BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – “When people make an allegation they must be prepared to substantiate it. Anyone can say anything. It is so easy to say that; to say anything to create any mischief.”
That statement, among others, was made on Tuesday (Jul. 2) by Prime Minister Dr. the. Hon. Timothy Harris at his Monthly Press Conference, when asked by a reporter if there is any truth in the Labour Party’s allegation of corruption being perpetrated by himself and his Cabinet colleague Ian ‘Patches’ Liburd.
Taking a swipe at the Leader of the Opposition and former Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas, PM Harris made reference to a recent court hearing.
“I have, for example, a number of defamation cases against Dr. Denzil Douglas in court. We went to court last Thursday on a preliminary matter…and what was he attempting to do when we went to court last Thursday was to ask the court to allow him access to Cabinet records for him to make a case in relation to the statement which he falsely and mischievously made about my involvement in a stem cell project at the hospital, and I been paid by people to facilitate it.”
PM Harris proclaimed that Dr. Douglas could not have produced any evidence to substantiate his claim.
“He had no evidence! Denzil Douglas is the most reckless politician alive and he will go at any extreme in his burning passion to be returned to government. Destroy anyone! That is his modus operandi.
So when they talk this silly talk about corruption, ask them to provide one scintilla of evidence. And there is none! Here he goes to the court saying, give me the Cabinet files. And he knows better that the Cabinet documents are confidential. And he goes to court wasting people’s time, hoping that he could find something to say, ‘Ah, I got you there’. They can’t find nothing because there is nothing like that in the files.”
He stated that the highly contentious stem cell project that made headlines in 2016 was being dealt with by the Ministry of Health, and asked: “How did I get into that?”
He declared that the Labour Party’s allegation of corruption has no meaning, “but an empty vessel makes the most noise”.
“And that is what you are having, an Opposition without a programme for the country. Because what will they come to tell us they will do when they wasted 20 years of our lives. So the strategy is really to abuse and diminish every other challenger, and he sees me as his nemesis, so he has to bring me down. But God is on my side, so I am not taking him on and that is why we are in court in relation to that matter and other matters,” he added.
He also declared his views on the concept of corruption and referred to cases in America, as well as the action of an unnamed local contractor.
“Corruption, like sin, is a societal matter and I don’t understand why people will think corruption is something just in government. Corruption is in private sector everywhere around the world. Look at all those cases you have had in the USA regarding banking and private sector, look at all the investigations into President Trump’s contacts. Corruption needs more than one party to be involved.
“Corruption comes from the private sector people who want special favours. Like when somebody tried to impose upon this Government that they must get the benefit of a contract for the second cruise pier. That is an act of corruption and we rejected it.”
Dr. Harris intimated that some of the people who are talking about corruption in the twin-island Federation are “among the most corrupt and they are hoping to sideshow”.