SKNLP chairman questions silence of civil society as Grant and Powell found liable of misappropriation take seats in parliament

Basseterre, St Kitts, July 9, 2020 – Chairman of the opposition St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP), Dr Terrance Drew is questioning the deafening silence of civil society on the swearing-in of two lawyers as parliamentarians who have been found liable for misappropriation of US$460.000 from a client.

Hon Jonel Powell and Hon Lindsay Grant took their seats at the formal opening of a new St Kitts and Nevis National Assembly on Wednesday following their election in the June 5 general elections. Their seats are among six being challenged in court by the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party.

“My heart bleeds for my country. We will be the first in any democracy in the Commonwealth Caribbean where persons found guilty of misappropriation of client’s funds and who are due to face a Disciplinary Tribunal in short order (were) sworn in as Parliamentarians,” said Dr Drew in a statement.

“As corrupt people might think other countries are, this would never be allowed on any other modern democracy. Only in St. Christopher (and Nevis) is such blatant corruption and professional impropriety met with nonchalance as society turns a blind eye,” said Drew.

He added: “What’s harder to accept is the thunderous silence from the NGOs namely the St Kitts Christian Council, the St Kitts Evangelical Association, the St Kitts and Nevis Bar Association and the
St Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce.”

“Civil Society is supposed to be the conscience of a society where expectations and standards for integrity in public life are equally applied to all who wish to serve in high public office. The silence is deafening,” said Dr Drew.

Stating that he has nothing personal against Powell and Grant, Dr Drew expressed the view that “their misconduct must be condemned so as not to lower the standard at which we hold our leaders accountable.”

“As an alumnus of the BHS, I have tried to live our creed “Principia Non Homines”, “Principles Not Men”. If we are to accept this, what message does it send, especially to our young people? We would create a society where anything goes. Where there are no standards and even the vote is for sale.”

In years to come when our enlightened youths ask the question, I hope that we would have a good answer. It’s not too late to stand up and speak out. In the end we are not perfect people but that does not mean we should not have minimal standards. For if we stand for nothing we will fall for anything and in the end all would be lost,” said Dr Drew, who indicated his full support for the SKNLP parliamentarians who protested by not attending the opening of the National Assembly on Wednesday.

“In the end history would show that they stood up when it counted.

Let’s defend and fight for our democracy! No one else will!”

Grant and Powell were found liable for breach of trust, breach of fiduciary duty and failing to account or misappropriation of monies belonging to a client, Tanzania Tobin Tanzil by High Court Judge His Lordship Mr Justice Eddy Ventose.

On Monday of this week, the Eastern Caribbean Appeal refused an application by Grant and Powell to overturn a default judgment.