Prime Minister Harris Responds to Spurious Allegations of Nepotism – Key Takeaways

Here are the Key Takeaways:
  • The allegations are political mischief.

 

  • Where is the evidence?  Investigative reporters’ focus should be on finding the evidence then putting it forward to the public, the Prime Minister urged.

 

  • Everyone of his family members currently working in Government or for a government-owned entity was hired and promoted by the administration before his Team Unity administration came into office.  “Not a single one of them was hired into the service by me,” Prime Minister Harris said.
  • They are extremely well qualified and were hired and promoted on their own merit.  “They’ve been there long before I became Prime Minister,” Prime Minister Harris said, adding, “They happen to be bright.  You can’t fault them…they went [abroad], they took in their education, and they came back and wanted to make a contribution – and they had their papers  [academic qualifications] to show.”

 

  • For instance, his brother Lenworth Harris, who is CEO of the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis, has academic qualifications that include a Bachelor of Science in Management degree, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, and FCCA (Fellow Member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) certification. Lenworth Harris’ credentials include having been second in command of the accounting department at The TDC Group of Companies.  He was recruited to work in the Government’s Audit Department and promoted by former Prime Minister Denzil Douglas.  “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.”  Denzil Douglas later promoted Lenworth Harris to head the Development Bank.
  • Prime Minister Harris’ sister, Mrs. Janine Harris-Lake, who is the Registrar of the High Court, has been at the Registry’s Office since 2007 under the Douglas administration.  A trained lawyer, her credentials include having worked as an Assistant Registrar and a Crown Counsel.  She was promoted in 2011 to be Registrar.

 

  • His sister, Magistrate Her Honour Donna Harris, singlehandedly set up the Legal Aid Services Clinic, pioneering a new department in the Attorney-General’s Office.  Prime Minister Harris said that when former Minister of Government Dwyer Astaphan had responsibility for Legal Affairs, he approached Donna Harris and asked her to become a Magistrate, but she declined his offer.  The Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis went on to say, “These are persons who have earned their keep based on their qualification and performance.  That is why they were being promoted through the system [under the Denzil Douglas administration], and they would have had to be vetted locally and regionally by the Chief Justice and all of those personalities and found to be fit and proper persons.  So it’s not just a local system when it comes to judicial officers; you have to go to the regional Judicial [and Legal Service] Commission [for its endorsement] and they will vet you.”
  • Prime Minister Harris’ brother, Denzil Harris, has worked in the prison system since 1996.  Denzil Harris was promoted on May 1st, 1997 when Denzil Douglas served as Prime Minister and Minister of National Security.  On June 26th, 2000, he was promoted to be Senior Prison Officer.  “So when you hear this foolish talk [of nepotism] – not a scintilla of evidence,” Prime Minister Harris countered.  The 23-year prison system veteran has been serving excellently; in 2006, he was made the Principal Officer in the prison system during the Denzil Douglas administration and in 2012 he was highly recommended for a promotion to Chief Prison Officer.
  • “This [talk of nepotism] is a charade,” Prime Minister Harris said at his press conference on Tuesday.  “This is [the machination of] a man [Denzil Douglas] so bitter that he will do anything to destroy innocent persons, and that is unacceptable,” the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis added.

 

  • “Everything was alright until we had the fall out,” Prime Minister Harris continued.  Indeed, an article published by SKNVibes, dated January 14th, 2015, roughly one month before the last general elections, reported that Lenworth Harris received a letter on Wednesday, January 7th, 2015, indicating that he was effectively on suspension from his leadership position at the Development Bank.  That January 2015 article quoted Dwyer Astaphan saying, “I am inclined to think so [that this was a case of victimisation]…It is too many to be just a coincidence.  It is difficult for me not to hold the view that this is targeting and victimisation of members of Dr. Harris’ family.”  Dwyer Astaphan then went on to say in the January 2015 article, “First of all, it was Dr. Harris’ older brother Mr. Hester Rawlins who was retired at the age of 55 as the Fire Chief. Then Mrs. Janine Harris-Lake, the Registrar of the Court, then there was a difficulty with Ms. Donna Harris at the Legal Aid Clinic, the Director of Legal Aid, and now Mr. Len Harris.”  Just two months earlier, when Dr. Harris’ sister, Janine, was victimised by the Douglas administration, he was quoted in an SKNVibes article dated November 26th, 2014, saying, “Certainly this is a pattern. The Douglas regime, since I left, has been attempting to get to me.  They can’t get to me directly because the love of the people and my standing in the constituency is so deep.  They are attempting to get to me by victimising my relatives who are well-qualified; relatives who have served well, relatives who have been promoted based on their performance over the years.  They can’t find fault with their work, but it is part of the brazen victimisation which Team Unity has to end.  And clearly by coming together across the political parties…we have created the first real opportunity in St. Kitts and Nevis that people would be able to hold their jobs, notwithstanding their differing party colours and party affiliation.”

 

The Prime Minister’s Press Conference of Tuesday, April 9th, 2019 will rebroadcast on ZIZ TV (Channel 5 and https://zizonline.com/tv/channel-5/) today, Thursday, April 11th, 2019 at 2:30pm, on Friday, April 12th at 10:00am and 8:00pm, on Saturday, April 13th at 8:30am and 5:00pm, on Sunday, April 14th at 1:00pm and 9:30pm, and on Monday, April 14th at 3:30pm.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Px3s3f4OELE
Share via:
  • 2
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •