clear message to Prime Minister Harris and his colleague cabinet ministers that their time in office has expired and it is time for them to go.
Dr. Terrance Drew: Visit to Germany A Success and will Blossom Into Fruitful Partnerships for the Transformation of the Health Sector
Dr. Terrance Drew, the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) candidate for St Christopher 8, returned to the Federation Sunday afternoon after a productive tour of medical institutions in Germany.
The visit to the European nation afforded Dr. Drew, an intense study of the German medical system and enabled him to establish relations of cooperation that would assist the people of St Kitts and Nevis at every level.
“Although I have not yet been elected, I consider it my duty to be as prepared as possible. Therefore, my trips to the USA and Germany in recent times on medical outreach visits were essential for me to lay the groundwork in anticipation of the role that I would be playing in a NextGen SKN Labour administration,” said Dr. Drew in a statement following his return.
Dr. Drew, who holds the portfolio of health in the shadow cabinet of the SKNLP, said that the transformation of the Federation’s health sector must begin on the premise that health is a human right and not a privilege.
“The policy approaches to the sector must be based on principles of quality, affordability and accessibility and would ensure that all of our people are looked after well. Like anything else there would be challenges. This is life and we have to accept this fact. However, we must face these challenges head on to overcome them,” said Dr. Drew, who noted that the “conversations that began in Germany will blossom into fruitful partnerships for the benefit of our people.”
He described the visit to Germany as “very successful.”
He expressed thanks to Edward Martin, his family and friends for making his stay in Germany a meaningful one.
“Words can’t capture the extent of my gratitude. My sincere thanks also goes out to you the people for your strong following and support. I want to also say thanks to the Political Leader of our party, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas and the rest of the NexGen SKN team. This was done on their behalf as well,” said Dr Drew.
Hundreds of supporters and concerned citizens answered the call to march and demonstrate that was made by the political Leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party during an SKNLP Public Meeting in St. Paul’s just one day prior.
Since December 1, 2019, the veteran politician and Leader of the Opposition, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas, has put the Harris administration on notice that their time in office would expire on February 16, 2020 which would mark five full years since the last general elections were held in 2015.
The massive crowd wound its way through the streets of Basseterre on Friday afternoon ringing bells, blaring horns and bearing placards with slogans such as “Tick Tock: Time is Up”; “Spoiled Pier; Rotten Leadership; Expired Government” and “Change the Change”, as onlookers cheered and joined in the chanting.
“After five whole years of rampant corruption, nepotism and victimization, our people are fed up and it is now time for [this government] to go. Their time has expired, it is time to remove them off the shelf,” said Dr. Douglas on behalf of the serious, but jubilant crowd. “The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party is ready to bring hope, relief and opportunity back to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis and to ease the squeeze they have been feeling,” he continued.
The march culminated at Central Street, Basseterre, where a Youth Rally was organized by Young Labour, the youth arm of the St. Kitts Nevis Labour Party around the theme: “We Fed-up. We Tired. We Want Change”. One-by-one the emerging young leaders of the SKNLP informed the crowd about the party’s NextGen SKN Vision 2020 in areas such as “Strengthening Families and Communities”, “Safety and Security”, “21st Century Jobs and Economy”, “Making Public Health and Healthcare Better”, and “Prioritizing Sports, Arts, Culture and Heritage”. The Political Leader topped off the evening with a rousing message to the youth encouraging them to take their vote and this election very seriously and to “never give up their power”.