BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - THE public spat between Duncan ‘Big Lice’ Wattley and the Parliamentary Representative for Constituecy #3, Konris Maynard, continues with the former not backing down following a letter asking for an apology within 48 hours.
Wattley, during a recent social media live, made several comments against Minister Maynard who deemed them defamatory.
“On Thursday, 11th January 2024, Mr. Duncan “Big Lice” Wattley, in a now viral Facebook Live Rant (“Live”) on his popular Facebook Program, made very serious, scandalous, outrageous and downright false statements about me, my character and my integrity. This Live has garnered over 9,000 views on his page and 25 shares to other Facebook pages. The Live has also received over 7,000 views on a particular YouTube Channel and countless more republications on media and electronic platforms with worldwide reach. Having listened to the speech, it is clear that Mr Wattley deliberately set out to use his platform and his position in the Government to launch vicious and unfounded attacks against me with the intention to cause serious harm to my character and my reputation, both personally and professionally, under the guise of “being informed”, Maynard wrote in the letter which was posted to socal media.
Wattley’s comments reportedly stemmed from the fact that electricity to his popular business establishment was disconnected, which resulted in him alleging that the Minister was instrumental in that decision while other business establishments also had outstanding arrears.
But Maynard, among other things, noted: “SKELEC, independent of its line Minister, has its operating procedures for managing its day-to-day affairs, including dealing with outstanding arrears. I, solely or in collaboration with others, do not directly or indirectly instruct or suggest the disconnection of any customer of SKELEC. I first learned of Mr. Wattley’s disconnection via a post made by him on Social Media.”
“As a Minister of Government, and in particular as Minister with responsibility for SKELEC, I have never used my position to engage in any illegal, corrupt, or fraudulent practices for personal enrichment of any kind,” Maynard wrote.
The Minister further wote, “I do not hold any legal and or beneficial interest in any company, whether a shell company or otherwise, that engaged or engages in bidding for public contracts.”
Speaking to the issue of his family, Maynard wrote: “My wife and I are in a faithful relationship of 21 years, married with two children.
“Mr. Wattley ought to be ashamed to tarnish my good name and character loosely and recklessly as he has done. I take these false and defamatory allegations seriously and do not intend to ignore them or be scandalized by Mr. Wattley and his outrageous attacks!”
It was against that backdrop Maynard said, “I have instructed my lawyer to take the appropriate action, seeking an immediate retraction and apology by Mr. Wattley to be aired similarly to the falsehoods he has told about me within 48 hours of receipt of correspondence from my lawyer.”
But Wattley has since indicated that he would not apologise, as, in another social media video post, he explained his position and a meeting he had attended before his termination as a Government Advisor (because of conflict and pressure).
“...I believe this is a very serious indictment on our democracy, on our democratic right. All of a sudden, in my beloved St. Kitts and Nevis, people cannot ask questions of their ministers of government - sitting ministers. And I believe that this is beyond ridiculous,” Wattley said.
In his comment on the situation, Wattley declared: “All I want you all to know is that this man, ‘Big Lice’, will represent himself in court because I want to see if the Court will tell me, as a citizen of St. Kitts-Nevis, that I can’t question my representative in Parliament.”
This ongoing issue has attracted the attention of many in the public domain.