Prime Minister Harris rubbishes talks of nepotism; “not a scintilla of evidence” to support Opposition’s claims
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, April 10, 2019 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – The Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, has vehemently debunked all allegations of nepotism by the Team Unity administration being peddled by agents of the Opposition.
In response to a question posed during his monthly press conference on Tuesday, April 09, Prime Minister Harris stated firmly that there is “not a scintilla of evidence” to suggest nepotism towards members of his family, particularly as it relates to his brother employed at the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis and two of his sisters, who are employed within the judicial system.
Dismissing the allegations as nothing more than just “mere political mischief,” the prime minister challenged the Opposition members or anyone to produce the evidence that supports acts of nepotism on his behalf.
“I have heard persons say ‘well the prime minister brought in all of his family’. Who are these family members? Each one of my family members who is working in the Government would have started, hired and promoted by the administration before my time [as prime minister],” Dr. Harris said.
The honourable prime minister went at length to give accounts of the employment history and qualifications of his siblings who were employed by the former Denzil Douglas administration.
“My brother, for example Len Harris, who is at the Development Bank, is extremely well qualified,” Prime Minister Harris explained. According to Dr. Harris, his brother holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management, an MBA (Master of Business Administration) degree, and Association of Chartered Certified Accountants qualification.
“My brother was recruited from TDC where he was already a graduate in service to one of the largest private sector company to come to work for the government in the Audit Department. Not only was he hired but he was promoted by Denzil Douglas who was the Minister of Finance with responsibility for the Audit Department. Not only did Douglas do that, but Douglas went further when there was a need for leadership at the Development Bank and seconded him there to work in the bank as the assistant to the general manager, and when the time had come it was Denzil Douglas who had promoted him to become the CEO of the Development Bank,” Dr. Harris said.
Additionally, Dr. Harris quelled questions surrounding the position of his sister Janine Harris-Lake, who had worked in the registry’s office since 2007 and was promoted as High Court Registrar in 2011.
“In the first place, she is a lawyer, trained and accepted; went through all the processes of application; recommended by the Attorney General of the former administration, and so that talk again is nonsense talk,” Dr. Harris stated.
Prime Minister Harris said the notion that his family members are receiving preferential consideration only became a topic of discussion after his falling out with the leadership of the then St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party-led administration.
Moreover, Dr. Harris said the hasty opening of the St Kitts and Nevis Consulate in Dubai and the subsequent appointment of Alex Woodley, the mother of Dr. Douglas’ children, as head of that consulate “may qualify as nepotism.”