SKNLP Leader Accuses PM Harris of Attempting to Hinder International Observers

Basseterre, St. Kitts, August 3, 2022 (SKNLP) — Political Leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP), Dr.  Terrance Drew has accused Prime Minister, Dr. Timothy Harris of not making accommodations to have regional and international observers present for the upcoming general elections slated for Friday 5th August 2022.  A delegation of seven (7) members of the SKNLP met with the Head of Mission, former Prime Minister of  Jamaica, Mr. Bruce Golding, and his team from the Organization of American States yesterday at their headquarters. The delegation included the Leader of SKNLP, Dr. Terrance Drew, Deputy Leaders of the  SKNLP, Mr. Konris Maynard and Dr. Geoffrey Hanley, Campaign Manager, Dr. Joyelle Clarke, National  Secretary, Ms. Nerys Dockery, Legal Counsel, and National Scrutineer, Mr. Larry Vaughan.  

Dr. Drew stated that it was during the meeting held with the OAS mission team that he discovered the invitation to monitor the August 5th general election was only sent on July 26th, 2022.  

“Timothy Harris had really planned to conduct the [2022] elections without observers. He wanted to steal the elections from you the people of St Kitts and Nevis. Thinking because he is prime minister, he is lord over all of the subjects. He said he is a ruler and not a leader. He has dictatorial tendencies and that is why he wanted to conduct the elections without observers,” said Dr. Drew at a SKNLP Campaign Rally held in Cayon on August  2nd, 2022. 

Nevertheless, the Mission is here to monitor the electoral process on Friday, August 5th, 2022.  

During the meeting, the Party leadership outlined its grave concerns regarding the questionable conduct of the  Supervisor of Elections thus far in adhering to the rules established by statute. They outlined the irregularities taking place in the Electoral office in terms of publication of polling stations, voters lists and list of election day polling agents, the onerous and unconstitutional travel restrictions and approval process for overseas nationals wanting to return home to vote, the importance of ballot boxes that meet the criteria set in the statute and accepted by all parties, and the importance of polling stations opening on time.  

On June 5, 2020, our last general election, OAS Secretary-General, His Excellency Luis Almagro expressed regret that the Western hemispheric organization was not in St Kitts and Nevis to monitor the general elections and reconfirmed the invitation was withdrawn by Prime Minister Harris. 

“The OAS has observed elections in the country since 2010. Regrettably, the Gov’t withdrew the invitation to observe this time, though the OAS team was COVID-19 free and ready to deploy,” Almagro said on Twitter. 

The OAS also informed the then-Political Leader of the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L.  Douglas, that the respected international organization had accepted Dr Harris’ invitation by letter dated May 19,  but the invitation was revoked on May 27.

Secretary General Almagro said in his letter to Dr. Douglas that “OAS/GS regrets that a practical solution was  not put in place like was the case in Suriname to allow our observers to deploy but is respectful of the sovereign  decision.” 

The Commonwealth Secretary General, Baroness Scotland also expressed regret in the decision made by Prime  Minister Timothy Harris to impose a 14-day quarantine requirement on a Commonwealth Observer Team,  which made it impossible to send an observer mission to monitor the June 5 general elections. 

SKNLP Political Leader, Dr. Terrance Drew sent letters to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM),  Organization of American States (OAS) and the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat on June 16th, 2022, requesting their attention and consideration of an observer mission to St. Kitts and Nevis. It is not known whether an invitation was extended to the Commonwealth Secretariat by the outgoing Prime Minister. However,  the SKNLP met with a possible Caricom delegation virtually today August 3rd, 2022.  

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