Basseterre, St Kitts, December 11, 2019 – Leon Natta-Nelson, the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) candidate who is challenging Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris for the St Christopher 7 seat in the 2020 general elections appeared before Magistrate Her Worship Ms Donna Harris, sister of Prime Minister Harris on Tueday December 10, 2019 at the Llewellyn Moore Judicial and Legal Services Complex .
Nelson-Natta, an accountant and senior Customs Officer, was arrested and charged on October 10, 2018 on an allegation of failing to renew his firearm users license on a warrant signed by Magistrate Donna Harris. He is on EC$10,000 bail.
The matter on Tuesday did not proceed as Magistrate Harris is hearing a preliminary inquiry.
“She has given priority to the preliminary inquiry so the matter has been adjourned for the 13th January 2020,” said attorney Sylvester Anthony. He said he awaits to see which magistrate will hear the case in January “and a decision will be made at that time.”
Since Natta-Nelson’s arrest the matter has been adjourned on four previous occasions
On October 17, 2018, Natta-Nelson received a letter dated October 10, 2018 – the same day of his arrest – from the Human Resource Management Department in the Office of Prime Minister Harris which stated that it has received “an adverse report of his involvement in political activity” thus contravening the Public Service (Conduct and Ethics of Officers) Code.
The letter alleged that “on or about the end of June 2018, you Leon Natta-Nelson, did introduce yourself to a resident of Christ Church Village, Christ Church, St Kitts, as a candidate of the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party running against the Hon Dr Timothy Harris for the next general election.”
The Office of Prime Minister Harris also alleged that Natta-Nelson “on or about the end of June 2018 did seek to solicit and or canvass support for your political campaign from a resident of Christ Church Village, Christ Church, St Kitts.”
Natta-Nelson has been on suspension with half pay.
In the interim, Natta-Nelson filed a constitutional motion in the High Court seeking a declaration that rules 36 and 38 were unconstitutional, null and void.
In March this year, High Court Judge, His Lordship Justice Eddy Ventose ruled that Natta-Nelson was entitled to take an active part in a political organisation and more particularly to run for elected office.
“Those are the two declarations he got today. Not only Leon Natta-Nelson, but all public servants who wish to run for political office are entitled so to do. And all public servants who wish to become involved in active politics can do so,” Anthony said following the High Court ruling. The Government has appealed that decision.